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Wednesday, November 4, 2009

The Debate Over Diapers

(Photo was taken by Me and is not to be used anywhere I have not posted it!)

There is a LOT of controversy about whether or not cloth diapers A.) Save money and B.) Are better for the environment.

When my 3rd child was about a year old I started researching cloth diapers, I even bought a few handmade ones from a work at home mom. Unfortunately I wasn't pleased with the quality of the diapers I had purchased, and an order through another work at home mom left me with no diapers and out about $30 and having to deal with a Paypal dispute. Thankfully I got my money back but I needed it for other things by the time it was returned, so I gave up my trial of cloth diapers.

Months later, when my husband and I decided to have a 4th child, the subject was brought up again. We already had a tight budget, and it was about to become even tighter!

After weighing our options we decided that cloth diapers were the best option for us, and we were happy with the impact our usage of them would have on the environment as well. We started out by purchasing some gently used BumGenius 3.0 diapers and a couple other brands to try out on the 2 year old. We fell in love with the BumGenius 3.0 diapers almost instantly. When we got our income tax return I was in my last trimester of my pregnancy and we immediately ordered enough BumGenius 3.0 diapers to use on both the girls. Thankfully within a few months, the oldest girl was completely potty trained, and that cut laundry a ton!

Here are some things I learned in my research:
  • Cloth diapers are NOT always the more economical/environmentally friendly choice if you live in an area where water conservation is an issue, or if you have to pay for your water. Thankfully that isn't a concern where we live!
  • In a study published in 1999 by Anderson Laboratories found that lab mice exposed to various brands of disposable diapers experienced asthma-like symptoms, as well as eye, nose and throat irritation. Exposure to cloth diapers did not cause the symptoms. (ABC News - May, 2005)
  • Assuming most kids don't potty train completely until 3 or 4 years old (especially when your family has a history of bedwetting and bladder control issues like mine), that's 48 months (give or take) spending $35 a month (give or take) on diapers... not to mention baby wipes, etc. Which comes to nearly $2,000 - The entire supply of cloth diapers I had to purchase to diaper both daughters came to less than $500 - a savings of over $1,500!
  • Children who have been cloth diapered tend to potty train earlier, and without less trouble (for example, my oldest 2 both wore disposables and didn't train until age 3 1/2, and took a LOT of work- switched to cloth with my third and she potty trained by age 2 1/2 - BY HERSELF!)
  • By drying our cloth diapers on a clothes line whenever possible it keeps them smelling fresher, the sun removes stains (yep it really does!) and we use less energy!
  • Using cloth diapers has NOT increased our laundry loads by a great deal... two extra loads a week, it's really not noticeable.
So over all it really is something that each family has to decide for themselves, because there are a LOT of factors that will decide if it will be cheaper and/or more economical for you to decide one way or the other. From what I can tell though, the MAJORITY Of Mainers (aside from maybe those in larger cities) would benefit from switching to Cloth Diapers... and I wholeheartedly recommend BumGenius 3.0's and I know a number of other families in the area who do as well!

BumGenius 3.0 diapers are available at Target, and many other small businesses. I purchased mine from a work at home mom who was a regular chatter on a cloth diapering forum that I used, I compared prices at many different places, and the price per diaper, after discount and with free shipping she offered, it was a great deal, about $14 per diaper!

Want to buy local? The Maine Cloth Diaper Company has a variety of different kinds of diapers available, and very friendly staff from what I saw at the Common Ground Fair this past September! I did not get my diapers from them, but have heard great things!

Note: I am receiving NO compensation by any of the Businesses/Brands/Websites mentioned in this post (though I wouldn't turn it down!). Everything posted has been my own opinion or information gathered by me through my own research.

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