By Megan Powell
Diapers. It’s something I’m gearing up for again, albeit not eagerly.
We decided very early on in my first pregnancy that we’d be cloth diapering, and I spent a decent chunk of time researching the plethora of cloth diaper styles and brands out there.
We have a few reasons for choosing to cloth diaper:
We decided to invest in our own stash, spending a good amount of money up front but knowing we wouldn’t have to worry about continuously spending money on diapers each month, and also with the assumption we’d reuse the diapers with another child (enter baby #2, still in utero).
You've come a long way
Cloth diapering has become SO much easier than it was for our parents’ generation, and there are so many more options.
Gone are the days of dealing with precise diaper folds and finicky pins. The new styles pretty much mimic disposable.
It took me ages to wade through the different styles and types, but we eventually settled on a combination of Canadian-made Applecheeks and BumGenius. They’re both great, but BumGenius wins for ease of use. They’re so easy to use that even our apprehensive parents had no trouble figuring them out.
I’m thankful for the decision we made a few years ago, so that this time around, I don’t need to worry about stocking up on diapers or having to spend much money.
AND, I feel really fortunate that my hubby assumed the role of main diaper cleaner with our first babe, something I’m crossing my fingers he’ll continue with. Because as awesome as cloth diapers are, cleaning them is the only drawback.
For me though, the smaller environmental imprint we’ll be leaving, coupled with the money saved, makes it totally worth it.
Is it really better for the environment?
When we first made the decision to use cloth, I had someone ask me about the impact of water use from washing our own diapers, something I had thought about myself.
But when I looked into it further, I discovered that even with the amount of water we’d be using to wash diapers, the environmental impact was still less than that of disposables.
The sheer number of disposable diapers discarded in Canada alone—four million every day—makes it a concern, considering it takes around 500 years for a disposable diaper to decompose in a landfill. Yikes!
On top of that, the waste from disposable diapers is not properly treated as sewage, so disposable diapers in landfills can be a breeding ground for viruses. This obviously causes even more concern if these diseases leach into our water supply.
The bottom line
Cost-wise, choosing cloth made sense for us as well. I just pulled out our stash the other day and they’re all in great condition.
I’m looking forward to having to spend next to nothing on diapers for this coming baby. Other than some wipes (we use reusable cloth wipes for anything other than a blow-out—I won’t get into details, but you can imagine), costs will be quite minimal.
Figuring that it costs anywhere from $800-$2000 per year to diaper a baby in disposables, we’re saving a lot of money by using cloth, even factoring in our water costs (we line dry as much as possible).
Still, I completely get that cloth diapering isn’t for everyone. Disposables are convenient and you don’t need to worry about cleaning, which, to be honest, can be a pain and take up precious time.
The convenience factor is huge. I totally get it.
And convenience and time is obviously important to Canadian families, considering 90-95% of families choose disposable over cloth. I do think the number of families choosing to use cloth is rising in popularity though, as I’m constantly seeing cute cloth diapers on babies.
For those who want to use disposable but worry about the plastic and bleach in diapers or the environmental impact, there are a few companies that make some decent chlorine and bleach-free disposable diapers.
Also, a middle-of-the road alternative for those who want to be more environmentally friendly but don’t want to deal with having to wash their own diapers, is to use a diaper service. I know most cities have at least one or two services and friends I know who’ve used them have nothing but positive things to say.
We’re pretty lucky that we have so many options now. Seriously, I’m not sure I would have had the patience my mom did to fold and pin all those old-school diapers.
But with the amazing amount of choices we have today, I’m feeling good about our decision. My project for this next week is to start washing and stuffing all those cloth diapers now, getting them ready for the nursery, which is still not even close to completion…oops!
Follow along as Megan Powell prepares for her second baby—due this spring—while chasing her energetic 3-year-old and trying to squeeze in bathroom breaks and naps. Megan also blogs at henfamily.com