Cloth diapers are awesome. If they weren't, I wouldn't have bought a cloth diaper store, and be spending a precious kid-free afternoon writing a blog post about cloth diapers. Right? How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....
Less Poo Blowouts
If you are unfamiliar with what a blowout is, it is when poo escapes from a diaper and into its surrounding environment (e.g. clothing, cribs, car seats, unwitting grandparents laps, etc). This usually involves an extreme amount of cleaning, apologizing and occasionally some embarrassment (on the parents' part, not the kid's. They usually enjoy these events).
Parents using disposable diapers know the signs of an impending blowout all to well. They panic at the unmistakable warnings: a red face, faraway look and the sounds of distant gunfire have them shaking in their boots, for they know what catastrophe is coming. Meanwhile, us cloth diapering parents sit back and smugly take another sip of our coffee, knowing that our cloth diapers can handle whatever our littles throw at them.
Cloth diapers are designed by parents who don't enjoy cleaning poop off of every imaginable surface. They adjust to give a perfect gap-free fit to babies of every shape and size, and have additions like elastics across baby's back and leg gussets to hold messes in. Disposable diapers are made as cheaply as possible as they are made in vast quantities, so they lack thoughtful features like these, resulting in the aforementioned disasters of the dookie nature.
Faster Potty Training
Although I love my cloth diapers, I do look forward to the glorious day when both of my children can use the toilet independently. Cloth diapered kids tend to potty train earlier, although so much depends on the individual. Cloth allows baby to feel wet when they pee, which gives them an awareness of when they have gone. Disposable diapers feel dry all the time (through the magic of sodium polyacrylate and other compounds) keeping baby in the dark as to what their bodily functions are doing.
In 1957, 92% of children were potty trained by 18 months old. Today only 4% are potty trained by two years old. I don't have a source for this statistic, but talking to the older generations, I can believe it. Much of this difference is attributed to the rise in disposable diaper use. There are other factors at play of course, but it is a pretty powerful statistic!
With endless colours and patterns available, a fluffy cloth bum is one of the cutest things around. Disposable diapers are so utilitarian looking that we go to great lengths to cover them up, while there is nothing better that catching a peek of a sweet cloth diaper. My kids rarely wear pants, both by choice and because their diapers are just too cute not to show them off.
From owls, to nursery rhymes to pirate skulls, there is a pattern to suit anyone. Custom diaper makers can even put sports team logos, names, etc. onto a diaper for you.
I think I have mentioned before that I am quite lazy. Once again, I am writing in my pajamas at one in the afternoon. So cloth diapers suit me just fine.
When we need diapers, I walk to the baby's room, pick up the diaper pail and dump it in the washing machine. Add detergent, push a button and I'm done. In an hour or so, I'll toss them in the dryer, then put a bunch of lovely, fluffy clean diapers in the drawer.
If we used disposables, I would have to wrestle two kids into clothes, load them into the car, drive to Walmart, park, sit in the parking lot playing Bubble Witch for an hour or so until they woke up, wrestle them both into Walmart, chase them like I was herding hungry goats through the store, pay for my order while prying candy out of a screaming toddler's fingers in the checkout, wrestle everyone back into the car, drive home, count to one-hundred to not lose my mind at listening to What Does the Fox say for the thousandth time on the drive, wrestle everyone back into the house. Phew. Oh no, now the garbage can is full. Wrestle full can downstairs while children clutch at my legs and scream about mommy going outside without them, wrestle bag into the already overflowing can outside while covering face against the stench, returning back inside to angry children that I DARED have all the fun of taking the garbage out by myself. Even typing this has made me yearn for a large, strong Starbucks!
Meet other crunchy parents
A cloth diaper is pretty much like a flag attracting other cloth diapering parents. Once they catch a glimpse of a AppleCheeks ruffle sticking out the top of your little one's waistband, you instantly become lifelong friends. Okay, maybe that is a little exaggeration, but it definitely does start a conversation!
There are a lot of online groups devoted to cloth diapering as well. While some are subject to the usual Facebook Drama, others seem to be immune and are great, supportive places for moms and dads to chat about not just cloth diapers, but parenting in general. A couple that I would love to give a shout out to are Funky Fluff Chat and Peace, Love, AppleCheeks. Both of these groups are full of incredible people, and are a great place to virtually hang out.
Feel good about diaper changes
Changing diapers may never be on your top ten list of favourite hobbies, but using cloth makes it a whole lot nicer. Whether you focus on which diapers match today's outfit, how much money you are saving with each change, or how this is one less diaper being added to the landfill, cloth diapers give you a variety of good things to think about while changing that bum. And there is nothing that will make your inner hippie chick sing like looking at a clothesline full of clean cloth diapers drying in the sun :)