As a soon-to-be mother I’m a little overwhelmed by this new world of parenting that I’m about to approach. One of the main things I’m most lost about is this whole cloth diapering thing. Prior to becoming pregnant, I had little knowledge (and interest) in any of the current baby or parenting trends. In my attempts to gain as much knowledge about pregnancy and babies, I came across the whole diapering phenomena. I’ve heard nothing, but good things about it: Its more economically savvy! It’s better for the environment! It’s better for your baby! BUTTT…just like with anything, there are cons. The cons are what I want to first address, before I jump on the cloth diapering bandwagon. My main concerns are from a financial standpoint. Is cloth diapering really more economically savvy? I mean, I’ve see YouTube videos of moms who are doing cloth diapering laundry every single day. On top of that they are using three different washing cycles and two types of detergent, and I just can’t keep up. Mind you actually taking the dang thing apart. Cloth diapers seem to have all these different components to them, which to seem spells time! I think to myself as a new mother, could that time be better utilized doing something else for baby. Yes I know that if things are important to you, you make time for them. However, we don’t have convenient things in this world for no reason. I’m at a loss for what to do, and in my current quest to school myself on all things cloth diapering, I’m still on the fence about it.
Cloth diapers tend to be pretty pricey. We’re talking about $16-$20 a pop (or diaper)! According to KellysCloset.com this is the breakdown of diapers I’ll need for baby:
Newborn to 4 months – 20 – 24 diapers
Infant (4 to 10 months) – 16 – 20 diapers
Toddler (10 months to potty training) – 12 – 16 diapers
These are estimates, but they still give you a good idea of a reasonable and realistic number of diapers you would use. So let’s do the math, based off the average price ($18) of a cloth diaper:
Newborn to 4 months – 20 – 24 diapers = $432
Infant (4 to 10 months) – 16 – 20 diapers = $360
Toddler (10 months to potty training) – 12 – 16 diapers = $288
Total # of diapers needed and cost: 64/$1080
Let’s compare to disposable diapers:
According to SouthernSavers.com, the breakdown of disposable diapers needs for baby is as such:
Changing on average 10 diapers per day/night, ½ lb growth per week, starting weight of 6 lbs
First 4 Months
Newborn Size: 2-3 packs (not really needed most can go straight to size 1)
Size 1: 840 diapers needed to get to 12 lbs = 16-20 jumbo packs
Size 2: 560 diapers needed to get to 16 lbs = 13-15 jumbo packs
5 months to 12 months
Growth slows to 1 lb every 3 weeks on average
Diaper Changes on average 6 per day
Size 3: 1512 diapers needed to get to 28 lbs = 56-62 jumbo packs
Total Diapers needed in the first year and cost: 2,912/roughly $425 to $582 (based off of an average best price of $4-$5/per pack), retail price would be double that, so $850-$1200.
To me it looks to be a difference of about $250-$300 in just the cost of the diapers. However, there are some other factors we have not taken into account yet. I’ll address cloth diapering ones first. Cloth diapering requires constant laundry, so that means water and electricity as far as utilities go, detergent, and general wear and tear on your appliance. Now washer machines usually last forever, so the wear and tear isn’t a huge cause for concern, but the increase in utilities is. All that extra washing could easy add an extra $50-$100 to your monthly bill. Now on the topic of detergent, it can be expensive and I’m a Tide girl, however I’m using All for Baby at this time for all of baby’s items. It’s still in the $8-$9 range for a 100 fl/oz size of detergent. Fortunately, you don’t need much, but you may need some bleach for the tough stains, which although is super cheap is still a cost to consider.
Now to address disposable diapering: Folks, it’s hard to believe that you need nearly 3000 diapers for baby within the first year! To me, its not just about the money though. It’s also about the environment. Disposable diapers, from what I’ve heard, are horrible for the environment. According to 29diapers.com, a disposable diaper takes theoretically 500 years to decompose. That’s half a century! Now, I’m no environmentalist, but I try to do my part daily to not contribute to waste and help the environment. 500 years is ridiculous and so sad in a way! Nothing natural takes 500 years to break down, so that lets you know just how unnatural disposable diapers are. Disposable diapers also contains chemicals that can be harmful to babies, and set them up to diaper rash, yeast infections, and general irritation. This is not to say babies who are cloth diapered don’t experience any of these issues, but the odds are much lower and typically less severe. While it might be somewhat trivial, you have to look at the numbers of trash bags you would use with throwing out disposable diapers. Yes, I buy the 84 count pack too, but I can only imagine how fast I’d run through them throwing out diapers every couple of days. Those trash bags can get expensive! Even buying them in bulk, along with all the other trash you accumulate from having children and living normal daily life, you Can really run through them quickly.
So with all that being said, and I hope as unbiased as possible, the verdict is still out for me. Yes, I’m an environmentally friendly person who wants to go as natural as possible when it comes to products I use on my child. However, as a new mother, I’m not quite sure what I’m in for, and don’t want to put excess pressure on myself. Convenience exists for a reason, and having a baby, you need as much time as you can spare and find to not only take care of baby, but yourself and family. Additionally, I don’t want to put any extra financial burdens on my husband and I, due to the fact that we will potentially be dropping down to one income family after the first of the year. At this point, I’m just not sure what to do.
Mamas/caregivers what is your take? – Do you cloth diaper, if so why or why not? Is it really worth it? What the consumption of resources, to include time?
I can’t wait to hear your feedback!