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Buying cloth diapers is one of the best things you can do both for your baby/toddler and for your family budget. It is estimated that each baby will need about 6,000 diapers during the first two years of life and that is if your child is potty trained by age 2. Disposable diapers cost roughly $66 a month (almost $1600 in a two year span) if you assume 8 diapers per day. If you have more than one child in diapers, the price will double.

The nice thing about cloth diapers is they are very soft against your baby's skin, so it shouldn't surprise you that children who use cloth diapers suffer way less from rashes, skin irritation or different allergic reactions that disposable diapers cause. Cloth diapered babies are potty-trained earlier than others, in part because parents are highly motivated to potty train their children at an early age.

Parents who put their babies in disposable diapers are no longer motivated to potty train their children because potty training can be hard work and it is just easier to put a diaper on the kid and throw it away as soon as it is soiled. As a result, the average age that children are potty trained keeps going up. Sadly, today the average age for potty training is about 3 years, with big percentage being fully potty trained after the 5th birthday!

Most children in cloth diapers are potty trained early not only because their mommy and daddy are motivated to stop washing the cloth diapers, but also because they don’t like the feeling of wetness after they go potty in the cloth diaper, which is free of sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet.

Baby in a cloth diaper
Baby in a cloth diaper

Many moms nowadays are retuning to using cloth diapers for the following three reasons:

Cloth Diapers are cheaper –using cloth diapers will save a family with 2-3 kids thousands of dollars. This is money that can go towards family vacations, college funds or savings.

Cotton diapered children are potty-trained faster –obviously, parents have a major incentive to potty train their child faster because the sooner the kid is out of diapers, the sooner the parents can stop cleaning them! Also, children do feel it more when they are wet or poopy in a cloth diaper compared to disposable diapers which absorbs moisture.

Cloth diapers are environmentally friendly –they do not end up in the land fill.
Diapers made up 3.4 million tons of waste, or 2.1 percent of U.S. garbage, in landfills in 1998 -- the last year this information was collected, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Diapers in landfills in underdeveloped countries are especially problematic because they often aren't properly disposed, and excrement leaks into the local water supply.

So, you have decided to use cloth diapers for your baby?!

There are five types of cloth diapers:

Unfolded cloth diapers are rectangles of flat fabric that you fold to fit your baby’s shape, holding them in place with diaper pins.

Pre-folded cloth diapers are also rectangular, but because of the way they’re folded, they have extra layers in the center. Like unfolded diapers, they also require pinning.

Fitted or shaped cloth diapers are contoured more like disposables, with a narrow crotch and wide wings that wrap around baby’s waist. Some require diaper pins, but others have Velcro fasteners or snaps. They may also have elastic at the waist and legs, and a more absorbent layer in the center. With shaped diapers, you have to buy different sizes as your baby grows.

These cloth diaper types don’t require waterproof pants:

All-in-ones cloth diapers combine the diaper and the outer waterproof cover into one piece so cloth diapering is a one-step procedure. They’re convenient for quick changes on the go and, with an extra diaper inside, can work well overnight. However, they’re bulky and thick, so they may not dry quickly after laundering. And you may have to buy larger sizes as your baby grows.

Diapering systems, sometimes called “pocket” diapers, are the most expensive cloth option. They include a moisture-resistant covering of nylon or polyester into which you insert a folded diaper or washable liner. The outer covering comes in a range of sizes to accommodate a baby’s growth. Velcro fasteners or several rows of snaps (for different fits) keep the covering closed.

There has been a growing trend for families to veer away from the fast lane in order to take the time to nurture and raise their children the way it used to be done.  More and more mothers are breastfeeding their infants well past 12 months, parents are keeping their young ones away from over stimulating TV shows, and there are a large number of families that are incorporating organic diets into their lives.  All of these practices are having a large impact on the health and well being of our babies, as well as the environment.  Using cloth diapers can be another piece to improve your baby's comfort and positively improve the environment s/he will one day inherit.

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