Before having my daughter, the idea of using cloth diapers seemed impossible, and quite frankly, gross. The contents of a diaper belonged in the trash, safe from handling or (gasp!) washing. It just wasn’t for me… or so I thought. On a whim, I did a little research and decided to give it a shot. I learned that it really isn’t that difficult or a big deal. In fact, it’s one of the best decisions I’ve made as a new mom. Though it may not work for every family, here are a few reasons that may win you over.
It’s no surprise that traditional disposable diapers aren’t exactly environmentally friendly. Environment Canada estimates that 7000 diapers end up in a landfill by the time your toddler is two! Using cloth is an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint. Mother Nature will thank you.
Disposable diapers are expensive. And seeing as how most toddlers aren’t out of diapers until two or three years of age, that is a good chunk of change. The average family recoups the cost of cloth diapers in about six to nine months, leaving you with ample savings.
Easy and Convenient
This is what really tipped the scale for me when deciding whether to use cloth. A friend reasoned that a diaper is equally unpleasant whether it’s reusable or not. You’re still doing the ‘dirty’ work, but instead of throwing the diaper in the diaper pail and then the trash, it goes from diaper pail to wash. Bonus, having everything you need on hand means no last minute trips to the store.
You Don’t Need to Rinse Cloth Diapers
While you can rinse, you really don’t need to. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, the dirty diaper goes directly in the diaper pail. If they have graduated onto solids, you simply place a thin flushable liner on top of the cloth to catch poop.
We’ve all experienced up the back poops that are equal parts gross and impressive. Cloth diapers that are well made with sturdy elastic covers should contain even the biggest of blowouts.
Prevent Diaper Rash
If we think of what would be more comfortable on our skin, cotton or plastic, we would all choose the former. Disposable diapers are laden with various chemicals that are prone to cause a rash, whereas the natural and often organic fibers of cloth are breathable and help prevent diaper rash if changed regularly.
Helps with Potty Training
Cloth diapers are just that—cloth. No gels or filler that expand with wetness, so baby feels wetter faster, helping to recognize when they have gone potty.
Getting Started is Simple
Getting started with cloth diapers is easier than you think. Hip Baby in Kitsilano is excellent. They have a wall full of various styles of cloth diapers and knowledgeable staff to help you decide what will work best. The variety can be overwhelming, so they provide useful info sessions. Yaya Baby in North Vancouver also offers workshops.
If you like the idea of cloth diapers but not the washing, there are some great full service options in Vancouver. They’ll provide you with everything you need to get started, including picking up dirty diapers and dropping off a fresh batch. Check out Saucy Bottoms and Happy Baby Cheeks.
Cloth diapers may not be for everyone, but they’re worth considering. If you’re going for it, do what works best for your family. We still use disposables at night for the absorption, and if we’re out for the day so we’re not toting around dirty diapers. Other families I know are strictly cloth or disposable — whatever works.
Mahsa Di Placito is a writer, blogger, marketing consultant, and mama of one. She enjoys eating, travelling to far away lands, reading up on celebrity gossip, and cooking (sometimes successfully!).