*This is a guest post written by Amanda. Check out her blog, Mom of Many, where she writes about her cloth diaper adventures, frugal living, as well as informs you of any contests going on!
When I had my new baby, Isaac, I automatically turned to disposable diapers since I didn’t know much about cloth and was concerned with the expense of buying enough cloth diapers to last for an entire two days. Using disposables didn’t last long, however. I chose to cloth diaper for three reasons: Convenience, my baby’s comfort, and reducing my impact on the environment.
The biggest reason I chose to switch didn’t come until after I used a Pampers that had been given to me as a gift after I had brought Isaac home from the hospital. The skin on his bum actually started to peel off. I know that sounds graphic, but I just couldn’t believe something that so many parents trust to use safely on their baby was doing this to my sweet 2 week old. Since these were the only diapers I had on hand, and I refused to use them, I looked for instructions to make a cloth diaper. I found some simple folds that would allow me to use a t-shirt as a diaper, and used this method of diapering for quite a while. I experimented with trimming the waistline of t-shirts to make the fit less bulky on my tiny baby, who was only about seven pounds at that time.
The rash that my son got from the disposable diapers I had been using started my nearly month long research into diapers, both disposable and cloth. I learned that the chemicals in disposables can actually cause toxic shock in babies (scary!) and that the chemicals had been known to cause cancer in adults. Absolutely not something that I wanted near my son day after day. The cloth options were confusing at first, but I was diligent in learning as much as I could so that I could make an informed choice for my child.
Discovering cloth is overwhelming. I can now say that the best thing I did was to buy a sampler pack that had prefolds, pockets, covers and fitteds to try. I thought that I hated pockets until I got a soft, squishy Happy Heinys. I instantly fell in love! My son wore prefolds for a month or two while I found the brands and types of diapers that I wanted to use. Prefolds are cheap and can be reused, so if you aren’t sure what type of diaper you want, these are an excellent place to begin. You don’t have to spend much for a couple dozen prefolds and some covers, and you can resell them if you decide you prefer another style more.
I also love in a very rural area. It is over an hour to get to the nearest store that carries baby products, so I would have to commit to buying several boxes of disposables at once if I didn’t want to run out. I want to live my life in a green way, and it was hard to do so when I was throwing out dozens of diapers. We didn’t have a trash service in our area, either, which meant dealing with all of these disposable diapers week after week. It just wasn’t something that was convenient for our family.
The last reason I chose to use cloth, although certainly not the least important, was that I wanted to reduce our garbage as much as possible. We have a family of eight, so I already used cloth napkins, dish towels instead of paper towels, and real glass plates instead of paper plates. The cloth diapering community has opened my eyes to tons of products that are better for the environment and my wallet: Unpaper towels, mama cloth, handmade organic soaps and shampoos, and babywearing, just to name a few of the things I am most enthusiastic about. In the end, my choices all come back to my son. I now make the choice to use cleaner, safer, less harmful products because I know that it is better for him and my family.