Friday, November 5, 2010

Did You Say CLOTH Diapers?

Diapers. We've all worn them (and may again with the rising life expectancy) and when we have children of our own, we will all change them and buy them. It's a messy business for sure and an expensive one too, as any parent can attest. Disposable diapers on average cost around $850 per year or $70 per month. For me, that's a jarring number considering my plan to be a thrifty stay-at-home mom. So, I've been considering the alternative - cloth diapers. Yes, I said cloth diapers.

Relax, I'm not speaking of the daunting piece of white cloth that you somehow wrap around a baby's butt and fasten with safety pins. Those are more or less a thing of the past. Today, cloth diapers come with features like snaps, velcro, and some even come with a one-size-fits-all feature that grows with your baby. The upfront cost is higher, as the premium cloth diapers cost around $17 per diaper thus around $400 for 2 dozen, which should be all you will need for the entirety of your child's diapered days. Now that sounds like a better number than $850 to me!

But there is an obviously messy fact to consider - cloth diapers must be washed. This is probably a determining factor for many because let's face it, the thought of cleaning off seemingly endless poop, diaper after diaper, day after day is not a pleasant one. I'll be the first to admit that the ease of throwing a dirty diaper in the trash sounds delightful in comparison! However, I have found that while cleaning a cloth diaper is always a messy job, my research suggests that it's not as scary as my pre-conceived notions about it are. Diaper bins similar to the ones that are used for disposables are available, which not only hold dirty diapers until washing time, but can also mask the smell of them. What I've found to be the most intriguing invention that aids in cloth diaper clean up is the bumGenius brand diaper sprayer. It attaches to your toilet fairly easily, can be stored on the wall, and allows you to spray poop off of the diaper and directly into the toilet before washing. And speaking of washing, while there is always the option of using a diaper service, this almost entirely defeats the economical side of cloth diapering. Diaper services can run you almost as much as it costs to use disposables every month, so I'm scratching that idea. I have a washer and dryer and am certainly no stranger to using them so I would wash them myself, which on average runs you about $15-$20 per month.

There are other pros and cons to the diaper debate that I am not even delving into. Health and safety and environmental friendliness are among the biggest. While these topics do hold some weight in my diapering decision, I chose to stick with the cost side of cloth diapers as it holds the most weight for me personally.

With 6 months left to go before I must make the ultimate diaper decision, I will continue to read and listen to personal experiences and opinions from both sides of the debate, including from you - my readers! Did you or would you choose cloth or disposable and why?


henninl said...

ahsley, have you heard about g-diapers? if you haven't look them up and check them out...we used them for noah once on a hiking/camping trip because we did not want to have to carry around dirty disposable diapers since there were no trash cans where we were going...anyways, they're kinda cool because they have a pad insert that catches all the "stuff" and then you can flush the entire thing or compost it or bury it because it's completely biodegradable!...hence, no throwing diapers into the landfill. but i think they cost about the same, so that kind of messes things up...

ashleyrhodes said...

brooke, i have heard of g-diapers but haven't looked into them much. i may do that though! very interesting : D thanks!

Anonymous said...

In my research of cloth diapers I did find one interesting thing - clothing manufactures today don't figure in the bulk of a cloth diaper. It's definitely not a deal breaker but something you might want to ask other mums who have used them. (It may not really make a difference but I did read it somewhere) Good luck with the decision. It does seem like the way to go eco/$ wise.

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