There are many reasons to consider cloth diapering instead of the modern plastic throw away diapers.
1. Cloth diapers only have to be purchased once.
The cost of plastic diapers can add up very quickly. Some newborns are changed as frequently as a dozen times a day and even when they are older infants and toddlers with better bladder control, you will be throwing away many diapers a day. Essentially, you are throwing your well earned money away by using plastic diapers!!
2. Cloth diapers are better for the environment.
Some plastic diapers are created to be biodegradable these days, but unless you compost them they will still take years to decompose in a landfill setting. With cloth diapers your baby’s waste is sent down the drain just like yours and your impact on the environment is greatly reduced. Not only do plastic diapers fill our landfills, but they require energy to be manufactured, gasoline to be delivered, and constantly take resources from the earth as more are created. Sure, it take energy to create and deliver cloth diapers, but its a one time energy exertion, not a repeated cycle of violence against the earth. Take it a step further and line-dry your diapers for a greater environmental impact!!!!
3. Cloth diapers build community.
This might sound strange, but its true. Cloth diapers are handed down from friends and family, techniques are shared and taught, and new mothers tend to reach out to their experience mother peers for guidance with diapers that evolves into mentorship on all sorts of motherhood issues. I know this from first hand experience. All the diapers we have were hand me downs or baby shower purchases and I have developed many friends and confidants through my curiosity about cloth diapering. I see other relationships being built in this manor as more friends become pregnant. I have found myself introducing my to-be-mom friends with my experienced mom friends and I see circles of friendship growing all around me!
4. Cloth diapers are better for babies.
Our midwife will not even put a plastic diaper on a newly born baby. She’d rather wrap a t-shirt around its waist than put irritating plastic on new sensitive skin. Cloth diapers are more gentle on their skin which spent nine months growing accustomed to amniotic fluid as its only point of contact. Cloth diapers are also more breathable than plastic and are overall more comfortable. Think about it – if you had a choice, would you wrap yourself in plastic or cotton?
If you’re looking for what cloth diapers to start with a have a few suggestions.
1. Ask for LOTS of prefolds at your baby shower. These diapers are a flat piece of fabric that you wrap and pin around the baby’s waist then cover with a diaper cover. They are super handy for cleaning up messes such spit up, spilled food, or other household messes, so once your baby grows out of them, you will still find them useful in your home! These are inexpensive and easy to stock up on. (link)
2. Seek second hand fancy cloth diapers. These are super expensive when purchased new and just as reliable when handed own or purchased second hand. You can find listings all over craigslist or other public forums for used diapers. I personally do not like brands like “G diapers” because they have inserts that attach to the cover. This seems to result in major leaks and dirty one-time use covers. My favorite “fancy” brand is Mother Ease out of Canada. We were handed down a set of these and they have several perks including multiple size options based on multiple buttons at the waist and legs. They DO NOT leak. They are not attached to the cover and leave the diaper covers relatively unsoiled. Here is a link to their website, I plan to do a product review in the near future.
3. Read reviews online, watch youtube “how tos”, and talk to your parenting “elders”.