3 Reasons Why I Chose To Cloth Diaper

April 23, 2008

Why Choose Cloth Diapers

While the contest for The Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapers is running, I thought I would share with you the reasons I got started with cloth diapers.

There are 3 Reasons I Chose To Use Cloth Diapers:

Reason #1. Health

In October of 2005, my love/hate relationship with cloth diapers began.

Switching to cloth diapers was not an overnight decision. As a matter of fact, it took months of gentle prodding by my best friend to finally convince me to take the plunge. My best friend and I share the fact that our husband are in the same profession (chiropractic). Living a more natural lifestyle led me to seek out at healthier alternative to disposable diapers.

Although health is the main reason I continue to cloth diaper, I have to admit that the coolness and oddity of cloth diapers is what really drew me in. I never liked being in the majority, so natural cloth diapers had it’s appeal.

Simply seeing the gel crystals stuck on my son’s private parts after a night long pee-fest was a wake-up call I couldn’t ignore. I knew this wasn’t a good thing. After researching what exactly was in a disposable diaper, I discovered that those gel crystals had a name – Sodium Polyacrylate. That, combined with Dioxin, makes using disposable diapers a very unhealthy choice.

Reason #2: Environment

Once a disposable diaper has been quickly used and thrown away, it is left to live out the rest of its days in a dump…along with 3.4 million tons of other disposable diapers (give or take a few million since this number was compiled in 1998, 10 years ago!). And when I say live out the rest of it’s days, I don’t mean weeks or months. Decomposition is near impossible in an airtight landfill. Without sun and air, your child’s diaper will outlive them, their grandchildren, and for that matter all human life – for eternity! But, precious land space is just one environmental hit disposable diapers make. If I take a meager 18 billion disposable diapers and calculate what it took to make them, this is what I get:

82,000 tons of plastic

1.3 million tons of wood pulp

250,000 trees

Regardless of how much water or electricity it takes to wash and dry cloth diapers, it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the resources used and solid wastes produced by disposable diapers.

Reason #3: Cost

Then of course there is the extreme financial strain that disposable diapers have on a family. The Real Diaper Association has a fantastic breakdown of costs for disposable and cloth diapers.

Disposables. For these calculations, let’s assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week. In my area disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month (60x52x$0.255=$795.60, or $800. $800x2years=$1,600. $1,600÷24=$66 per month).

Average of 8 changes per day over 2 years (8x365x2=5,840). We are using 2 as the average age of transition from diapers to toilet use.

Cloth Diapers. The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefolds and covers, to $1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables. (These are the numbers of the RDA, however I find this to be the top end. In my upcoming guide I lay out ways to save a lot more money!)

Although health is the main reason I continue to cloth diaper, I have to admit that the coolness and oddity of cloth diapers is what really drew me in. I never liked being in the majority, so natural cloth diapers had it’s appeal.

But, doing something because it’s “cool” isn’t enough to sustain you through the rough times. It’s the commitment to health or finances or the environment that will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Why did you (or are you going to) start using cloth?


About Autumn Beck

Autumn is a wife, mother, homeschool teacher, friend and most important a follower of Christ. She began cloth diapering in 2005 and has experienced many joys and trials throughout the years. You can read more from Autumn over at https://www.facebook.com/beautifullyblessedlashes.

View all posts by Autumn Beck

6 Responses to “3 Reasons Why I Chose To Cloth Diaper”

  1. Mary W. Says:

    What are your thoughts on the economics and health benefits of the Elimination Communication? (google it) One site: http://www.diaperfreebaby.org/


  2. Theresa Says:

    My daughter used to leak out of every disposable we tried. I had heard that cloth was better at containing the runny poo but my husband didn’t believe me when I told him that cloth diapers didn’t necessarily mean pins and plastic pants. So I went to a meeting where a local woman who owns an online store showed her products and offered a $10 trial package. Once we did the $10 trial package and decided to keep the diapers I couldn’t stop buying cloth!


  3. Amanda Says:

    I have to say my reasons for cloth diapering are the same as all other moms….price, environment, and health. I, for the life of me, cannot explain to my family (mother and mother-in-law and sister-in-law)why I choose to use cloth. I have very explained in detail all of my reasons, but they don’t seem to get it or care. My mother-in-law has made remarks that she wished I would find a different babysitter for my 2 younger sons so she wouldn’t have to mess with the cloth and my sister-in-law has said that she would change the boys, but she doesn’t “do” cloth. Can someone help me explain to them my choices and how they don’t affect them? I have tried to tell them that all I ask is for is someone to change my kids, not rinse or soak or wash the diapers only place them in a bag for me to pick up with my kids. Sorry if this comment/rant is in the wrong place-


  4. Mary Says:

    Well I’ll be honest, I am simply cheap! My husband recently took a job and huge paycut to go back to school and I’m looking for ways to cut corners. Now that I’ve read a little about what is in disposables I’m even more willing to make the change.


  5. Keeley Says:

    I always wanted to try cloth diapers because I found them so dang cool and intriguing.

    I tried them with a diaper service when my daughter was a baby and couldn’t get used to them. I didn’t have the internet to teach me how to use them…and thus I floundered and gave up. But I always liked them.

    Fast forward nearly 15 years and I’m pregnant with my third (same marriage…we just have trouble getting pregnant =D) and thinking about cloth again. However, now, there’s the INTERNET in all its informative glory.

    I research and research and research and buy one or two of a whole bunch of styles and try them out and…oh my…get totally addicted. =D

    I stayed with cloth because it was easy, because I knew there weren’t any nasty chemicals near my child, because they were way cool, because it was better for the environment, and, mainly, because I wanted to. =D

    I recently asked my (now three year old) son which were better, cloth or disposable (He wore disposables every once in a while when my husband or daughter changed him). He said he liked the cloth. Alright!!!! Woo hoo! =)

    Now that he’s dry all day and most nights, I need to have another child so I have an excuse to use those cloth diapers again… =D


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