Friday, February 12, 2010

Why is choosing cloth diapers such a difficult decision anyways?

Super Whisper Wrap (Froggy Pond) by: Bummis

OK so lately I have been thinking about what to write for my next blog post and although I have lots of ideas, lately I have been feeling as though I need to vent about the whole concept of choosing cloth diapers. Why is it such a difficult decision? I hope no one will be offended as these are just my own opinions and are not meant towards anyone in particular :) Please feel free to add any of your own comments to the discussion.

I often do information sessions at my showroom which I love doing as I love giving information to people about the different options and how easy cloth diapering really is and how much it has changed over the last few years. For me now that I have been using cloth diapers for approx. 2.5 years, it is a no brainer why using cloth diapers is the right decision to make. But unfortunately it is not that obvious for everyone?

Too much work ??
what is hard about doing an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days? Is it easier to throw away and forget about it? I suppose. Imagine 5000-7000 soiled disposable diapers in a landfill rotting for hundreds of years per child! Can you really forget about that and sleep soundly at night?

What about all the water we use to wash the diapers ... Instead think about the amount of water used to make 5000-7000 disposable per child compared to the amount of water used for washing diapers every 2-3 days (which is comparable to the amount of water you use to flush your toilet everyday).

But there is still water and chemicals used to manufacture cloth diapers someone might mention. You're right. But you may use approx. 24-36 diapers for 1 or more children and then these may even be reused as seconds for another family. Prefolds can be reused as rags when you are done. This is still not comparable to the amount of water and chemicals used to make thousands of disposables per child!

I always compare it to this ... do you use disposable dishes every day? No. But what about the water you use to clean your dishes? :) What costs more, disposable dishes or a set of reusable dishes? Disposables are cheaper at first but not in the long run of course. Same for cloth. You can buy a set of dishes for pretty cheap or you can splurge for a more expensive set of dishes like Denby tableware. The same goes for cloth. You can get all set up for approx. $200-300 or you can splurge and spend $800-1000. In the end you will still be saving money and the environment. The sooner you start with cloth, the better for the environment and the more you will save.

Let's do a bit of both. Why?? I guess it is whatever suits your lifestyle but why is using disposable diapers easier when you go out?? Just use cloth and instead of throwing it in the garbage just place it in you wetbag and bring it home. Not too hard. I suppose it's like disposable dishes. There are certain occasions where it might be handy. Maybe once a year (not every time you have company over!).

We'll do disposables at night. Again, why??
There are so many great products out there that will work great for night. In fact, in my household using a disposable diaper overnight means wet sheets in the morning for my oldest son as opposed to using our cloth diapers. But night time diapers can be expensive ... sure you might splurge a few more dollars on a wool cover or a deluxe bamboo fitted diaper but you only need a total of 2-3 night time diapers as you are washing every 2-3 days. It will still be considerably less expensive than doing disposable diapers.
I don't want to touch pee and poop, yuk! Well I have got news for you ... whether you use disposable or cloth diapers you will eventually get dirty hands. For those who use disposable diapers, think of up the back explosions. Does this ring a bell? I know for me when I switched to cloth, the back explosion ended thankfully.

... nothing is 100% guaranteed. Leaks happen with disposables too you know. If you have a good fitting diaper with enough absorption leaks are a rare occasion, very similar to disposables. Of course during daytime we recommend you change your baby every 2-3 hours. Why would you want to keep your baby longer in a dirty diaper anyways? If you do, you are much more likely to have skin rashes.

Money, money and money

OK, so do you wear disposable clothing every day? No. But what about the water you use to wash them with? :) Think about how much money you spend on clothing for your baby/child? Do you need everything you have in the closet?

Most couples who find out they are expecting a baby start preparing before the baby arrives. They purchase a bassinet, crib, stroller, carseat, toys, linen, clothes, etc. Cloth diapers should just
be part of that list in my opinion. Most people don't think twice in spending hundreds and even thousands of dollars on clothing and baby needs. In fact the booming baby industry has us believing that we need lots of baby gear when in fact a baby does not need much more than breastmilk, a small layette, a place to sleep, diapers and lots of love. So all this to say that you should think of cloth diapers as part of your baby's wardrobe need.

