Getting Started With Cloth
we think of using cloth diapers, we don't think of how beneficial it
is for our babies, for our pocketbook, or for our environment. However I
hope to share with you in this article about the benefits of cloth
diapering, what you'll need to get started and how to wash them. This
article does not cover all of the benefits or attributes of using cloth
but I hope it is enough information for you to make the best decision
for your baby, for your family and for our earth.
Better for Baby
of all, it is important to know why choosing cloth is superior for
your baby. According to studies, 78% of disposable-diapered babies have
diaper rash, compared to 7% of cloth-diapered babies. Cotton diapers
are better for your baby because cotton "naturally breathes", while
disposables (made of paper and plastic) don't have the breath-ability
that cotton does. Thus, diaper rash occurs in more disposable-diapered
babies. If you had to be in a diaper all day, wouldn't you want to sit
in soft cotton?
Caring for the Earth
for environmental concerns, using cloth is just plain superior! There
is beginning to be quite a problem with disposables in landfills. When
using disposables, people generally do not flush solid waste down the
toilet (as the instructions on the package recommend). Instead, the
waste remains in the diaper and goes off to the landfill. The problem
with this is that there is over 5 million tons of untreated solid waste
in landfills and they may contain intestinal viruses. It is estimated
that there are almost 100 intestinal viruses out there; this is how our
groundwater becomes contaminated. Insects transport these viruses
around and thus diseases break out.
the other hand, cloth diapers with solid waste are shaken off into the
toilet (or if liners are used, simply flushed down the toilet). The
waste is taken care of the way it is meant to, that is, it goes through
a sewage treatment center. This ensures that we are not contaminating
our earth and each other.
|How Many Do I Need?||For washing every other day:|
|Prefolds or Fitted Diapers: ||For Newborns: 2 ½-3 dozen |
For Infants/Toddlers: 2-2 ½ dozen
|Diaper Covers:||6 is a minimum, 8-10 make life easier!|
for the monetary value of using cloth, you might be surprised at how
much you will save! According to some mothers, you will save on average
about $1,500.00! Other mothers who use the most convenient cloth
diapers (all-in-ones) save around $1,000. Even other moms save around
$2,000.00 when they use an inexpensive cloth diapering system.
the other hand, when you finish using diapers with your child, you're
done. All you have left is a huge mountain of trash. However if you
have used cloth diapers, you are ready for the next child, thus saving
even more money! Some mothers have purchased a new appliance with the
money they have saved using cloth diapers. What a great idea!
Okay, Now how do I get started?
comes the fun part! You now know that cloth is better in so many
respects, so which products do you choose? Well, there are so many
quality cloth diapers out there that it's hard to make a decision!
However, it is so much fun to "test" different products. Many of the
moms I know who use cloth diapers rave about how they "love cloth
diapering." However, I have yet to hear one mother using disposables
say the same thing! There are basically three different components of
cloth diapering: prefolds, diaper covers and all in ones.
are the square, flat diapers you fold. Prefolds are used to soak up
urine and to hold solid waste. These are available in a variety of
layers and materials. There is cotton flannel, birds-eye cotton and
terry material ("terry" is what towels are made of and is super
absorbent) used for making prefolds. Prefolds have no outer layer to
hold wetness in; therefore these are used with diaper covers or wraps.
diapers are cut and sewn to resemble an hourglass shape. They are made
of the same materials that prefolds are made of. The only difference
is their shape; some parents like using these "contoured" or "shaped"
diapers better than square shaped prefolds. This is totally a matter of
preference. Contoured diapers are also used with diaper covers or
cover baby's entire bottom. To use fitted diapers, just place under
baby, bring front up to baby's tummy, and either Velcro® or snap. With
fitted diapers, a diaper cover or wrap is still needed to hold wetness
in because they do not have any wetness protective layers in them.
|How Many Do I Need?||10-12 per day for newborns, |
6-8 per day for older babies
are used with prefolds, contoured or fitted diapers. You simply fold
the prefold and place on the cover. Then you bring the diaper and cover
under baby (just like using a disposable). Diaper covers either have
Velcro®, or snaps to fasten them. Diaper wraps may also be referred to
as "pull-ons", meaning that instead of using Velcro® or snaps to
fasten, you just pull up over baby. There are some great quality fleece
and woolen wraps out there to choose from. Many moms prefer to use
these covers or wraps at nighttime because they are so effective in
preventing leaks and blowouts. And we love to prevent those little
incidents from happening!
|How Many Do I Need?||6 are a minimum, |
8-10 make life easier!
All In Ones
are probably the most convenient cloth diaper on the market today. If
you are really used to disposables and are afraid of transition,
perhaps you should try using these first. These have layers of
absorbent cotton sewn inside and have a nice protective layer
preventing wetness from leaking onto the outside of the diaper. You
just put on the baby and go! There are also some wonderful all in ones
products out there. If you are traveling, shopping, or having Grandma
over to help with the baby, try using an all in one. People are always
amazed at how they look and function. These are definitely worth the
investment. However, some moms prefer to use these minimally because
they may be more expensive than using diaper covers/wraps and prefolds.
When used every day, the outer protective layer may deteriorate
quicker due to washing more often.
|How Many Do I Need?||10-12 per day for newborns |
6-8 per day for older babies
Miscellaneous Items Used for Cloth Diapering
are long, wide strips of cotton (or cotton and terry) layers laid on a
prefold or inside of an all in one. These are beneficial because they
have all of the absorbency of an extra diaper, but not all the bulk.
Doublers are generally used for heavier-wetting babies, for traveling
long distances, or for nighttime. Usually moms purchase a few for these
occasions; they are nice to have on hand.
are used to eliminate the need to shake off waste in the toilet and to
rinse off dirty diapers. There are reusable cotton liners and there
are also flushable, biodegradable liners. The cotton liners are reused
again after being washed, and the flushable liners are just flushed
down the toilet. These are also convenient products to have on hand.
hope this information has been helpful to you! Cloth diapering has
been one of my greatest experiences with my baby. It is my hope that
you will appreciate cloth diapering just as much as I have! If you have
any other questions, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Good luck and happy diapering! Remember, your baby will be so thankful for your decision, and so will your pocketbook!
©1999-2003 Comfy Bummy Diapers, Author-Mary McCarthy
This article may not be copied in parts or whole without written permission from the author.