- Cost: For $350-$450, you can get set up with a great stash of enough cloth diapers to last you from birth until potty training. Yes, you can spend more than that, but you can also spend less. I have read of some people who went as simple as possible and bought mostly used and diapered a baby for around $100. Compare that to disposables, where you'll be typically spending at least $1000 (based on buying store brand and only changing 6-8 diapers per day), some estimate as high as $3000, depending on how many you use in a day and what kind you buy. AND, you can re-use or re-sell the cloth diapers your baby is done with them, leading to more money savings. Yes, you do need to spend the money up-front, whereas with disposables it is a monthly shopping expense. There are a few ways to get around shelling out the entire cost for your diaper stash at one time, though: 1 - register for cloth diapers for your baby shower, 2 - buy them a few at a time throughout your pregnancy, 3 - buy them a few at a time after your baby's birth, while using up any disposables you were gifted.
- Ease of use: Modern cloth diapers can be as simple to put on your baby as disposables. Pins are no longer necessary, and most diapers now go on with velcro or aplix, or snaps. Cloth diaper washing routine is generally the same as for regular clothes, plus one extra rinse cycle, which you can probably set automatically on your washer. Breastfed poo can go straight into the washer, as can the wet bags that you can use to hold the dirty diapers. The more absorbent microfleece and microfiber diapers might need an extra cycle with bleach or peroxide once every couple of months to avoid stinky build-up, but that's it. Once your baby starts eating solids, you can shake the poo into the toilet before putting the diaper in the dirty bag. With cloth diapers, there is an average increase of 3 loads of laundry per week. Some people only wash once a week, others wash every day. It depends on your preferences and how many diapers you have. Also, I have heard time and again that people experience fewer "blow-outs" with cloth (we only have had 2-3 ever) so that means fewer outfit changes and less clothing to wash. In addition, you never have to run to the store late at night because you ran out of diapers!
- Health and the environment: Cloth diapers are better for the environment and for your baby. With cloth diapers, you are disposing of your baby's wastes by putting them into a water treatment system designed to handle such things. With disposables, you are typically putting the waste into landfills where it can seep into the ground. Disposable diapers are the number 3 single item in landfills, with each (disposable-diapered) baby creating about 1 ton of waste during the diapering years. Disposables are typically made of bleached paper and plastics that include traces of dioxins, and the sodium polyacrylate gel that creates the absorbency of disposables can get onto the baby's skin. Some babies are allergic to the materials in disposables, and if you feel the differences between a disposable and a cloth diaper you will easily see which one would be more comfortable for your baby. There has also been some research done on the increase in temperature around babies' genitals with disposable diapers, due to the plastic not allowing air flow, and some possible negative effects of that.
What are your reasons for using or not using cloth diapers?