Cloth Diaper Podcast – Show 88

Why Cloth Diapers

Welcome to a new series: Cloth 101 an introduction to cloth diapering for beginners. Every other week for the next few months we’ll go through the basics of cloth diapering via short podcast episodes to help you learn about cloth, see if it’s right for you, and find inspiration to switch to reusables.

Cloth diapering is most often a choice parents can make for several reasons including financial, environmental, health, and personal preference.

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Show Transcription

Bailey Bouwman  00:00

This is show at 88 podcast and today we’re gonna answer the question why cloth diapers


Bailey Bouwman  00:17

the cloth diaper podcast is a somewhat regular show dedicated to sharing stories of cloth diapering from parents, brands, retailers, and families around the world. My name is Bailey and over the next coming weeks we’re going to be doing are redoing a cloth one on one series here on the podcast. Some of my most popular shows were those basic shows I recorded three to four years ago and I have learned so much about cloth diapering, that let’s do them again. Talk about them again with a new modern lens.


Bailey Bouwman  00:48

The cloth diaper podcast is sponsored by my book sales. I have written a book about cloth diapering is called cloth diapers The Ultimate Guide to textiles, washing and more. It’s available on Amazon and black and white and color Barnes and Noble and through the Book Depository worldwide. This is a simple FAQ guide to cloth diapering the answers basic questions and it’s really designed for beginners who have absolutely no base knowledge about cloth. It’s that first step.


Bailey Bouwman  01:19

If you’re looking for the next level of cloth diapering cloth one or two or two a one per se, check out the cloth diaper podcast membership where I’ll be recording cloth one or two episodes. To go in line with the cop one on one call for one or two episodes go more in depth about the history or the reasoning or the science behind some of these basic theories. Call one or two is influenced by a lot of research and development and those recorded podcast will be available at the in the membership platform. The cloth diaper podcast is a regular show, so be sure to check out the other episodes with your favorite brands and retailers to learn more about the stories behind cloth diapering.


Bailey Bouwman  02:05

So today we’re answering the question why cloth diverse? And the other day I was giving a cloth diaper workshop at an event and a woman across the table she asked me but why but why cloth diapers she kind of joined late. And I immediately froze because I wasn’t prepared for this question. I was prepared to answer almost every other question. But why? Why to me? Why is such a personal question.


Bailey Bouwman  02:33

And some of the whys that we have for cloth diapering can be loaded with some stigma some shame and some good I know it probably shouldn’t be but I find myself walking on eggshells. Sometimes when I want to talk about the why of cloth diapering there are many reasons families choose cloth diapering some families don’t even choose it’s the only option.


Bailey Bouwman  02:59

When I talk to parents who don’t cloth diaper, they tend to give me a reason. They say I cloth diaper because and I just want you to know before we get too far into this show, that you don’t need a reason not to cloth diaper. The reasons that people give me are often I find loaded excuses that just continue to stigmatize cloth diapering if you don’t want to talk diaper, all you got to say is I don’t want a cloth diaper. You don’t need a reason. You also don’t need a reason to cloth diaper.


Bailey Bouwman  03:33

We often talk about cloth diapering as an alternative. And most of us want to talk about cloth diapering as an option as a very valid modern option. Just like you’re deciding between pampers and Huggies in the grocery store. cloth diapering is an option that can support your families in some very real ways. We spend so much time trying to convince people to cloth diaper, but nobody spends a lot of time trying to convince people to use disposable diapers. For decades disposable manufacturing has already done that. They have convinced us that disposable diapering is the option and we don’t even think about the alternatives anymore.


Bailey Bouwman  04:13

We don’t even consider why we shouldn’t disposable diaper. There are many reasons that a family chooses to cloth diaper. These include financial, environmental health, personal preference, and many many more. cloth diapering doesn’t make you a better parent. And cloth diapering is not an all or nothing situation. cloth diapering can be part of your diapering routine. You don’t have to be in love with it. And yet it’s okay to admit it’s kind of gross and kind of sucks. Many of us cloth diaper and use disposable diapers. Many of us find ways to do cloth diapering that embraces a hybrid approach and finds an easy way.


Bailey Bouwman  04:59

A lot other times when we talk about cloth diapering on the internet, especially, people will talk about privilege. I had a tech talk a while ago go a little bit viral and everybody in my comment section was like, Oh, so much privileged to be able to Cloth Diaper. There’s also so much privilege to be able to disposable diaper. Access to time, money, and dealing with poop can be a privilege. But for some of us, it’s the only choice. I have to think we have to be really careful around this idea that cloth diapering is a privilege. Because there are so many stories of people, cloth diapering, just to survive.


Bailey Bouwman  05:42

There are so many different types of diapers, both disposable and cloth. Each has an important role to play in supporting families and supporting communities. We’re going to talk about some of the basics behind the four broad categories of why a family chooses to cloth diaper. I thought we could talk about them just like super high level so that you get an idea. But what I want you to know is that you can choose to cloth diaper for whatever reason. And you don’t even need a reason to cloth diaper. I can be like this is what we’re doing. Sounds like a good idea. Let’s do it. I mean, that’s what this was was preparing to do. Right?