One-size and wear and tear

This brings me to the popular one-size diapers. One-size diapers are very appealing to customers since in theory you only need one set of diapers from birth to potty training. However what people sometimes don't think of is that one-size diapers are usually quite bulky and leak more often on newborns and will fit much better once the baby is 10-12lbs. So what do you do with your 7lb baby until he/she fits in his new one-size diapers? We'll do disposables until the baby gets bigger! Sure but no. I think the best solution is to get set with some newborn size diapers. You can get many that go from approx. 6-12lbs. Then when your baby is out of these you can go to your next size up or use one-size diapers. Sure it will cost more money but you would have spent it on disposable diapers anyways and this way you will have less wear and tear on your diapers. This is the second downfall of one-size diapers. They get a lot more wear and tear and these often need to be replaced for the next child (there goes your investment of saving money by buying one-size). I always say ... do you shop for one-size clothing? No. Most people will purchase a few newborn size outfits and then will go to the 3-6mos size and then on. Do you have clothing that wear and tear with one child and never lasts for 2-3 kids? I know I do. I have 2 boys and so far a lot of my 2.5yr old son's clothing is not good for my second son (i.e. holes in pants, holes in socks, stains, etc). Not to mention that they were both born in totally different seasons!

And for my last point, trying it out diapers before purchasing ...

Sure I offer a diaper trial program like a lot of other stores and it is very popular. But truly I don't think it is something that is necessary. I do it more for those who are afraid so they can find out that cloth diapers are so easy! The trial might help you decide which brand you like best but you should not need a triel to decide whether cloth is for you or not. Cloth should just be a done deal if you ask me. And as far as deciding which one you want to invest in, I think it should be like most other things we purchase. You don't ask to trial a crib for a couple of weeks before making a decision whether or not to purchase it. Same goes for most other baby items we purchase (i.e. stroller, highchair, clothing, etc).

Shop around, get some information, look at your options, look at reviews and decide what will suit your needs. I'm not one to invest in only one brand, as I like variety and this way if there are acouple of diapers I purchased that don't work as well for my kids than at least I have others to choose from. If you are one who does only want one kind, then either you are able to find what you are looking for by doing research and getting information or the diaper trial might be a good option. Most people know what they will like before even doing the trial just by getting information and browsing at the different options. I think of it this way, how many times do you purchase a piece of clothing that end up in your closet and rarely worn? This might happen with a couple of other things you purchase for your baby (i.e. bumbo seat or a cute fluffy diaper you fell in love with that just doesn't work for your baby). You can always sell it as a gently used item on kijiji or used ottawa.

And don't worry, your husband will come on board and it is possible to find a daycare who accepts cloth diapers.

OK so now I feel much better :)

All that said, I am very sincere when I say that I love helping my customers find the right options for them whether it is through a visit to my showroom, answering questions by phone or e-mail or by offering them my diaper trial. If not, I would not be in this business. All of the above comments are normal questions to ask and hopefully once you get the right information you will think like me and decide that choosing cloth diapers is a no brainer for you, your baby and the environment.

OK, enough said!

I would love to hear your comments.

Have a great weekend.


  1. One of my favourite excuses is "I cant afford to buy cloth diapers." But yet they can go buy disposables every week (and wipes, and gas to get to the store)???

    Another favourite is, about the smell, the mess, the poop. Even with disposables you are supposed to dump out the poop before throwing it in the trash. Human waste isnt supposed to be in a landfill. No matter what way you look at it poop is going to smell. Changing a disposable diaper doesnt smell any better.

    I take care of children in my home, half are in cloth and half are in disposables. To me it is much more gross to empty a diaper genie everyday than it is to dump a wet bag into the washing machine.

    Thanks for posting this- it was great. :)

  2. Thank you for your comments Mandy. I agree with all of them :)

  3. Thanks for this post. I love the 'would you use disposable dishes' analogy. I often wonder why won't people use cloth? I think we are so used to living life with a disposable mentality & cloth diapers have been hyped up to be gross & disgusting.

    I get so frustrated with people who say that it is gross or as Mandy said 'they can't afford cloth'. Can you afford not to? People are chucking so much waste into landfills it is disgusting. And as for the gross factor, disposables are just as gross.

    Thanks for the post! I like the way you think. :)

  4. I love my diapers! - I don't think anyone who uses disposables would ever say that. I too have no idea why anyone would choose to use disposables.

    The comment I always find strange is when people say their husbands won't go for it. I don't know anyone who is more averse to a dirty diaper than my husband (he seriously gags every time). For that reason, my husband is so glad that we use cloth. The idea of having to keep dirty diapers in the house until garbage day is all the convincing he needed to use cloth.