Parenting & Family

My wife wants to do cloth diapers

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  • Oct 17th, 2017 8:33 am
[OP]
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Apr 20, 2012
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My wife wants to do cloth diapers

Every one is telling us that this is a bad idea.

What experiences/advice do the fine folks here have for me?
Last edited by brobinsoncc on Apr 16th, 2017 1:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
39 replies
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I think if you want to convince her otherwise, you need to understand why she wants to do it. Does she believe it is better for the environment? Does she think it is more convenient? Does she think it is better for the baby's skin? Until you understand why she feels it is better I am not sure you can tailor an argument to convince her otherwise.

My opinion is that it is challenging to do strictly cloth diapers - often I would think you reach for the convenience of disposable diapers if you are out for a large period of the day. Further, for a single child, I suspect that cloth diapers offer no real savings - and in fact might actually cost more overall (as they need cleaning). Most of the calculation I have seen presented offer an absurdly high price for disposable diapers to make their argument work.

(I have never used cloth - I faced the same dilemma but when we looked at it, it just didn't make sense)
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like TrevorK said, try to figure out why your wife wants to do this, then research and try to determine if she has all the facts and if not discuss the facts she's missing. I have 1 kid, and half my garbage each week is diapers. I can't imagine having that many spare cloth diapers on hand, finding a place to store all the dirty ones until laundry time, or do laundry that often. I feel like you'd have to do laundry every single night if you were going cloth. Perhaps I'm wrong about that, but that is a lot of hydro and water waste.

I never really looked into it, because we never even really considered cloth but how well does cloth work at night when your child is sleeping or are you going to have to wash the covers every day as well after your child wets themselves in the middle of the night?
[OP]
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TrevorK wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 2:43 pm
I think if you want to convince her otherwise, you need to understand why she wants to do it. Does she believe it is better for the environment? Does she think it is more convenient? Does she think it is better for the baby's skin? Until you understand why she feels it is better I am not sure you can tailor an argument to convince her otherwise.

My opinion is that it is challenging to do strictly cloth diapers - often I would think you reach for the convenience of disposable diapers if you are out for a large period of the day. Further, for a single child, I suspect that cloth diapers offer no real savings - and in fact might actually cost more overall (as they need cleaning). Most of the calculation I have seen presented offer an absurdly high price for disposable diapers to make their argument work.

(I have never used cloth - I faced the same dilemma but when we looked at it, it just didn't make sense)
Her biggest reason is because of the cost savings. I just don't know when you factor in all costs associated with buying the diapers and doing the laundry that it will be worth it for the costs savings.
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Nov 13, 2013
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brobinsoncc wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 3:03 pm
Her biggest reason is because of the cost savings. I just don't know when you factor in all costs associated with buying the diapers and doing the laundry that it will be worth it for the costs savings.
Everyone else here seems to have used disposables they can describe the expense of that better.

We use a disposable at night and sometimes when we go out. Do laundry every second night. With an apt sized high efficiency every night might be easier. Less than 9 months it's easy a little older you need to handle some poo to get it off the diaper first. Disposables on the other hand also stink a lot more. I find it really annoying when on vacation having to take out the garbage every day. They have chemicals to make them stink as cloth don't have nearly the same smell. Of course an18 month old's number 2 smells like well you know. Downside is the washer is busy a lot when you also need to wash baby clothes almost every other day and a lot of babyies are puking on your clothes so you need to do laundry more often as well. Certainly. It doable if you have to go next door for laundry and even going all the way to the basement from a third floor bedroom might be a hassle as usually you need an extra cycle or even two for cloth diapers. I had 3 flights of stairs in one house and it was the only time I though this is annoying.

Kids in cloth learn a lot faster because they feel when they are wet. Both our kids were fully trained during the day by 18-19 months. If we had used cloth at night that might have gone faster.

I have saved a ton of money using cloth. Maybe someone who kept track of expenses with disposables can compare. We spent $150 buying diapers. These lasted through two kids and about half can be used for a third kid. Detergent and electricity is $5-10 a month. Just moved and paying for water for the first time. Looks like a bit more than $5 a month using washer specs. We have always had high efficiency washers which are way cheaper but of course take a lot longer.
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brobinsoncc wrote:
Apr 16th, 2017 3:03 pm
Her biggest reason is because of the cost savings. I just don't know when you factor in all costs associated with buying the diapers and doing the laundry that it will be worth it for the costs savings.
I suspect for a single child, cloth does not offer a cost savings over disposable. Once you start spreading out the cloth diaper cost over multiple kids there is definitely going to be a cost savings. You can look at Amazon.ca for diaper prices.

If you are planning to put your child in daycare, some daycares may not deal with cloth diapers either.


