We are cloth diapering Baby F., and I am loving it. Although cloth diapering has had a bit of a renaissance in the past few years (it not your mama's cloth diaper!), it is still enough on the fringe that people will give you weird looks when you mention it.....like why on earth would you add more work to your new-mother status.
Reasons Why I Cloth Diaper
It is the more environmentally friendly option.
We used disposables for the first three weeks with Baby F because 1) it was easier in the hospital and 2) because we had to use a petroleum based product on his circumcision. You don’t want to use petroleum based products (this includes some diaper creams) on cloth diapers as it can cause your diapers to repel. We went through a huge amount of diapers in just the brief amount of time. It was crazy. It made me ill to think about how quickly we filled up the trash cans with diapers and where those diapers were going to end up.
It is ultimately cheaper.
The up front cost of cloth diapering is expensive--about 400 dollars. You may not have that kind of cash on hand. However, in the brief three weeks of using disposables, we had to fork out quite the bit of cash for disposables as well. They also grow out of the disposables sizing pretty quickly (at least Baby F. did) which means another trip to the store and perhaps some diapers that go to waste. So, even for one child, cloth diapering is cheaper (how cheaper depends on the type of cloth diapering system you are interested in), and if you think you are going to have more than one child, you can re-use the diapers with them.
I think cloth diapers are more convenient. No last minute trips to the store because oh my gosh, we are out of diapers! All you have to do is stick some in the wash. (This is rather attractive to me in my current shut-in status where even just a little errand like that seems so much work.)
Cloth diapers are just cuter. When I am feeling really cheesy, I like to match the diaper with the outfit. Granted that lasts for about two hours before I have to change the diaper again but whatever.
I am just guessing here, but I think they would be more comfortable. At least I feel better about wrapping Baby F.’s bum in soft fleece rather than some sort of paper/plastic combo.
I have mentioned before that Mr. F. has super sensitive skin. As a child, he had to be cloth diapered because of it. There was a good change that Baby F. could inherit the same sensitivity. We have noticed a decrease in diaper rash since using the cloth.
Cloth diapering however can be super overwhelming. I remember when I first looked into it. I was overwhelmed and confused by all the types. What was the difference between pocket, pre-fold, all-in-one, fitted, contoured, etc.? (It didn’t help that a lot of sites abbreviate these as well.) What were the upsides and downsides of each? What were the best brands of each?
Luckily, I have friends a bit more knowledgeable than I. In fact, one of my friends was so awesome that she created a cloth diapering DVD where she outlined all the different types, the pros and cons of each, the cost break down, not to mention what necessary accessories you might need, and finally, how one cleans and takes care of them. Suddenly, what seemed overwhelming and unmanageable was now completely feasible. If anyone is interested in having a copy of this DVD, drop me an email with your address and I will mail it off to you. I have seriously shared it with a number of people already.
I know a number of people (especially dads) are really reluctant to cloth diaper because of the clean up. Thankfully, Mr. F., closet hippie that he is, was right on board with this whole idea and I didn’t have to do any convincing. That being said, it is really a snap. There is no dunking in the toilet. There is no wet diaper pail full of bleach. For breastfed babies, all you have to do is put the dirty diaper straight into a washable diaper pouch and when you are ready, dump the soiled diapers and the diaper pouch in the wash. Done. I really don’t think it is any more work than disposables. Yes, you have a load of laundry to do, but seriously? A new born baby in and of itself adds to your laundry.
In part II, I will outline our cloth diapering set up for those that are interested.