Stop Dismissing Cloth Diapers as a Solution for Diaper Need
Diaper need is a real problem and cloth diapers are a real solution. There is no government program that provides diapers to families in need, and far too many families are left to choose between things like food and utilities, or diapers for their baby. There are charities and organizations that collect donated disposable diapers and distribute them to families however, it is generally not enough to diaper a baby full time, and many families are left to “stretch” a single diaper for the whole day, or even scrape and reuse them.
It seems that every few months, there is another article bring awareness to the issue of diaper need, and every time, cloth diapers are immediately dismissed as an option. Providing disposable diapers is a band aid. Cloth diapers are the cure, and many arguments against cloth are nothing more than misconceptions.
You can’t use cloth diapers in daycare. Many people say that moms can’t send their babies to daycare in cloth. The Real Diaper Association has fantastic resources to help families interested in using cloth in daycare. From tips on getting a provider to accept diapers, to a cloth-friendly daycare directory, the RDA has everything you need to successfully use cloth in daycare. Many mistakenly say it’s “against the law” to use cloth. Check your state to find out the truth.
You have to remember that you do not have to use cloth diapers exclusively. Even using cloth at home will free up money to send disposable diapers to daycare. Every time you change a cloth diaper instead of a disposable, you are putting money in your pocket.
Cloth is too expensive/time consuming to wash. It really isn’t. Two extra loads of laundry per week won’t add a huge burden to most families expenses. Often using cloth diapers will minimize other laundry since you won’t be dealing with blowouts and multiple outfit changes. Expensive detergent isn’t necessary, nor are many washes and rinses.
Families don’t have washing machines. I have heard of some people saying there were signs posted prohibiting the washing of diapers at the laundromat. While I don’t advocate dishonesty, my husband’s response was “Diapers? What diapers? These are towels.” If they allow the washing of underwear, diapers should be allowed. Or, don’t use a machine at all. While not ideal, hand washing flats is completely doable. Alyssa hand washed diapers full time to save on washing costs. If you do have access to a coin operated machine, add the diapers to a less than full load, pre-rinse at home, hang to dry. 25 disposable diapers at 25 cents each (cheap) would cost $6.25. $2 to wash 25 cloth diapers is still saving. A flour sack towel costs around $1 and can be reused many times over, vs. a disposable at 25 cents+ each. Washing socks, underwear & dishes makes a whole lot more sense than switching to disposables. The same is true for diapers.
Cloth is too expensive to start up. It’s true that many cloth diapers seem expensive, even though they are cost effective in the long term. There are lots of cost effective options, and cloth diapering can be done for next to nothing with flour sack towels, receiving blankets or t-shirts. You can even make your own diaper covers for $1, without sewing. Just under $60 will get you about 3 weeks worth of disposable diapers or you can spend the same on a stash of flats & covers and cloth diaper your baby for years. Giving Diapers Giving Hope lends diapers nationwide, and you can keep them as long as you need them.
Dismissing cloth as an option is doing families a huge disservice experiencing diaper need.
Every baby deserves a clean diaper and families shouldn’t have to choose between diapers & food or utilities. Teach a family to cloth diaper, give them the resources to do so, and their baby will always have a clean diaper.