Deciding to bring tiny humans into the world is an undeniably exciting, scary and complex thing. The responsibility, the joy, the ways your life will change, the laundry😨... there is a lot to consider. And if you can pull yourself out of the visions of sleepy smiles and sleepless nights there are about 1,000 decisions to be made. If you’ve found your way here, I’m assuming that one of those decisions is whether or not to give cloth diapering a chance. Like most parenting decisions, people tend to have strong opinions about cloth diapers. And while cloth diapers may seem overwhelming or old-fashioned, I pinky promise that there are plenty of great reasons for modern moms and dads to cloth diaper.
Reasons to Cloth Diaper: Why Would I Bother?
I’m not going to lie, most of the reactions you get when you tell folks that you are considering cloth are not positive. There are a lot of misconceptions about cloth diapering and what it entails. But gone are the days of diaper pins and rubber pants. Modern cloth diapers are made for modern parents. They fit into most people’s routines and there are plenty of reasons to consider cloth diapers for your family.
1. The Environment
One of the most popular reasons to cloth diaper is the environmental benefits. Choosing cloth can be seen as a very “crunchy mom” choice but, honestly, sustainable choices are becoming something that is top of mind for a lot of modern moms.
Cloth diapers are a great choice for those of us who are looking to reduce waste and our carbon footprint. It is true that washing cloth diapers means more laundry and therefore more water use. But manufacturing the disposable diapers you would use instead uses WAY more water than washing your cloth ever will. In fact, in addition to being big waste savers, most cloth diapers are also much more sustainable to produce as well.
Plus, choosing cloth doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Wanna be a completely waste-free family? Cloth diapers (or even cloth menstrual pads) 100% of the time can help get you there. Not sure your family is ready for that? Even part-time diapering will reduce waste and make a difference.
Either way, being eco-friendly and wanting to make more sustainable choices are great reasons to cloth diaper all or some of the time.
2. Saving Money
Confession: of all the reasons to cloth diaper, this was my number one. I may or may not have allowed people to assume that I was a sustainable saint out to save the planet, but really my biggest motivator was my budget. The idea of literally throwing my money away was supremely unappealing to me.
At first glance, cloth diapers may not seem like the more affordable choice. No matter which type of cloth you decide to use, the initial cost of creating a stash of cloth diapers can be steep.
We fully acknowledge that that start-up expense can be a barrier to some families. That is why Lil Helper offers a diaper subsidy program, military discount, and foster family discount, to help make accessing cloth easier and more equitable. (You can contact our fabulous team at firstname.lastname@example.org to find out more about these programs.) Some communities have also started to offer rebates for purchasing cloth or using cloth diaper services. So do a quick search and see if your municipality has one of these awesome programs.
Once you buy your stash, however, the cost of your diapers ends. And it doesn’t take long for them to pay for themselves when you compare their cost to the cost of disposables over time. Plus, your cloth diapers can be used on more than one child and even resold when you are done diapering.
With the cost of raising a family getting higher by the millisecond, all of those things make for great reasons to cloth diaper.
Okay, I may have just lost some of you. I promise I haven’t (completely) taken leave of my senses, so hear me out.
I know that the whole reason that disposables were invented was for convenience and I won’t pretend that they aren’t handy in some ways. Obviously the washing and maintenance of cloth diapers is more work than tossing a disposable in the diaper genie.
I will make the stubborn argument, however, that there are ways in which cloth is actually more convenient than disposables.
First, you will never “run out” of cloth diapers. Gone are the desperate midnight diaper runs because your sleep-deprived brain forgot to pick up disposables.
You also never need to worry about fit. I swear babies can jump a diaper size in a night, meaning you need to grab a new pack of disposables and leaving the leftovers to potentially go to waste. Most modern cloth diapers are one-size and will fit your babe from birth to training. The design of cloth diapers means a custom fit for your babe no matter what their size.
Speaking of custom fit, that leads to my trump card. Because of that custom fit, cloth diapers are amazing at containing poop blow-outs. I’m not going to say that poop NEVER leaked out of my cloth but it was VERY rare and VERY little. I will say that there is NOTHING more inconvenient than a horrifying up-the-back poonami that destroys your babies clothes, bedding, and your sanity. So this one alone trumps all the other reasons to cloth diaper in my mind.
A common question we hear is whether or not babies should wear cloth in the summer. Parents worry that their little one will be too hot. It seems to make sense since cloth is fluffier than disposables. But cloth diapers are actually cooler than disposables because they can breathe. The plastic in disposables doesn’t allow air to circulate the same way that the fibers in cloth does. This makes them comfier and can actually help prevent diaper rash and the need for diaper creams. You can also tell just by touching them how soft and cozy they are. If I was choosing which to put on my butt, cloth would be a clear winner.
As mentioned above, cloth diapers can be a lifesaver when it comes to fighting diaper rash. Cloth diapers are more breathable, usually have moisture wicking fabrics, and are also changed more often. This all equals healthier skin for babe and fewer rashes.
All of this also means that you don’t need to use diaper creams. That means fewer chemicals on your babies skin. In fact, disposable diapers are made with all kinds of chemicals and spend a lot of time touching your baby’s most sensitive skin. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, generally contain more natural fibers like cotton, bamboo, or hemp.
Just like we’ve become more aware of our impact on the environment, there is increasing attention being paid to the types of chemicals we put in our bodies and on our skin. Minimizing your little one’s exposure is one of many good reasons to choose cloth diapers.
6. Easier Potty Training
Some parents swear that cloth diaper babies have an advantage when they are ready to transition to training pants and trips to the potty. Despite his claim of being a rocket scientist, our CEO has failed to conduct any research to back this up. But it does make sense. Disposable diapers are made to feel dry all the time. Cloth diapers will wick some moisture but not to the same extent. So therefore it stands to reason that cloth diaper babes would be more familiar with the sensation of feeling wet, which is important to getting started with training.
Speaking as someone who is currently struggling with a reluctant potty-trainer, anything that might make the process easier is worth adding to the list of potential reasons to cloth diaper.
7. Just Plain Adorable
I mean, come on. Just look at that picture. Aside from baby ducks, there is nothing more adorable than a fluff bum poking out from under a dress or out the top of a tiny pair of pants. (This is a hill I am willing to die on. Fight me.) Not to mention it is impossible not to smile when you see the cute prints and colours they come in. Is this the most of the superficial reasons to cloth diaper? Maybe. Does that make it any less valid? Absolutely not.
8. An Amazing Community
Aside from the “extra work,” one of the most common reasons parents give for not considering cloth diapers is not knowing where to even start. How cloth diapering works is not mainstream knowledge, which can leave parents feeling uninformed or overwhelmed with the work of researching. What many parents don’t realize, is that the cloth diapering community is one of the most supportive around. There are lots of resources out there. Whether you are looking for comprehensive guides to help you get started or when you run into trouble, or more info on all things parenting-related cloth diaper parents have you covered. There are also tonnes of great groups on social media (like our Lil Helper:Unsnapped Facebook group) where you can find information and equally awesome parents and parents-to-be.
No matter what reasons you have to cloth diaper, we are happy you are here. Every person who considers cloth is one more person who knows a little bit more. Given the challenges of modern parenting, it can seem like cloth diapers don’t make sense. But, there are lots of ways that cloth can actually make life better for today’s families.
What do you think? Did we miss a good reason? Did we completely miss the mark? Let us know in the comments.