The one big reason I decided to cloth diaper was the cost savings. Bottom line, it will save you thousands of dollars. Here is a link to a great website for looking at the overall cost savings of cloth diapers.
Basically, cloth diapers are used over and over again. So a sizable first investment lasts you through the entire diapering process.
To be realistic, you can expect the waterproof layer of the diapers to last through 2 kids from birth to pottty training, depending on the number of diapers you have and the way you wash and dry them. One of the first things to ‘wear out’ on a cloth diaper is the leg elastic, which may need to be replaced as often as once a year. On my diapers, this elastic can easily be replaced without sewing.
Other reasons to cloth diaper that I have found include:
- The eco-friendliness of not filling up landfills
- The baby is less likely to get diaper rashes from cloth diapers (and the added benefit that no chemicals are touching your baby’s skin)
- The baby generally looks ADORABLE in colorful cloth
- Depending on the type of cloth diaper you buy, the baby can’t take them off of himself as early
- I’ve heard (but haven’t tested this personally yet) that babies who have used cloth diapers are easier to potty train
Here are a few links to good resources about why to choose cloth diapers:
Ok, now to be realistic, I think the one thing that scares people away from cloth diapering is the thought of having to mess with the poop. Well, where there are small children, there are tiny bums to wipe. I’ve found that cloth diapers don’t take much more ‘messing with’ than disposables. Before finger foods, you simply remove the diaper from the child, throw it in the pail, and wash it (My pocket diapers have a special sleeve design that doesn’t require you to pull out the liners before washing). Once the child begins to eat finger foods (in other words, what they leave behind becomes more solid), all you typically need to do is turn the diaper upside down over the toilet and flush the contents. What’s left on the diaper just gets thrown into the pail, and subsequently into the wash, without having to touch. Occasionally, the poop does get ‘stuck’ to the diaper, in which case you take a poop wand (a ruler or a plastic spoon dedicated to the purpose) and scrape it off into the toilet. They also make ‘poop sprayers’ which are basically sink sprayers that you can attach to the toilet and then you just spray off the poop into the toilet.
Now, to be technical, in many areas it is illegal to throw human waste into the garbage. That means that people using disposable diapers are also supposed to be flushing the poop down the toilet; but realistically this never happens. Just thought I’d throw it out there as a factoid.