All About Cloth Diapering•
Posted on September 22 2021
To be honest, most of us at Tesa Babe had our children during a time when synthetic was best. The thought of using cloth diapers would have been absurd to us. But now that we are older (and wiser, of course) we do see the benefits of cloth diapering.
One thing we admire the current generation of parents for is a more heightened awareness of the environment, and of chemicals that may be harmful or just plain irritating to a baby's sensitive skin. The niche return to cloth diapers addresses both of these problems.
But of course it is true that cloth diapers are much more work. So, what exactly are the pros and cons of cloth diapering?
Pros and Cons
Cloth diapering is a lot more work! With disposable diapers, you can simply take the thing off and throw it out and never have to think about it ever again. Cloth diapers must be cleaned of solid matter and washed and reused. Plus, because cloth diapers are less absorbent than disposable ones, you may end up having to change the diapers more frequently.
They're way better for the environment! Some EPA reports estimate that millions of tons of disposable diapers end up in landfills each year! That's crazy stuff. You may be throwing that disposable diaper away but that doesn't mean that it actually goes away.
They save you a bunch of money. The thing about babies is… they're always pooping! You end up going through a lot of disposable diapers, and having to buy a lot more. This can really add up.
They're better for your baby's skin. Unlike disposable diapers, cloth diapers contain no chemicals such as chlorine, perfumes or polyacrylate (a chemical used for absorbency). Chlorine and other chemicals can strip away good protective bacteria on the skin and change the pH balance of your infant, which can cause dryness and skin irritations. One report found an increase in childhood asthma and respiratory problems was correlated to babies wearing disposable diapers.
Some say that reusable diapers help with potty training. All those super-absorbant chemicals that keep your baby's bottom nice and dry may be making your baby just a little too comfortable. Why use how to learn the potty when you can just go wherever and whenever - as long as you've got your super-absorbant diaper on! With a cloth diaper, your baby may feel the wetness more, which means that could be more motivated to learn how to use the potty and get out of those wet nappies.
What kinds of reusable diapers are there?
Pre-fold are the very traditional-look triangular cloth diapers you would imagine in an old-timey home. Although the ones they make nowadays are probably manufactured in better quality. They've been stitched and folded with more layers in the middle for more absorbancy. The modern ones also come with a waterproof outside layer called a diaper cover. This is mainly what keeps the mess of the inner prefold from getting out.
A hybrid cloth diaper's goal is to be the best of both worlds. They come with a waterproof outer cloth layer and include removable inserts - either reusable cloth inserts or disposable ones. The best thing about the hybrid is that they can be used on the go with reusable inserts, but you still get all the benefits of a cloth diaper using the reusable inserts.
Like the name suggests, an AIO diaper is a reusable diaper that provides both an absorbent inner layer and a waterproof outer layer all in one piece. These are nice because you can toss the whole thing into the laundry machine when they need to be washed, without keeping track of other smaller pieces.
These are similar to AIOs, they they include an inner pocket made out of a wicking material, and they contain a removable absorbent insert. With pocket cloth diapers, you can customize the absorbancy level by trying different kinds of inserts or even doubling up.
How to wash reusable diapers
This probably goes without saying, but we're going to say it anyways… throw the solids down the toilet, not in the washing machine! Ok, there, that's off our chest now. Before you put the cloth diapers in the washing machine, dispose of the waste in the toilet, and then pre-rinse the diaper. A convenient way of pre-rinsing is to purchase a diaper spray, which can rid the cloth diapers of solid waste fairly efficiently.
Once the diapers and any additional inserts are rinsed, you can toss them all in the washing machine in a hot cycle with detergent. Easy peasy!
With so many options for cloth diapering these days, opting for a reusable diaper is easier than it used to be, although still not as convenient as disposable ones. Like most things, it comes down to time commitments and preference. But if you're considering cloth diapering, there are definitely plenty of pros that may even outweigh the cons.