Are Cloth Diapers Right for Me?

    Families considering cloth diapers are usually motivated by a unique combination of budgetary, environmental, health, and fashion considerations. When deciding if cloth diapers are right for your family, you will want to consider your family's lifestyle and what kind of cloth diaper will best fit in it. We hope to provide the information and support needed to allow you to make an informed decision. Below are some of the most common cloth diapering questions from parents who are still in the decision-making process.

    Are cloth diapers healthier for my baby?

    The health concerns that drive many families to use cloth diapers include recurrent rashes and sensitivities to ingredients in disposable diapers.  Though many children can use disposable diapers without a problem, for those who do have a problem, the relief that can come from using natural fibers for diapering is incredible. Many parents are also concerned about the chemicals that are used in the production of disposables, and that the manufacturing process may leave trace chemicals that will be in contact with their baby's most sensitive skin. Though there is no documented evidence of ill effects from the ingredients in disposables, it remains a personal decision on what level of chemicals your child is exposed to on a daily basis. Cotton - one of the most popular fabrics for cloth diapers - is the least allergenic material, so children who face chronic rashes and have extremely sensitive skin often benefit greatly from using cotton diapers. This benefit is further enhanced by some manufacturers that produce certified organic cotton diapers. If you are buying organic, ensure that the product truly IS organic by reviewing the manufacturer's organic certification.

    Will I have to wash my diapers at home or can I get a diaper service?

    With modern cloth diapers most families wash at home, though diaper services are regaining popularity in many areas. Either way, soiled cloth diapers go into a dry pail (or waterproof laundry bag), which is emptied for washing an average of 2-3 times per week. That’s right, you should only expect 2-3 extra loads of wash per week when using cloth diapers!

    Why would I NOT want to use cloth diapers?

    There are some situations where cloth diapers might not be right for you. There is no rule saying you have to do it 100% of the time. For some families, using cloth part-time works better, and still results in many of the same benefits as full-time use. Even if you are using cloth full-time, it is important to keep at least a few disposable (or hybrid) diapers on hand as part of your family's disaster kit. Should you go without power or water for several days, it may be best to use disposables so that soiled cloth diapers don't develop mold and mildew waiting for an unknown time to be washed. There are also some medical situations in which disposables would be recommended, such as a yeast rash, bacterial infection or when an infant is hospitalized and the hospital staff needs to weigh the diapers to track baby's output of urine.

    I don't have a washing machine. Can I still use cloth diapers?

    If you are passionate about cloth diapering, it is possible to do so without a washing machine, though it is certainly more of a challenge. When needing to wash by hand, it is best to use "flats" as they wash up quite easily and also line dry quickly. A "camp" style washer can be built using a plunger and a large utility bucket, which will help to throughly agitate the diapers and get them clean. Flats can be used under almost any cover and are a very versatile diaper, but they do require folding and fastening. When deciding if cloth diapers are right for you and your baby, consider not only what motives brought you to consider cloth diapers in the first place, but also the many other benefits that come with using cloth. Economical, environmental, and health concerns are all addressed with the use of cloth diapers. And many find the fun and fashion that also comes with cloth diapering to be "icing on the cake."