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Posted by on Oct 27, 2011 in For Moms, For the Family, Green, Mom 2 Mom | 17 comments

Cloth-Bottomed Babes, You Make the Rockin’ World Go ‘Round

When most people hear “cloth diapers,” they think of rubber pants, but today’s generation of cloth diapers are nothing like their ancestors. Cloth diapers are now easier to clean and use than they have ever been before. And, as an added bonus, they are stylish and trim. Still, cloth diapers are more work than their relatives-the disposables- but they do have their benefits: They are better for the environment, they cost much less (at least $1,000 less), and they keep unwanted chemicals and toxins away from babies’ skin. For these reasons, many parents are choosing to cloth diaper, some full-time, while others just do it part-time. If you are thinking of jumping into the world of cloth-diapering, or at least testing the waters, you should first know what type of diaper you are looking for. You need to take into consideration the amount of labor, cost, and bulkiness when choosing a cloth diaper.

All-in-Ones: These are the easiest cloth diapers to use. Everything you need comes in one piece. You put them on your child just like you would a disposable, and best of all, they grow with your child (using several adjustable straps or snaps). These are also some of the trimmest cloth diapers out there and are available in many cute designs. These diapers are so easy to use that many daycares will agree to use them. The only downside is that they are the most expensive cloth diaper.

All-in-Twos: Almost as easy as All-in-Ones, but they are cheaper. These diapers have an outer shell and an insert. To use, you simply snap a liner in on the inside of the shell. Typically, the child does not dirty the shell, only the liner, so, for most diaper changes, you only have to simply unsnap the liner and snap in a new one. Shells only usually need to be changed daily. These diapers are extremely easy to use, trim, and more cost-effective than the All-in-Ones. You can find All-in-Twos at Paris Baby. We use them and love them. We also use Best Bottom All-in-Twos with organic hemp liners. They come in great colors and patterns. Grovia also makes a hybrid diaper. Instead of using only cloth inserts, you have the option of using disposable ones.

Pocket Diapers with Inserts: These look similar to disposable diapers, but they have pockets on the inside to stuff absorbent inserts. These are more cost-effective than All-in-Ones or All-in-Twos, but they are also bulkier. Fitted Diapers with Covers: These diapers usually are fitted using snaps or velcro, and they typically have elastic in the legs as well. Covers are needed for this type of diaper, but they typically do not require pinning. They are more cost effective than any of the above mentioned diapers, but they are also bulkier.

Prefolds and Flats with Covers: These are similar to traditional cloth diapers and require pining. These are the most cost-effective diaper, but they are extremely bulky,especially if you are used to disposables. You may have difficulties finding pants that fit your little one using these types of diapers.

Care for your cloth diapers is dependent on the brand and type of the cloth diaper. For my All-in-Twos, I simply knock of any solids into the toilet (or use a diaper sprayer if it is stuck on), and then throw them into a dry pail. If they are only wet, I just throw them into the pail. At the end of the day, I wash them. I use the pre-soak feature on my washer to soak them in cold water, then I use a regular wash cycle, and I do an extra rinse. They only require a minimum amount of special detergent; I buy Ecos at Walmart because it works and it’s cheap! Then, I simply hang them to dry or put them in the dryer. It is actually a lot easier than I thought it would be, and it is not nearly as gross, either.

Still on the fence? Here are some other testimonies from moms who use cloth diapers:

Gretchen writes:

I chose Bumgenius 4.0 with snaps because of the microfiber inserts that pull the moisture away from the skin. We have had no leaks or rashes in 9 months: ) my son also has not figures out how to take his diaper off yet because they snap instead of Velcro. The washing and stuffing of the diaper was a little much in the beginning but now it goes super quick!

Erica writes:

Our stash is really varied, mostly because I have diaper addiction, I can’t see a cute diaper without buying at least one. We use a combination of prefolds with one size PUL covers, pockets, and all-in-twos. At home, we use prefolds because he has really chunky thighs and most pockets cut into them, but when we go out I like to take the all-in-twos and pockets because they take up less space in the diaper bag and they make for a quicker change. The biggest part of our stash is prefolds because they are very cost effective (I paid $1 per diaper for ours). Saving so much money on diapers allowed me to spend more money on one-size covers in super cute patterns.

If you are still interested in giving them a try, I would recommend buying a couple and starting out part-time. If you feel like you can manage it, buy more. If not, continue to use the ones you have when you have the time. It isn’t an all-or-nothing thing. Every family is different.

