Just as I found that the arguments against cloth diapers were somewhat untrue for us, so too were the arguments for cloth diapers. Here are some of the ones that I found most convincing, and what I think about them now that I use the diapers.
1. Cloth diapers save you money.
While they definitely do not cost us more, cloth diapers also are not saving us a lot of money. A lot of the calculations will tell you that you are going to save a lot using cloth diapers, but this really depends on what kind of disposable diaper user you are. I’m sure it’s true that if you change a disposable diaper every time your child wets it a bit, then you are going to save a lot. For us, the absorption was there for a reason – the disposable diaper was staying on until it was full. On average, we went through 1 1/2 $40 packages of Huggies diapers a month – $60 a month plus $10 for a club pack of disposable wipes. So we have a $70 per month budget for savings – but cloth diapers aren’t free.
The initial purchase of cloth diapers for us meant 2 dozen organic, unbleached chinese prefolds at $54/dozen. I also purchased 6 SuperBrite covers at $13 each, 12 flannel clothes (meant to be diapers) that I cut into wipes for $32, 2 pails at $14 each, and 6 motherease all in ones at $5 (amazing sale). This gave me a set up cost of about $200, because I also went to on a day with a scratch and save sale – 30% off all of it, except the all-in-ones already on sale.
We also have weekly costs for the diapers. Every 4 days we do 1 load of wash and dry laundry for the diapers. This is $3.40 for us – about $25.50 per month. The cost of the detergent is pretty negligible. Plus the cost of vinegar that we use to neutralize the ammonia in the pail and in the rinse of the wash cycle – about $6 a month. Another $4 or so on Baking Soda for in the diaper pail. We also buy poop liners for the diapers, but we don’t use them very often so an $8 package lasts about 2 months. (If we used them every change, it would be $8/week) We use cloth diapers everywhere, even when we travel, so there’s no additional cost for extra disposables. That means that we spend $39.50/month using cloth diapers, saving $30.50 per month – which pays for the initial set up in 6 1/2 months.
I figure that we’ll save about $100 by the time The Goose potty trains. But then, when our next child reaches the same size, it will be straight $30 savings a month. Not enough to be the only reason, but a nice bonus for something that we’d have done anyway.
**Afterthought** At 2, we only have to wash cloth diapers once a week, which cuts the cost of laundry in half. She’s still in the same cloth diapers and I don’t think she’ll outgrow them before she potty trains. I no longer use the vinegar or baking soda, so the diapers are only costing us $3.40 a week for one load of laundry. Not bad.
2. Cloth diapers never give diaper rash
I don’t know how strong of an argument this is, or how commonly it is used. The Goose rarely got diaper rashes when she was in disposables and she still rarely gets them in cloth diapers – but they have occurred.
That said, except for the 2 day rash that she had, Maraika’s little tushy looks a lot better now that she’s in cloth diapers. In disposable diapers there was always a sort of vauge reddish tinge – not in cloth diapers.
3. Cloth diapers are better for the environment
Can anyone legitimately argue against this? Cloth diapers are better for the environment.
4. Cloth diapers are cuter
I don’t know if anyone else has this on their list, but it should be at the top of mine. Cloth diapers are incredibly cute. It may not be the only reason to use them, but it’s a nice bonus. The bubbly bum bum in a pair of pants is almost as cute as a pretty cloth diaper poking out from under a dress. They are cute.
5. Cloth diapering feels good.
This won’t apply to every family, but for me, using cloth diapers just feels right. That’s the main reason that we use it, because it just feels like what I’m supposed to do.