Sunday, March 13, 2011

One Of The Best Choices I've Made For Baby Is....

Cloth diapering! Not only does it save money from week to week, but it is so much better for my baby and the environment. Sure, choosing cloth can be quite an up-front cost, however it really saves in the long run. In addition to cloth diapering, making my own wipes just adds to the savings.

Here is a breakdown of the average costs:
Disposable Diapers
A package of 180 disposable diapers, enough for about 3 weeks, costs $35-$40. At the end of 1 year $595-$680 will be spent on diapers alone. Wipes for a single container of 80, enough for 1 week, range from $4-$6. After 1 year, $208-312 will be spent on wipes. Add that to what is spent on diapers, and in 1 year $803-$992 will be spent on diapers and wipes. Diaper cream costs $4-$6 for 4 ounces. So add that to the growing bill. At the end of the day, disposables PLUS wipes PLUS diaper cream for 1 baby costs anywhere from $819-$1016 per year.

Cloth Diapers
My start-up cost for cloth diapers cost between $300-$400 (I have one-size diapers that will last me from birth to potty training); I have 17 pocket diapers (13 for day-time use and 4 that are for night-time) in my humble stash. The wipes that I make are made of water, baby lotion ($5--1 bottle will last for 2-3 months) and baby oil ($4--I am still on the same bottle that I got for my baby shower, so it will last for 6 months or so), I use viva paper towels that I purchase in a 6 pack ($8--this will last for 4 months). So altogether for a year supply of homemade wipes, I spend between $52-$62. Additionally, since cloth diapering is better on baby's sensitive skin, I have spent no money ($0, zero dollars, zip, zilch, nada) on diaper cream. My total is $52-$62 per year on wipes, and since I only have to pay for diapers once I will split the cost into thirds and say my little one will be potty trained by 3, so that is $100-$134 per year for diapers, bringing my total amount spent on diapers PLUS wipes up to $152-$196 per year.

In addition to the amazing savings, cloth is beneficial in so many other ways!

Cloth diapers are better against baby's sensitive skin. Like I mentioned before, my little one has had absolutely no diaper rash issues, and I contribute that to using cloth. One of the most common causes of diaper rash is baby's sensitivity to the chemicals (Dioxin (banned in many countries but not the U.S.), Tributyl-tin (TBT), polyacrylate; real diaper association)in disposable diapers (according to baby center; the new parents' guide).

In addition to being better for baby, cloth diapers are also better for the environment. Did you know that when using disposable diapers, the solid waste is supposed to be dumped into the toilet (RDA) however, most dirty diapers are not dumped, therefore lots of disposables (92%) end up in the landfill. Disposables also take a really long time (think hundreds of years) to decompose. I feel good knowing that I'm not contributing to that.

I do realize that cloth is not for everyone, there are those Moms that work and send their kids to daycare. I know that at most daycares, the teachers probably would look at a Mom who showed up with cloth diapers for their child like they had two heads and four sets of eyes. I first decided on cloth when I was about 6-months pregnant, and I got quite a few puzzling looks from quite a few people. However, once my baby arrived, friends and family got to see really how simple cloth is. However, working moms could cloth diaper their babies in the evenings and on the weekends.

I also know that not everyone is willing to do the bit of extra laundry that is required when you choose cloth. Honestly though, it is really not that much more of an effort. I wash diapers probably 2 times during the week and 1 time on the weekends. And there are also diaper services out there.

I'm also not unrealistic. I myself have used 'sposies from time to time. I always have a small amount on hand as a backup. I use maybe 2-3 a month. I use them when I am washing my diapers. I would like to get to the point where I don't have to use any 'sposies at all, but seeing as my stash is limited, I'll have to add to my collection of cloth before I can eliminate disposables.

For me the choice was simple, better choice for baby, better choice for the earth, better choice for me (and my wallet)!

****To read my HOW-TO article for newbies to cloth diapering, click HERE.****