As you can see by the image above, I’m getting bigger by the day and it’s growing closer and closer to my April 1st due date. Last weekend I made the trek down to a cute little Richmond baby boutique to participate in a packed cloth diapering class in hopes that it would help me finally settle the internal debate I’ve been having: Disposable or Cloth? Judging by the amount of people piled into the very small room it is apparent that cloth diapering is peaking the interests of many soon-to-be-mothers. The woman teaching the class was a seasoned cloth diapering mother of 2 who took the time to go over all the different types of cloth diapers currently on the market and some of their pro’s and con’s.
There are many overall benefits of cloth diapers, which include several desirable perks: they contain less chemicals; there is a reduced frequency and severity of diaper rashes; they are better for the environment than their disposable counterparts; they can help potty train earlier; they are reusable and can be used for multiple children, which also means they are ultimately cheaper than disposables. They come in many different varieties, including: prefolds; fitted; all-in-one’s (AIO) or all-in-two’s (AI2); pockets; and hybrids. With so many choices it can be a little overwhelming at first. The two that seemed the easiest and most efficient to me were the all-in-one (AIO) and pocket diapers. They are a little bit more expensive than their pre-fold counterparts, but they still come in much cheaper than disposables in the long run, and can be used for multiple children. The thing that appealed most to me is their streamlined design that mimicked the convenience of modern disposables with easy snap and Velcro closures. They were not the old timey design with the single piece of cloth and clothes pins that everyone imagines when you say “cloth diapers.” Now coming to the one big con of cloth diapering: the mess! This is the number one issue that most mothers deal with when considering cloth vs. disposable, what do you do with all that stinky poop? Well to my surprise the cloth diapering industry has come up with many innovative ways to battle the mess without too much hassle.
Cleaning Dirty Cloth Diapers:
The Diaper Sprayer-
Pictured above, BumGenius Diaper Sprayer
This is a clever device that hooks onto the watersource of your toilet and allows you to hang dirty diapers over the toilet bowl so that you can just give them a quick spray to remove all the unwanted gunk. The waste will go directly into the toilet so you can just flush it away and toss the wet diaper in a waterproof wet bag, another cloth diapering life saver! Wetbags are not only waterproof but also designed to trap in any risidual smells and can be tossed right into the wash with the diapers. It seems easy enough! This is the method that the class’s instructor used and she said that it was very effective and it has had great reviews by users online.
Disposable Diaper Liners
Pictured above, GroVia All Natural BioLiners.
Disposable diaper liners that can be flushed with the rest of the mess. These work by simple tearing off a piece of the roll and putting in the center of the diaper. After baby goes you just toss the liner in the toilet and flush. This seems simple enough, and the liners are relatively cheap, so it seems like an easy solution.
Disposable Inserts for Pocket Diapers
Pictured above, Charlie Banana, Disposable Inserts
These disposable liners fit nicely into pocket cloth diapers and allow you to remove the mess and simply toss the liner straight into the garbage; then the diaper in the wet bag for the laundry. This option did not appeal to me as much as the other two because you would need an additional trash pail for stinky liners as opposed to just flushing the waste down the toilet. This may however be a suitable option for when baby is on a trip and you want the full convenience of a disposable diaper and a little extra padding in your cloth diaper. This may also be good for babysitters and daycares that may not be familiar with cloth diapering as this option seems as easy as a disposable; you just toss the soiled part and put on a fresh diaper.
After reviewing all of my options and considering the pros and cons of using cloth diapers I have decided to give them a shot. It seems to me that pros far outweigh the cons and all of my fears of cloth diapering being too messy or too much to deal with are not validated after my research. The fact that there are several options available to reduce the “ick-factor” of cloth diapering, making the mess much more manageable, definitely helps to make my decision much easier.
Where do you stand on the cloth diapering debate? Do you have any advice or input on the pros and cons? I’d love to hear from you!