Comments

comments

17 Comments

  1. I just found this article when searching for stores in and around Paris that sell cloth diapers. I think what you wrote is fantastic! I’m not sure I understand the accusations that you’re attacking KC. In fact, you mentioned you use Huggies part-time and that’s enough of an endorsement to KC, in my opinion. Personally, if we use disposables (we’ve used ONE in the past 4 months), we use Pampers. To each their own, right? That’s what’s so great about this country! We aren’t forced to use whatever local mega company that punches out gobs of disposable diapers simply because they’re right down the road from us and because our neighbor works for them. We do what works for our families and we should certainly NEVER have to apologize for that.

    It just seems those that have commented are a little overly sensitive about KC products. I saw the article for what it was – an informational guide about cloth diapers to give Paris moms some ideas about diapering options. The more knowledge we have about products for our children, the more informed choices we will make, which makes us better parents.

  2. The article was fairly interesting and I’m sure researched quite a bit, but seemed quite biased and a little one sided. The research was quite substantial for cloth diapers, but a little more opinionated with disposables.
    You have written an article promoting something which could take business away from a company which makes up a lot of the local industry backbone. Several thousand people are dependent on disposable diapers in the Paris Community along with the author of this article. So good or bad, you may want to choose your articles a little more wisely next time if you don’t wish the negativity that follows. I’m sure your article was a good read for those select few wishing to go the greener route, but don’t expect it to go over smoothly in this tough economic time with so many industries failing and so many people depending on disposable diapers in your community. I’m not defending either opinion, but just telling the author “you may want to use a little more common sense when choosing your next article”

    • Dear Common Sense,
      Thanks for reading. Truthfully, a lot of goes into each topic I write about, including this one. IPT was focusing on “Going Green” the month this article was written. I, personally, had several requests for an article about cloth diapering, and my editors may have had more. I am not sure on that. So, I was responding to a demand. That is the great thing about the site. If you want to see an article about something, e-mail the editor or submit a question to Mom-2-Mom. I had no such questions about disposables, but I can assure you that I would gladly write an article about them if that question were submitted to me. I did not find an article on disposables as necessary, as well, since most people choose disposable.

      Also, you mentioned the “hard economic times,” and that is another reason I wrote this article. I know a few mothers who simply cannot afford to diaper their children, and that is what sparked their interest in cloth. The thing you have to understand is that parents like these cannot afford Huggies, in my opinion, one of the highest quality disposables, and definitely the best at preventing leaks. These parents are switching from generic brands to cloth. I really do not feel that this will cause any real impact on KC.

      Also, a company as great as KC should not feel threatened by cloth. The great thing about capitalism is that it promotes competition, and competition pushes companines to constantly improve their products. With this article, companies like KC can understand better what certain parents are looking for in a diaper.

      I am not sure why you think this article is biased toward disposables. I was simply asked to write about cloth diapering and its benefits. I even through in the cons of cloth, which is, of course, time consuming. I can assure you not many people would switch to cloth because it is a big chore. Our society thrives on convienence, and disposables will always be the best for that.

      My personal life does not need to be brought into this. My husband does his job, and I do mine. He does what he is asked, and I do what I am asked, which was to write this article. As far as our decision to switch to cloth, my son had several skin reactions to all disposable diapers. We firmly believe we are parents first and employees seconds. Our prioroty is in our son’s health, and I think any parent can respect that.

      As I mentioned, we still use Huggies at night, and we use their wipes. Also, please remember that I said it is not an “all-or-nothing” thing, encouraging parents that the use of disposable diapers is fine.

      I also have a firm belief that parents have the right to know what is in the products they use for their children. I have looked into this issue a lot, and we have made whole lifestyle changes as a result, from lotions and soaps to toothpaste and cleaning products.

      In journalism, I cannot let my personal life make me biased toward a certain company. For example, I could not ethically respond to this article request stating that there are no benefits to cloth diapering and all parents should buy disposables, particularly Huggies. Ethically, I just cannot do that. Parents rely on me to research what I write and not have my own agenda. That is my job. That being said, I am thrilled that parents buy KC products. For those who feel they cannot, because they can’t afford them, their child has a physical reaction to a diaper, or whatever, I wanted to offer an alternative.

      This article was in no way an attack on KC.
      I wrote an article about the importance of organic, home-cooked food, and in no way was that an attack on Campbell’s Soup. Just the same, articles written about limiting sweets your children consume is in no way an attack on Sara Lee. I support Huggies, and with this article, I supported local businesses that sell cloth diapers and cloth diaper detergent.

      If you would like to see an article about something else, I will respond to it.

