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Cloth Diapers: Why You Should Consider Them
Cloth Saves You Money!
Let's face it, babies are expensive. In fact, according to www.parenting.com, it is common for the average middle class family to spend around $12,000 on their new baby in the first year alone! They look at you with those big trusting eyes, and while they literally wrap their tiny, soft hands around one of your fingers, you know that, metaphorically, you are quite helplessly wrapped around theirs. You would do anything for them, and that includes buying those name-brand adorable onesies that they may wear only once (or not at all) before they move up a size. It includes purchasing the highest rated baby mattress to go with the top-notch crib and adorned with the designer bedding set that matches their themed nursery perfectly. AND it includes bouncing from diaper brand to diaper brand looking for the best fit and material that does not irritate their perfect, sensitive skin, loading up your cart with a new box every week, and watching your stockpile go dusty as your child grows faster than you planned.
Diapering costs add up quickly. On average, a family diapering one child will spend about $1,000 per year. The average baby potty-trains at about two and a half years old, so the total cost of disposable diapering your first child is a whopping $2,500. Then, when baby number two comes along, well, that $2,500 you already spent does not do you any good because those disposable diapers? They were disposed of! So the average cost of diapering your second child? You guessed it! Another lovely $2,500. Now, it's true. You have your elite, premium, organic diapers that will cost you a lot more, and your basic, value, store-brand that may cost you less. No matter which brand you choose, however, the story continues in the same way. Spend your money, throw it away. Spend MORE.
Cloth diapers, interestingly enough, are much the same. You have your basic, not-so-fancy flats or prefolds, or even bargain basic pocket diapers, and you have your premium, organic, all-natural diapers. No matter your chosen style, however, the resounding agreement is that, yes, you will spend less with cloth. And what happens when baby number two arrives? The answer is, not much. You see, the money you spend on cloth diapers is really an investment, because once you purchase those diapers, if cared for correctly, you can use them time and again and with multiple children!
This brings me to a very important tip- don't become overwhelmed the first time you see that the price of just one cloth diaper is $17.99 or maybe even more! Why not? Because- 1) You CAN find cheaper. You may have to dig some. You may have to search through websites that make frustratingly little sense, and you may have to try many different outlets, but you CAN find them if you so choose. And - 2) Again, this is an INVESTMENT. Yes, that one diaper may cost as much as an entire box of disposables, but you have to remember, that box will be empty in a very short amount of time, and you will have to buy more. That cloth diaper, though? It will keep on keeping on!
Cloth is Good for Your Baby!
Cloth diapers are good for your baby for several reasons!
1) Your baby may experience fewer instances of diaper rash! Many moms using cloth diapers claim to see NONE or very few cases in their little ones. The reason for this may be because diaper changes are usually more frequent with cloth, or it could be the soft, chemical-free fabric against baby's sensitive skin. Whatever the reason, saving them the pain and you the heartache is truly worth it!
2) Babies wearing cloth diapers may potty train earlier and/or easier. Cloth diapers do not have the chemicals that disposables use to trap urine in a gel-like state. Because of this, your baby will be able to better feel when he is wet, and he will be more motivated to ditch the diaper for the potty when the time comes!
3) Cloth diapers are much better at holding that mess in! Whether you are a new mom or an old pro, the term "blow-out" makes us all cringe! Nothing is worse than walking down an aisle of the grocery store, sitting at your favorite restaurant, or enduring an agonizingly long car ride and smelling the smell of all smells. In any of these scenarios, you pause, look at your baby with your suspicious mom eyes, and check for the damages- and then you see it. All. The. Way. Up. Their. Back. The super cute outfit you've been reserving for a day like today when the public will croon over your precious gift, making you glow and swell with pride, has been violated. Now, you have to use wipe after wipe to get her once again smelling "baby fresh," and you have to toss that adorable outfit unceremoniously into a crinkled grocery bag you keep handy for just this sort of situation. Had you used cloth, though, you might have avoided the whole thing. Most moms who use cloth claim to never, yes NEVER, experience this, and if they do, they usually attribute the mess to user error rather than inadequate diapers.
If you are considering switching to cloth, please vote! I will address the results in a future article!
What is your biggest fear or concern about cloth diapering?
Cloth Diapers May Have Less Environmental Impact!
This one is a little more sketchy than the others as there are some studies that say that cloth diapers and disposables actually have almost an equal environmental impact when all aspects of both diapering systems are considered, but there are many factors that have not been fully explored.
Some statistics claim that as many as 24 BILLION disposable diapers make their way into landfills each and every year in the United States alone. Equally as disturbing, it is estimated that each diaper takes about 550 years to decompose. Some studies, though, found that with the added energy and water use that comes with washing cloth diapers, the difference is really not much, but the studies have failed to take into account some very important key factors. For example, with today's technology, many washers and dryers use relatively little water and low energy. Also, if you are looking to lessen your environmental impact, you might consider using cloth wipes in addition to your diapers, using a high-efficiency washing machine, waiting until you have enough diapers for a full load before washing and using a clothesline rather than a dryer (it's better for the longevity of your diapers anyway)!
Cloth Diapering Gives YOU the Power!
Cloth diapers come in a wide variety of styles, materials, and patterns. You have so many choices, so you truly have the opportunity to integrate cloth diapering as easily as possible into your current lifestyle. You could choose the more cost effective but time-consuming flats or prefolds and covers, or you could choose the more expensive but very quick and simple "all-in-ones." You could choose diapers with microfleece lining your little love's bum, or you may prefer all natural fibers. You might choose microfiber inserts or bamboo or a blend.
With all of those practical choices, though, comes the fun and sometimes slightly addicting choice of hundreds of colors and patterns and styles to adorn your little one's perfect tush! You may find yourself counted as one among many, many moms who find no greater pleasure than finding a brand new pattern online and having it delivered to their door. Strangely enough, you may find that wrapping your baby's bottom in stripes or polka dots, dinosaurs or flowers will fill you with joy and delight!
For all of these reasons, whether you are planning for your new baby or just thinking of making a change for the one you already have, consider cloth. When you are traipsing the baby aisle at the grocery store for the hundredth time, your hand gently resting on your growing bump, looking warily at the price of just one box of diapers, consider cloth. When you are looking at the many different creams and ointments for diaper rash because his skin is just so sensitive, consider cloth. And when you are emptying out that smelly diaper pail AGAIN so that you can carry its contents to your already full outdoor can, consider cloth!