Bailey Bouwman  06:18

So the four broad reasons we’re going to talk about are the financial benefits of cloth diapering, the environmental benefits of cloth diapering, the health benefits of cloth diapering and the preference benefits of cloth diaper, right.


Bailey Bouwman  06:30

So first, financially, the upfront cost of cloth diapers is definitely kind of terrifying. I mean, you could be looking at 100 300 500 700 $1,000 to build a stash. But what I love most about cloth diapering and I think this message is not amplified enough is that when you choose cloth, you’re back in control of the cost of diapering. This past year we have seen disposable diapering prices continue to fluctuate as supply and demand changes with disposable diapers we are at the will of the manufacturer and to some extent with cloth diapers we are to but with cloth diapers you are in control more than ever of how much money you want to spend.


Bailey Bouwman  07:16

You can spend as little as you want or as much as you want. With cloth diapers or you can spend $7 on a diaper you can buy used you can do it yourself you can make your own. You can also buy luxury brands from work at home mom is creating incredible products. With cloth diapering you are back in control of how much you spend with who you spend it and where your money goes. I think that cloth diapering puts us in gives us back our power as consumers financially. But I know a lot of you listening you want to know what nitty gritty I mean.


Bailey Bouwman  07:55

The average disposable diaper costs these days what 25 cents to 30 cents per diaper change. Many families are spending upwards of $1,000 per year on disposable diapers. And the cost of disposable diapers goes up as you increase in sizes. If you want to look at plant based or paper based diapers, you’re now starting to look at 50 to 75 cents per diaper. And these costs are going to continue to fluctuate as supply and demand influences. A cloth diaper stash usually, I mean, if we’re talking realistic modern parent owned businesses, you’re going to be spending about $15.15 to $20 per diver from a retailer maybe 25. That’s about $500 in upfront costs. Yes, having $500 around is a big privilege. But there’s lots of ways that you can get there without spending $500 at once you can start with small stashes. You can reach out to cloth diaper banks around the world to get diapers. This isn’t always have to be on you. There are resources out there to support you in accessing diapers at whatever cost including free.


Bailey Bouwman  09:10

What I love most about cloth diapering I’m okay, so we’ve talked about a lot of things that I love most.


Bailey Bouwman  09:15

So we’ve talked about how I love how much it gives you that financial control as a consumer back, but it also gives you a sense of security. With cloth diapers you never have to worry about a diaper shortage, a power outage, a row closure. You never have to worry about getting to the store on time you always have a clean bump. In emergency you can hand wash cloth diapers, it’s kind of gross but it gets you by people are hand washing disposable diapers so hand washing cloth diaper to have a clean balm is a great a great option and an emergency and you don’t have to overthink that process.


Bailey Bouwman  09:50

With cloth diapering you always have a diaper available and modern one size fits most sizing styles allows you to really adjust it to whatever size your baby is. At that stage, I recently saw an advertisement from an insurance farm, ever advocating that you have disposable diapers in your go bag because cloth diapering, you might not have wash facilities. And I kind of laughed because how do I know what size disposable diaper to put in my go bag? With cloth diapers, I don’t have to worry about finding a store, or how many diapers to pack, I just have to wash them every day. And if I’m in an emergency situation, I don’t really have anything else to do so but wait and be stressed out. So washing diapers can be a great way to support families in a variety of situations.


Bailey Bouwman  10:43

The next one is environmental. And I have a hard time talking about environmental because, honestly, when we look at the numbers of the environmental impacts of cloth diapering, it can be hard to figure out who’s telling the truth. What’s that to believe and how these stats all measure up. I think the one important thing to know is that when we talk about stats, and we talk about numbers, there’s always a little bit of bias and how we read those numbers and how we share those numbers.


Bailey Bouwman  11:09

There’s also no national agency in the United States advocated for cloth diapers. So a lot of the numbers around delivering in the United States are old, and they come to us from disposable manufacturers. In recent years, the United States or the European cloth nappy union has done a lifecycle analysis with the UN. And what we saw in that lifecycle analysis was you know what it is a close game. But cloth diapers if laundered, you’re in control the laundry process if laundered in an environmentally friendly way and use for multiple babies really does outshine a disposable diaper at the end of the day. Access to disposable services also plays a huge impact in the eco friendliness of cloth diapering.


Bailey Bouwman  12:00

When we often talk about disposable diapers, we kind of failed to talk about this disposal service. We have so much a luxury here in North America to dispose of things and not everybody does. Environmentally disposable diapers will take up a lot more space than 34 diapers. A lot of work goes into manufacturing one disposable diaper. Just like a lot of work goes into maintaining one cloth diaper. But you are in control of what you choose. And I think when we talk about the environmental we all have our environmental preferences. The textile industry can be very devastating. But I truly believe that we can all work to be better advocates for the textile industry and ensure that we are taking care of our environments.


