When it comes to the money side of this debate, there’s no contest. Cloth diapering wins hands down. While the initial investment in cloth diapers and diaper covers may seem high, when you compare this with the cost of disposables over a two to three-and-a-half year period, the savings are significant. Add to that, your supply of cloth diapers can be reused with future children.
I’m not going to post any actual cost comparisons here because the costs vary greatly depending on whether you choose generic or store brand disposables or the more expensive brand names. There is also a wide variety of cloth diaper options and prices. Additional cost factors include whether or not you plan to have more children who can reuse the cloth diapers and the amount of months your child is actually in diapers. Research shows that, across the board, cloth diapered toddlers are potty trained much earlier than their disposable diaper wearing playmates, due to the fact that a child is aware of a wet diaper when in cloth, but does not mind wetting his diaper when wearing a super absorbent (and chemically laced) disposable.
One way to offset the initial cost of cloth diapers is to register for them as gifts. Do your research ahead of time to determine which type of diapers are right for you. Ask your environmentally-conscious friends which cloth diapers they use. Many prefer all-in-ones, but they are quite a bit more expensive than standard pre-folds. AIOs do not require any type of diaper cover, so not needing to buy covers offsets the price a bit. One of the popular brands of AIOs is bumGenius™ which boasts their diapers are designed to make cloth diapering easy for every-day people. The company estimates a savings of approximately $1200 for one child using bumGenius AIOs over disposables.
We use standard pre-folds with plastic pants, although we do also have a few diaper covers, styled like disposable diapers, that go over the cloth diaper and fasten with Velcro®. While a set of AIOs would be nice, the pre-folds are quite easy to use, especially since we use Snappi® diaper fasteners and not diaper pins. T-shaped, a Snappi® is made out of a stretchable non-toxic material with grips on the ends that attach to the diaper. Visit their website for more information and purchasing information: www.snappibaby.com.
Of course, the cost of laundering cloth diapers is an issue, but is offset by the added cost of trash bags (more plastic in the landfill) and extra trips to the store for diapers when you run out unexpectedly. Not to mention the increased visits to the pediatrician that are often necessary when using disposable diapers, due to increased and worsened cases of diaper rash, respiratory problems and reactions to the chemicals in the diapers. Tomorrow, I’ll address the health risks and issues associated with disposable diapers.
Basically, it’s just common sense to realize the savings of using cloth diapers over one-time-use diapers. If you pocket the weekly savings, you could reward your potty-trained toddler with a trip to Disneyland and not even touch your budget!
Keeping it green,