Would you rather consume over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine per year, and throw all of that in a land fill (roughly doubling your families current waste out put), OR about three laundry baskets worth of renewable resources for all of your babies birth to potty, and water (the most renewable resource, water cycle in second grade anyone)?
Would you rather spend about $300 on diapers or $3000? This is a really rough estimate since you can choose a large or small stash, fancy or plain jane, and use it for one baby or five.
Would you rather wrap your baby's tenderest parts in wood pulp and harmful chemicals, or in 100% cotton? All quoted from realdiaperassociation.org, "Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S. Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria."
Would you rather give your baby something unique and precious or something mass produced in a chemical plant for the purpose of being thrown away? I like to put my cheap flats and prefolds into cute work at home mom covers (mostly made my me of course). There will be less than a dozen of any of these covers available in the universe. My baby can wear them again and again, and even pass them on to siblings. Precious. It just makes sense to me when I spend hours agonizing over what to feed them and cloth them, and sleep them in to put something precious on their bottom too.
These are all straight forward, but there are som pretty valid reasons people choose not to cloth diaper. I want to show that those reasons are also easily surmountable.
"I just can't add anything to our busy lifestyle. Caring for small children is so much work already."
Trust me, I totally understand this. There is a lot that goes undone in our house. But cloth diapering really doesn't have to be the load of extra work you imagine. If you have a house of small children you are doing laundry every day or two anyway. Diapers are one extra load 2 or 3 times per week, and a lot of people never bother to fold them. You can set up a cute changing table with pretty little baskets, or you can use them right out of the basket. To me it is a lot easier than running to the store every time we run out of diapers- just throw them in the washer, and then the dryer.
"It just costs so much to start up with cloth, even though it is more expensive in the long run, it is easier for us to spend $25 every week or so than all at once."
We have been here too. Living pay check to pay check it seems impossible to afford the start up costs. But I beg you to do what is best for your family in the long run. Find the money somewhere. I regret every dollar we spent on a package of disposables because I didn't think we could afford a better cloth stash. What a great stash we would have now if I had known how to buy in to cloth wisely. I will elaborate in a later post, but it is this simple you can get by with 4 covers and 12 diapers, for as little as $64 dollars you can have enough cloth diapers for 24 hours. Find that money anywhere you can, and then you have $75/month to add more time between washes, and more convenience a little at a time.
"I want to use cloth with my baby, but I don't know how to register for them. So many people will give us disposables anyway. None of my friends and family know how to shop for cloth diapers."
Again, we've been there and done that. I'm there again, trying to get a newborn stash for this baby, but we can't get it all ourselves. Most people register at more than one place, and you probably have a few close friends who are willing to buy things on line, even though it's not as fun as shopping in a store. So this is what we are doing- I'll let you know how it works. I am making a regular Target baby registry for my grandmothers who are not tech savvy, and really just want to pick up something cute, and then I am making an Amazon Universal Registry. My sister or another hostess will have the permalink for this, plus people can find it by searching my name on Amazon. This has a few special baby products that aren't widely available in stores yet, and also our cloth diaper wishlist. That way if someone is willing to shop online for something we really need, they have a straight forward link to the shop and instructions about sizes and colors.