If you choose cloth you can also get a diaper service so you are not dealing with laundry.
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We used cloth diapers. There was a cost saving for the 1st one, major cost savings for the second, but we did have to replace some by the third. For daycare, we just carried in a waterproof bag with fresh ones every day and took home the soiled ones every night. It was no big deal,
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We considered a diaper service for our kid - I liked the environmental aspects of it and my wife liked the fact that it was cotton. But everyone basically said:
- you have to keep the diapers around until they're picked up once a week
- you have to remove the poop
- cotton is not as absorbent as disposables
- you won't get the same diapers back - they're shared with other families (although they're washed at high temperatures etc)

In the end, we both changed our minds. My MIL still wanted to go with cotton diapers and said she'd hand wash them all, but we basically said there were better things to do :)

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Who is this "everyone"? Because usually the naysayers are ones who haven't tried it themselves and just seem to think cloth is weird, gross, inconvenient, etc. based on assumptions. Disposables have been around since the 50's...cloth diapers since...well, since people wore clothes. ;)

We use strictly disposables now but for the first 18 months, we used mainly cloth and sometimes disposables when we were out and about. The only inconvenience to cloth is if you don't have time to wash at night, BUT you don't need to wash nightly. We did it every 3 days. Poop diapers we had a diaper sprayer (same as a bidet) on our toilet and we'd spray of the solids. Everything goes into a wet bag and that gets tossed in with the diapers in the wash.

1 cycle on cold
1 heavy duty cycle on hot
Low heat in the dryer

At daycare, we'd give them 5 diapers a day. We used ones with snaps but you can also buy velcro ones so it's essentially the same as disposables.

That's it. I have to say, it is a LOT less stinky than disposables (when I have to bring downstairs a bag of disposables...oh man, that is toxic!) And my son NEVER had a diaper rash while in cloth - for sensitive skin, sometimes the doctor may even recommend it.

We stopped because we couldn't even make the every 4th night wash cycle due to life commitments with the size of the stash we had. For our second, we'll go back to cloth but add some more to our collection. My husband liked them as well. We had cool ones like Mario, Batman, and NHL teams.

This is a website with extensive info on cloth diapering including an index of detergents that are good/bad for washing cloth, a breakdown of the different types of cloth diapers, etc. http://www.fluffloveuniversity.com/

I say you guys try it out for yourself before writing it off. If it doesn't work out for you, then resell them. Cloth diapers keep their value and you can pretty much come away after even a trail period with about the same as disposables out of pocket, if even.
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Sure cloth is expensive, but in general, the value of mental rest not having to wash and organize (also think of the extra electricity to wash/dry), I would generally think the marginal cost of disposables wouldn't be as big as initially thought. Because of the absorbent nature of disposables, you don't need to be changing it every time they 'go' #1. When we had our first kid, we over did it thinking it was necessary for her to be comfortable. The 2nd one, after more experience and being calm about things, we didn't change nearly as often, and there is no major 'health' or comfort issue. So we saved alot more the 2nd time around.
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We used cloth for all three of our children. There is always selling them so I'm not sure where this high cost for first purchase comes from? Saved us a ton of money, our children were out of the diapers quick and to the daycare we only gave them disposables. I find that a lot of people have an opinion based on no real experience or hear say from others.
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Aug 5, 2008
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I do both cloth and disposables and I find that my child has never had a rash with cloth. I don't use any barrier or rash cream with cloth. Blowout poops stay in. For me, maybe because I am not too well informed, I find them bulky sometimes and only if it is not fitted properly, the leaks are less forgivable than disposables. My child doesn't really poop that much anymore, I just put them in the wet bag and when it is time for washing, dump them in the washing machine.
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We did it, used a cloth diaper service. No laundering at home required. Used ones just needed a scrape-off of any solid material into the toilet, then they went into a big container with a lid. Once a week they'd be picked up and fresh clean ones were dropped off. It was too easy. I'd definitely do it again.
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at1212b wrote:
Apr 17th, 2017 10:28 am
Sure cloth is expensive, but in general, the value of mental rest not having to wash and organize (also think of the extra electricity to wash/dry), I would generally think the marginal cost of disposables wouldn't be as big as initially thought. Because of the absorbent nature of disposables, you don't need to be changing it every time they 'go' #1. When we had our first kid, we over did it thinking it was necessary for her to be comfortable. The 2nd one, after more experience and being calm about things, we didn't change nearly as often, and there is no major 'health' or comfort issue. So we saved alot more the 2nd time around.
Do you know the cost of cloth diapers? My bundle costs less than $400 (2017) and this will last from 7-35lbs - when my kid is a toddler. Hydro costs is calculated to be around $5 per month. We will use disposables for trips out (a compromise with DH) but I can easily use cloth if I wanted to for trips out.

There are some here who are ill informed and talk like they know what they're talking about.
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Kayceern wrote:
Apr 18th, 2017 4:04 pm
Do you know the cost of cloth diapers? My bundle costs less than $400 (2017) and this will last from 7-35lbs - when my kid is a toddler. Hydro costs is calculated to be around $5 per month. We will use disposables for trips out (a compromise with DH) but I can easily use cloth if I wanted to for trips out.

There are some here who are ill informed and talk like they know what they're talking about.
I guess I am very misinformed and lazy. Actually, even throwing out disposables is a pain. also getting a diaper genie and those bags and filters can be costly too. So cloth is the way to go for sure. Especially after if both parents work, and have to commute to pay for that giant Toronto mortgage. Oh, and the daycare I would assume would provide a notable discount to use cloth diapers due to the cost and efficiency savings.

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