People are often surprised or shocked to find out that I use cloth diapers on my twins. I suppose the idea that using cloth is labor intensive, combined with the increased workload of an “extra” baby, is daunting to most. Does it require extra effort on my part? Yes. Is it worth the effort? Absolutely. From an environmental perspective to financial considerations, here’s why cloth diapers are the way to go for my family:
Cost. A quick Google search will tell you that the average baby uses 2500 to 3000 diapers in their first year. I’m about to give birth to my sixth and seventh children. It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out the startlingly high number of diapers for seven kids: 21,000! None of my little ones have potty trained before 18 months either, so that’s a conservative estimate. If a year’s worth of disposable diapers is $750 (again, according to Google), I’m looking at forking over at least $5,250 dollars. While cloth diapers aren’t cheap, I’ve roughly spent about $600 on diapers that all of the kids will end up using. I’ve also been gifted cloth diapers, so make sure you put them on your baby registry!
The environment. A disposable diaper, by some estimates, takes at least 500 years to decompose in a landfill. Plastic molecules leach into the surrounding soil and water as it breaks down. Cloth, on the other hand, can be used multiple times for multiple children; whether they’re yours or you share/sell your cloth stash with another family. Although environmental resources are used to launder the diapers, Mother Nature still comes out ahead with cloth.
Time. Integrating more laundry into your schedule isn’t always easy, but it’s not impossible either. Like most tasks, we squeeze necessary activities in where we can. My husband and I would stuff the clean cloth diapers while watching TV, talking about our day, or listening to music. Now that my children are older I will be enlisting their help too.
Keep in mind that you can find a happy medium when it comes to diapering. There’s no hard and fast rule stating that cloth diapering is an all or nothing commitment. No time for laundry until Tuesday? Use a pack of disposables to get through. Broke until payday and can’t afford disposables? Rely on your cloth. Want to use cloth at home but not out and about? Prefer to cloth diaper during the day but like disposable at night? Daycare provider doesn’t do cloth? Mother-in-law doesn’t listen when you tell her no rash paste in the cloth diaper? Obviously the more you use the cloth the better, but anything helps when it comes to saving money and reducing environmental impact.
We’ve talked about why I prefer cloth diapers. If you want to know more about how to cloth diaper, I would be happy to address that in a future blog post. Just let me know!