      Respectfully,
      Mandy

      • Typos:
        *thought* (This one is a bit ironic. :) )
        *I even threw in the cons of cloth, which is, of course, that they are time consuming*

  3. Mandy,
    Are they really “better for the environment”? What is the environmental impact of manufacturing? What is the environmental impact of all the additional water and energy usage required by the washing machine? Also, not sure you are always keeping all chemicals away from baby if you properly disinfect them either.

    • Thank you for your questions. Yes, they are better for the environment, especially when using an HE washer and dryer. You do not have all the diapers ending up in the landfills, not to mention the human waste. It is emptied out in the toilet before cleaning. You also do not have diaper pails ending up in the landfills. According to EPA.gov, a disposable diaper can sit in a landfill for 500 years before disintegrating. However, one company is in the very early process of turning soiled disposables into green fuel. Companies like KC also do a great deal to use recycled material and reduce waste. Their efforts are admirable. Still, if you are looking at the facts, cloth diapers are much more environmentally-friendly. It does not require much water to wash a load of diapers every other day. It requires very little detergent, too. As far as drying goes, we use the sun. However, we did not choose to use them because of the environment, but for many people, that is why they choose them.

      I am not sure if you are talking about the manufacturing of the cloth diapers or disposables, but far more disposables are manufactured a day than cloth diapers. Many cloth diapers are actually handmade, including some that my son uses.

      As far as “properly” disinfecting goes, you do not use bleach or harsh detergents. You cannot even use normal, everyday laundry soap. It will ruin the diapers. You use a gentle detergent that is free of a lot of the irritants in laundry soap. Also, when you hang your diapers to dry in the sun, the sun itself disinfects. It really works outs perfectly. You also have to remember that there are many natural disinfectants that do not have toxins or harsh chemicals.

      Dioxin is not he only toxin/irritant in disposables, either. The ink in the the diaper, for example, causes a reaction in many children. According to the claims of many parents, a different brand of diapers (not Huggies because Huggies does not use this chemical) caused a chemical burn in their children. It was all over national news.

      Cloth diapering is certainly not for everyone. Some choose it because it is better for the environment, others because their children react to the chemicals in disposables, and still others because it is cheaper. These are the pros of cloth diapering. The biggest cons are that they are time-consuming, less convenient, and often, quite frankly, nasty. We, as other parents who chose cloth, ultimately decided the cons were worth it because our son did not have diaper rash with the cloth. Each parent has the right to decide what is best for their child, no matter where they work, how old they are, or what they do.

      Thank you for reading. I hope this answers some of your questions.

      As for the typo earlier, *altogether.

      • To further, I would like to point out that using a laundry service may not be better for the environment. It depends on many things. But here in Paris, that is not even an option.

        If parents switch to cloth for environmental reasons alone, they should launder at home with HE washers, biodegradable laundry soap, and line dry their diapers, which is ultimately what I do, even though I do not do it “for the environment,” necessarily.

        To understand the environmental debate, you have to take into consideration the following:
        -Manufacturing cloth versus disposable
        - Energy used to wash cloth
        - Feces in the landfill
        - Diapers in the landfill
        - Gas used to drive to and from the store to pick up disposables (more frequent than detergent)
        - Gas used to transport/ship disposables (more since more disposables are needed)
        - The type of detergent parents are using (but this becomes more of an issue of laundry soap choice more than diapers).
        - Type of disposable and material used
        - Type of washer
        -Laundering service or not (again, not an option in Paris)

        It is a complicated issue.

        As you can see, there are many factors. Some argue that eco-friendly disposables are better than cloth, but it all depends on the circumstances. But overall, yes, you can easily make cloth the greener choice.

        But, as I said, companies like KC do a lot to reduce their environmental impact, which is very honorable.

        • You also have to take into conservation the bags used in diaper genies, garbage bags, and gas for garbage service if you want to get very technical.

          • consideration*

  4. Technically, yes dioxin is a toxin. It is a toxin found in steak, milk, butter, and yes in bleached papers…. and in most bleached products, including most cloth diapers. And if it is not already in cloth diapers, it is likely to be introduced when they are disinfected.

    So saying that disposable diapers have toxins is nothing more than a shock value scare tactic.

    That is why I say your article was an attack on KC. Nothing personal, just reading it as written.

