We all know that our landfills are filling up to the brim, the average American produces about 4 pounds of trash per day, and global warming is surely upon us. We also know that being a parent is hard work, and we want shortcuts, tips, and tricks, not only to sustain our families, but to sustain our Earth. I am here to talk about one way in which you can make it happen!
Cloth Diapers: the next best thing.
Now, when you think of a cloth diaper, what comes to mind? A rag on your babe's bottom attached by safety pins? A thin piece of fabric that doesn't absorb pee very well? A mess waiting to happen?
Cloth diapers have come a long way in the recent years, and they are actually pretty easy to use, PLUS they are better for the environment.
Benefits to using cloth diapers:
1. Good for the environment! We touched on this already, but think about how many diapers you are washing (ten tops) versus how many you would be tossing in the trash (can be up to ten per day during the first month).
2. Good for your baby! Disposable diapers have chemicals and artificial dyes in them that can irritate your babe's skin causing diaper rash, and irritability. The materials in disposable diapers make them super absorbent- but this can in turn have your baby sitting in a wet diaper for much longer.
3. Good for you! Pop 'em in the washer (since newborn poo is not solid, you can just toss these right in. Once your baby starts eating solid foods, you can dispose of the poo in the toilet before throwing the diaper in the washing machine). Your baby will potty train faster! You aren't spending hundreds of dollars on diapers, and there will be no emergency runs to the store.
There are many types of cloth diapers to choose from, but don't let this confuse or intimidate you. All of them are great, and it takes a bit of practice and patience to see which one works best for your family. Here are three of them to get you started on your cloth diaper journey:
1. Flats- A piece of fabric (usually cotton) that can be folded in several ways and must be used with a diaper cover. Here is a tutorial on how to use them.
2. Prefolds- A piece of three sectioned fabric (the middle section is the most absorbent) that is used as an internal layer in a cover, or can be fastened using a snappi.
3. Pockets- This type of cloth diapers is very popular among babysitters. All that is required is an absorbent slip that is inserted in the pocket of the diaper. Tutorial here.
If this is intimidating, try doing cloth diapers part time, or have some disposable diapers on hand, especially if you are traveling. There are many cloth diaper resources online to explain further and give you more information. If you live in the Boulder/Denver area, Bundle is a great resource and cloth diaper service- they drop of clean diapers to your house, pick up dirties, wash them, and drop off new diapers for you! Plus, their boutique located in Boulder has amazingly cute covers to choose from.