Why Cloth Diapers Are Bad
Cloth diapers are bad, difficult, expensive, time consuming. These are all common objections that opinionated family and friends might throw your way when you mention that you are interested in trying cloth diapers for your baby. Unfortunately, it's often discouraging for first time parents to hear snickers and rude comments when talking about their diapering choice. These objections aren't new to us and we can help you through them. Let's go over the most common reasons why people think cloth diapers are bad.
You have to wash them and it's unhygienic
Yep and you have to wash your clothing too, but no one suggests disposable clothing. Are you wearing disposable underwear right now? For centuries babies have worn cloth diapers and they were always washed - by hand no less. Today's washing machines, modern cloth diapers and detergents are much better than back then, so what exactly is the issue here besides a knee-jerk reaction from someone who's surprised by your choice. If it was unhygienic, baby's would get rashes or infections, but in fact it's the opposite. Many babies in cloth get fewer diaper rashes than in disposables. Also, have you ever looked at the fine print on a box of disposables? It says you're supposed to dump solids (ie poop) into the toilet first before throwing away the diaper (same as you do with a cloth diaper before you wash it). Did you know that? That's because poop belongs in the sewer system where it can be properly treated, not festering in a landfill as THAT is unhygienic. Lastly to the water usage point, it also takes less water to wash cloth diapers than it does to manufacture and repeatedly transport disposable diapers. Who would have thought.
Cloth diapering is difficult
Lots of new things might seen hard at first on the surface level. But once you understand how it actually works, it seems a lot less daunting. So if you've been researching and you know how everything works and you're speaking with someone who doesn't, then there's a bit of a knowledge gap there which is where this opinion might come from. If you are open to learning something new, it's not rocket science and there are many styles of diaper to choose from, some as easy to use as disposables (no stuffing, folding or covers required). Knowledge is power.
It's time consuming
Having a newborn in general is time consuming wouldn't you say? But one thing for sure is that that baby needs a diaper of some kind. To me, packing up a newborn, putting on clean clothes and dragging myself to a store to purchase disposables repeatedly in a sleep deprived state is more difficult than 2 loads of diaper laundry per week at my leisure in the comfort of my home. Plus you'll never have to worry about running out of diapers and having nothing to put on the bum which also means diaper scarcity or shortages will never affect you. So sure, it takes a small amount of time, but you can choose how to spend it. Most cloth diapering parents' feedback is that once they actually try it, it's a lot easier than they thought or about what they expected and as an aside, no one said you can never use a disposable if you choose cloth. There are lots of families who cloth diaper part time too for a variety of reasons. Do what works for you.
Cloth diapers are expensive
And disposables aren't?! Have you seen the inflation numbers lately? Have you experienced the diaper shortages, the Tylenol shortages in your local stores? I have. What's expensive is being left without options in caring for your baby. Yes, absolutely, the upfront cost of cloth can seem daunting, but that's if you look at the total cost all in one price tag. Cloth diapers you buy once, disposables you buy over and over again month over month for 2.5-3 YEARS. It really ads up.
So, how do we take the sticker shock off of purchasing all the cloth diapers you need one time? A couple ways:
- Have a baby shower and ask for cloth or gift cards to places where you can choose your own cloth diapers.
- Make smaller purchases of cloth over the 9 months of your pregnancy until you have what you need.
- Mix disposables and cloth while you buildup your stash until you have enough cloth diapers for a good rotation. How many cloth diapers do you need?
- Watch for sales. Typically cloth diapers go on sale for Black Friday in November and Earth Day in April. You can keep up with other regular sales and some super deals on clearance stuff by joining our newsletter.
- Purchase pre-loved diapers.
- Access a cloth diaper bank - if you have no funds and are struggling financially to care for your baby's needs, there are local cloth diaper banks in most areas that will lend you cloth diapers.
- Choose economical options. If you are wanting to purchase new diapers, there are definitely more economical options available. Prefolds and covers are an excellent option here and you only need one cover for about every 3 prefolds. Learn more about using prefolds.
In the end, no, cloth diapers aren't bad. They are one possible choice. You're the parent, you and only you get to make the decisions about the health and environmental impacts of your diapering decision alongside what's best for your baby and your family specifically. If someone comments on your decision, just do your thing, care for your baby in your way and if that care includes cloth diapers, show everyone that cloth is easy, sustainable, economical and downright adorable. You've got this.
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