Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Decision to Cloth Diaper



Cloth Diapering. Man this is a hot topic! When uttered, the phrase is usually met with some sort of amusing facial reaction. It often resembles a mixture of emotions including but not limited to disgust, disbelief, and disapproval...at least in my experience. I must admit, I'm positive my face revealed similar sentiments towards the topic was first brought to my attention. My initial thoughts probably went something like this..."Cloth diaper my baby? Eww. That would involve the close handling of poo, and how will they ever be clean? You want me to put dirty diapers in my washer? That's disgusting. No way. Too much work. Too much hassle. Not for me." I think it's safe to say that Dan's feelings echoed mine pretty closely at that time as well.

Fortunately, a good friend of mine chose to cloth diaper her infant. Gradually, and with some coaxing, she opened up my mind to the topic.  She even  let me come over and play with her cute collection of cloth dipes.  My walls began to crumble, and I found myself pretty darn curious.  So I extensively researched the topic, beginning to understand what cloth diapering really meant and what it entailed.   I soon realized that my initial reaction to the idea was a tad harsh and came from a place of ignorance & misunderstanding.  "Maybe it's not such a bad idea?"  I found myself thinking.   So, Dan and I revisited the topic with a more open mind and came to the conclusion that we would like to give CD'ing (cloth diapering as the community calls it) a go!

As I had assumed, most people were unsupportive & skeptical when we mentioned our decision to them.  Thankfully my mom was the opposite.  Turns out she had cloth diapered my sister and I (unbeknownst to me!)  back in my chubby baby days.  She was excited for us to try out cloth diapers and encouraged me to stick with my decision when everyone else was telling me I was crazy.  If she could do it back then when CDs weren't nearly as nice or user friendly, then I sure as heck could do it today!  Yup, I said user friendly.

So what made Dan and I jump onto the CD'ing bandwagon? Well, It wasn't because we wanted to be eccentric, prove a point, or be different.. In reality, our reasons are very legitimate.

Reason Number 1: To Save Money
Dan and I are always looking for ways to put more money in the savings account. Neither of us are big spenders and one might even call us a bit frugal. So when we learned that CD'ing would save us some big time money in the long run, we were all ears. Just how much money you may be wondering? Well a Consumers Report Diaper analysis estimated that parents will spend an average of $1500-2000 on disposable diapers during that child's diapering days.  That's quite a hunk a change!  And imagine spending that on 2-4 kids!  Well, depending on the type of cloth diaper system you choose and the route you go, you can save over $1000 of that money.  That my friends = a week of vacation.  For example, Dan and I have chosen to go with the Bumgenius 4.0 All in One Diapers. These diapers adjust to fit babies from 8-35 lbs. That means that they will last parents pretty much the entire duration of their baby's diapering years, which is pretty phenomenal.  There is an initial cost to get all the supplies needed, but it's like an investment.  Most CD'ing sites recommend 12-18 diapers for one baby, assuming you will wash every other day. Our pack of 12 diapers cost us $170. We received another 6 diapers from our registry, which helped. We also bought a diaper sprayer $45, two wet bags for storage $45, and 3 packs of 8 of washcloths for use as wipes $12. The grand total for our cloth diapering experience so far... around $270, and we don't anticipate we'll have to buy anything else.  Now you may be wondering about the washing situation.... Well, we have an energy efficient washer and dryer, so we don't expect the extra loads of laundry to make too huge of a dent in our utility bills either.  I know my friend who CD's say they hardly notice a difference.  So our total yearly savings? $1230-1730. We'll take it! But you don't even know the best part... the CDs we bought for Noah can be used again for child number 2 and 3 and probably even 4 (if we go that far!)  Many moms online claim their CD's have held up phenomenally well.

 Reason Number 2: Yes, we like that it is good for the environment
We are not self proclaimed tree huggers, but Dan and I like to do our part in helping reduce, reuse, and recycle. We take reusable bags to the grocery store, recycle everything and anything in sight, and reuse and repurpose household items before buying new. It makes us feel good to know that we are helping the planet if only just a little. Disposable diapers are the 3rd most common consumer product in landfills and they can take up to 500 years to decompose. Read that again. 500 freaken years! That's just stupid. On top of that, you'll be interested to know that 1 baby alone produces about a ton of waste. So my baby, your baby, your neighbor's baby, and the crying baby sitting behind you at the movies impressively produce 4 tons of stinkin diaper waste. Again, stupid. In 2005, a report found that there was 3.6 million tons of waste from disposable diapers. This just makes me sad. So the tradeoff---I might have to handle poo a little more closely and do an extra few loads of laundry a week, but at least by CD'ing, there will be 1 less ton of waste in our local landfill. That is nice to know.

(these facts come from cottonbabies.com)

Reason Number 3: It's nicer to baby (or at least I think so)
It's no secret that pretty much every consumer product under the sun is filled to the brim with harmful chemicals, carcinogens, and who knows what else. Unless you live in a cave, these substances are essentially unavoidable. BUT, I can save my little one's bum with CD'ing. CD'ed babies have less diaper rash and arguably fewer "blow-outs".  They also avoid exposure to all of the chemicals and scary things that make disposable diapers so freaken absorbent.   Apparently a bad case of diaper rash and sensitive skin was what forced my madre into the CDing world.  Bottom line, if I can be nicer to my baby's bum while saving money and helping the environment then why the heck not!?

 So there you have it. The low down on our decision to cloth diaper. We are sticking to our guns on this one people, so skeptics beware.   And in a few months, when we've actually done it, we'll let you know if we still think it's great. But until then, we are excited, committed, and ready for the challenge! Anyone else?

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