Cloth Diapers: A Sustainable Alternative

Even before the baby is born, the question is whether to get disposable diapers or cloth diapers for the baby and its first equipment. Both variants have advantages and disadvantages, which we will discuss in more detail.

For a long time, disposable diapers dominated, while cloth diapers for your baby’s initial equipment were labeled to be used only by alternative mothers. This view has changed dramatically over the last few years.

Increasing skin diseases raise the question of how a diaper should be made in order not to endanger the health of the baby. Paper diapers are sometimes chemically bleached and/or scented, but these things do not belong on a child’s skin.

What Belongs On The Checklist For The Baby?

For many expectant parents, cloth diapers do not belong in the initial equipment for the baby because they are afraid of the initial costs and the diapers that have to be washed almost daily. Therefore, it is worth comparing both types of diapers to make the best decision.

A baby needs about 150 diapers per month. That’s about 1800 diapers a year. If you calculate with 3 years of diaper time, this adds up to a good 5000 diapers. So let’s take a look at the pros and cons of paper and cloth diapers.

Paper Diapers For The First Set

There are big differences in price. There are inexpensive paper diapers that perform just as well in the test as popular brand diapers. The disposable diaper Lupilu Soft & dry performs very well in comparison with other paper diapers, as it is soft, well cut, and has a similarly strong absorbency as the brand diaper from Pampers. At the same time, it convinces with only 11 cents per piece and should definitely be one of the items on the checklist for the baby.

Brand-name diapers can run as high as 28 cents per diaper. This amount can add up to 1500 euros for three years. With the cheap discount diaper, on the other hand, only about 600 euros come together in the diaper time. Here you save without having to forego the comfort and good performance of a brand diaper.

Your baby will use about 5000 diapers until he is clean. That’s a huge mountain of waste weighing 1 ton that needs to be disposed of. In some communities and cities, diaper waste makes up about 10% of all residual waste.

A large portion of diapers are made of synthetic plastic that is not naturally (biologically) degradable. This means that used diapers end up in incinerators, which release pollutants when burned.

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These need to be filtered to minimize the pollutants in the air. Diaper waste is even more difficult when it is disposed of in nature. Even in contact with water, it takes up to 450 years for a disposable diaper to completely decompose.

If Paper Diapers – Then Eco

Dangers also lurk in the production of paper diapers, as the raw materials for the plastic used are derived from petroleum. In contact with the delicate baby skin, these substances can cause inflammatory rashes.

In addition to this problem, the deforestation of countless trees that provide the raw material for the cellulose core of the diapers must also be taken into consideration when manufacturing diapers. Here, eco-diapers offer an alternative for first-time babies, as these paper diapers are made with FSC certified pulp and from biodegradable materials. Bleaching is done on a chlorine-free basis, unlike conventional disposable diapers.

In Summary Paper Diapers:

  • Produce a lot of waste.
  • Are costly to dispose of.
  • Are more expensive than cloth diapers.
  • Are not safe for health.
  • Pollute the environment.
  • Are very practical.

Your Baby And The First Equipment With Cloth Diapers

Now let’s take a look at cloth diapers. They are made of cotton, which is very loosely woven and therefore very soft and permeable to air. For the initial set, 25-30 of these cloth diapers are needed for a baby.

You will need to wash every other day because after that time you will have accumulated about 16 diapers. In addition, you will need the same number of collection cloths, which are additional liners that enhance the absorbency of the cloth diapers.

These molleton cloths are slightly smaller than the cloth diapers and are made of tightly woven and napped cotton. Molleton cloths can absorb a lot of moisture and, in addition to their function as wetness protection, are also excellent as spit-up cloths.

Especially in the first months, when your baby has to get used to his body and its peculiarities, molleton cloths are a great help. Fold cloth over your shoulder when you let your baby burp after drinking. Your clothes will thank you.

In addition to cloth diapers and molleton wipes, your baby will need an overpant to enclose the diaper package and keep it from leaking. You have two options here. Either you add a waterproof overtrousers to the initial equipment or you decide for a diaper pants made of virgin wool for the initial equipment that the baby gets.

Waterproof Overpants

In earlier times, overpants were made entirely of plastic. They had the shape of a blunt triangle, which was knotted around the cloth diapers. After repeated washing, the material became hard, so the pants had to be discarded to avoid hurting the baby’s skin.

With the buttonable over pants, only the inner pants layer was made of plastic. But because this was incorporated all the way down to the leg area, the narrow rubber cuffs quickly wore out and the inside of the diaper pants chafed the leg area.

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Today, waterproof overpants are made of cotton, for example, and have only a waterproof core that sits between the cloth diaper and the cotton outer shell, just like the molleton cloths. The cuffs on the legs are often made of the same material found on the sleeve ends of sweaters.

In this way, the diaper cover gently hugs the thigh and keeps the wetness of the cloth diapers inside. The amount of plastic in these over pants is very small and takes up the space of a liner between the legs. All other areas come into contact only with soft cotton, so skin irritation can be largely excluded.

Washing Is Cheaper Than You Think

These diaper overpants are tailored from colorful cotton fabrics and are not only optimized for purpose. Colorful overpants make it hard to limit yourself to the necessities for your baby and his or her first outfit.

Compared to disposable diapers, cloth diapers have only one-time purchase costs. In addition to the 25 cloth diapers and collection cloths, 2-3 over pants are needed in the initial size. Later, another 2-3 diaper pants in the next size are added. The cloth diapers are used the entire diaper time, as further costs only the expenditures for water and washing powder are added.

