Sunday, June 28, 2009

First Steps in Cloth Diapering

Yesterday, I ordered some cloth diapers. When our son was born, we chose to use an unbleached, dioxin-free brand of disposable diapers. Due to their high cost, we switched to regular disposable diapers purchased in bulk from our local wholesale club. I just keep wondering what else we could be spending that $75/month on- other than disposable diapers.

We constantly look for ways to be more self-sufficient and keep more of our hard-earned cash. We are also going to have to deal with diapering for a few more years. The total cost of disposable diapers can be anywhere from $1,500-$2,000 per child. I googled "total estimated cost of disposable diapers" and found those figures. According to my math, I think those estimates are very low. I would rather invest in more bee hives, some dairy goats, or woolly sheep than spend another dime on diapers.

Environmentally, cloth diapers keep unnecessary waste from ending up in landfills. Economically, if you launder them yourself, cloth diapers cost less. Politically, cloth diapers put less money into government hands.

The first two points are self-explanatory, but the third point may need some explanation. Cloth diapers are purchased once. Sales tax is collected and paid once. Disposables, on the other hand, provide an ongoing supply of sales tax dollars. Also, if the diapers were made in the USA, then the government also collects taxes on the utilities (electric, fuel, phone, etc.) used by the manufacturer.

I am not a fan of handing over any additional tax payments to local, state, or federal, than is absolutely necessary. With cloth diapers, I could pay taxes once. With disposable diapers, I will pay taxes repeatedly.

I admit, we haven't used cloth diapers because we're nervous. We don't know how well they work. What about all the pins and the plastic pants? When I was pregnant, we even had family tell us that they would refuse to babysit if we used cloth diapers! But since that relative has not been able to babysit regularly after all, that isn't a concern anymore. Pins and plastic pants have faded away. Modern fasteners and fabrics have replaced them, eliminating another concern.

One of my biggest problems switching to cloth diapers is that there are so many choices. It took me an entire weekend between researching web sites and picking a patient, cloth-diapering mother's brain, to sort it all out. Another issue is my son's size. He is very tall (in the 98th percentile), and at sixteen months already weighs 33 pounds. Karl has a way to go before potty training, and even the disposables are getting tight on him! The upper limit on many of the cloth diapers I found on line was 35. I found one that claims it will fit a baby up to 45 pounds, so that's what I ultimately ordered. I can't wait to try them out!

Live better, a little every day.

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