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4 reasons cloth diapering may not be for you

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It’s part 4 of my series on cloth diapers – zing! I’m on a roll. (Check the bottom of this post for links to Parts 1, 2 and 3.)

It’s no secret that I love cloth diapers. But I was hesitant at first – what if I regretted my choice? What if I didn’t use them? What if I couldn’t wash them properly and they ended up all stained and stinky? What if.

I jumped in despite my reservations and I’m so glad that I did because, for me, using cloth diapers is something I feel really strongly about – some people are really into the organic food thing, others only buy wooden toys, but me? My thing is cloth diapers.

However. Not everyone is like me (what????). Some people just really don’t like the thought of using cloth and, you know what? That’s totally okay. I wrote this article to help moms out who may have guilt over not cloth diapering. I think there are always things that each mom feels guilty over – something she wishes she did differently, or would have started to begin with – I know I have those things. But cloth diapers shouldn’t be something to feel guilt over – it’s a personal choice.

Anyway, here are 4 reasons cloth diapering may not be a fit for your family –

when cloth diapering doesn't work

You live in an apartment with a shared laundry space.

When you don’t have control over your living space and, especially, your laundry space – cloth diapering may create more problems than its worth. And while you would likely save money doing cloth, you might not see as great a savings if your laundry area is coin operated. Let’s break it down – WARNING, math ahead –

** Please note – these numbers are just ones I made up for illustrative purposes. If you want to find out how it breaks down for you personally, sub in your own numbers – your cost for laundry, the number of diapers your child uses on a monthly or annual basis, etc.**

I’m not sure what the cost of a load would be to wash and dry, but let’s just assume it’s $1.50 (so $3.00/load). Let’s say you wash your diapers every other day, or 3 times/week. That adds $9.00 to your weekly laundry cost. Let’s also assume you do about 3 loads of regular laundry a week – which means your base laundry cost/week is $9.00. So, adding in cloth means you’ve doubled your weekly laundry bill and are now looking at spending $18.00/week total.

I don’t know how long this fictional person is planning on staying at this apartment, but most leases are for a year. So, in one year’s time, you’ve tacked $468 on to your annual laundry bill, making your bill $936. This, of course, doesn’t factor in the cost of soap, softener, etc.

Now, let’s look at how much it costs to stay in disposables to get a clear picture. If we assume 5 diapers per day, over the course of one week’s time your child has used 35 diapers. Over the course of one month’s time, your child has used 150 diapers. I couldn’t find a box of 150 disposable diapers, but I did find a box of Luvs that had 140 diapers – Luvs With Ultra Leakguards Size 5 Diapers 140 Count **, for $32.99. Each diaper is $.24 (rounding up) and this box would last you almost one month. But for illustrative purposes, and because some days your kid maybe only uses 4 diapers instead of 5, we’ll say you go through one of these boxes a month. That makes your annual diaper cost – $395.88. This doesn’t factor in shipping, and it also doesn’t factor in the subscribe and save option through Amazon.com which makes this box of diapers $26.39 and your annual cost goes down to $316.68.

Well, looks like by going with disposables and cutting down on your laundry, you’ve saved yourself $72.12 (and $151.32 with subscribe and save). Nothing to sneeze at! Good for you, money saving mom!

Bodily functions seriously bother you.

Some people just don’t have strong stomachs, whether it’s their kids goo or not. Me? I can handle poop and vomit coming out of my child (but only my child… can’t handle it on other adults or children). So, the bodily function aspect of cloth diapering has no effect on me. In fact, spraying a diaper is like a challenge – just how clean can I get that thing before I toss it in the wash?? Cloth Diapering Olympics anyone?!?! I digress.

Some people are really sensitive toward things like that, though. The sight may bother them, or the smell, or both. The thought of spraying diapers may make their palms sweaty, just thinking about the possibility of poop touching their hand. And that’s totally okay. Don’t sacrifice your sanity for cloth. It isn’t worth it, no matter how cute the prints are.

You can’t handle the thought of one more thing on your plate.

While cloth diapering doesn’t add that much to your life, if you’re already over extended and the thought of adding on one more chore makes you hyperventilate – just say no. If you cloth diaper, you should expect to do at least two extra loads of laundry a week, and then fold and put that laundry away. There are also the occasional instances where you may need to troubleshoot your laundry – you’re dealing with an ammonia smell, you think you have hard water build up, etc.

Sometimes, it’s just easier to go with disposables – they’re straightforward and easy to operate, and you toss them when they’re done. I get it – I really do! And there’s no shame in taking the easy way out ;)

Your child is in daycare/childcare regularly and the care provider is not on board.

This definitely happens sometimes. And, quite frankly, I don’t blame daycares/babysitters for not wanting to jump down the cloth diaper rabbit hole with you. They could have upwards of 7 or 8 children under their watch at any given moment, and they don’t need one more thing to add to their list of things to tackle. Not to mention, snap diapers can look really intimidating.

You could work around this “issue” by cloth diapering on the weekends, and that would be great. You’d have about 10-12 diapers at the end of the weekend to wash, and that’s just about enough for a load. But, that’s up to you – you have to decide if it’s worth it. And if you decide it isn’t? Not the end of the world.

(I can also see this from the cloth diapering parents’ perspective – it’s our child, we want cloth, just do it! It’s a fine line. However, I think because you are choosing to place your child in the care of this place, it’s best to go by their rules.)

And there you have it – my 4 reasons cloth diapering may not be the best choice for you and your family. I’m sure there are other reasons out there, but four seems like a good place to stop. If you don’t cloth diaper, tell me why in the comments! I promise I won’t try to convert you :)

** Amazon.com links are affiliate links, of which any money earned goes directly toward supporting this blog. Thank you! :)

Other posts in this series

Part 1 – From disposables to cloth diapers: why (and how) we made the switch
Part 2 – My cloth diaper wash routine
Part 3 – The four main types of cloth diapers

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2 thoughts on “4 reasons cloth diapering may not be for you

  1. Heather says:

    Mysecond babe HATED being in cloth. She couldn’t stand feeling the slightest bit wet and would scream for a change with each pee. With the newborns it see!s like a constant dribble, so we were going through wayyyyy too many changes every day. So we switched to the !ore absorbant disposable option. Would have liked getting more use out of our cloth, but at least we can say we tried.

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