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Cloth diapering 101

Written by: Lane Cotton Winn October 28 2012 Cloth diapers have come a long way, Baby. HusBen and I recently attended Cloth Diapering 101 at the local natural baby shop in New Orleans. We’re really excited about jumping into the cloth-diapering world, but at the same time, there are lots of options to consider when...

Written by: Lane Cotton Winn

Cloth diapers have come a long way, Baby. HusBen and I recently attended Cloth Diapering 101 at the local natural baby shop in New Orleans. We’re really excited about jumping into the cloth-diapering world, but at the same time, there are lots of options to consider when choosing the perfect bum cover for your kid.

To start, these aren’t your grandma’s cloth diapers. The days of fearing you’ll impale your newborn with that giant safety pin are no more. Nylon slipcovers have been replaced with brightly colored covers that quickly affix with Velcro or snappies. Sure, the classic two-part diaper system of the past is still around, but the technological advances made in the past 10 years really make cloth diapering an option for everyone. Covers now come in all sorts of fabrics, colors, and styles to meet the needs of each baby’s bottom, and all-in-one and pocket diapers slip on with the same ease as a disposable.

But even after handling every single cloth diaper option known to baby, reading through the plethora of handouts they sent us home with, and watching some YouTube videos, I still have plenty of questions. Don’t get me wrong. I’m fully on board with the idea, but will we survive the first few days of booty camp? Will we have the gumption and stamina to put all this research into practice in our bleary-eyed state after we bring baby home from the hospital? Will our childcare provider be willing to cloth diaper? How will we remember all the necessary steps when it comes to washing fully-loaded diapers? Where can I buy the cutest patterns and brightest colors with which to adorn my baby’s bum in style?!

With all our questions, the pros still outweigh the cons for us. Cloth diapers, bottoms down, are far cheaper than disposables. I can’t argue with basic math. Disposable diapers cost an average of $0.36 per change. With 70 weekly diaper changes, disposable diapers cost $25.20 each week, bringing their total cost over 2 1/2 years to $2,577.35. On the other hand, while cloth diapers take an initial investment as you build your stash, they are still half that cost of disposables if you use the pricey all-in-one diapers or a quarter of the cost if you use prefolds with covers. Even when you factor in laundering the diapers at home, your saving are significant.

On top of all the extra dough we’ll save, we’re also helping out Mother Earth. According to the E.P.A. (Environmental Protection Agency), disposables leave behind an average of 2.7 tons of non-biodegradable waste per kid. Comparing that to a few dozen cotton diapers, our choice of cloth continues to be confirmed. Babies who cloth diaper also potty train earlier, and are way more comfortable lounging and pooping around in 100% cotton or cozy fleece than the crinkly, chemically treated plastic found in disposables.

While we plan to take on cloth diapering as a family, we know we’ll need to keep a stash of disposies on hand. There is certainly a time and place for them. For example: Road Trips.

If you haven’t checked out the new generation of cloth diapers, find a store or another cloth diapering family in your area to see for yourself how cute and simple modern cloth diapers are.

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