After the successful conclusion of "The Great Cloth Diaper Change 2017," held last April 22 at South Park Mall in Alabang (above), we got the chance to chat with three of the mommy members from South PiNanays, the organizer of the event. We asked Christine Briones-Plata, Atty. Pia Bersamin-Embuscado and Nina Pena-Atienza about the pros and cons of cloth diapers. Here's what they shared.
1. Cloth diapers can be cheaper than disposable diapers. One of the big pros of switching to cloth diapers is the amount of money you can potentially save. They are, however, an investment -- you’ll need to build up a stash.
"They say a baby would need about 6,000 diapers in the first two to three years of life," says Christine. "Building a stash of good cloth diapers would cost about 20-30 percent less than buying all those 6,000 disposables which can never be reused."
“In my personal experience, you will need about 30 cloth diapers (that is if you wash every other day) to use cloth diapers exclusively. So, at P250 a diaper you will need to shell out P7,500,” said Nina. “But what's good is there's a cloth diaper available for most budgets. You can get a pocket-type diaper for as low as P200 a piece, but you can also find handmade hybrid ones that cost upwards of P2,000 a piece.”
The moms add if you take good care of the diapers you will be able to sell them when your child has learned to use the potty, which, Nina says, she plans to do. Using cloth diapers also means sparing our landfills from disposable diapers, which can take hundreds of years to decompose.
2. You can change cloth diapers often. At around P300 for a pack of 40, disposable diapers aren’t exactly cheap. With cloth diapers though, you won’t need to worry about pagtitipid or to stretch the capacity of a diaper, so you don’t waste money. You can change as often as your baby needs it.
“Ideally, a baby in diapers, whether cloth or disposable, should be changed every two to three hours. Due to costs, disposable diapers sometimes tempt families to change less often. On the other hand, you can change cloth diapers once full without worry,” said Pia.
While you don't have pagtitipid woes, there is the matter of the dirty laundry you have to deal with since you can’t just chuck soiled cloth diapers in the bin. Which leads us to the next point…
3. You do need to get used to regularly washing dirty diapers. It is one of the more difficult adjustments when it comes to cloth diapers. You will have to adjust to handling your baby’s poop since your cloth diaper will need to be emptied and washed. The trick is to plan ahead, said Nina. “Onset planning is crucial. You need to decide how often you'll do the washing. And, how often you intend to wash may affect how many cloth diapers you’ll need.” The fewer diapers you have, the more washing you’ll need to do.
The way you wash the diapers is important, too. “Finding the right combination of detergent and wash system is a must. I became an expert at finding the safest detergent and the correct washing procedure to beat the stink and stain on each diaper,” said Pia. “Every clean diaper of my child smells good enough for me to hold up and bury my nose in. So the challenge is to be more patient when doing the laundry.”
You can’t do it alone either. “Switching to cloth diapering should be a family decision -- you will need the support of people in your household. Someone else will have to wash the diapers if you are unable to,” said Tin.
4. Choosing cloth diapers is not as easy as buying a pack off the self at the supermarket. tThere are five major types of cloth diapers:
Prefold - your traditional lampin
Fitted - similar to the disposable diaper but without the waterproof outer layer
Pocket - allows you to insert an absorbent pad in the inner pocket of the diaper
All-in-one - similar to the fitted but with a set of sewn-on absorbency layers and a waterproof outer layer
Hybrid - essentially only the outer layer of a diaper where you can place absorbency layers that are cloth or disposable
It doesn’t end there, said Tin. For pocket cloth diapers, you have to choose an absorbent pad or “insert” that works best for your child -- choices include bamboo microfiber, hemp, and fleece. Additional accessories can be added to a cloth diaper to boost its absorbency like soakers, doublers, and liners. And different cloth diaper brands offer a mix-match of all these elements and styles.
5. Overwhelmed? Don't be! The moms gave suggestions on what worked best for their little ones. Consider starting from their tips and recommendations:
“We've used several diaper brands (14 in all!) because I wanted to see what works. We love Cottonytail, a handmade, local brand because of its fit and performance. We also love the pockets from BumGenius because of the stay-dry lining.
“The rest of our cloth diaper stash are mostly hybrids, and we use it for presko time and night time. For local brands, these include Fluffy Pwets, Lily and Luna, and Sparkling Rainbow. For US brands, there's Twinkie Tush, Boogie Bear and Southern Comfort.”
Nina “I've tried pockets and hybrids, but I decided to use pockets because I found them more convenient.
“Some types of cloth diapers and inserts dry faster than others so take that into consideration. How heavy your child wets is also something important to consider. For heavy wetters, you will need to mix and match types of inserts to avoid leaks.”