This is a list of the reasons why we use cloth diapers:
(1) The health of our kids. Big ol’ pass on the super absorbent asthma and god knows what else causing dioxins & fillers. I wouldn’t want those chemicals strapped to my crotch for years.
(2) The health of our planet. Over two TONNES of landfill waste per kid, on average.
(3) Price. It’s cheaper to use cloth by a substantial amount, even though we use some of the most expensive diapers on the market. It’s even cheaper since we’re now putting kid #2 through ‘em!
(4) Comfort. Fuzzy soft bottom or crinkly paper. I know what I’d rather sit on.
(5) They’re cute as hell.
And now a list of responses to common questions about using cloth:
(1) “Gross!” Actually, not gross at all. I mean, you have kids, you are resigning yourself to a healthy number of years of wiping, spot cleaning, washing and laundering all kinds of gross things. If you don’t want to touch and smell pee, poo, barf, drool, food schmears, mud coatings etc, you might consider a goldfish instead of a child. Let me return – it’s no grosser than disposable diapers. You have a butt to wipe. You wipe it. You either chuck the newborn poo dipe directly into the wash (to be met with a rinse cycle) or you knock the solid turd into the john (which you are SUPPOSED to be doing with sposies anyway, PS).
(2) “You must have a lot more time than I do.” Yeah, no. But you make time to do laundry just like you make time to raise your kids and clean your house. I don’t think it adds much more than a load or two per week because I am washing clothes all the time anyway. Bob still goes through a lot of clothes. They get covered in paint, lunch, dirt, mystery substances. You have kids, you do laundry. I promise it’s not an inordinate amount of work, and besides, it’s worth it.
(3) “Impossible to do on the go!” Nope. We use cloth diapers everywhere. Traveling for weekends away, going to the grocery store, wherever we go. If you’re staying in a hotel, they’ll have laundry machines. If you’re staying with friends, chances are they know where you can do a load if necessary. Out to the store, just pack a little waterproof bag in your bag or your vehicle. We have never actually had to do laundry while we’ve been gone for long weekend trips.
(4)“Is it all or nothing?” Nope. I have some friends who use cloth diapers during the day only. I have some friends who use cloth when they go out. You do what works for you. For us, cloth works all the time. Bob was in disposables when he spent his first couple of days of life in the NICU, but never once since. And Maggie has never worn a disposable.
(5)“What about wipes?” We use cloth wipes. Nary a pre-soaked baby wipe has ever been in our house or vehicle. You don’t have to buy premade cotton wipes if you don’t want to (but like cloth diapers, any money you spend upfront is saved in the long run). We sew our own, cutting down old receiving blankets. With Bob I had a little spray bottle with a homemade mix in it (water, splash of soap, dot of tea tree) to moisten them, but I never filled up that bottle for Maggie. I’d just dampen the cloth in the sink or with some water from a bottle if we were in the car.
Here is some more information about what we do:
We use Fuzzi Bunz and BumGenius for the most part. Fuzzi Bunz come in Small, Medium and Large (with medium being an incredibly versatile size, lasting from 2-3 months old to nearly two years for some) and the Bum Genius are one size diapers, and they expand to fit babies from newborn to over two years. Both of these brands are what is called a pocket diaper. This means that there is a waterproof exterior (which is soft and supple), that has a fleece interior (which wicks away moisture from babe), thus creating a pocket into which you stuff an absorbent liner. There are also prefolds (like my mom put me in) with separate covers and All-In-Ones (AIOs) where the liners and stuffers are attached all together. I have found pocket diapers to be the easiest, having used them all. But that is just my experience.
Check out this detergent chart before you start washing. Typically you use a fraction of the detergent you would normally use. When babe is still having yellow breastfed poos, we remove the liners, and store the dirty diapers in a cloth bag. When I’m ready to do a load, I chuck them all in the washing machine, run a rinse cycle and then wash ’em. I personally wash on cold. If you wash on hot, you need to rinse on cold or you the hot water will set the yellow poo stain into your diapers. I often line dry, but you don’t have to. Dry on low or no heat (we do this for everything anyway). Since we do EC, no solid poops go in the diapers, but if they were to, you would just knock the poop into the toilet, pull out the stuffer, store and wash as usual. Nothing fancy, dirty or time consuming.