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Before I even got pregnant I knew I wanted to give cloth diapering a shot.  The more research I did the more I knew that I was going to do it.  Here’s a few reasons why I decided to cloth diaper:

Money – Depending on where you do your research, these number can vary, but I’ve found that on average you can save between $1,000-$2,000 per child on a cloth diapering system.  I also opted to use cloth wipes, which saves an additional $200.  Obviously, the more kids you used those same diapers for, the more substantial your savings will be.  Now let me make a disclaimer.. cute “fluffy” butts are hard to stop buying more cloth diapers for, so it’s really up to the person to restrict their spending habits.  =)  I have spent about $500 on diapers, wet bags, pail liners, cloth wipes, diaper sprayer and extra inserts.  This “stash” will last me well into my next child!

Environment – Did you know that diapers take up to 500 YEARS to decompose??  And you thought your compost pile took a long time?  Did you also know that it is actually illegal in the US to dispose of human fecal matter into a landfill?  This means that everyone using disposables should really be doing the thing that they find grossest about cloth diapering, dumping the poop in the toilet!!  The thought of being able to save the landfill of my 6,000 diapers for one child was worth it on it’s own.

Baby’s Bum – good luck finding an ingredient list for disposables!  Anyone else find it strange that companies are not required to list what’s in their diapers?  After all, all of our clothing spells out the contents of the material, why would it be any different for something that’s touching our baby’s skin 24/7?  After some research, I’ve found that the basic contents of the disposable diapers are these: polypropylene (cover and liner), sodium polyacrylate  and wood pulp (stuffing – the sodium polycrylate is the tiny crystal looking things that can sometimes seep out onto your baby’s bum), dyes (to print those cartoons on the outside), and perfumes (to cover the stench..).   Research shows that these ingredients are safe and pose no hard to a baby, even though there have been thousands of reports of chemical burns by disposable using parents.  Personally, I like the list on my cloth diapers better: 100% cotton =)

Potty Training – It has been said that cloth diapered babies potty train faster.  The fact that a baby can actually tell when they’ve wet themselves in cloth diapers encourages potty training at a younger age.

“Fluffy mail” – Ok – so I have officially made this last reason up.. =)  Who wouldn’t love to have Christmas a couple times a year when you get new diapers in the mail?  Yes, it may be strange that you can get excited about cloth diapers, but who can resist a “fluffy” butt??

It also makes your diaper bins way more cheerful!

Now I’ve gotten a lot of um.. shall we say, negative reactions, when I’ve told people that I’m using cloth diapers.  Here are some things that I’ve encountered, and how I’ve responded..

-“You wash those in your washer??”  – Yes, I do my own cloth diaper laundry. If you are really grossed out by this, then there are different options, such as a diapering service (but note that this will not really be any more cost effective than disposables).  Also, they have now come out with diaper sprayers (I have the bumGenius diaper sprayer), so you don’t have to do the old dunk and swish tactic your mom would be happy to tell you about!  Besides, you wash your own underwear, and those baby clothes that have been leaked on and spit up on in your washer right?  Is there really that much of a difference?

-“Doesn’t having to wash the diapers eliminate the cost and the environmental friendliness benefits?” – No.  The cost of washing diapers is still way less than what disposables are, especially if you have an HE machine.  If you buy an environmentally friendly detergent (such as Tiny Bubbles by GroVia) that is phosphate free, biodegradable and fragrance free, they are completely harmless to the environment.  And I always line dry my diapers, and just fluff them in the dryer for a few minutes to eliminate any stiffness that has developed.

Diapers drying on the line - isn't it beautiful?

-“Aren’t you afraid of stabbing your baby with a pin?”  – Oh how I love this one, because then I get to go one a whole long talk about how cloth diapers are so much more advanced than they used to be, and they’re just as easy to use as disposables are now!

So this is just my really brief 101 on cloth diapering, I will soon be breaking down the different types of cloth diapers as well as the difference in cost effectiveness of each type.  A great source to purchase on-line as well as general information on cloth diapers is kellyscloset.com, check them out!