The water costs are often cited as an objection to cloth diapers, so it is worth taking a closer look. Of course, the washing machine runs at least every other day after the birth, but the real costs are hidden in the basic fees.

These cannot be influenced, but the additional water consumption is not that significant. Try it out and determine the water consumption for one washing machine cycle and extrapolate it to the month. You will see that washing cloth diapers are much cheaper than the cost of paper diapers.

Wool Overpants

In addition to cloth cotton overpants, there is an option to wrap the diaper package of cloth diapers and molton liner in a pair of wool pants. It is knitted with double thread and has wide cuffs on the little legs, as well as on the upper edge, which adjust to the thighs and abdominal girth.

The diaper pants are made of virgin wool from sheep and can absorb many times their own weight in liquid. If the cloth diapers and the liner are wet, the moisture is transferred to the wool and trapped there. That is why the baby’s bottom feels dry for a long time with this diapering option.

The virgin wool pants come in an initial size for the first set that the baby needs. You can also knit them yourself, which makes sense if your baby was born very small or is a premature baby.

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The Self-cleaning Effect

Woolen pants should be cleaned only by hand washing. The more often they come into contact with warm water, the denser the knitted fabric becomes because the fibers mat quite easily. Often it is enough to hang a pair of diaper pants that have become wet on the line overnight. Sheep wool has a self-cleaning effect. The wool dries and the smell of urine disappears. Therefore, washing is necessary only when really dirty.

For diaper time, two overpants in the small size are enough for the baby and his first outfit, which are then replaced by two larger pants. When buying wool pants, look for good quality.

Organic wool pants are available, for example, at Hess Natur. These diaper pants made of wool have the advantage that they fit the child’s body without constricting it. The wool gives way with every movement, while overpants made of cotton are held by an elastic band and can slip.

Wool Pants Are Ecological And Comfortable

Wool overpants contain no plastics, are biodegradable and should be part of the baby’s initial equipment when cloth diapering. Wool pants from controlled organic cultivation also give the assurance that the knitted wool has not been treated with pesticides.

Very soft sheep’s wool is used for the diaper pants, which neither scratches nor crawls. The waistband on the belly and back is worked to the navel level to prevent leakage and give the pants a really perfect fit.

Although there is no chemistry involved here, the pants are leak-proof. Still, don’t wait until the overpass feel damp to change diapers. Since wool can store a lot of moisture, it takes quite a while for this effect to occur. However, the baby should not have to lie in the wet cloth diapers for that long.

Why Does A Package Of Disposable Diapers Have To Be Part Of The Initial Equipment?

If you sum up the advantages, cloth diapers are the more ecological and disposable diapers the more manageable choice. But for one situation, you should definitely include a pack of disposable diapers in the baby’s initial equipment.

Your baby has diarrhea? There’s nothing more practical than a paper diaper that can go straight into the trash. Cleaning cloth diapers for diarrhea is messy and in most cases, you won’t get the diaper clean again.

Instead of having to buy a complete set of new cloth diapers, wrap baby’s bottom in a paper diaper during diarrhea. This saves nerves, makes the baby feel clean quickly, and saves you from intensely scented cotton diapers.

Since these moments can also occur unexpectedly on the go, it is advisable to always have a disposable diaper in reserve, even when changing with cloth diapers, just to be on the safe side.

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What Your Baby Really Needs

In the best case, you will get the first set for your baby that costs about 15 euros for ten cloth diapers. From controlled organic cultivation, the diapers are somewhat more expensive but in the initial costs still cheaper than the total price of disposable diapers.

In addition, the thicker gauze diapers and two small over pants. The initial equipment that the baby needs diapers can also be purchased as a complete package. Many stores offer a complete set of cloth diapers, liners, and over pants as initial equipment, where you can save enormously on the price compared to buying them individually.

If necessary, you can add individual items to the baby checklist. In most cases, however, the complete offers cover the needs for your baby and its first equipment.

What Costs Will I Incur For The Initial Equipment?

A complete diaper set (made of organic cotton and organic virgin sheep’s wool) with wool overpants at Hans-Natur consists of:

  • 20 knitted diapers.
  • 10 muslin diapers.
  • 10 molleton cloths.
  • 2 woolen diaper pants size 62/68.
  • 1 roll of diaper fleece with 120 sheets.

The knit diapers are tied around the diaper package over the cloth diapers and molle cloths before the wool over pants are put on. For those who find this too thick, leave the knit diapers aside.

The diaper fleece is like a suitably cut and tear-resistant piece of toilet paper designed to catch the coarser excretions, and should definitely be included in the initial kit for the baby when using cloth diapers. This will protect the cloth diapers from getting dirty and you will only have to dispose of the piece of fleece.

Is the baby’s bottom sore? Then the diaper needs to be changed more often. If the skin is red, inserts made of bourette silk, which are available in stores, will help. These are placed on the sore spots and help the skin to heal.

At Hans-Natur, you pay just over 100 euros for the entire package, which is one-fifth of the price of inexpensive disposable diapers. With this, you have the initial equipment for your baby together and can look forward to the birth of your child.

Your Baby And Its First Set Of Diapers: Conclusion

Cloth diapers are inexpensive in the long run, have little impact on the environment, and are a natural diapering method for the baby. If you are guided by these factors when buying your baby’s first nappy, there is another advantage.

Especially in larger cities, there are now so-called diaper services that take over the washing. You take out a subscription and receive a sufficient number of clean diapers at set times.

This would even eliminate the argument that washing cloth diapers is time-consuming.

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