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November 02, 2005

Newborn Essential: Cloth Diapers

I'm kicking off the new "Newborn Essentials" blog category with something I can't imagine living without at the moment: cloth diapers. (ok, I can imagine it, but that's not for us, The Guids explodes when we least expect it!).

In the first two weeks home with the baby, I think I have changed about 180 diapers. The first couple of days we used disposables (that's what they tought us in the hospital), then I switched to cloth, and I am a BIG fan. Let me list a few reasons why:

They are better for The Guids: they are 100% cotton and no nasty chemicals touch his sensitive little butt.

They are FAR better for the environment: "Tiny Tots’ award winning laundering plant conserves more water than the making of paper diapers and uses biodegradable and phosphate-free detergent. --- Disposable diapers are 100% garbage and comprise the THIRD largest consumer source of landfill in the U.S. --- It takes 20 TREES to diaper one baby in disposables for 2 years." (biased source here). In the two days of disposable use, we filled up two whole garbage bags just with diapers, which made me feel horrible. Check out the first video on this page.

They are very convenient: every Wed. morning a nice man brings us a big bag of clean ones and takes away the bags of dirty ones from the previous week. The bags that they give you are sturdy and pretty good at keeping the smells inside. We use them in our Diaper Champ, another newborn essential.

They are easy to use: the dangerous pins of the past have been replaced by nice little toothed rubber clips and the cloth is covered by a handy velcro-fastened plastic cover. Watch this short video for a demonstration.


The are CHEAP: even with the home-delivery service, I now pay 23 cents a diaper (a pack of newborn Pampers is 32 cents a diaper).

They contain the poop better: I might not have the biggest statistical sample here, but I feel that with the disposables the poop got smeared all the way up the baby's back, which hasn't happened with the cloth. The poop stays where it is, and the butt is easier to clean overall.

For newborns: easy to tell if it's a wet diaper or not: you have to keep track of wet vs. stool diapers during the first few days of life, and disposables made it pretty much impossible to tell the two apart. With cloth, when it's wet, you know it.

So there you have it.

Overall, I will say this: the time has come for cloth diapers to shed their image of old-fashioned, clumsy, dirty and leaky poop-traps. For me, using a cloth diaper service is a lot like using CityCarShare: cheap, convenient, clean, good for the environment and definitely "a big-city thing". :)

We will still use disposables when we go out, though I sort-of hate it.

If you live in the Bay Area, we recommend www.tinytots.com.

Posted by patata at November 2, 2005 09:23 AM


Cloth diapers are wonderful. I've used them for all six of my kids.

Congrats on the birth of the baby. I'm a first time reader, here from Blogging Baby.

Posted by: carmen at November 3, 2005 06:59 PM

Just curious... Would you still use cloth diapers if there wasn't a diaper company who picked up the dirty ones and dropped off clean ones?

[excellent question! I'd have to think about it and research the environmental implications of washing the diapers myself, not to mention the big dent in the convenience-factor. Luckily this is one question I don't have to answer, thanks to Tiny Tots!]

Posted by: Aly at November 4, 2005 11:21 AM