When we think of using cloth diapers, we don't think of how beneficial it is for our babies, for our pocketbook, or for our environment. However I hopeto share with you in this article about the benefits of cloth diapering,what you'll need to get started and how to wash them. This article does notcover all of the benefits or attributes of using cloth but I hope it is enough information for you to make the best decision for your baby, for your family and for our earth.
Better for Baby
First of all, it is important to know why choosing cloth is superior foryour baby. According to studies, 78% of disposable-diapered babies havediaper rash, compared to 7% of cloth-diapered babies. Cotton diapers are better for your baby because cotton "naturally breathes", while disposables (made of paper and plastic) don't have the breath-ability that cotton does.Thus, diaper rash occurs in more disposable-diapered babies. If you had tobe in a diaper all day, wouldn't you want to sit in soft cotton?
Caring for the Earth
As for environmental concerns, using cloth is just plain superior! There isbeginning to be quite a problem with disposables in landfills. When using disposables, people generally do not flush solid waste down the toilet (asthe instructions on the package recommend). Instead, the waste remains inthe diaper and goes off to the landfill. The problem with this is that thereis over 5 million tons of untreated solid waste in landfills and they maycontain intestinal viruses. It is estimated that there are almost 100intestinal viruses out there; this is how our groundwater becomes contaminated. Insects transport these viruses around and thus diseases breakout.
On the other hand, cloth diapers with solid waste are shaken off into thetoilet (or if biodegradable liners are used, simply flushed down thetoilet). The waste is taken care of the way it is meant to, that is, it goes through a sewage treatment center. This ensures that we are not contaminating our earth and each other.
How Many Do I Need? For washing every other day:Prefolds or Fitted Diapers: For Newborns: 2 ˝-3 dozenFor Infants/Toddlers: 2-2 ˝ dozen
Diaper Covers: 6 is a minimum, 8-10 make life easier!
As for the monetary value of using cloth, you might be surprised at how muchyou will save! According to some mothers, you will save on average about$1,500.00! Other mothers who use the most convenient cloth diapers(all-in-ones) save around $1,000. Even other moms save around $2,000.00 whenthey use an inexpensive cloth diapering system.
On the other hand, when you finish using disposable diapers with your child,you're done. All you have left is a huge mountain of trash. However by usingcloth diapers, you are ready for the next child, thus saving even more. Somemothers have purchased a new appliance with the money they have saved usingcloth diapers.
Okay, Now how do I get started?
Here comes the fun part! You now know that cloth is better in so many respects, so which products do you choose? Well, there are so many qualitycloth diapers out there that it's hard to make a decision! However, it is somuch fun to "test" different products. There are basically three different components of cloth diapering: prefolds, diaper covers and all in ones.
Prefolds are the square, flat diapers you fold. Prefolds are used to soak upurine and to hold solid waste. These are available in a variety of layersand materials. There is cotton flannel, birds-eye cotton and terry material("terry" is what towels are made of and is super absorbent) used for making prefolds. Prefolds have no outer layer to hold wetness in; therefore theseare used with diaper covers or wraps.
Contoured diapers are cut and sewn to resemble an hourglass shape. They are made of the same materials that prefolds are made of. The only difference istheir shape; some parents like using these "contoured" or "shaped" diapersbetter than square shaped prefolds. This is totally a matter of preference.Contoured diapers are also used with diaper covers or wraps.
Fitted Diapers cover baby's entire bottom. To use fitted diapers, just placeunder baby, bring front up to baby's tummy, and either VelcroŽ or snap. Withfitted diapers, a diaper cover or wrap is still needed to hold wetness in because they do not have any wetness protective layers in them.
How Many Do I Need? 10-12 per day for newborns,6-8 per day for older babies
Diaper covers are used with prefolds, contoured or fitted diapers. Yousimply fold the prefold and place on the cover. Then you bring the diaperand cover under baby (just like using a disposable). Diaper covers eitherhave VelcroŽ, or snaps to fasten them. Diaper wraps may also be referred to as "pull-ons", meaning that instead of using VelcroŽ or snaps to fasten, you just pull up over baby. There are some great quality fleece and woolen diaper covers out there to choose from. Many parents prefer to use these covers or wraps at nighttime because they are so effective in preventing leaks and blowouts.
How Many Do I Need? 6 are a minimum,8-10 make life easier!
All In Ones are probably the most convenient cloth diaper on the markettoday. If you are really used to disposables and are afraid of transition,perhaps you should try using these first. These have layers of absorbent cotton sewn inside and have a nice protective layer preventing wetness froml eaking onto the outside of the diaper. You just put on the baby and go!There are also some wonderful all in ones products out there. If you aretraveling, shopping, or having Grandma over to help with the baby, try usingan all in one. People are always amazed at how they look and function. Theseare worth the investment. However, some parents prefer to use theseminimally because they may be more expensive than using diaper covers/wrapsand prefolds. When used every day, the outer protective layer may deteriorate quicker due to washing more often.
How Many Do I Need? 10-12 per day for newborns6-8 per day for older babies
Miscellaneous Items Used forCloth Diapering
Doublers are long, wide strips of cotton (or cotton and terry) layers laidon a prefold or inside of an all in one. These are beneficial because theyhave all of the absorbency of an extra diaper, but not all the bulk.Doublers are generally used for heavier-wetting babies, for traveling longdistances, or for nighttime. Usually moms purchase a few for these occasions; they are nice to have on hand.
Liners are used to eliminate the need to shake off waste in the toilet andto rinse off dirty diapers. There are reusable cotton liners and there arealso flushable, biodegradable liners. The cotton liners are reused againafter being washed, and the flushable liners are just flushed down the toilet. These are also convenient products to have on hand and make cloth diapering very simple and very easy.
It is our hope that this information has been helpful to you. Remember, yourbaby will be so thankful for your decision (so will your checkbook) and ourearth will reserve precious resources. Try cloth diapering today, you'll beglad you did!
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