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Hearing the word cloth diapers can make a lot of people uneasy. With the majority of parents using disposable diapers, the thought of adding more stress to their day sounds exhausting. But the questions you may have about the process can be easily answered and may even sound better than sticking with the disposables!
Frequently Asked Questions About Cloth Diapering
What do you do with the poop?
This concerns a lot of people when it comes to cloth diapering, but you absolutely don’t have to touch poop all the time. When it comes to cloth diapers, there are so many different options available. If you’re not wanting to scrape the poop off the diaper, you can choose to invest in a spray bucket where you can hang the diaper and simply spray the poop off. Another alternative is the biodegradable liners. These liners are often made out of bamboo, which breaks down fast, and catches the poop before it hits the pad. You can simply toss the liner and poop into the trash can and wash the diapers in a normal cycle.
How do I change cloth diapers in public?
This is actually a lot easier than most would think! While it may be easy to simply toss that disposable diaper in the public restroom trash can, companies have made wet bags to store your dirty diapers in! Wet bags protect the diaper from leaking and smelling, so you can simply throw it in the diaper bag and wash them all together at home. Try to keep at least 2-4 wet bags in stock so you can have them in multiple bags and rooms.
Read More: Cloth Diapering Accessories
Isn’t it expensive?
For some reason, the upfront cost of cloth diapers tends to scare a lot of people. While it can cost you anywhere from $250-$400 to begin the process of using cloth diapers, disposable diapers can end up costing you more in the long run.
According to Investopedia, “The average child will use more than 2,700 diapers in the first year alone, which can add up to more than $550 (based on an average price of $0.20 per disposable diaper)”. This may not seem like a huge difference, but every penny counts when it comes to the early years of having a baby.
Bonus tip: Check with your friends and family who have cloth diapered in the past to see if they can pass along their diapers to you! You can also search online for gently used cloth diapers to start the process.
How do I choose a cloth diaper style?
This is a wonderful question! In the old days, cloth diapering used to just be a cloth square that you would fold and pin to the baby. Thank goodness those days are long gone! Today, there are so many choices for finding the right diaper. Some pads snap into the inside of the liner, securing it in place as your baby moves around. With other brands, you simply slip the pad in a pocket of the shell. Before spending all of your money on one brand, buy two to three diapers from a few brands to try out what works best for you.
Read More: 10 Tips to get started with Cloth Diapering
Now that we’ve gone over the initial concerns of cloth diapers, let’s talk about one of the main reasons that moms switch from disposables to cloth diapers – the environmental impact.
The Environmental Impact of Cloth Diapering
There has always been a huge debate between the environmental impact of disposable and cloth diapering. According to Green America, “Americans throw away 27.5 billion disposable diapers a year, with the EPA estimating that 4.15 million tons of diapers went to landfills in 2017. Imagine the amount of petroleum-based plastic and wood pulp that goes into manufacturing those diapers, and then think about the super-absorbent polymers and deodorizing chemicals many companies add to the mix.”
That is an extremely high amount of diapering filling a landfill. And if you factor in the plastic bag that most people use to hold the diaper in, it can take anywhere from 10 to 1,000 years for it to decompose.
So it seems that cloth diapering is the best way to go, correct? Well, unless you are taking the right precautions, the amount of energy you use to maintain the cloth diapers can have a huge impact as well.
Tips for Using Cloth Diapers in an Eco-Friendly Way
Don’t wash your diapers every day
Most cloth diapering companies will suggest that you wash your diapers every 2-3 days. Once you have a good stockpile of dirty diapers, washing them all at once can lower the amount of water you are using per cycle. But make sure that you are washing the diapers separately from your other clothes.
Read More: How to Wash Cloth Diapers
Skip the drying cycle and use a clothesline
If you’re choosing to cloth diaper because it’s environmentally friendly, you have to look at the impact your dryer has as well. Cloth diapers can take quite a long time to try, in order to preserve the fibers that keep them from fading. You could end up using the dry cycle two to three times before your diapers are fully dry. Instead, opt for using a clothing line or rack to hang the diapers to dry. The Guardian says, “A household running a dryer 200 times a year could save nearly half a tonne of CO2e by switching to a clothes rack or washing line.”
Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
When you’re opting for cloth diapering, you’re reducing your overall daily waste and reusing the diapers. The best thing that you can do when your little one is potty trained is to recycle your diapers so others can continue to reuse them. There are tons of places to donate or sell your gently used cloth diapers. Don’t just store or throw them away when you’re done, there is always someone out there who may need them!
Whether you’re looking into starting cloth diapering full time or incorporating it into your diaper routine, having the right information will help when you’re making the change. The environment will thank you!
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Photo Credits: Lauren Benson Photography
Sources: Investopedia | Green America | The Guardian