When it comes to preparing for a new baby one important task is stocking up on essentials, including diapers. If you’re curious about cloth diapers, you’re not alone. Opting for cloth over disposables is becoming increasingly popular. What’s more, modern cloth diapers are easy to use — nothing like the fold-and-pin variety of the past.
Why Do Parents Choose Cloth Diapers?
Some of the well-documented reasons parents go for cloth diapers include:
Eco-minded parents like the idea of re-using cloth diapers hundreds of times rather than tossing hundreds of disposables in the trash. What’s more, cloth diapers are free of chemicals often found in disposables.
They’re Less Expensive
The up-front cost for cloth diapers can be hefty, but over the course of a year they’re about half as expensive as disposables (even taking into consideration the water and electricity costs of washing them). What’s more, if you take care of them you can use your cloth diapers for future babies. You may even be able to resell them, recouping some of your up-front cost.
They’re Easier to Use than Cloth Diapers of the Past
When you think of cloth diapers, do you envision squares of fabric and oversized safety pins? Set that vision aside, because today’s cloth diapers are nothing like the ones your mama used. There are lots of styles available, but in general they have thigh-hugging elastic and snaps or velcro tabs that are easy to use. Another bonus: With endless color and pattern options, they’re undeniably cute.
They May Motivate Toddlers to Use the Toilet
Although not a scientifically-proven fact, plenty of cloth-diapering parents attest that because little ones wearing cloth diapers can feel wetness, they’re motivated to use the toilet when it’s time to potty-train. Their disposable-wearing counterparts may not reap this benefit because most disposable diapers include a highly-absorbent substance that keeps their bums dry.
Possible Cloth Diaper Drawbacks to Consider
While plenty of cloth-diapering parents say the extra work involved is worth the environmental and/or financial reasons they chose cloth in the first place, it’s important to know exactly what that “extra work” entails.
They Need to Be Cleaned
While there are cleaning services that will wash your cloth diapers for you, cloth-diapering parents tend to say they’re relatively easy to wash at home — often with the same laundry detergent you use for your baby’s clothes. Simply toss used diapers into a diaper pail or special bag (see below), and wash a load every two to three days. There’s one caveat to keep in mind: You’ll need to shake and flush poop in the toilet, and if there’s any left on the diaper it needs to come off (you can use a special spray nozzle installed onto your toilet for this).
They May Require More Frequent Changes
According to experts, all babies should be changed at least every two hours. Disposable diapers can stretch that time, though, because they’re made to absorb a lot of liquid while still keeping baby dry. In general, cloth diapers absorb less and feel wet, prompting quick changes.
They Can’t be Tossed when You’re Out and About
When you leave the house, you’ll need a special bag to transport soiled cloth diapers home (more on this below).
What You’ll Need if You Use Cloth Diapers
If you decide to go the cloth route, you’ll need:
☐ 2-4 dozen diapers depending on how often you want to wash them. If you have 24 diapers you’ll be washing them every 2 – 3 days.
☐ Diaper pail or wet bag (a large, waterproof bag specifically made to hold soiled cloth diapers in-between washes).
☐ Mini wet bag — for transporting soiled diapers home when you change your baby outside of the house.
☐ Cloth diaper sprayer — a spray nozzle you install onto your toilet, for spraying off stuck-on poop.
☐ Cloth wipes — many parents who choose cloth diapers also choose cloth wipes, which you can use with a cloth-wipes solution.
If you decide to use cloth diapers, be sure to do research about different styles, and consider trying a few as part of a trial to find the ones you like best.