|Frequently Asked Questions
by Stacy Jones Tolentino
Cloth diapering is so old fashioned. Does anyone really still diaper this way?
Yes! People do still cloth diaper their babies. Unfortunately, during the past three decades cloth diapers have lost their popularity. Most data available suggests that only around 5% of US babies are cloth diapered today. While this does not seem like a lot, if you base this percentage on the almost 4 million babies who were born in the US in 1997, it amounts to approximately 200,000 cloth diapered babies in the US---And that's still a significant amount.
Why would anyone bother to use cloth diapers when disposables are so readily available?
Cloth diapers are cheaper for parents, healthier for babies, and better for the environment than disposables.
What's so unhealthy about disposable diapers?
Chemicals are used to bleach the pulp in disposable diapers and to allow for super absorbency. No one knows how these trace chemicals may affect babies. Most parents just assume that since disposable diapers are on the market they are safe to use on babies, but if parents knew more about disposables they would surely reconsider using them so much, if at all.
So are cloth diapers chemical free?
Not unless you buy them organic. Some are also available "green" without dyes or bleaches. Most cloth diapers, however, will need to be washed a few times before using them on your baby in order to remove chemical residues that may be present from the manufacturing process. Keep in mind that you cannot remove chemical residues in disposables because you cannot wash them!
Why are disposable diapers worse for the environment than cloth diapers?
We are living in a recycle conscience world today. Parents who cloth diaper 'reduce' their amount of garbage. They use only 48-60 diapers over their baby's entire diapering period. When their baby potty trains, her cloth diapers can be 'reused' on a second baby or 'recycled' as dust cloths. Also, the poop of cloth diapered babies goes where it should---in the toilet and sewage systems. Parents who diaper with disposables use more than 6,000 diapers over their baby's diapering period and all of these diapers are carried to landfills, which have a shortage of space, creating tons of trash. Also, most disposable diapers are discarded with human waste which can spread diseases. Furthermore, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that 1 billion trees are used every year to make disposable diapers. That's not what Mother Nature intended trees to be used for!
Don't cloth diapers leak a lot?
It depends on the type of cloth diapers you purchase. Department store cloth diapers are thin and will most likely cause your baby to leak all over. Mail-order and diaper service quality diapers are very thick and with the right covers your baby's clothes should stay nice and dry.
Won't I need to change my baby more often if I cloth diaper?
Your baby's diaper should be changed every 2-3 hours regardless of whether she is diapered in cloth or disposables. This will help prevent diaper rash and keep her skin healthier. Disposables fool parents into thinking their babies are dry, but once a diaper has been wet it should be changed immediately regardless of how dry it may feel. It is not uncommon for babies diapered in disposables to go more than 4 or 5 hours without a diaper change, which is very unhealthy!
Won't I poke my baby when I pin his diapers on?
This won't happen as long as you always place your hand between your baby's skin and the diaper. And keep in mind that many cloth diapering parents don't use pins anymore. There are a wide variety of pinless diapers, fancy diapers and pinless covers available to simplify cloth diapering. Cloth diapering is not what it used to be! Despite many parent's fears, cloth diapering is simple and the effort expended is minimal.
Will I need to rinse and soak my diapers?
That's one way to take care of cloth diapers, but many parents just let their washing machines take care of all of the rinsing, soaking and washing.
Will I really save a lot of money by cloth diapering?
Depending on the number of diapers you purchase, as well as the styles and accessories you choose, you can spend as little as $500 over your baby's diapering period.
Okay. I'm convinced that I want to cloth diaper. What will I need to buy?
You'll need at least 3-4 dozen quality cloth diapers, a few dozen reusable diaper wipes, a couple of waterproof lap pads, at least 5 quality diaper covers of the appropriate size, at least one large diaper pail, and a natural diaper rash salve. You'll also need an ongoing supply of laundry detergent. Optional items include diaper pins, laundry boosters, and flushable diaper liners which help with poopy messes.
© Copyright 2001 Stacy Jones Tolentino/ Homefront Publishing
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