Well, maybe not for the next generation, I’m hardly the first person to know about these.
When my sister told me she used cloth diapers with her kid and would bring me some, I thought in my head, ok thanks, but I don’t think I have time to pin diapers and go through all that trouble.
Much to my surprise, the cloth diapers many moms use today are nothing like the old school ones that I had in mind. They are shaped like disposables, usually use velcro or snaps to close securely, and many have waterproof covers sewn right in. Those are called All-in-Ones, whereas other cloth diapers would need a separate diaper cover, also shaped just like a disposable, to be waterproof.
We managed to be about 50/50 cloth and disposables for the first year of my first kids life, and then almost fulltime cloth after that. I didn’t know anything about cloth diapering or anyone else who used them, so it took me a while to find that All-in-Ones were the ones for me. I find them the most convenient way to be eco-friendly.
There is some argument about whether or not cloth or disposables are better for the environment. For me, its an open and shut case, and I read once that a lot of the info out there about cloth being bad for the environment was put out by one of the major diaper companies.
- use dioxin, a chemical made from chlorine, (which pollutes to produce and then fills landfills)
- fill landfills with the plastics, not just the dioxin, which also pollutes to produce and uses petroleum
- there is a widespread notion, which can be backed up if I had to time to do a little re-research, that kids using disposables potty train at a slower rate because they are more comfortable even when wet
- the packaging from buying disposables again supports petroleum industry and ends up in landfills
- more diaper rash
- Some say that you will use more water and this cancels out any eco-benefits, while others say that the water usage is about equal to having another person flushing the toilet, this canceling out any harm. I personally washed a load of diapers every other day and did not notice an increase in my water bill, but did notice one when my daughter potty-trained.
- There is a wide range of ways you can cloth diaper — the truest “eco” way to go is using organic cloth and wool covers rather than waterproof plastic ones (because the water proof covers, made from a fabric called PUL, is coated with plastic and thus not good for the environment either). I met in the middle. I love the PUL waterproof covers and all-in-ones. I figure that the fact that I’m reusing the same diaper for 3 years makes it no so bad that one part of it has some plastic, when all the other layers are reusable and eco-friendly.
- little to no diaper rash — no sensitive bottoms trapped in a plastic sheath to sweat!
- cute colors!
- Cost! The upfront cost makes them seem expensive, but over the course of the diapering timeof one child, much less two, you’ll save a lot of money. I had about 12 diapers that I washed once a day or every other day, which, as they were all-in-ones, retail for about $20 each, giving us $240 dollars. If you spent $40 a month, and I think many people spend more than that, you would recoup your costs at 6 months. And I bought uses ones on ebay, so my intial investment was about $40 for the diapers I used for the first year. Not bad.