Monday, September 17, 2012

Can I Do This Cloth Diaper Thing?

This is part three of a series called "The Poop on Cloth Diapers." [To head back to the beginning, simply click on the series title in quotes]

The simple answer: probably.

The most important question to ask yourself is, are you willing to commit?  Are you willing to commit to doing laundry every two or three days?  Are you willing to spend money upfront buying cloth diapers rather than regularly buying disposables with your groceries?  Are you willing to commit to doing something that your friends probably won't be doing with their kids? Are you up for doing all this for two to three years?

I don't mean to scare you with this question.  I really enjoy using cloth diapers.  I don't mind washing them every few days; in fact, it can be therapeutic for me.  Its also an excuse to watch Netflix while I put them all back together.  I am so very thankful we chose cloth diapers.  We had an income when we bought them - now, we live off our savings.  Not having to budget diapers out of our savings account is part of what makes our finances a lot less stressful.

The second most important question to ask yourself is, why do you want to use cloth diapers? I chose to use them for two reasons: to help save money, and to be different.  [Honestly, I just liked the idea of being weird.]  But there are lots of pretty decent reasons to chose cloth diapers over disposables:

The environment.  I'm sure you've heard all the arguments about how cloth diapers are better for mother earth, so I'll spare you :)

The budget.  Cloth diapers are not cheap.  Don't get me wrong.  However, with a calculator and self-control, you can easily spend less on a stash of cloth diapers than you would buying disposables for three years.

Your baby.  Some parents have found that cloth diapers keep diaper rash at bay.  Others have found that cloth diapers help with their baby's skin conditions, like eczema or allergies.  

Because they look so cute.  Don't worry, all moms who use cloth diapers secretly have this as a top reason for using cloth diapers.  And there are some really, really cute patterns.

Here are a few common questions that get asked when new parents are considering using cloth diapers:

Can I cloth diaper only part-time? Why not. Cloth diapering can be flexible to your world.  There are many parents who work full time and still use cloth diapers at home.  There are also many parents who choose to use cloth diapers only during the daytime and use disposables at night.

Can I start using cloth diapers on my one year old? There is no required starting age with cloth diapers.  Many parents don't even consider using cloth diapers until a health concern pops up months after their baby is born - the most common examples are skin allergies and eczema.  Some parents also swear that putting their toddler in cloth diapers helped them potty train sooner.

Can I convince my husband to use cloth diapers? What about my mother? Simplicity is the word to use with cautious family members. Cloth diapers are a whole different animal from what our parents' generation knows them as.  Many brands are designed to imitate how simple disposables are.

Will my family shun me for being a hippie weirdo? Oh, possibly :)  But you don't have to be a hippie to use cloth diapers.  You just gotta be willing to do something a little different.

Lastly, but most importantly, What about the poo?  Funny thing is, I have gotten less poop on myself with my child in cloth diapers than I got working at a daycare where every kid was in disposables.  With cloth diapers, blowouts don't really happen.  And just because there is poo on the diaper does not mean you will inevitably have it all over your hands. You will probably get something nasty all over you at least once, but probably no more than if junior were in disposables.  And I know everyone says this, but bodily functions that gross you out aren't quite as gross when they belong to your child.  It's like some sort of switch gets turned on when you become a parent.  I think, fortunately for us parents, we were designed that way.

What's next?

Ready to give cloth diapers a whirl?  Stay turned for next week's post, "So How Do I Get Started?"

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