23 Weeks today: Cloth Diapers
We're at the 23 week mark today. Baby girl is the same size as 2 big macs, a Barbie fashion doll, a chinchilla, a bunch of grapes, or a grapefruit. And she's weighing about as much as a soccer ball now, which is how I'm starting to look.
I wanted to talk a tiny bit about why we're choosing to use cloth diapers. I know I post a lot of things about sustainable products and saving the ocean and we're really trying to make an effort to start changing how we do things with the planet and population in mind. When we decided to start trying for a family, I just couldn't stand the idea of contributing to the millions of diapers in our landfills (and oceans!). So, I decided to learn what I could about cloth diapering. With the help of a few friends, coworkers, and websites, I'm happy to choose cloth. I'm sure we will still end up using some disposable diapers for convenience on vacation and outings but we're trying to go all in.
Last night I drove to Elizabethtown to pick up a BIG haul of 54 cloth diapers and inserts from Facebook marketplace and I'm even more excited now than before.
Here are my top 3 reasons why I want to use cloth diapers for our baby girl. (Source)
1. Cloth Diapers Are Cheaper!
Yep, you saw that right. Disposable diapers will set you back at least $2,000 before your child is potty trained. And if you buy premium or biodegradable options, that number will look more like $3,000. Whereas twenty of the most expensive cloth diapers will set you back less than $400. Factor in detergent and water bills, and you’re still looking at half the cost of disposables.
2. Eco Friendly
An average child will go through anywhere from four to eight THOUSAND diapers in his or her life. Nationwide, parents in the USA use an estimated 27.4 BILLION disposable diapers EACH YEAR! That’s around 3.4 million tons of diapers that end up in landfills each year.
Now think about all the trees that are used to make the diapers. And all the PLASTIC, which is made from petroleum. All the chemicals used in the process. And the water. Then all that water and chemicals returning to the environment as waste. Then the plastic packaging, the transportation – airplanes and trucks carting those diapers around the world – not to mention the energy you use driving to the store and back. And then the energy used to produce your garbage bags, the trucks to haul that trash to the landfills, the equipment used to manage the landfill.
Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials to make than cloth diapers do. Yikes. Additionally, it’s estimated to take between 250 and 500 years for a single disposable diaper to break down in a landfill. Whereas cloth are used over and over before heading to the landfill, and they they take about 5 months to break down.
The environmental footprint of disposable diapers is staggering. Compare that to using the same twenty cloth diapers over and over, cleaning them with safe detergent in a high efficiency washer. There’s just no contest.
Most disposable diapers are bleached with Dioxin, which, in animal studies, caused nerve damage, birth defects, increased rates of miscarriages and changes to the immune system. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified dioxins as a probable human carcinogen. Next up is Sodium Polyacrylate, the super absorbent gelling material, or AGM, that allows your baby to go long periods in one diaper. Sodium Polyacrylate has been linked in the past to toxic shock syndrome, as well as allergic reactions, and it’s is potentially lethal to pets. AGMs are also linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys.
Now, diaper manufacturers point out that these chemicals exist in very small doses in the diapers, and so don’t pose a risk. And, sure, more studies need to be done. But why risk it?
BONUS: Cloth diapers are cuter than disposables. Colors, patterns, textures, they have it all.
So, after all that, if you're a family who uses cloth diapers and/or other natural & sustainable products, tell me your thoughts. I'd love to hear all your tips and tricks because this is all new to us!
Specifically, how do you organize your cloth diapers and accessories in a small nursery without it looking messy and cluttered? What kind of cloth wipes do you use? How do you approach daycare about the use of cloth diapers?