Reusable cloth diapers: 5 compelling reasons why you you need to make the switch
I’m sure if you were born in, during or after the 80’s, chances are that you were a baby who spent a lot of your baby years in disposable nappies. There were ads that were curated to brainwash new moms into ditching the traditional cloth diapers for causing “wet rashes” on the baby’s skin & being a laborious job for the mother. This was a decade when a lot of mothers were working & continued to work unlike their moms who were essentially homemakers for most of their lives. Hence, convenience was the USP of these disposable diaper brands, which soon became the modern momma’s newly found muse. Because, babies crying out of the ‘wetness’ of the cloth diaper even on screens wrenches a mom’s heart.
Oops, I just digressed.
So, there’s this very popular ad that shows an inconsolable baby who’s taken to the doctor by his mom & granny, who have no clue why he’s so. And there’s the doc generously handing out a pack of a famous diaper brand; while joining the dots between the cloth diaper & a possible cold. I still fail to see the relation between the two. And I seriously have a problem with this thought process.
I have no issues if you’ve always been a fan of disposables, but there’s something that I really want to put forward before you about using cloth diapers. And I wish to present a few pointers for discussion about using disposable nappies.
- What gives the disposable nappy so much absorbency than cloth diapers?
- Can you really hope to leave your baby to sleep in the diaper all night like the ads claim?
- How do you think your baby’s stinky poop & pee will be disposed?
- Have you calculated how much you’ll have to budget money aside for these diapers per month (irrespective of when your child will be potty trained)?
- Do you really think your baby is feeling great ‘down there’ & that it is safe for him/her?
Here are 6 reasons why you need to be switching from disposable to reusable cloth diapers now:
1. Cloth diapers are quite Health-‘Wise’
If you look up the content list of most of the popular disposable diaper brands, you’d find Sodium Polyacrylate, which I Googled long back when I used one for my daughter for the first time. This is that chemical that absorbs all the pee & possibly converts it into gel too. So the baby can feel ‘dry’ & still ‘clean’. Sodium Acrylate, though present in very less quantities in these diapers (as claimed), is associated with Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS), skin allergies & of course, diaper rashes.
And with this kind of absorption, a baby may still feel dry after peeing a good 3 times. Now whether it’s a boy or a girl, sitting in what you excreted long ago is bound to increase chances of developing thrush (around the vagina & scrotum) & even urinary infections.
Why Cloth Diapers:
Since cloth diapers lack the superlative absorbency of the commercial diapers, any leakage or soiling session is quickly noticed & is addressed with changing to another cloth diaper. Cloth diapers are breathable. How you’d get the alerts? Simple. Your baby will himself/herself signal you with a subtle or moderate cry. And the best part? There aren’t any nasty chemicals involved here.
If we could visualize our bottoms sealed in a totally plastic underwear without a patch of fabric into it, things could get clearer. Couldn’t they?
2. Cloth diapers are budget-friendly
Assuming your child may get totally potty-trained by the age of 2 or 2.5 years, I’d want you to calculate how many thousands you’d be spending only on his/her pee & poop. On that note, cloth diapers are totally frugal.
Given with a good maintenance of cloth diapers, you could consider reusing your first child’s possession for your younger one as well.
3. Cloth diapers are environment friendly
Just like I mentioned about the mindless disposal of sanitary napkins passing a bigger cue for sustainable menstruation, the disposal of soiled diapers poses a bigger threat to the environment. You never know until you stumble across a horrible stench. Or after knowing that all that trash is landing in humongous heaps in landfills, which will never decompose at all.
Assuming that you use 5 diapers per day for your baby, you’d have used not less than 3650 diapers by the time he/she turns 2. 3650 diapers fated to be piled up in ugly heaps of non-degradable toxic waste.
4. Early Potty-Training
There’s no doubt that cloth diapers do not make your baby ‘feel dry’. So your child remains sensitive to feeling wet & relatively uneasy at least after a few minutes of dirtying the cloth diaper. This way, he/she learns early to command an immediate change thereby loathing the ‘dirty’ feeling. And this becomes an ease while you decide to potty train him/her.
It’s great that these days, many preschools & montessory schools are mandating ‘diaper-free’ zones to make potty-training a nice experience for little children.
5. Cloth diapers do NOT mean sleepless nights
I’ve myself used cloth diapers for my child except for a few traveling instances, until she was fully potty-trained. And I want to tell you that cloth diapering was not something that I lost my sleep to. While my kid slept at night, she’d move & twitch a bit. That used to wake me up gently though, when I quickly changed the pre-fold of the diaper for her. In winters too, you could expect 2-3 such night changes. That’s not a BIG deal looking at the downsides of disposables.
Here are some fantastic brands of cloth diapers that I personally recommend. I have used them for my kid & I must say, they made my initial phase of motherhood totally satisfactory.
TinyCare brings very soft & breathable cotton material with nice absorbency too. They are quite reasonable as well. However, with an extended use over months many, the waterproofing capacity may diminish prompting you to buy a new one. Still, disposables are in no way, a competition to these.
These are great with designs & come in cotton & muslin textures. You’d get all of them – Prefolds & the entire cloth diaper covers
This one, too, is available with pre-folds, inserts & covers. Bumberry is comparatively more durable than the above two.
I came across BumGenius a bit late & found it a bit costlier. But then the durability is just un-matchable; thus making it totally worth buying!
Washing & Maintaining Cloth Diapers
Cloth Diapers do not call for the kind of labor, time & maintenance like most of us think. Even if you’re a working mom, no worries. You could ask your baby’s caretaker/nanny to either soak the dirty inserts/diapers in warm water, OR spread out on the clothesline if there’s a lot of sunlight available. In the latter case, you could wash them when your washing schedule is due.
For poop, the stools land where they’re supposed to – in the toilet. The stains can be easily washed under a running tap of warm water & then rinsed with detergent.
For the best antibacterial treatment, I’d suggest washing or finally rinsing the cloth diapers in water mixed with Dettol. Make sure you put cloth diapers to dry under the sun.
Have you used cloth diapers for your kiddo? Or are you going to consider cloth-diapering hereafter? Do let me know your thoughts.