Bailey Bouwman  12:52

Another environmental consideration is diaper services. Diaper services play an important role in offering reduced laundry impacts on cloth diapers, and there is a potential to see how cloth diaper services could benefit our communities both environmentally and socially, don’t undervalue a diaper service. I think that diaper services will become the future and we just don’t realize it yet. I’m gonna do a 102 episode on more environmental impacts and more of this nitty gritty stuff as I compare some of the research. This episode will be made available shortly in 2022.


Bailey Bouwman  13:35

So we’ve talked about the financial benefits, we’ve talked about the environmental benefits, and now health benefit.


Bailey Bouwman  13:41

 We don’t know what’s in disposable diapers and for that reason, some children and some families have skin irritations to disposable diapers, so cloth becomes the only choice. Cloth diapers can be triggering to some skins I mean it’s not the perfect choice, but for some families it is the skin choice. With cloth you are in control of which diaper ingredients you use, which detergent to use and what textiles to use. You can choose textiles you can choose detergents, you can choose products, so that the diapering experience is best for your child. Many families will ditch pee well two altogether and go with like a fitted or flat with wall. There are so many different ways to diaper your child while providing them the best skin experience that they need. I don’t really have much more to talk about that on skin. Besides the fact that if disposable diapering is irritating a child cloth might be the only other option.


Bailey Bouwman  14:45

So we’ve got the financials, the environmental, the health, the skin base, and then there’s the preference. For some families cloth diapering is just a preference because for some families cloth diapering is a better performing product. Let’s say boring is cute. And cloth. diapering is a small business based industry. When you’re buying a cloth diaper or you’re supporting a entrepreneur, when you’re buying a cloth diaper, you’re buying a versatile functional product. Cloth diapers are modern, they’re functional, they work and you don’t need a reason to try a cloth diaper and, and you can just say, hey, you know, I think cloth diapers is the better choice for this other known reason or I just thought this would be a good way to diaper my child.


Bailey Bouwman  15:32

You don’t need to have financial, environmental or health based reason. You can just choose cloth diapers, and I kind of wanted to normalize that conversation. Because so much about these conversations about the benefits of cloth diapering make us feel like we need a reason to cloth diaper and I really don’t think you need a reason. cloth is an option and it’s a modern option that can be weaved into your diapering routine. To reduce your impact, increase the versatility and diversity of your stash and hopefully give you a better diapering experience. disposable diaper brands have spent decades trying to improve the disposable diaper to give you the best possible experience. cloth diaper brands have done the exact same.


Bailey Bouwman  16:17

We want you to thrive and succeed in this journey of finding the best diaper. And just like I spend day to day trying to come into the women on the other side of the table that cloth diapering is a valid option. I don’t understand why single use diapers continue to be a valid option. I mean, I get it. There’s a little bit of convenience in it. But there is so much convenience in cloth diapering as well. And for those of you who are sitting there being like so much time and privilege to cloth diaper.


Bailey Bouwman  16:54

When we’re having those conversations, I think we also need to recognize that we have a lot of important social work to do in our communities. That women should not be struggling to survive and struggling to find time to wash diapers that we need to ensure that our communities are thriving and healthy, and that the cloth diaper community can play an important role in advocating for important social work, and my daughter.


Bailey Bouwman  17:23

No No candy for breakfast next cloth one on one episode will be how to cloth diaper. And if you’re looking for more information about cloth diapering, visit the cloth diaper podcast comm I have so much information I have a YouTube channel but I think most of it is outdated To be honest, cloth diapering is constantly in flux. And if you read one opinion about something there’s always another opinion that contradicts it. Be patient with yourself. Stop researching and just go buy some diapers today we will be talking about where to buy cloth diapers that will be in a couple of weeks and when to start cloth diapering.


Bailey Bouwman  17:57

So there’s lots more cloth one on one episodes coming your way. And if you’re catching these after the recording, go check them all out. And check out some of the amazing shows I’ve had with brands and parents around the world to really help normalize the struggles diversity and options that cloth diapering can offer. Until next time,

Professional Cloth Diaper Educator

Bailey brings 5+ years of cloth diapering experience and conversation to the cloth diaper space. She's not just your every day mom blogger sharing her experience - Bailey is immersed in the cloth diaper community learning from other parents and growing as an individual. She wants to find the cloth diaper solution that truly works for you.

Bailey believes we need to stop and listen to cloth diapering parents. We need to recognize our own bias and preferences and focus on solutions that work for you, not us. The Cloth Diaper community needs to recognize the privilege of being able to cloth diaper, and provide spaces for more conversations and stories.

Cloth diapering is not about rules but about our own strength as parents to do the best we can for our children with the resources available.

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    The Cloth Diaper Podcast is a regular podcast sharing stories from cloth diaper parents, brands and retailers from around the world. 

    The Cloth Diaper Podcast is not affiliated with any school of thought of diaper laundry but instead focus on the power of peer-to-peer story telling to empower you to make your own cloth diaper journey. 

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