Sunday, November 27, 2011

cloth diapering babies & toddlers

When I was pregnant we decided we'd use cloth diapers for the baby. I was able to try out a couple of different types while being my cousin's nanny so that helped narrow down the type we eventually decided on.

The Real Diaper Association states many reasons why a family should consider cloth diapering but I'll touch on a few that were most important to us:

Reducing trash: I'd always hated the idea of throwing so much garbage away and cloth diapering seemed like a doable way of reducing our waste. We do still use disposables when we're away from home for more than a day and for overnights but we've reduced our waste by using mostly cloth.

Reducing chemicals directly against baby's body: Disposable diapers use many chemicals including dioxin. According to the Real Diaper Association, dioxin is "a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals.  It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S." Of course we're exposed to many chemicals on a daily basis, but this seemed like a good place to start reducing exposure. 

Reducing cost: This is a big one for us. For Devon, we spent $224.40 on 15 diapers that will last from birth to potty training. (I don't know the exact math for Tyler's diapers since they were a shower gift.) The average cost of disposables for two years is $1600 according to the Real Diaper Association. So we saved almost $1400! We choose to purchase new diapers for Devon since the velcro on Tyler's diapers needed replacing but were able to sell those diapers for $100 on Craigslist so really saved almost $1500. 

Devon at about a month old in a bumGenius 4.0 diaper

Cloth diapering isn't difficult and is something dads, grandparents, and babysitters can do easily. We use bumGenius one-size 4.0's. They're a waterproof pocket diaper that gets stuffed with a microfiber insert. We change the diapers just like disposables with the clean bumGenius pre-stuffed. When the dirty diaper comes off we take the microfiber insert out and put both pieces into a rubbermaid tub to be washed every other day. 

The basic washing routine is one cold rinse cycle with no soap. Then one hot cycle (not above 100° though) with a no-residue soap (we use Rockin' Green). Then one last cold rinse cycle with no soap. Then hang them to dry.

Tyler helping me with diapers,  May 2010

Cloth diapering seems difficult when you don't know much about it but it only takes a couple of extra steps for us (washing, stuffing diapers, etc). It really saves us a ton of money, makes me feel better about what's going against the boys' skin, and puts a bit less trash in the landfill. That's a win for me!

Does anyone else cloth diaper? If you do, what one thing would you tell someone considering cloth diapers? If you don't, what questions do you have about it? I will write more about it in the future but would love to answer some questions to help you make your decision about whether to cloth diaper your baby. 

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