My wife Courtenay and I both started preparing to have a baby the moment we found out we were pregnant. It was a bit premature to start so early, but we wanted to get some of the important decisions out of the way. Also, I was extremely excited that I was going to be a Dad!
One important decision we made was whether to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers. At first the thought of cloth diapers was disgusting to both of us and after seeking advice from our parents about cloth diapers they advised us against it. They told us it was messy and pinning a cloth diaper on a baby was at times difficult. They also questioned how we would wash them, and if a laundry service was required.
Truth is that the diapers of the past were messy and created hassles when it came to cleaning. People would complain about the diapers smelling and the nuisance of arranging a laundry service to come pick up and drop off the cloth diapers. My wife spent many hours researching the different types of cloth diapers, cloth diapers companies and read many reviews. Courtenay discovered that the days of arranged pick up were less common and we could easily wash the cloth diapers at home in our own washing machine. I was a little wary about how a washing machine could handle soiled cloth diapers and what would be done with the poop. We decided to use disposable liners so that no poop ever really touches the cloth diapers. I am happy to report the liners are super easy to use and I have never had to deal with poop more than I would if it was a disposable diaper! The soiled liner goes directly into the garbage! Having to potentially touch poop was why I was originally unsure of cloth diapers, but once I learned I wouldn’t have to touch poop all the time I was on board!
However, there are some disadvantages to cloth diapering. In our case, we still use disposables when we go out. Many cloth diaper companies sell wet bags for your soiled diapers. But the thought of being out potentially all day with dirty soiled diapers still is a bit too gross for me! We also use a disposable diaper at night because Parker sleeps 8-9 hours and is a very heavy wetter at night. Also, we wash the cloth diapers every 2-3 days to ensure they always come out clean and that way no stink hangs around. Not a huge disadvantage though as you are only doing 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week.
One huge benefit of using the cloth diapers is how much safer they are to use compared to disposables. What I mean by this is with disposable diapers you have all sorts of chemicals added to create a high absorbency and to neutralize smells. Cloth diapers don’t have these harmful chemicals which get absorbed into the baby’s skin. Also, because most cloth diapers are made of cotton, microfiber, or bamboo the diapers are more breathable and can causing less skin irritation and less diaper rashes. I can notice the difference between cloth and disposable when I change Parker. His skin doesn’t look as red and irritated in cloth as when he has been using disposable diaper.
Another benefit of using cloth over disposable diapers, and the one that had the most influence on our decision was the cost savings. The average disposable diaper in a store near us is about 15-25 Canadian cents per unit. Cloth diapers have a larger initial up front cost, however, when you factor in the life of the cloth diaper and the fact that many cloth diapers can be deep cleaned and sold second hand, the cost drops drastically. You could also save the cloth diapers and use them again if you are planning to have more children. When Parker was younger we were using about 15-20 diapers a day, it has since dropped to 8-10 times per day. Now imagine you are buying a year supply of disposable diapers at the above rates, for Parker it works out to more than 700 dollars for diapers alone. We have a relatively large cloth diaper stash (Courtenay claims we have close to 50) and we paid less than $300, including taxes and shipping.
We also decided to use one size cloth diapers, meaning that they are adjustable in the waist and rise. Some of them use all snaps and some we have use Velcro at the waist for an even better fit. The cloth diapers are also fun because you can buy them in lots of different patterns! Some of my favorite patterns we have are: motorcycles, fire trucks, puppy dogs and monsters!