A reader emailed and asked:
considering cloth diapers and we just wondered since you have used them, if you have any thoughts on what to look for/ avoid or any things to be aware of.
If you wish to ask your own question, please contact me.
Cloth Diapers Vs. Disposable Diapers
Advantages of Disposable Diapers
This is an easy one – convenience. When you’re out and about, smell it, change it, trash it, and forget it. However, dealing with a cloth diaper is quite different.
The yuck factor. Some people think the idea of washing out a soiled diaper is disgusting. I actually remember counting to three (1 – 2 –3- OK) before I washed my first soiled diaper. Yes, it was as nasty as you might imagine. However, now four years of washing soiled diapers without a break (no, not the same kid) is almost therapeutic. Well, not quite, but it doesn’t phase me one bit.
Advantages of Cloth Diapers
If you are concerned about the environmental impact of disposable diapers, then cloth is the way to go. We wash our clothes with rain water (half the time) and dry them on the line. Oh, and if we need hot water, we do have a solar hot water tank. However, we don’t do cloth for environmental reasons. That is just life in a third world country.
Can’t beat the price of cloth diapers – sort of.
Some cloth diapers require you to put 20% down and get a 3 year repayment plan. Not really, but they can get quite expensive. You can drop $20 on a cloth diaper if you want. We went the super cheap diaper route. We bought 12 diapers at Babies R Us and paid $12. We are on our third kid and our 5th or 6th package. Let’s say if it was six dollars, then we’ve paid $72.00 for diapers for three kids. In addition, we’ve probably bought about 100 cheap plastic diaper covers that cost a dollar each. Our total diaper cost is $172.00
If the average disposable diaper costs .35 and the baby wears on average 6 diapers a day until they are two, then disposables would cost about $1,500 per kid per year. Multiply that by three kids, and you would pay $4,500. Since we paid $172.00, I guess we saved 96% by using disposable diapers.
The Hybrid Approach: Disposable Diapers and Cloth Diapers
Whenever possible, I like to have the best of both worlds. What we’ve done is used both disposable and cloth depending on our activities.
- Every morning, baby gets a cloth diaper (fastened with a Snappi and a $1 diaper cover).
- Every night, baby gets a disposable diaper because babies tend to need more protection at night. Friends of ours just double up and use two cloth diapers.
- Every Sunday, baby gets a disposable diaper. In fact, when we are going to be away from the house for 2-3 hours baby will often get a disposable.
- When we go on vacation, baby gets a disposable.
Cloth Diaper Tips
Since you asked for tips, here they are:
Cleaning Cloth Diapers
I’ve heard that there are a lot of really cool ways you can treat cloth diapers so you don’t need to rinse soiled diapers. We don’t use anything like that. We simply rinse the soiled diaper and wash it with a laundry bar soap – in the toilet. From there, the diaper goes into a plain diaper bucket ($15 type – not $75 kind) until wash day. We only wash with regular laundry soap. We tried diaper sanitizer, but it gave our daughter rashes. Mrs. Ford washes diapers about two – three times a week.
Get a Snappi for Cloth Diapers (or 5)
When I changed my first cloth diaper, I decided I wasn’t fit for the job. Those diaper pins are way too hard for me. A friend sent us a Snappi diaper fastener and we’ve never looked back.
Our Real Cloth Diaper and Disposable Diapers Story
We live overseas. We lived in the States until my daughter was 10 months old. At that point, we exclusively used disposable diapers, and I don’t know if we ever had a conversation about using cloth diapers.
Today, I have no idea if we would use cloth if we lived in the States or Canada. I won’t even try to guess what we would do because I’d probably be wrong. Yet, as long as we live overseas we plan to continue using them.
Do you use cloth diapers or disposable diapers? What do you recommend?