When I became a nanny several years ago, I slowly started learning about "going green". I had picked up things from different families and began forming in my own mind how I would like to live. The pivot point would have to be when I was a nanny for a beautiful young infant who used cloth diapers. The family utilized a diaper service called Tiny Tots which would drop off a week's worth of prefold diapers and pick up the previous week's dirty diapers. I was hooked. I loved it.
I decided that when I had kids I would use cloth diapers too!
Fast forward years later, I am pregnant with my first baby and excited to start using them!
Why do I love them?
Greenability! They're reusable! They don't end up in the landfill! According to this diaper facts sheet created by the Real Diaper Association, it can take 250-500 YEARS for one disposable diaper to completely biodegrade. So that means generations from now, my diapers- the ones I used as a baby- will still be hanging around well after I am gone! While the cloth diapers I will be using for my baby will be used over and over and over again and if I have more children will be used on them! Talk about going green! That's a lot of diapers NOT getting thrown out into our landfills, and a lot of trees being saved!! Some people wonder about the water being used to wash the diapers all the time. But, from an environmental perspective, the amount of water to produce the diapers, energy to make them, gasoline to transport them, the amount of plastic and paper used for packaging- all of these- have a far more devastating impact on the environment than washing a couple extra loads of laundry a week.
It Worked for our Grandparents Disposable diapers have not been around for very long if you think about it. Our parents used them on us, but most likely our grandparents used cloth. And before that mamas have been using cloth, animal skins, and plants (moss, grass, etc) as diapers. Some cultures never even used diapers- instead they used elimination communication (anticipating when their child will poop/pee)! Here is a great article on the history of diapers! I say, if it worked for all of mankind up until the 40s and 50's, then it can work for me!
Saves Green $$$ After some research, it seems that the cost of disposables, on average, can range from about $800 to $1300 a year. So to diaper a child from birth to two years would be around $2000. My cloth diaper stash right now SHOULD be enough to diaper my child from birth to potty training and I have spent less than $200! Now, honestly speaking, this is towards the low end of how much people usually pay for cloth diapers. Most popular cloth diapers that "act" like a disposable (AIOs- all in ones) run upwards to about $20 a piece. To have a sufficient stash, one would have to have at least 24 diapers. Still at $480 this is still a deal! Factor in the cost of doing the laundry and you still come up ahead.
Health Benefits This is just from my own personal experience in using cloth on the children I have cared for in the past. Not ONE SINGLE baby that I have cloth diapered has ever suffered from diaper rash. Now don't get me wrong, I have heard of babies getting a rash using cloth diapers but I have never encountered it. It is unclear to me if it is because of the use of cloth or if it is because I was always on top of changing diapers, never letting a child sit for hours on end in them. The ingredient used in disposables is sodium polycrylate. Although this substance has been generally deemed safe (the balls of gel that absorb urine) there hasn't been much research on the man made synthetic. It was used in tampons in the past but was removed because of the instances of Toxic Shock Syndrome. The chemical itself is also NOT biodegradable. However, I've never had a problem using them on babies in the past. Some babies have more sensitive skin than others and that's when I encounter problems. Other than that, I am open to using them once in a while if I really need to.