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Cloth Diapering FAQ

cloth diapers

Have you thought about cloth diapering, but just don’t know where to start? It can be easy to get lost; with so many choices…so many styles, what do you choose? These questions and answers should help you decide what works best for your family.

How much will I save?
This depends on the age of your child, how often you want to wash, and if you will be using cloth full or part time. This is what we recommend: If you want to figure the cost of disposable diapers, it’s important to consider that, on average babies will be diapered until about age 3. Some babies will potty-learn sooner, and some later, but for the cost comparison, we’ll take the average of age 3. The name brand disposable diapers cost about $.25 each. I’m choosing to use the price of name brand diapers to make it a fairer comparison. Generally, cloth diapers do a much better job than the name brand disposables at containing messes. Though newborns are changed much more frequently than toddlers, we’ll use an average of 7 diaper changes a day, over the course of 3 years, to simplify the math. If that is the case, you will spend $1,896.30 on disposable diapers in 3 years. And if you use disposable wipes, add in at lest an extra $520 (this figure comes from buying in bulk at Sam’s Club, $15/case, at 1 case/month). The total amount for the diapers and wipes for one child is approximately $2436.30

The cost of cloth diapering one child is a little harder to calculate, and may vary greatly, depending on the type of diaper system you choose, how often you want to wash your diapers, the brand of detergent, the number of accessories you want, as well as the amount of water and electricity used. Keep in mind that cloth diapers can be reused for your next children, or may be resold to other families. The going rate for a used, name brand pocket diaper is nearly half of the original price paid! Generally, the amount you will save by choosing cloth diapers may range from $1,000 to $2,000, for each child (not including the resale value). This number will of course, increase, for each additional child using the same cloth diapers.

How many diapers will I need?
This depends on the age of your child, how often you want to wash, and if you will be using cloth full or part time. This is what we recommend:

Diaper Qty – Wash Frequency Everyday Every 2 Days Every 3 Days 0-6 months 10-12 diapers 20-24 diapers 30-36 diapers 6-12 months 8-10 diapers 16-20 diapers 24-30 diapers 12-24 months 6-8 diapers 12-18 diapers 18-24 diapers Potty Training 2-4 diapers 3-6 diapers 6-8 diapers

How many diaper covers will I need?
If you choose a diaper system that requires covers, the number of covers needed is also dependent on age, size & frequency of washing. Covers are meant to be used a few times before washing, unless they become soiled. If you are washing every 2 days, this is what we suggest: For newborns, we recommend 6-10 covers. For children 3 months — 1 year, we recommend 4-8 covers. For toddlers, we recommend 2-4 covers.

Where do I put the dirty diapers? Most people use a dry pail system. A large wet bag will hold your dirty dipes by itself when hung on a changing table or doorknob, or it can be placed inside of a diaper pail or large plastic trash container with a lid.When you’re ready to wash, just toss the bag in with your diapers. Another option is the wet pail method, which allows your diapers to soak in a pail of water before going into the wash. The way you store your dirty diapers is up to your own preferences and needs.

How do cloth wipes work?
Using cloth wipes will save you the step of sorting out the dirty wipes from your cloth diapers before going into the pail. Also you will not need an extra pail for trash next to your changing table. Using cloth wipes is not only convenient for the cloth diapering parent it is also another way to save money! You are going to have to moisten your cloth wipes somehow and here are some different options. You can buy already made wipe solution or you can purchase specially made bits of soap and create your own wipe solution. Now the way you chose to moisten your wipes is up to you. Do you prefer to have a pail of wipe solution at home? Or do you want to pour solution into your wipe warmer? Or you can moisten your wipes as you use them. No matter how you chose to do it be sure to buy a wipe solution that contains an antimicrobial agent like tea tree oil.

Is cloth better for baby’s skin?
Since our skin is like a sponge, it’s important to think about things that come in contact with it. Diapers are next to a baby’s skin for the first three years of their life. If you do a little research on disposable diapers, you’ll find that they contain sodium polyacrylate. Sodium polyacrylate is what makes a diaper absorb liquid. It is a powder that turns into gel when wet, and is contained in the hidden layer of the diaper. Sometimes you may notice these gel-like crystals on your baby’s genitals, which can potentially cause allergic reactions, skin irritations or possible reproductive organ dysfunction. In 1985 they removed sodium polyacrylate from tampons because it was linked to toxic shock syndrome.

Another chemical problem stems from the chemical diozin, which is a byproduct of the paper bleaching process for disposable diapers. This chemical is the highest rated carcinogen according to the EPA.

Even among cloth diaper users, there are disagreements about the type of cloth that should be placed against baby’s skin (cotton vs. synthetic materials). But no matter what you chose to use make sure that you are choosing it because it is the best for your child and make sure you know what is in it.

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