If you’ve ever encountered a mom who cloth diapers her kid, you can guarantee that she has preached the good word of at least one of the following benefits of cloth:
“Cloth is the best! It’ll save you so much money!”
“You’ll never have leaks! It makes life easier!”
“It doesn’t take very much time at all!”
While all of the above are indeed true, they are only true to a certain extent.
It’s true. Cloth Diapering Moms have a few embarrassing secrets that they don’t want shared with you, but I’m here to pull back the curtain and reveal the TRUTH:
1. Cloth does save you tons of money…unless you’ve bought SO many cloth diapers that you’ve spent just as much as you would have had you used disposables.
It costs an average of $500 (average of 24 diapers) to cloth diaper one child from birth to potty training, and most of the diapers will make it to round two with kid #2, albeit with minor repairs on some. It costs an average of $1,500-$2,000 to use disposables for one kid (and that’s banking that he potty trains at 2) and there’s no reusing those for kid #2. However, there are some cloth diapering moms (myself included) who have enough cloth diapers for three or more kids at once. These mommas aren’t saving nearly as much in the short term unless they use those diapers for 3 or more kids, BUT in the end, they can do something with cloth that they can’t with disposables: they can sell them- sometimes for up to 80% of the original value or even double or triple the original value depending on the condition and availability of the print/brand in question. This is usually a huge surprise to many outside of the cloth universe. For example, I purchased my original stash for Lucas at around $400 and sold it for $200 2 years later.
However, this brings about the dark side of buying and selling cloth: some moms pay way over retail just for one diaper because they reaaaaaaaaally want it. Cloth diapering becomes a hobby, a hobby that encourages it’s participants to collect every color, print, and version of every diaper in the brand(s) they love, and some people go to great lengths (and depths of their bank account) to achieve this goal. For example, I recently saw a retired print go for over $100. That’s 5 times the retail value. FIVE TIMES. “Ludicrous!” you say, and I agree, but that’s just not my cup of tea. Those kinds of collectors are definitely not gaining from the monetary benefit of using cloth, but they’re having fun achieving their goals anyway!
2. Cloth diapers prevent leaks/blowouts…unless you aren’t getting the proper fit or don’t have the necessary amount of absorbency for your kid’s ability to pee like Niagara Falls.
When first time cloth users start out, they often do face a bit of trial and error in finding the right fit for the diaper on their kid. Tiny little newborn legs paired with big bellies full of milk sometimes make it difficult to get the diaper to fit the way it needs to to prevent leaks. If the diaper isn’t on properly, gaps at the legs, back, or tummy can cause leaks in those places, and if the diaper doesn’t have enough absorbency with it’s standard inserts for your super-soaker at nap or bedtime, it takes a little testing to figure out what additional inserts you should add to make sure Junior wakes up dry. Some brands, like Lalabye Baby, have “How-To” tutorials to help their customers get the best fit, fix their fit, and to find the best way to add absorbency, just like some retailers (like us) have helpful tutorials and experienced admins in our exclusive customers-only Facebook group to help you get the best fit, make recommendations for absorbency needs, or even teach you how to use certain products for super heavy wetters-like the wonderfully wide world of wool! (If you want to join our exclusive Stash Chat, simply make a purchase from Dream Diapers, and you will be invited to this exclusive and helpful group!)
3. Cloth diapering is convenient…unless you make it too complicated by constantly changing brands or wash routines.
Most people shy away from cloth because they think “It must take too much extra time to wash and prep for use. I barely get my clothes washed! I don’t have time for MORE laundry!” But the truth is that with cloth, it’s one extra load every other day- that’s 3 extra loads a week. And you know what? I always have clothes laundry to do, but I’m always caught up on diaper laundry because 1. I don’t have a choice and 2. I actually enjoy doing diaper laundry. (It’s a sickness, I know, but come to the fluffy side and you’ll see!) You never have to run to the store for diapers when you run out or need to size up. You don’t waste diapers when your kid suddenly outgrows his size 2 and needs size 3. Thanks to the real elastic in cloth (once you have figured out your kid’s fit and absorbency needs) you avoid major blow outs and leaks, which usually would add to your laundry pile each week. And because almost 80% of diaper rash is caused by the chemicals in disposable diapers, you don’t have to constantly battle rashes or spend money on diaper ointment!
The complication comes in when moms keep changing brands and end up spending twice as long doing diaper laundry because they have to assemble certain inserts with certain shells, or when they adhere to super complicated or non-recommended wash routines/additives that cause problems with their diapers like leaking, rashes, or stink. Sticking to a simple wash routine with the appropriate amount and kind of detergent should prevent any issues or any need for any additional steps or processes. I’ve used the same routine and detergent for over two years with no problems because I’ve clung to the adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Finally, there are a couple other extra little embarrassing tidbits I’m reluctant to reveal because just like the others, I, too, am guilty… like how cloth diapering moms tend to feel a little smug about how adorable their kids look in their color coordinating diapers that match their outfits, or how they tend to spend far too much time arranging their child’s diapers to look visually pleasing for Stash Shot Sunday or that they all worry about the same things when it comes to cloth diapering. Cloth diapering moms often relish being able to spread the Cloth Gospel when changing their kid in public- just begging for someone to say, “Wow, I’ve never seen a cloth diaper like that before!” so that we can word vomit all of our wonderful cloth love all over them to try to bring them to the fluffy side. We also love showing off our reusable cloth swim diapers at the pool or sharing with others how using cloth has turned other parts of our lives to the greener side of things, from the health and beauty products we use to even how we approach our “monthly visitor”.
So while I’m feeling a bit like the Masked Magician for revealing our secrets, I do have to say that overall, our secrets aren’t that terrible. 🙂 I’ve found the cloth community to be extremely uplifting and helpful to one another. When newbies do face troubles, there are undoubtedly several women ready to lend advice or suggestions to help them out, and often moms are willing to cut great deals for newbies to cloth when selling their stash gently used, just to help another momma get started on her cloth journey for less and spread that love of fluff. Even Dream Diapers as a retailer has created great a gently used option for those seeking to try out cloth diapers with their newborns with our new Gently Used Newborn Diaper Packages!
I hope those of you who are already cloth diapering mommas will be kind and helpful to others, and if you’ve not yet joined our ranks, I hope you consider it! It’s really all it’s cracked up to be. 😉
Fluffy love to you all, mommas!