One of the least desirable yet most persistent chores of parenting is diaper duty. While most parents would love to have their wish come true of a baby who’s potty-trained from the womb, the crappy reality still needs to be dealt with. Disposable diapers seem to be the de facto choice for babies’ sanitary needs, but cloth diapers are rising in popularity as a great alternative.
While I cannot personally speak to the environmental differences, since there seems to be a tradeoff of less landfill usage for more water and energy usage, I can attest to the practical benefits of using cloth diapers from my experience using them with my daughter and son.
The most important thing on a new parent’s mind is their baby’s health and comfort. While diaper manufacturers have addressed past concerns over chemicals and dyes used in
disposable diapers, they still have potential to irritate a child. Cloth diapers are much more friendly to your baby’s derriere. I try to change my children’s diapers as frequently as needed, but I am by no means the most diligent in that regard. Yet my children never seem to get diaper rashes. I could count on one hand the number of cases I have seen on my two kids combined. The soft cloth has kept them happy.
Disposable diapers can cost $1000-$1500 a year per child, so depending on how many children you have and how long it takes them to potty train, that is a small fortune. Cloth diapers mainly require an upfront investment, then you can live on without the crippling monthly expense. Purchasing the diapers secondhand and using my energy-efficient washer and dryer, I only paid a whopping $600 for diapering both of my kids! Even though I saved a ton of money washing the diapers myself, using a laundering service could still net you some savings as well.
Convenience and Effectiveness
While you could still use square cloths with pins like the old days (which I have done), there are more varieties nowadays to make cloth just as easy as disposable. Waterproof shells cover the absorbent pads, which can be interchanged and added at will. Stretchy and adjustable linings make covers reusable as the baby grows. Velcro or snap covers make changing a snap. And washing it all really does take less effort than you would think!
Any way you slice it, changing diapers is still a chore. But I have been able to maximize the benefits of this chore by using cloth.