Sunday, January 3, 2010

Cloth Vs. Disposable Diapers

Andrew and I took an infant care class a couple of weeks before Oliver was born. Our instructor was discussing diapers and asked if any couple was planning on using cloth diapers. We raised our hands because we were planning on using cloth for most of our needs. We were the only couple of the group with plans to use cloth. That made me nervous; I thought maybe they all knew something I didn't, and that it was going to be difficult to do.

Our instructor explained we'd save a substantial amount of money by using cloth (and we do!). However, she warned us that it would be tricky to do things like bring cloth diapers to the hospital ("If you're dedicated, you can make it work," I remember her saying.). I responded that we'd simply use disposable diapers during those inconvienent times, and she looked at me like I was crazy.

Indeed, that's exactly what we did. We used disposable diapers at the hospital, and we continued using them at night at home because, frankly, Oliver sleeps longer in disposable diapers than cloth diapers. He doesn't feel the wetness of the disposable as much as he does with the cloth.

When people find out we use cloth diapers during the day, they seem to think it must be challenging and gross. That's not the case at all. I was pleasantly surprised to find that his cloth diapers aren't gross. In fact, I don't even have to rinse them (that might change once he starts eating solids).

We use both Bum Genius and Bumpkins cloth diapers. Basically, they're cloth diapers with an outer, waterproof layer. It's not separate like old cloth diapers. Then, there's a cloth liner you can put in for extra absorbancy. When I change Oliver's cloth diaper, I simply remove the cloth liner from the cloth diaper and toss both pieces in the hamper. When we change his disposable diapers, we toss them into a garbage bag. The garbage bag always has a slight odor to it, but the hamper never does (most likely because I do laundry daily, but the garbage bag lasts multiple days).

In addition the fact that they're environmentally and budget friendly, there are other advantages to cloth diapers. First, I feel better that there's not chemicals pressed against his skin all day. Second, he feels the wetness in the cloth diapers quickly, so we know right away when he's wet himself. He doesn't sit in it, so he doesn't get as many diaper rashes. I read that babies who wear cloth diapers are also much easier to potty train for this reason.

I don't shun disposable diapers, though. Some people are completely against them because of their impact on the environment. While I acknowledge that, I think it's fair to compromise and not hold oneself to difficult standards. We use disposable diapers regularly. Oliver wears them at night to help him sleep for longer stretches, and we wears them if I've been slacking on the laundry and don't have a cloth one available. Any time we travel (including going across town to visit a grandparent), we also use them. To me, it would be very inconienent to pack cloth diapers, ask his grandparents to use them, and then drive a pile of dirty diapers home.

I feel better about using the cloth diapers and am glad we made it work. In fact, I've encouraged other moms to use them as well. Still, in our personal experience, what's worked best is compromising and using them along with disposable diapers.

1 comment:

Samantha said...

We do the same thing and I LOVE it! When I have another, I'm definitely planning on investing in them more!

Glad to hear you like them so much!