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Money Matters: Cloth Diapering From Dad’s Perspective

While we are going to talk money in the following article, I will also warn you that we’re going to get into some general paternal ponderings on cloth diapering as well. But let’s start on point by saying that cloth diapering, quite clearly, is a big money saver for parents of young children. It saves hundreds of dollars per year in many cases. Not that parents of young children are usually feeling a financial strain or anything (insert sarcasm). I mean, it’s not as if our first five months of Isa-hood were an absolute mockery of the whole idea of a budget (we’re talking U.S. Government-scale deficits here). Probably the most practical and primary reason that Gretchen and I are cloth diaperers is that it makes a ton of financial sense. I’m happy to save the world, one less disposable diaper at a time and all, but honestly, it’s no act of heroism, given the financial kickback.

I remember several years back when Gretchen and I were in the thick of our healthy living enlightenment and learning just how harmful many of the easiest options for nourishment and personal care can be. Kelsi does a great job talking way more intelligently than I can about true healthy living in many of her articles, so I certainly have no aspirations of recreating the wheel. For food, I think the basic rule of thumb is to avoid ingredients whose primary benefit is ensuring that my body never decomposes. For grooming and personal care, stick to ingredients that are not part of capital punishment concoctions.

Cloth diapering, as much as possible, falls right along these lines of good stewardship as well. It is likely healthier on the skin, healthier on the wallet, healthier on the environment, and…well…just more natural (as an added bonus, there is also greater character development).

This isn’t your mama’s cloth diapering either. My mom had to walk 23 miles uphill in the middle of a blizzard just to find a seamstress who sold cloth diapers. They cost her a nickel, but that’s like $300 in today’s money. I still have scars from where she pinned me straight through my belly button (okay, that’s not true, but the rest of it…well…).

Nowadays, we have a bazillion options of convenient, effective, modern cloth diapers right at our finger tips (buy some here at our market – I will confess though that we don’t offer any with built in navigation systems…yet). I’ll make no claims to being on the cutting edge of cloth diapering, but I can certainly say that my mom envies how easy we have it, even if we could have gone the even easier route of McDiapers (do please realize that we do cheat here from time to time and Isa wears the occasionally disposable – we’re not cloth-diapering-Nazis). Convenient and inexpensive is obviously the kind of combo that I like.


Cloth diapers are so expensive!

Cloth diapers require an upfront investment. As a financially minded person, it always disturbs me the way that pop culture can be so short sighted when it comes to money. So your solution is to pay way more money for tomorrow’s garbage? Pay more up front, pay way less over time. Any time life gives you this opportunity and you can afford it – do it!

But I don’t want to deal with the clean up!

Full disclosure: you will be more connected with your child’s bowel movements. It is less convenient. But, you are also more connected with your food when you cook it from scratch and doing that is way less convenient – but it saves a ton of money and is healthier, so we do it.

The fact of the matter is that we’re pretty connected to our children’s bowel movements no matter what diapering choice we make. Parenting is an in-your-face (sometimes literally!) venture and isn’t for the squeamish. Fortunately, I was prepared for this at a young age when one of my friend’s basement flooded with sewage and we were literally wading in it as we scooped it up and hauled it out – but…I digress.

Some thoughts from my own experience:

  1. Was I concerned about our energy bills going up because we were cloth diapering (which, of course, necessitates WASHING and DRYING said diapers)? NOPE – here’s why – check out this great article: Cloth Diapers And The Environment

  2. Don’t get too caught up with the craziness of reading all of the reviews for every cloth diaper out there before buying – if time is money, you’ll be out of a lot of money. We offer highly reviewed brands at our market that rarely disappoint. Whether you buy from us or not, don’t get sucked into a black hole here.

  3. Don’t throw in the towel when you hit the inevitable I’m sick of cloth diapering. It’s so much easier to use disposables. It’s also so much easier to ship your kids to a boarding school, but that doesn’t mean it’s the best option. As with anything worthwhile, you will hit a wall at some point. You’ll thank yourself for not giving up.

  4. Give yourself the grace of sometimes using disposables for convenience sake. If you are really against this, then by all means go hardcore, but for the rest of us, be as diligent as possible while remaining reasonable.

  5. Cloth diapering takes on its own identity and subculture, like many things. Look, diapering is diapering. I’ve got nothing against McDiaperers. While I don’t want Isa to grow up, I don’t anticipate an identity crisis when she becomes potty trained.

Happy diapering!


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This post was linked to: Seasonal Celebrations at Natural Motherhood, Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead, Monday Mania at The Healthy Home Economist, The Welcome Home Link-up at Raising Arrows, Fat Tuesdays at Real Food Forager, WLWW at Women Living Well, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Real Food Wednesdays at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, Frugal Fridays at Life As Mom,  Whole Foods Wednesday at Whole Lifestyle Nutrition

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