MSMThe average child will go through almost 6,000 diapers before they’re potty trained, which totals about $2,000 spent in diapers alone.  One surefire way to cut costs and save some money?  Cloth diapers!

Cloth diapers used to mean safety pins, Borax solutions and serious hassle.  But, cloth diapers have come a long, LONG way since then; there are so many options available now (not to mention tips and advice available online) that cloth diapering seriously could not be any easier.

Over two years you’ll save roughly half of what you would spend on diapers if you use cloth diapers instead.  That’s serious savings!  Need more reasons?

1) Good for the environment.  One child requires close to 3,000 diapers per year, which means billions of diapers end up in landfills regularly.  No one knows exactly how long it takes for a disposable diaper to  decompose, but it’s estimated to be about 250 – 500 YEARS.  Disposable diapers also require more raw materials to produce, including wood, feedstocks and chlorine.  Less diapers in landfills = less diapers in landfills.  Who can argue with that?

2) Less irritating.  Disposable diapers contain chemicals such as chlorine, perfumes and polyacrylate (to help with absorbency), which can irritate sensitive skin.  Also, because disposable diapers are designed to absorb lots of liquid, babies tend to sit in a wet diaper longer since the wetness isn’t noticed by the baby (or their parent).  Cloth diapers don’t contain any petrochemicals, and need to be changed more frequently, reducing the amount of time a baby sits in a wet diaper and thereby reducing likelihood of diaper rashes or skin irritation.

3) An earlier potty training experience.  Studies have shown that children in cloth diapers, on average, tend to potty train up to a year earlier than kids in disposable diapers because they’re able to feel “wet” versus kids in disposables who don’t as easily.

4) They last beyond the baby years.  Once a disposable diaper is used it’s thrown away and that’s the end of it.  But a cloth diaper can be used beyond the diapering years – you can always use a good rag for cleaning or polishing.

5) They provide good cushioning.  It’s true!  Those fluffy bottoms really help when your little one is learning to toddle and they spend a lot of time landing on their bottom.  The extra padding has to help reduce the impact felt, right?

6) They make awesome swim diapers.  Simply remove the liner from the cloth diaper shell and you’ve got a great, cost-effective and reusable alternative to those flimsy (and pricey) swimmer diapers.

7) They’re just so adorable.  There are so many fun colors and patterns available these days!  Adding to our stash is always fun for me; much more so than just buying a box of diapers.

IMG_4795 I use AIO (all in one) diapers, which are comprised of two parts: an outer “shell” and an insert that you stick into the shell.  Simple, right?  When the diaper has been soiled simply flush the waste down the toilet (if there is any), then remove the liner from the shell, put both in the hamper (lined with a waterproof bag is always a plus) and throw in the wash when you’re ready.

The most common question people ask is: do you have to do a lot more laundry now?

In my case, sure.  I have two little ones in cloth diapers, and I do laundry every other day in order to have enough diapers in the rotation and to keep them from sitting around stinking for too long.  But, truthfully, isn’t there always laundry that needs to be done anyway?  Or are my kids the only two who drop food all over themselves, sweat or get dirty when playing outside? And really…it’s not as if I’m washing laundry by hand.  I throw them in the washing machine when the kiddos are asleep and call it a day.

I will admit I was a bit worried when we first started cloth diapering our firstborn (when he was about 6 weeks old); all of the snaps and buttons were a little intimidating.  But just as changing a diaper in general is daunting and takes a while at first, you eventually get into a groove where you’re snapping and unsnapping (or velcro-ing or whatever) in seconds like an old pro.

Looking to try out some cloth diapers?  You can find them online, or in person at various retailers.  Our favorite place – The Baby Grocery Store – stocks TONS of cloth diapers and have lots of great, helpful staff on hand to help you start a stash.  Who doesn’t want to save a little money AND help the environment??

Happy cloth diapering!!