Wednesday, June 22, 2011

One Man's Perspective on Cloth Diapering

More convincing and thorough posts have been written on cloth diapering by my wife, Amy, Heather, and others, but I was asked to write one to show the father's perspective on cloth diapering.  I will go through the pros and cons of cloth diapering as I see them.

First is the cloth diapering poop sack.  The first time I saw a diaper pail it made me want to gag.  Those things are disgusting.  Thankfully, I've never actually owned one.  Instead we have this "wet" bag (that I referred to as the poop sack earlier) for the dirty cloth diapers and inserts.  At first I was a little skeptical because I thought the zipper would let the smell out.  However I was surprised.  The zipper doesn't let the smell out.  And it gets washed in the wash machine every two days or so, unlike a diaper pail which someone has to clean by hand or not at all (yuck!).

Here is the big poop sack and the little poop sack.  They are cute, and you can see the zippers.

Second, how could I not mention $$$.  Doing cloth diapers cuts out one of baby's biggest recurring expenses.  And if Mom breastfeeds, then you can really save.  Anyway, cloth diapering on average, saves $800 on the first baby, and $1100 on each additional baby.  The cost for extra laundry is comparatively minimal.  Even if one did their laundry at the coin-op places, which if I remember correctly, cost about $2.75 to wash and dry the clothes, they would have to do 2.8 extra loads of laundry every week for 2 years to use up the extra money, and we only do 2.5 extra loads of laundry per week.  If you do your laundry at home you'll be spending much less anyway.  And if you line dry your diapers, like we do sometimes, then you can save even more.  I was just informed that the $800 actually included extra laundry costs.  So, even better, cloth diapering saves more money than I thought.  Even if cloth diapering cost the same as disposables, or a little more, I would still do cloth, because I like them better.

Third.  The reason I just said I like them better, is because they are made out of cloth.  They feel nicer and look nicer.

Fourth, no more blowouts.  Okay so we have had one blowout in the four months that our son has been alive, and that one was a very minor one.  It was about the size of a quarter.  Not like some of the blowouts you've probably seen.  Just in case you haven't seen one, I'll put one up for you.

And I have seen worse.  I know some moms think it's cute, or maybe they just tell themselves that so they don't break down and cry.  But lets face it, this is disgusting.  Who would want to clean that up?!  And think of the baby, would you want that to happen to you?  Especially in public.  It will probably be scarred for life.  The cloth diapers are more sturdy, so no more blowouts.  That saves later on baby's therapy bills--woohoo more money!

Fifth, they're more environmentally friendly.  Those disposable diapers don't really decompose in the landfill.  I'm not the most environmentally friendly person, but I try to do what I can when it is not too inconvenient.  And every time I drive over point of the mountain, and see the Salt Lake Valley all hazy and polluted, I think I should be more environmentally friendly.

Sixth.  Lincoln cries when he has a wet cloth diaper.  The wet cloth against his skin is uncomfortable.  The disposable diapers suck up the moisture better so that baby doesn't mind having a wet diaper as much and will sit in it longer.  So we change diapers more often than a disposable diaper user.  This may not sound like an advantage, but as my uncle pointed said, "Whoa he cries when he has a wet diaper? Man he's going to be so easy to potty train."  The sooner Lincoln potty trains the better.  And Lincoln has never had any diaper rash because he gets changed right away.  I think diaper rashes are more common for babies in disposable diapers.

First, the cloth diapers are more bulky.  So they are harder to pull baby's clothes over their gluteus maximuses.  Not really a big deal.  I think cloth diapers are better looking anyway.

Second concerns our own son's particular habits and others like him.  (Sorry if this is more than you want to know.)  Lincoln sometimes gets constipated for a few days, and then one day it will all just come out.  It is gross.  Jami wipes his bum, and cleans that up.  I am the one who on these occasions cleans the diaper off.  Normally we just throw the poopy diaper in the wet bag, but when there is that much poop I think it is best to clean the insert off before I put it with the rest of the dirty diapers.  So that is sick.  But (no pun intended), it is nice that with even that much poop it all stays in the diaper.  So even though it is gross, we don't have to clean off Lincoln's clothes, back, legs, hair, etc.  Also we have this BumGenius thing, that is a sprayer that we are going to hook up in our new house.  It hooks up to the toilet, and we will be able to just spray the mess off into the toilet.

Third is no secret, changing a cloth diaper takes longer.  Let me analyze this step by step, and hopefully I can give you a good estimate of time comparisons.

1 - Taking off the diaper takes the same amount of time as a disposable.  So I calculate they are still even.
2 - Stuffing the cloth diaper with the inserts is the big time difference.  Starting from scratch, it takes me 45.16 seconds, and I was going at my regular leisurely pace.  The disposable takes 0 seconds to get ready, and that is really nice when the baby is crying it's head off because it wants to be changed.
3 - Putting the new diaper on the baby takes the same amount of time.  At least for the gDiapers, there's no origami folding or safety pins, just Velcro.  So cloth diapers are still behind by 45.16 seconds.
4 - Wrapping up a dirty disposable diaper and throwing it into a diaper pail probably takes 3.16 seconds.  And putting a dirty insert into the wet bag takes 7.06 seconds. 

So, with everything considered, if you're really slow like me, changing a cloth diaper takes 49.06 seconds longer than changing a disposable diaper.

Fourth, concerns changing a cloth diaper in public.  It is more inconvenient.  I can't just throw the dirty diaper in the garbage, but I have to put it in a small poop sack.  And I have to set up the diaper which takes longer.  I don't like changing a diaper in public because I don't have a nice table and a soft changing pad to lay Lincoln on.  Lincoln loves his changing pad and he usually goes from crying to being happy once we put him on it.  Whereas in public, he usually cries the whole time because he is on the hard floor.  Anyway it takes longer to change a cloth diaper, so Lincoln is crying loudly in public longer.  And all the parts of the cloth diaper take a couple minutes to pack up when we want to go out, and they make the diaper bag full, whereas we wouldn't have that problem with disposables.

Fifth, is that we have to be more on top of things with cloth diapers.  Because it takes time to wash and dry them, we can't forget to start cleaning them.  Or we will be up a creek, and Lincoln will have no clean diapers.  The Babykicks inserts take a long time to dry in the dryer, about 70 minutes.  So whenever he gets down to 5 diapers, we throw the dirty diapers into the washer.

Sixth, the initial cost is large.  But if you can get over that initial lump sum, they will save you money in the long run.  And you won't cringe when you think of having to go drop $35 on a big box of disposable diapers.  Okay so maybe you don't cringe at the thought of spending $35, but I do.

So there is cloth diapering as I see it.  It was more comprehensive than I thought it would be.  I hadn't changed a single diaper before Lincoln was born, but now I have done both disposable and cloth.  I personally like the cloth diapers better.  They take longer to change it is true (49.06 seconds to be exact), but all of the pros outweigh the cons in my mind, because the pros are more important points.  The cons are just a small matter of inconvenience.  Now that I'm used to the small amount of extra time involved, I don't even notice.

You can read the other posts on cloth diapering from Jami at the links below:

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the post. You're a funny kid Squire.



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