Should you start cloth diapering your baby? Your grandmother used cloth diapers, and she has no problem reminding you every time you see her that you should use them, too.
Your go-green, couponing coworker says cloth diapers are the only diapers worth using.
But there’s also your best friend telling you it’s really not worth it and your partner adamantly responding that he’ll never change a cloth diaper whenever you bring the idea up.
Should You Start Cloth Diapering?
So what do you do? Do you stick with disposables or start cloth diapering?
Are you trying to live a more eco-friendly lifestyle?
It costs money to make diapers, and in terms of disposable diapers, the costs to make them are more, especially environmental costs. It requires more raw materials to make and distribute disposable diapers than cloth diapers.
But the biggest cost doesn’t come from your wallet or the manufacturers, it falls on (or should we say into) the environment.
On average, a baby can use anywhere between 1,500 to 2,500 disposable diapers a year and up to 6,00 to 7,000 during his total time in diapers, while a child only needs 20-40 cloth diapers during that same timeframe.
When you add up all the babies in the U.S. using disposables, there are approximately 20 billion disposables dumped into landfills each year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
That’s a lot of waste—about 3.5 million tons to be exact—and it then takes all those diapers up to 500 years to decompose.
There is the argument that cloth diapers require more water and energy to clean so they’re not really better for the environment. This is kind of true.
But, it’s also true that the amount of water you use to launder cloth diapers typically only accounts for about 5% of your household’s total water use during a 2.5-year diapering period. You should also choose to wash your own diapers rather than use a diaper service if you want to minimize your water and carbon footprint.
Does your baby easily get rashes or have skin sensitivities?
All babies have sensitive skin—some just have even more sensitive skin. If your baby is prone to diaper rashes or certain skin sensitivities, cloth diapers made of natural fibers could help prevent her flare-ups.
While there are more natural disposable diaper choices available today, there are still chemicals used in many of the manufacturing processes of disposables that can irritate or harm your child.
Do you want to save money?
This is kind of a “duh” question, but many parents who are debating using cloth diapers look at the price tag of a cloth diaper and can’t fathom how something that costs $10-30 per diaper could save you money.
But they really do. If you plan on diapering for 2.5 years, here’s an average cost breakdown between the different types of diapers:
- Generic disposable diapers: $1,500
- Premium brand or eco-friendly disposable diapers: $2,500
- Cloth diaper systems: $400-600
So while cloth diapers won’t save you money immediately, they will save you a significant amount of money over the time your child is in diapers. Cloth diapers also surprisingly have a great resale value.
Are you willing to put in a little extra work?
With disposables, when it’s time to change the diaper, you simply take it off and throw it in the trash. Cloth diapers require you to do a little more.
You have to remove any solid material before washing them. After washing, most companies recommend that you line dry your shells, and then you have to fold and/or put them away. For some parents, it’s not worth it. For others, they don’t mind washing cloth diapers.
Diaper services are becoming more popular, though, so if you (or your partner) don’t want to wash cloth diapers, they’ll do it for you!
So, are you ready?
If you answered yes to all or most of these questions, then you’re ready to start cloth diapering.
And if you want to start clothing diapering with confidence, you need the right products. GroVia cloth diapers are a great choice.
They offer a variety of cloth diaper styles and fun prints so it’s easy to find what works for your family’s lifestyle and budget.
And lastly, the best way to start clothing diapering is to start small. Start out with a few cloth diapers and maybe a couple of different styles to see if it’s something you’re really ready for.
Cloth diapering isn’t for everyone, which is OK! So start out small, and give yourself enough time to get into a routine until you decide if you’re ready and able to be a cloth diaper parent.