And not just about the detrimental environmental effects of our obsessive overuse of plastic diapers! I want to talk simply use and economic stand point and I’d honestly like to know…what is keeping consumers attached to these things?!
Why am I bringing this up again? Because I just spent three weeks overseas for the holidays with my little one, introducing her to her German roots, and during this time I had to use disposables. And boy, oh, boy, am I happy to be going back to the land of fluffybuttness!
Why I hate plastic diapers so much (just this once disregarding the environmental impacts):
Plastic diapers and wipes are expensive! Let’s say you are buying a pack of 80 diapers, which costs approximately $25. You will need 6 or more diapers per day, so one pack will last you approximately 14 days. You will have to buy about two packs a month, 24 packs a year, which costs approximately $600. I am guessing one would diaper for about two years, so that’s $1200 roughly for over 4000 plastic crap bags…for ONE baby.
If one uses plastic diapers, one probably uses wipes, and believe you me – with those flimsy things you are going to use more than one wipe in one diaper change, namely when there is a poopsplosion. So, let’s say you buy a pack of 100 wipes that costs approximately $3. You will need roughly 12 wipes a day, so one pack will last you about 8 days. You will have to buy about 4 packs a month, 48 packs a year, which would cost approximately $140. I am guessing one would use wipes as long as they use diapers, so let’s say two years, which would be $280 roughly for over 8000 flimsy butt wipes.
Wipe warmers (a useless invention) can cost upwards of $20.
You are looking at at least $1500 for diapers, wipes, and maybe a wipe warmer, for about two years of baby’s start in life.
Let’s compare, shall we:
Cost for my set of cloth diapers: $72 (I got mine second-hand. There are expensive diapers out there, depending on the brand, and of course if you are buying new. New is not necessary). Cost for extra inserts: $12 (also second-hand, a few new ones). Wet-bag for storing and washing: upwards of $20 (new). Total cost for diapers for at least two years: approximately $100 (with possible purchases of extra diapers or elastic changes, which could still keep you under $150). Reuse for next baby.
For my wipes I use washcloths and a DIY solution of Castile soap, coconut oil, and water. Washcloths: $12. Castile soap: $18. Coconut oil: ~ $12. Wipes cost: approximately $100 for two years. I mostly use one washcloth per change, sometimes two depending on the catastrophe. Reuse washcloths for next baby. My “biggest” cost here is to continue to use Castile soap and coconut oil for the wipe solution, which go a long way since you are using a minimal amount.
Approximate cost to cloth diaper for two years: $200 (you can spend more if you choose expensive brands for new diapers – that is a choice). Even when you factor in water usage (which you pay for anyway) and detergent (which you pay for anyway, and despite what may be advertised to you, it is NOT necessary to buy ultra fancy detergent) to wash the diapers, you will still pay less than the plastic alternative.
Ease of use:
Now that our little one is becoming more mobile, she is getting squirmy on the change table. It can be very tricky to place a diaper on such a squirmy wormy! I have to say, having used both plastic and cloth, that cloth diapers are way easier to put on. They don’t slide as much with baby wiggles, do not get crinkled up, and are quicker to snap or stick into place. Cloth diapers are also much more difficult for the baby to take off by itself, unlike the plastic ones.
Not just for my ease of use, but also for baby to use these was not great. Whatever was in the wipes I tried (also tried different brands here), gave her skin a rash, and the lack of airflow in plastic diapers did not help.
I am writing this post mostly because of the amount of poopsplosions I have had with plastic diapers over the last three weeks. So frustrating! I used multiple brands (Huggies, Pampers Baby Dry, Pampers Swaddlers, and a generic brand) and they all had the same problem: either it would blow out the leg, or blow out the back, which gets to be pretty upsetting when you are on an airplane and go through THREE outfits and one blanket (and you know how tiny those bathrooms and change “tables” – it’s a LEDGE – are).
These things are pretty foolproof to put on as well, but no matter how the diaper sat or how I adjusted it, it was just one mess after another. Stress comes with traveling with a child or children, so not being able to rely on these diapers really made it worse. I will note that I would not use cloth diapers during air travel just because of the lack of storing and washing capabilities. However, the messes did not just occur during the air travel – it was just more stressful then.
I will not say that cloth diapers NEVER leak. We had pee leaks when baby’s legs were still quite skinny because we did not purchase cloth for newborns. However, the messes were rare. Blow-outs were contained.
So finally I am at home again, back in the land of cloth diapers where everything makes sense.
CLOTH DIAPERS FOR THE WIN!
Hi Nadine and thanks for your blog text. I am wondering if you have any good tips on how to be able to get cloth diapers thinner. On our tiny baby, those diapers are huge. That is my only reason for still using disposable diapers. Thanks for any tips on which kind of diapers to use!
They are definitely bigger than disposables! We had the same thing when our little one was much more little but we worked with it. The brands I’ve tried that seem to be thinner than the rest are Charlie Banana and all-in-ones from AMP. It could also depend on which and how many inserts you use. There are also “flats”, the original cloth diaper, which may be thinner; check it out on https://www.thinking-about-cloth-diapers.com/flat-cloth-diapers.html
I think there are a lot of misconceptions out there about cloth diapers that lead to people using disposables without really considering the choice. I didn’t even give cloth a second thought until talking to you and another friend who use ‘modern’ cloth diapers and came to understand how easy they can be to use. I see in larger centres, like Calgary, baby stores will have cloth diapers classes where people considering cloth can come for an information night with or without a baby to see what cloth is all about. Blogs like yours detailing personal experience and information are helpful in getting information out too 🙂
I agree. I think people believe it is more difficult to start cloth, but with anything you can develop your own system until it works best for you. I had some trial and error as well learning what was best for me and now I just see the extra benefits like cost and reliability that justify my choice! I’m glad you chose cloth too! Do you have your favourites yet?
Sounds like a no brainer! I don’t have kids yet but this is definitely something I want to do with future babies!
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I can only recommend it! Knowing you care about the environment already, it is definitely THE choice. But then for other reasons, like cost and reliability, I would also choose cloth. There is the argument of water use and cost, but I’m sure just as much water (if not more) is used and wasted in the production process of plastic diapers.
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Yes! Plus cloth is better for babies hormones and skin!
Definitely! We had way more rashes from plastic diapers and storebought wipes than we ever did with cloth. Friendly fabrics for baby bums!
I love cloth nappies. They’re better for the environment and so much more cost-effective – especially when you use them on more than one child. The ones I bought for my eldest daughter were used for both her and her younger sister and we’ll be using them again for baby number three later this year.
Amazing! That is what we hope to do too! Have you had to replace elastics?
Elastics have been fine. We have a mixture of birth to potty nappies and sized two part cloth nappies. The inside pad has needed replacing on a few of the two part ones (particularly the large ones which were used for longer) but the birth to potty ones have all been fine
What brands do you use? Or do you make your own?
A mixture of Mothercare ones (two part nappies which were half price when I bought them in 2011 as they were discontinued shortly after) Tots Bots and Charlie Banana plus Motherease airflow wraps. I’ve found the two part ones combined with a wrap have worked best for us.
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I definitely agree on this one… I recently had a write up for cloth diapers too. I’m trying to see if there are moms who would disagree on us and it is amazing that there’s none. CLOTH DIAPERS FOR THE WIN! 😀
Heck yes! I’m always trying to convince other mothers to switch because they’re so much better for more reasons than one!
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