Often when I’m changing Pearl’s diaper at a friend’s house or out somewhere else, her diapers get noticed. Cloth diapers are no longer boring white diapers with safety pins and ugly plastic covers. They now come in a variety of bright colours. The premium diapers from Happy Baby Cheeks are orange and yellow, and the cover I’m using right now is black and white (like a dairy cow!) with Velcro closures and elastic around the legs to help keep everything inside.
So my cloth diapers frequently start a conversation, and I’m happy to chat. I love cloth diapers, whether I’m using my own stash or a cloth diaper service. There are pros and cons to both, so today I thought I’d discuss some of the frequently asked questions I get about cloth diaper service and using cloth diapers.
What about getting cloth diapers clean? Like, really clean?
The number one concern about cloth diapers seems to be getting them clean. We have this great aversion to poop and pee and anything associated with it. (You’ve probably seen that Facebook video of the dad gagging while changing his baby’s diaper.) It seems much easier just to wrap the poop up in plastic and toss it in the garbage.
I’ve never worried about washing my diapers. Any cloth diaper company will give you guidelines for cleaning your diapers, and I trust that they come out of my washing machine as clean as any other laundry I do. If you’re really worried about cleaning poopy diapers (or your washing machine when it cleans poopy diapers), then I’d recommend a cloth diaper service.
Happy Baby Cheeks follows a rigorous washing process for their diapers to ensure there is no bacteria or detergent residue on the diapers. They also use environmentally friendly detergents. In our six weeks of using the service, I haven’t seen a single dirty or stained diaper; in fact, I’ve been quite impressed by the quality of the diapers and how clean they are when I put them on Pearl. (Taking them off is another matter… she’s good at filling diapers!)
Do cloth diapers cause diaper rash?
Another common question about cloth diapers is their connection with diaper rash. None of us wants our babies to suffer from this condition. Most disposable diapers boast their ability to wick moisture away from your baby’s skin, keeping their bottoms dry (and supposedly rash-free). However, in eight years of diapering babies, I’ve found cloth diapers are better at preventing diaper rash.
I was the most hard-core about cloth diapering with Sunshine, my oldest. She got her first diaper rash when she was a month old and we put her in disposable diapers (for a road trip) for the first time. As soon as we got home and switched back to cloth, her diaper rash disappeared. Until she potty trained, she only had diaper rashes in disposable diapers.
Many cloth diapers now also boast wicking fabrics that help keep your baby dryer. I think it’s more important, however, just to change baby frequently. Both Sunshine and Pearl have hated having wet diapers; fussiness usually indicates a need for a diaper change. Happy Baby Cheeks does provide diaper inserts, which help keep your baby dryer overnight. Change baby frequently and keep chemicals (including creams) away from her bum for a happy baby bottom.
Aren’t cloth diapers and cloth diaper service expensive?
The biggest drawback to cloth diapering is the initial investment in cloth diapers, which can be expensive. When my husband and I calculated the cost of diapers before Sunshine was born, we figured that buying a stash of 24 diapers would pay itself off in six months (compared to using disposables)—after that, we’d be using “free” diapers. There are now more economical cloth diapers available, but it’s still an investment.
We didn’t figure costs of laundry into our calculations, either. A big reason we used a cloth diaper service for Sunshine’s first six months was the fact that we lived in an apartment with a laundromat, where we had to pay for every load of laundry we washed.
A diaper service takes away that initial investment by providing everything you need for a weekly fee. And frankly, unless I find a very good sale on disposables, I can’t buy 70 diapers for the cost that Happy Baby Cheeks can deliver them to me. Most of us just add disposable diapers to our grocery bill and don’t think about it, but a diaper service can actually save you money on diapers.
Ironically, before I was born, my parents did the same diaper cost evaluation for disposable diapers, cloth diapers, and cloth diaper service. Their conclusion? Cloth diaper service was the cheapest. They also lived in a small apartment, with twin babies. So I was diapered by a cloth diaper service as a baby. (I doubt my mom had time to do extra loads of laundry during my first year! And yes, Happy Baby Cheeks does provide discounted service for multiples.)
Are cloth diapers stinky?
Yes, diapers are stinky. If you’re worried about a stack of dirty cloth diapers sitting around your house, though, stop. Happy Baby Cheeks will provide a diaper pail, which includes a charcoal filter in the lid. As long as the filter is working, you won’t even noticed the diapers are there. If you can smell them, it’s time to change the filter.
Even on the day before delivery, when our diaper pail is almost overflowing, I rarely notice the smell. A garbage bin full of disposables, however, is another matter…
Aren’t disposable diapers easier to use?
We live in a world of convenience, where we want everything quick and easy. Cloth diapers seem like they’re more work. I’ve had to walk all my babysitters through the process, even though modern cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposable. I’ve always used fitted diapers with snaps, like Happy Baby Cheeks’ premium diapers. Simply slide diaper under baby and snap up, just as quickly as a disposable, then add the cover.
Toss the dirty diaper in the wash bin. Wash when the bin is mostly full (or only a few clean diapers are left).
If you’re using a diaper service, then cloth diapers are easier than disposables—you just have to haul one bag of dirty diapers out a week, instead of multiple loads of disposable diapers in the garbage.
What about fitting cloth diapers?
I’ve had friends who say that their baby can only wear a certain brand of diaper, because others don’t fit. I’ve never had a problem with the fit of cloth diapers (and I have skinny kids, who do have problems fitting other clothes).
Happy Baby Cheeks’ diapers have elastic around the legs and back to help ensure fit. They also have multiple snaps across the front, so you can adjust it to the right snaps for your baby’s waist. Pre-fold diapers offer even more fitting options, as you can fold them to various sizes and use a flexible Snapi closure to secure them. The cover provides an extra layer of protection and fit.
Still curious about cloth diaper service? Check out my post about what Happy Baby Cheeks cloth diaper service provides (in the greater Vancouver area).
I was provided with complimentary diaper service by Happy Baby Cheeks for this post; all opinions expressed are my own.