I must confess that there was a time - about 21 years ago - when I myself wondered this very thing. Then I gave birth to my first child and tried to make ends meet on my husband's salary as a youth pastor! Breastfeeding wasn't just a choice, it was a necessity because formula was way outside of our budget. We did buy disposable diapers, but felt like we were just throwing money away with every pack we purchased. By the time our second child was born I was a firm Attachment Parenting advocate. I began cloth diapering primarily to save money, but also because I had discovered the awful truth about disposable diapers and landfills!
The Disposable Diaper Dilemma
Did you know that it is against the law in most states to dispose of human waste in landfills? Concerns about bacteria and viruses entering the ground water supply have led to these laws. Yet every year 18 billion diapers end up in landfills! These diapers will sit there for the foreseeable future because their components are not biodegradable. Many people are concerned about the long-term effects of landfills. Of course, disposable diapers aren't the only non-biodegradable product entering landfills. But they certainly contribute to the problem.
The Cloth Diaper Solution
Today's cloth diapers are definitely NOT the diapers your mother used! So many cloth diapering options are available for moms today, and the clean up isn't nearly as bad as it was back when I was dunking diapers in the toilet to get rid of the solids before I dropped them into the diaper pail. You can choose from an all-in-one diaper that combines absorbancy with waterproof protection. Another option is a fitted diaper with a waterproof diaper liner over it. If you're thinking rubber pants, think again. Diaper covers today are attractive, lightweight and easy to use. The least expensive option is prefolded diapers with a diaper cover. The days of diaper pins are long gone. Savvy moms today use Snappis diaper fasteners, a practical fastener that uses grips to hook the diaper fabric and keep it securely in place.
When it comes to clean-up, the coolest option is the Bum Genius diaper sprayer which attaches to your toilet's plumbing. Another option is the bio-soft liner which allows you to simply flush your baby's bowel movements. Cloth diapers need to be washed in hot water with soap that is free from all additives. Occasionally they will need to be stripped, as well.
When I began cloth diapering, I just went to the store and bought inexpensive prefolds and diaper covers that didn't always keep the wet in. Later a friend introduced me to fitted diapers and gave me a cloth diaper baby shower before my third baby. But I didn't know much about caring for my diapers. Moms today have so much information available at their fingertips. Diaperpin.com is a terrific resource for parents who are beginning to explore cloth diapering options. Many moms really enjoy the community of cloth diapering moms that they meet at diaperswappers.com. A final resource that offers a wealth of information about cloth diapering is Diaperjungle.com. Just one quick word of warning... cloth diapering can be addictive! With so many cute patterns and great diapers to choose from, once you start, you just might not be able to stop!