Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Why Use Cloth?

Why Cloth?
Cloth diapering is much easier than most people think. It is also a great way to save money over buying expensive disposables. Whether you are considering cloth for your baby’s health, saving money, or conservation and the environment, you are making an important decision that will affect all.

For Baby
Disposables are full of harmful chemicals. They also get extremely hot and are not breathable. Recent studies have raised worries that the extreme heat created by disposables may lead to infertility in boys. Another benefit no parent should ignore: baby is less prone to diaper rash when wearing cloth.

Saving Money
By the time a baby is potty trained, they will have gone through approximately 5000 diapers. You are likely to spend $1500 to $3000 for disposable diapers and wipes. Even when considering costs to launder cloth, you still save a lot of money! Check out this calculator http://www.diaperpin.com/calculator/calculator.asp . Also consider that most diapers will last through more than one child. Once you are done with them you can sell or trade them, give them to someone in need, or use them for cleaning.

The Environment
Now imagine those 5000 diapers in a landfill. It is estimated that disposables take 500 years to decompose. Also consider that the disposable making industry accounts for nearly 7 billion gallons of oil each year and 3 times more waste!

What You Need
How many diapers you need will depend on how often your child needs to be changed and how many days you want to go between washing. Newborns use about 12 diapers in 24 hours. Toddlers generally use less. Most people prefer 2-3 dozen diapers. A one size fits all diaper is a great way to save even more money.

You will also need about 6 covers. Research the many types of covers as there are lots to choose from. I use the Gerber ones found at Wal-Mart. They are cheap and work fairly well. They don't hold up over time, but we only use covers when out and about. At home, I find it easier to go coverless.

Two or three wool soakers will be great for sleep and naps. More will be added about them eventually.

Inserts are a must for sleep. How many you need depends on how often baby pees at night. I use 2 per day. Because I wash every other day, and always seem to have one missing, I keep 6 on hand.

Cloth wipes are another way to save money. You will want a couple dozen or so. These can be purchased or made from old towels, t-shirts, sheets, etc. I use warm water for mine. You can also add a couple drops of essential oil to make a wipe solution. A few wet wipes in a baggy travel well (just remember to take them out between trips so they don’t get mildewed).

A diaper pail. Preferably with a cover. I use a metal trash can with a plastic liner. Cloth liners for the pail are nice too, but are not necessary.

A wet bag is great for outings. They are lined with a waterproof material and can be used for soiled diapers, dirty clothes, wet bathing suits, etc.

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