When I was pregnant, I had made several mental lists of how to care for the lil bundle that was to arrive. One of them was to avoid disposable diapers… I’d read of all the chemicals & processing used to make them and the perceived, but not fully researched papers on the health risks associated, and most of all, i just imagined myself, lying and living with a sanitary pad around my privates for like two years of my life and No!! I just couldn’t think of it for baby. I had not heard of modern cloth diapers then, but I did know of langots or flats which were folded into a triangle nappy and secured on with a pin, but it sounded too tedious and B.O.R.I.N.G. Soon I stumbled down the rabbit hole of baby care and with it arrived knowledge about modern cloth diapers. My world went into a tizzy, a happy one of course. This was it. I had found my alternative solution to disposies.
So like many cloth diapering moms, I did some basic maths and realised that cloth diapers save a ton of money. Yes!! Ok I will admit that in our early days after babyT arrived, we did use disposables and usually got through one pack of 24 nappies in about 2.5 days. This pack of 24 cost Rs 300 (+-10) So for a week I would need around 3 such packs and spend around Rs. 900. And that means in a month I would spend about Rs. 3600. So for 1 full year of disposable usage I would be spending Rs. 43,200 (or more, considering as baby grows the nappies are more expensive) Now assume baby potty trains at around 2 years (this is a very conservative estimate, considering that babies on disposables train much later.) and you have spent close to Rs. 86000 or more. Almost a lac.
Now coming to cloth diapers. Reusable cloth diapers range from Rs. 300 (what are referred to as China cheapies) to Rs. 2500+ (uber quality, American made) a piece. A very conservative mom would need around 10 cloth diapers, assuming she has a daily wash routine. Most moms prefer to have around 20 – 30 diapers in their stash. If she goes the China cheapie way she will have spent Rs. 9000 + a Rs. 1000 more for accessories like inserts. And if she chooses to splurge then she will have spent around Rs. 50,000 to 75,000. Now this is all she spends for the entire duration that baby is in diapers and till he is potty trained. Yes that is it. And you better take a seat, coz you may faint.. cloth diapers have resale value. So she gains back a portion of what she spent. Assume she sells them for a very generous 50% depreciated value, then her overall spending on diapers is .. do the maths, very, very minimal.
I am not even going to get into the adverse impact that Rs. 86,000 worth disposables have on the environment, versus the sustainability created even by Rs. 9000 worth of cloth diapers. I think that is plain to see.
What I really,really love about cloth diapers is the science behind them. Someone took a lot of effort to study fabrics, absorbency, comfort on skin, breathability, flexibility, durability and said that cotton, bamboo fibre, hemp, suede, fleece, microfibre, PUL/ TPU; et cetera are great for cloth diapers. They can be as good as a disposable diaper in terms of holding pee/ poo and yet keep baby completely dry. I spent most of the final trimester of my pregnancy researching on materials, brands of cloth diapers, what concept they used to hold pee/poo and reading up countless reviews. And I am super impressed with all the work that has gone into making cloth diapers a booming industry.
And oh the beauty of the cloth diapers.. there is something so yummy and beautiful, about a baby bottom clad in cloth. A myriad of styles, designs, prints and colours, to suit whatever theme floats your boat. Is your baby’s favourite book The Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle? Well, we’ve got a diaper for that. Does your husband play the guitar and is already coaching your bub to pluck those strings? We’ve got a diaper for that. Did you spend countless hours watching Harry Potter re-runs while you were resting those swollen pregnant feet? No surprises, we have a diaper for that too.
But more than anything, I love cloth diapers for the satisfaction they provide. After almost 10 – 11 hours of an overnight cloth diaper, when I remove the diaper in the morning, I find baby soft and fresh skin. No angry redness or rashes or dryness. This is what is the win for me. We’ve been exclusively cloth diapering for about 5 months now and I assure you we have not had one single day of diaper rash. We don’t even own a tube of rash cream (more savings!!) I also do believe that effective night time cloth diapering has contributed a great deal to ensuring that babyT has a good and undisturbed sleep routine, which has become a habit for him now (we do have the odd crazy night, when he gets excited over some baby dream perhaps and wakes us up at 230 am for playtime.)
All this is what makes me so passionate about cloth diapering. One of the best decisions I made and one that I shall advocate forever more.
Before you get pregnant, you really are clueless about the world that pregnancy, babies is all about. If you are lucky enough to have a friend, sister or someone in your close circle who is pregnant, you may be more aware of terms like susu count, poo colour, diapers, formula mixing etc. For me, I was the first person in my dad’s side of the family to be pregnant after a gap of almost 22 years and the last one from my husband’s side of the family, with all of the other pregnant ladies being based abroad. I had not seen a pregnancy up, close and personal. So naturally I had to rely on ‘What to expect when you’re expecting?’, babycenter and Social Media. Yes! Facebook, prepared me for having a baby.
So it all started with a friend recommending me to join a breastfeeding support group. I remember thinking, ‘eh, what’s the big deal with that? Just attach baby to boob and it’ll be fine from there on.’ I was so wrong, not only is breastfeeding not easy (at least initially), combine that with raging hormones, borderline PPDs, lack of sleep, emotional rollercoasters of joy, guilt, anger, pain etc. and you have a rather potent mix there. So I joined the breastfeeding group and my eyes popped in surprise at what all the new moms had to go through physically, how difficult and challenging it was and how their environment hampered, rather than encouraged them. I spent almost a good few weeks reading resources, cases on the facebook group and then began reading every query posted and responding to them in my mind, then checking the expert responses to see if I was right. This really prepared me for breastfeeding.
Enough digression, and back to cloth diapering. So the cloth diapering group was a sister group of the breastfeeding support group and I joined thinking what’s the big deal about ‘langots?’ Again, what I saw blew my mind. This was no ordinary white cloth, bound around in a triangle and held together by safety pins. This was a world of rainbows and unicorns, trucks and trains, owls and pandas, Minions and Mickey. I was astounded. I spent many a sleepless night thinking, yes, this is what I wanted for my child. No chemicals, no plastic, no bleached paper. I think I spent almost two months, scanning every post, pins, photos, reviews before I took the plunge and ordered my first set of CDs. I don’t think I got it perfectly right at the first shot but I did cloth diaper my child. I surely could have done things much more efficiently, but it has been a learning process and I am in a much better place today.
I am very passionate about cloth diapering. It has conquered my very soul and being. After 6 months with babyT, of which 4 months were exclusively cloth diapered, I can vouch for the fact that this is the future and what we should be giving our little babies and planet Earth. I am not judging moms who do not cloth diaper, all mothers are the best in terms of how they raise their little ones. But i would urge them to gain awareness about cloth diapering and give it a shot. Your bub and this Earth will be grateful for it.
So here I will share my experiences, tips, tricks and reviews. This has been one of the best choices I’ve made with respect to my baby and I would love to share that joy with you. Feel free to ask me anything about cloth diapering. I love talking about it. Happy CDing.