Cloth diapering is a joy! Despite being extremely icky about touching potty like I was, cloth diapers have grown on me mainly because – I now understand that the cost of convenience comes at the price of health.
Pregnancy, delivery and now, caring for your little one! What a journey it has been! Like every mommy, I too planned everything down to the last detail – the best doctor, type of delivery, decorating the nursery and short listing favorite brands for baby cloth diapers.
As Indians, cloth diapering or using cloth nappies is not an alien concept. Our mothers always preferred using cloth diapers over disposables. And now even science has proven that they were correct!
As much as you may hate to admit it ladies, your mom –in –law is right, if she tells you not to use disposable diapers. But don’t worry, there is an entirely different range of modern cloth diapers now in India, unlike the cumbersome nappies. These cloth diapers are washable and reusable in every aspect.
Disposable diapers have become an integral part of our lives. Haven’t we all seen many couples at Big Bazar taking out their mobile calculators and calculating the cost per diaper?
The newest trend of online shopping too, which can save you some money with certain offers, but still the overall cost, is huge! Disposable diapers add anywhere between – 700 to 1000 Rs in your monthly spend.
As soon as you put a fresh diaper on your kiddo they somehow take it as a signal to poop in it…there goes your 15 bucks!
For working moms, disposable diapers are the best inventions ever made. As with every convenience, we pay a price – and with disposable diapers, it’s steep. Big, bad, nasty diaper rashes on your bub’s soft bums. Chlorine and other chemicals right on your little one’s privates. Expensive on your pocket and on Mother Earth! Did you know that disposable diapers take over 500 years to fully decompose?
And then you’re off, rushing to the chemist shop to get the best diaper rash cream which is another cocktail of chemicals! And they won’t even work as promised.
- How disposable diapers are harmful to babies:
- Are cloth diapers safe and easy to use?
- Benefits of using cloth diapers for your baby
- Taking care of cloth diapers
- Making the choice: Cloth or Disposable?
How disposable diapers are harmful to babies:
Many mothers are not aware of the chemicals used in disposable diapers, and it has always been my endeavor to encourage moms to make an informed choice for their young ones.
- Dioxins – Most of the diapers are bleached with chlorine which leaves traces of dioxins. According to WHO dioxins are “persistent environmental pollutants”. Dioxins cause delayed development, damaged immunity, hormone interference and sometimes cancer.
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)- A number of diapers release VOCs like toluene, ethylbenzene and xylene, which can cause neurological problems and eye irritation.
- Sodium Plyacrylate (SAP) – The absorbable centre of the diaper is made from SAP. It is also used in Tampons which has been known to cause Toxic Shock Syndrome in many adult women. Just imagine such a chemical right next to your little one.
Other than just the chemicals, there are many other problems which come up with the disposable diapers which are:
- Can result in allergies and rashes
- Difficulty in toilet training during toddler stage
- Hard on your budget
- Non biodegradable and environmentally unfriendly.
Instead of getting into all this cycle of disposable diapers and diaper creams, I found it better to stick to natural methods. Nappies and coconut oil! Perfect recipe for a happy baby! Washing, disinfecting and drying them in sun, can be an added chore but it was worth the pain.
My baby peeped every 20 minutes and pooped on the hour! So, the both of us found it more comfortable to use cloth nappies or “langotis”, as they are called.
Till babies turn at least three months, there is really no point in using disposable diapers – as you will just be changing them every hour.
I discovered that “cloth diapers” were different from “cloth nappies” after reading reviews about them on numerous mommy blogs. I thought they were referring to our normal Indian cloth nappies, for a long, long time.
After the haze of my pregnancy hormones lifted, and I began thinking like a rational human being – it struck me that these two are different, and that I should invest in cloth diapers. Since then I have been telling every new mom on the block to use cloth diapers instead of disposable diapers.
Are cloth diapers safe and easy to use?
Let us talk about the ease and difficulty both of using cloth diapers. Most mothers feel that using a cloth diaper is high maintenance and difficult to use.
Yes, washing and caring for cloth diapers is an errand. No one can deny that. You will need to use a special kind of detergent to clean them, as the commercial detergents tend to clog up the diapers and reduce their absorb ability.
But using the cloth diapers is very easy! It’s just like your normal diapers. I’ve been using cloth diapers problem free for almost 2 years now.
Cloth diapers come with adjustable buttons or loops and hooks. The comfortable elastics on the waist and around the legs ensure that leaking is avoided. They can be used comfortably for up to 3 to 4 hours, depending upon the pee flow and age of baby.
The best part is that you don’t need to run to the store each week to buy a new packet of disposable diapers. All you have to do is wash them and they are ready to use again. If well taken care, of cloth diapers can be used for your second baby as well! So, buying them for one means your second baby is diaper cost free!
Benefits of using cloth diapers for your baby
#1. Cloth diapers are better for baby
As mentioned earlier they also contain petroleum, plastics, perfumes, and dioxins. These chemicals are extremely harmful to the baby as they get absorbed in the baby’s skin and then travels through their blood stream.
A lot of the problems like infertility in young couples and general attention disorder are being traced back to the extensive use of commercial products being used for babies.
