In this age of environmental action, choosing to use cloth diapers for your newborn can be a step you can take to reduce your impact on the earth. However, many people are not big fans of the increased workload, so you will need to weigh the advantages and disadvantages before choosing to make the investment. If you do decide to go for it, you will also need to look at the big brands available to you.
Using cloth diapers comes with many advantages over disposable diapers, which include:
- Cheaper in the long term – You can buy disposable diapers in bulk for around 20c a diaper. A cloth diaper can cost anywhere from $15 to $30 depending on the brand and the quality. This means that you will have to use each one at least 75 times to make your money. However, your newborn will need changing around 8 or 10 times a day initially and even after a year you’ll still need two or three diapers a day. Most estimates say that you will make your money back after around seven months.
- Less environmental impact – It is estimated
that the average baby will use over 8,000 diapers before they are potty
trained. If you use disposables, this will add around 10 tons of waste
to landfill, while these diapers keep all of this out of landfill. You
can also get cloth inserts that are made from bamboo and other renewable
- More absorbent – Despite all of the NASA
funded technology, cloth and bamboo based diapers are still much more
absorbent than their disposable counterparts. As your baby learns to
take longer and longer naps during the day, you will find it important
to have a diaper that will not wake them up when they wet it.
If cloth diapers had no drawbacks, then the whole world would be using them. Apart from the big initial cost, which is estimated to be between $500 and $1,000 from birth to potty, other disadvantages holding people back include:
- Limited diaper rash cream – The cloth is very sensitive to anything other than human waste, which means that you cannot use some diaper rash creams. Of course, the flipside of this sensitivity means that babies in these diapers are much less likely to develop diaper rash but it can be frustrating finding usable diaper rash medicines if it does occur.
- Special detergent – This sensitivity also
extends to how you wash the diapers. You cannot use regular washing
detergent as it ruins the absorbency of the inserts and can destroy the
elasticity of the leg gussets. The special detergent does not come
cheap, costing at least $15 for a two pound or one kilo bag.
and drying – The biggest drawback of using reusable diapers is that
you’ll end up washing and drying the whole set every two days or so.
This can be very time consuming, especially considering that you will
then need to stuff the inserts back in each time as well.
If you do decide to go for cloth type diapers, look at these three brands first:
- G-diapers – The most expensive brand on the market with good reasons. The inserts are biodegradable, meaning that you can just flush them down the toilet.
- Rumparooz – These come with two thicknesses of insert that allow you to create a super absorbent diaper, which is great for nighttime, and baby boys in particular.
- Blueberry – These snap together rather than using Velcro, which makes them much, more secure. They also come with double leg gussets, which help to keep any mess safely tucked away.
None of these cloth diapers brands are particularly cheap. One
G-diaper goes for around $25-30 and the Blueberry and Rumparooz diapers
cost $20-25 each.
With the cloth diaper movement gaining speed at
the moment, if the pre-folded insert type of diapers feel out of your
price range, you might want to check out the plain old fashioned diapers
known by some as “flatties”.
Like the name implies, these old-fashioned diapers are simply square or rectangular pieces of cotton that require folding, diaper pins and plastic pants. The average cost for a dozen cotton diapers is less than $20 per dozen. Then you have the additional cost of the plastic pants, but you can usually get those for less than $10 for a half-dozen.
So, if you have the money you can get the fancy, pre-folded diapers and diaper covers, but if money is tight and you still want to go with cloth diapers you do not have to break the bank.
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