The Great Cloth Diaper Debate

There is a short list of questions I get asked very often during this pregnancy. "When are you due?" (September.) "Is it a boy or a girl?" (Girl!) "Do you have a name picked out?" (We are narrowing it down.) "Are you going to use cloth diapers?" (Read on.)

Cloth diapering is a bit of debate in my household. I am for it and my husband is...not. Ha. So this is where the ever-important compromise comes in. Cloth diapering does not have to be an all or nothing effort by any means.

A bit of background. When I was six years old, my younger brother was born, and I remember my parents using cloth diapers even then. Back those days it was a rectangular piece of fabric held together with the oversized diaper pins.

Cloth diapers have evolved over the years and much more closely resemble their disposable counterparts. They come in different colors, sizes, patterns and fastener options, and giant safety pins are not necessary.

Benefits of Cloth Diapers

  • So much less waste
  • Fewer chemicals coming into contact with your baby's skin
  • Although I don't know from experience, I've heard that babies who wear cloth diapers have less trouble with diaper rash
  • Saves money

Arguments Against Cloth Diapers

  • The grossness factor
  • All the poop
  • Requires you to use more water from having to rinse and wash the diapers
  • Most day cares do not use cloth diapers

In general, diapering makes you deal with more poop than you ever wanted to deal with. Because the practice of me cloth diapering my baby is still in my imagination, I don't know how things will actually turn out. Maybe it will be awesome, maybe it won't.

What I'm Hoping to Do

In all reality, we will not exclusively use cloth diapers. It's always been in my mind since even before children were on the radar, but my husband is more comfortable with not using cloth diapers. I respect that, and respect if other family members prefer disposable. But there will still be plenty of chances to use cloth, and it will still help us cut down on our diapering costs.

What has been extremely helpful is building a secondhand cloth diaper collection. Cloth diaper sets can be a bit costly up front (while still cheaper than disposable diapers in the end), but having friends with great quality hand-me-downs has been awesome. These are just a fraction of what I've got saved up in the nursery!

I love that with the snaps, the cloth diaper sizing is adjustable, so you don't necessarily need some for each stage of baby's growth. Some of the ones in my collection are sized and are definitely larger than some of the others, but with the adjustable sizing, the diapers are useful for a much longer span of time.

In addition to the diapers, I've got a solid foundation of both secondhand cloth and disposable inserts (which are much less adorable to photograph.)

When it comes to stocking up on disposable diapers, we've got a head start thanks to a friend with one very fast-growing five-month-old. As all moms know, once you open a box of diapers, you can't return it, so I was able to take a few boxes off my friend's hands, and now I've got a good amount of size 1 and 2 diapers in the nursery.

I'm definitely grateful to take the hand-me-downs, but if you are a mom with an open box of diapers that no longer fit your baby or don't work well for them, look for a nonprofit that will accept the donation. Here in Lafayette, the Baby and Me Boutique is run by the Desormeaux Foundation and sells secondhand baby clothing and goods. Profits from the boutique go toward supporting homeless pregnant mothers and the foundation's pregnancy resource center.

In addition, as we would need to buy more disposable diapers, I would like to try to stay on the natural side, opting for brands that use fewer chemicals in the diapers themselves. I know that different babies take to different brands, so it's something I may not be able to stick to, but I've got hopes at least!

But between the secondhand cloth and disposable diapers, I think we are on a great path to eco-friendly diapering that will help us save money and start Baby Girl on that sustainable path!

I know that cloth diapering can be a very polarizing topic, but if you've tried it, where do you stand? Cloth or disposable?

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