If one chooses to use cloth diapers, you can be sure it’s a healthy choice as you are not exposing your child’s sensitive skin to chemicals and side effects related to it. Your baby will be more comfortable with the cloth diapers, as they are more breathable when compared to disposable ones. Oh! Ya…And potty training will also be easier!
Keeping the baby clean and dry is the major concern of a mother. Generally, it is recommended changing the cloth diaper every 2 to 3 hours to maintain hygiene.
If you don’t forget and change the cloth diapers by the clock, then it will not cause any discomfort, diaper rash or infections to your baby.
With disposable diapers as well, doctors recommend changing the diapers every 3 to 4 hours, especially for a newborn. Since disposable diapers are expensive some people prefer not to change unless pooped in. This is also one of the major causes of diaper rash.
When you use cloth nappies and cloth diapers, you need not worry about the recurring cost at all! Use and wash as many times as required. The cost of the diapers are cut in less than half as they can be used for years if kept well.
#3. Cloth diapers provide a better fit and are adjustable as well
If you are worried about snugly fitting, don’t worry. Cloth diapers come with proper fittings which snaps, hooks and elastics which gives the baby a perfect fit, ensuring zero leakage. While the disposable diapers, toddlers are able to tear off, they won’t be able to remove a cloth diaper, because the buttons are secure.
They come in “one size fits all” kind of range which can be adjusted to your baby’s size.
#4. Cloth diapers are better for the environment
Disposable diapers take upto 500 years to decompose. Disposable diapers are causing huge dumps of waste that release harmful gases while it decomposes.
When, you use cloth diapers you are taking a responsible step towards the environment. After all it’s our kids who have to live on this planet after we’re gone, isn’t it? Think about that!
#5. Cloth diapers work out cheaper
As I have mentioned earlier, the disposable diapers are getting costlier day by day. If one uses disposable diapers 24×7 and change it every three hours you end up using approximately 8 to 10 diapers each day.
5 diapers/day x 30 days =150 diapers.
150 diapers x 6 months = 900 diapers
If a diaper costs Rs. 15 each then the cost for first 6 months of the 1 year would be Rs. 13500
Cloth diapers are a onetime investment. Good cloth diaper brands like BumGenius can cost between Rs 1300 to 1800 depending upon the type you choose. Sites like Firstcry sometimes have a 33% of coupon which I had used to buy mine at 1300 Rs.
So if you look at it – you can buy around 10 cloth diapers (which yo can use upto 3 years or till your baby is potty trained) for the cost of 6 months of disposable diapering!
Plus if you use them for your second baby, you’re home free! Or you could just pass them to the new mom in your family or friend circle.
#6. Cuteness quotient
I have not yet found disposable diapers coming in cute baby colors and prints. You can find disposable diapers in all sizes and even pant styles but never in fun and vibrant colors like the ones cloth diapers have!
If you see the cloth diapers available in the market you will find diapers in most vibrant colors and prints. You can mix and match them with the baby’s outfit. During summer I let my kiddo run around in just his cloth diaper!
Taking care of cloth diapers
It may seem a little difficult for the first few uses, but you will get the hang of it and soon it will seem quite easy.
When the cloth diaper is soiled, hold it from a dry corner and give it a little shake over the water closet (commode) and most of the solids falls right off of it. If you have a water sprayer instead of a bum washer you are even luckier! Just hold it over the commode and use the water sprayer to remove any debris remaining.
If you choose to clean it right away then that’s a great idea as it doesn’t dry off, making it easier to remove. After removing the solid wastes you can rinse it in your wash basin and it can go for a final wash in your washing machine.
Washing by hand tends increase the life of the cloth diaper. So, if you prefer to do that, nothing like it! Take a pea amount of liquid soap and wash it right away. You can use hot water if needed and then hang them out to dry! Cloth diapers are good as new and ready to use again.
Making the choice: Cloth or Disposable?
Let’s face it, everything has its pros and cons. Depending upon your lifestyle and situation only you can choose which works best for you.
If we compare the disposable diaper with a cloth diaper we will find the cloth diapers are as effective, less costly and environmentally safe.
- Using cloth is healthier for the baby
- Cloth diapers are easier on your pocket
- Cloth diapers are better for the environment
Why are we still using disposable diapers?
To be true, the disposable diapers are easy to use, easy to dispose off. Working moms can’t invest a lot of time is cleaning and drying the cloth diapers. Cloth diapering is a joy but it’s also a commitment on your time!
Using cloth diapers in combination with disposable ones, works best for both mom and baby. When travelling it’s not possible to be on laundry duty, so use chlorine free disposables if you have to.
Even I have used disposables when the laundry was not done or sometimes at night when I just wanted a good sleep! So, use a mix – cloth diaper during the day and maybe a disposable at night. Even this will contribute a long way to your baby’s health and the environment.
Different cloth diaper brands have different fits. So, play the field before buying an entire set. Borrow from a friend and see which works best for you. Do a little research and I am sure you will find a cloth diaper of your choice. I for one cannot recommend the BumGenius enough. Detailed review soon!
Besides BumGenius, a variety of new Indian brands of cloth diapers are also coming up in the market.
Try switching to the cloth diapering and see the difference. You may have to put in a little extra time and effort to clean them, but once you see the baby healthy and happy you will be contended.
So, mommies are you convinced about using cloth diapers? Were you already using cloth nappies? Do you find cloth diapering difficult? What is your view?