In today’s world, the choice between using disposable or cloth diapers can be agonizing for some. The convenience of disposables is relatable to our modern culture. Cloth diapers are of course more time consuming and take a much larger commitment, but I promise you the reward is high.
The average cost for a year of disposable diapers is roughly $1,000. To cloth diaper for a year, $400 (including an estimated amount for utilities and detergent). With most babies in diapers for at least 18 – 24 months the cost starts to weigh in. Also remember your second year of cloth diapering only reflects the cost of your utilities and detergent, bringing it down to roughly $100. An estimated $500 total to outfit your baby in diapers for two years! But don’t worry, it actually gets even better. The cloth diapering community is big about selling used, and well conditioned diapers. So there is potential for you to sell your diapers and make back a portion of what you paid for your initial start up. $$$
Time and Effort
Let’s be honest, mom’s barely have enough time to fit in a daily shower never mind cloth diaper their baby. What’s an extra load of laundry a day anyways, right?! So this is a con to the cloth diapering world – more laundry. Some parents don’t mind it and see this just another daily chore. Cloth diapers need to be laundered every 12 hours. Some families say they will go up to 24 hours but this will also depend on how many diapers you have in your stash. It is recommended to have 24-30 cloth diapers to get you through 36 hours. Think 1 diaper for every 2 hours. Each diaper manufacturer recommends their own wash sequence but the majority say the following: (1) rinse on hot with a 1/4 detergent, (2) run a full cycle on hot with detergent, (3) rinse on hot with no detergent, (4) air dry shells and AIO – dry cycle inserts.
Types of Cloth Diapers
There are several styles of cloth diapers, some being easier and less maintenance than others. The concept is all the same but most parents have a preference to one style then another. One thing to remember is just like disposables, all diapers fit every baby differently. Be sure to read reviews and talk to other cloth diapering families to see what their experiences are with a particular brand. Each style also comes with a choice of material – cotton, bamboo, hemp, charcoal, and micro-fiber. Micro-fiber is the most cost effective, but the qualities of the other materials can out weigh the cost for some.
(1) AIO – All in Ones
This can easily be labeled as the simplest and straight forward style of cloth diaper. There’s no inserts, no pockets. Just fold, snap, and go.
A two step system, but this style will give you the freedom of choosing the inserts you like best.
Slightly less work then pockets, but fitted cloth diapers do not come with an outer shell. Because microfiber cannot be placed directly on skin, these are only made of cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
Think back to the safety pin days – but we are in a modern world now. You’ll find the same folding techniques but updated (safer) fastening adaptors.
Some find this style is the best of both worlds. You will wash the outer shell, but the inserts are disposable, still saving you money.
Weighing your options
Whether you are deciding to cloth diaper or use disposables, there is no wrong choice. A happy healthy baby is what everyone wants. Everything beyond that is just your choice of parenting. Do your research and most importantly ask other families why they chose to cloth diaper. Most have a reason and will be honest about their experience.