Cloth diapers save money, help environmentWritten by Brandi Barhite | Community Ombudsman | firstname.lastname@example.org
Something needed to be changed in Amanda Ballard’s life — not just her baby boy’s diaper.
The Sylvania mom switched to cloth diapers after the first eight months of his life ended up being quite expensive. When she realized she could help other parents make the same economic switch, she started an online cloth diaper store, Tender Loving Cloth Diapers (tlcdiapers.com). She is hosting a cloth diaper class 10 a.m. to noon June 6 at the Sylvania Branch of the Toledo-Lucas County Public Library.
“I am totally into saving money,” Ballard said … “It started out as an economic decision, and after using them, I realized how much I was wasting.”
According to the Real Diaper Association, “each baby will need about
6,000 diapers during the first two years of life” so the expense for
each child can easily be more than $1,500, Ballard said.
Her husband, Justin, was not on board at first. He didn’t want to give up their disposable ways and he refused to deal with diaper duty, she said.
“I tried it and said, ‘This is not bad. This is not hard to do.’”
The initial purchase is probably the most difficult, she said. Ballard began researching on the Internet and discovered that while disposable diapers became all the rage, cloth diapers also became more varied and convenient. Don’t worry about pins, she said. They can be secured easily with Velcro strips or snaps.
“It is a learning process,” she said. “I recommend people start with a couple of different kinds.”
Ballard ordered her diapers from a lady in Arizona and found that she liked the one-size pocket diapers, which can be used from birth to potty training. The diaper includes a waterproof outer layer, which is stuffed with a microfiber or hemp insert. When the baby is wet or dirty, remove the insert and wash that and the actual diaper, she said. She washes diapers every other day and uses flushable liners if the mess just needs to go away.
Ballard said cloth diapers make sense for her son, now 17 months, because he is prone to rashes, and the cloth ones allow more air to circulate and are a little softer on his chubby legs. She is expecting a second child in November and plans to use her son’s cloth diapers.
A stash of cloth diapers with all the fixings can run $300, Ballard said. It also depends how often a parent wants to do laundry. A newborn would need about 10 per day, while a toddler might need seven or eight.
“People are welcoming it more because the economy is so bad,” she said. “A mother of twins is going to use cloth diapers, and everyone thinks she is crazy.”
Ballard said it’s not all or nothing, either. Parents can continue to use disposables when they are out on the town and cloth when they are home.
“Every little bit counts,” she said.
Babysitters might be intimidated by cloth, so that might be a time to go back to disposables, but “my aunt babysits in the house and she uses the cloth with no problem ,” Ballard said.
Lori Wagner of Waterville borrowed a cloth diaper from Ballard and used it for one month, eventually deciding to switch. Her child uses a disposable at night and when going out, but estimates saving $40 per month because of her switch to cloth.
“I had no idea how easy it was going to be,” Wagner said.