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.