    • You are right. It is found in so many things. That is why we don’t consume a lot of the things you mentioned, as do those who use cloth because of toxins. It is not a scare tactic. I just found it alarming that toxins are in so many things. I wrote an article about all the toxins in sunscreen this summer, for example. The fact that it is in so many things also makes it unavoidable, so parents should not be alarmed by the use of disposables alone, but many of my friends that choose cloth, as well as others I do not know, state they make the switch because of a whole lifestyle change, not just diapers. I do not think the toxins in disposables alone warrant a real concern for parents, but if you are a parent who is consciously trying to avoid toxins in everything, this would be useful. Also, I can report that my son no longer has diaper rash after switching to cloth. He had problems with all disposables, not just Huggies.

      For accuracy, you do not “disinfect” cloth diapers. You cannot use bleach on them. You have to use special laundry detergent so it does not build up on the diaper. We have to use ECOS or Rocking Green. It is really a time-consuming process, and disposables are so much more convenient. Also, many of the cloth diapers do not contain these chemicals, as they are organic hemp.

      To show our support for KC, I will be writing an article highlighting all the wonderful things they do for our community. This article should have been written long ago. They are really a great company, and Huggies are a wonderful diaper. I would never promote another brand of disposable diaper, in fact. They are just simply the best. This article is for those who want an alternative product all together.

      Thank you for reading.

  5. Billy’s comment was not an attack. He stated simple facts.
    This article is inaccurate and an attack on our area’s largest employer. So you understand that this is not an attack, I will point out the inaccuracy.
    In the first paragraph, the writer is explaining benefits of cloth diapers vs. Disposables. One of those claims is thatcloth diapers keep “toxins” away from your baby’s skin. Wow, sign me up! Wait, what toxins do cloth diapers prevent that disposables don’t? And for this to be an accurate and informed article: what chemicals are in disposables? What chemicals are in plastic liners on cloth diapers?
    Andone cant say that this article doesn’t need to be factual, but since the author got paid, then yes it should be.
    Now please don’t censor dissenting opinions or I will call it out publicly and ipt will lose credibility.

    • Hello,
      Thank you for your point of view. This website is designed to allow people to discuss topics.

      We do not censor dissenting opinions, only edit any opinion with personal attacks against others, including contributing editors.

      Thank you for your comment.

      • So you are OK that your writer has made up falsehoods to deliver her opinion?
        That is acceptable journalism?

        • According to many aspects of the Cloth Diaper VS Disposable Diaper debate Mandy’s article is in fact factual. Many parents switch to cloth diapers because of issues with rashes caused by chemicals found within disposable diapers.

          We support local business 100% and will continue to buy Huggies when our new child is born in October. This article is for those parents who have had issues who have sent in questions about it.

          That being said, Mandy writes her own editorials on the site. If you wish to write an article disputing this we would love to publish it for you, and will do the same fact checking. InParisTexas.com is a community site, NOT a news website attempting to replace our local newspaper.

          Thank you for keeping your view civil and I am sure Mandy will post more on this issue as she has time.

        • Hello, 
          I did do my research. Here are some articles you may be interested in:

          http://healthwyze.org/index.php/component/content/article/475-toxins-in-disposable-diapers-dioxin-and-sodium-polyacrylate.html

          http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php

          For similar reasons, we also use paraben-free bath products. 

          We use organic hemp diapers, not plastic. 

          This was not an attack. In fact, that is why I did not highlight the toxins in disposables because I did not want to discourage their use. I simply listed pros and cons. Cloth diapers are definitely a lot more work. Please understand a few things:

          1) People are not going to switch from Huggies, one of the most expensive (but also highest quality) diapers to cloth if they cannot afford them. They will switch to generic, lower quality diaper first. Cloth diapers take a lot of time and commitment and are not nearly as convenient.

          2) People who are concerned about the toxin/environment will most likely be switching from 7th Generation. 

          3) This is not inaccurate. I do not see inaccurate information in the article. I believe it to be true,  and I have done plenty of research on the topic. There are toxins in our food (all sorts of it in almost every kind, unless homegrown or truly organic). There are toxins in hand soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, cleaners, formula, etc. We made the choice to switch to products that contain less toxins from food to bathroom supplies. A lot of these chemicals were causing the rash.

          4) In no way was this an attack. I really do not feel it will cause KC to lose any business, as state in point  1. Why would I attack them?

          5) I suggest Huggies to all sorts of mothers. In fact, I did suggest their overnight just last week on FB. 

          Also, please understand that I am supporting small, local businesses that sell cloth diapers.

  6. Comments are always welcome on the website and this comment has been edited for the following reason. *Comment personally attacked while attempting to make a point* If you wish this edit to be changed to something more constructive or wish to share further discussion please email editor@inparistexas.com. Thank you for visiting the site.

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