7 Reasons to Switch to Cloth Diapers in Singapore
By Julia Zhou
Curious about cloth diapers but nervous about the ick factor? Don't be! One converted mama explains why using cloth diapers in Singapore is literally a snap!
Back when I was pregnant and stocking up on baby gear, I was curious about cloth diapers but also seriously skeptical.
Yeah, yeah everyone knows they're environmentally friendly but wouldn't it be a huge... mess?! As a first-time mama, wasn't I already going to be overwhelmed taking care of my baby, and did I really need to add more complexity to my life by choosing cloth diapers?
Apparently the answer was yes because I decided to give it a try.
We used disposables for the first month after my son was born, then switched to cloth. Now we're coming up on 6 months of 100% cloth diapering, and I am SO SOLD. I couldn't imagine diapering any other way. We no longer have any disposables in the house. Even my husband, who called me a crazy hippie when I first brought up the idea, is now fully onboard.
Here's what I love about cloth diapers:
1. Cloth Diapers are Easy to Use
Modern cloth diapers are nothing like the ones your grandma (or mama) used. No folding giant squares of cloth, no pins, no accidentally sticking your bub.
There are a million different styles and brands (here's a great breakdown of the options). I opted for the Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diapers, which are one of the most easy-to-use and durable.
Pocket diapers are made of two parts: a waterproof outer shell that has a "pocket" on the inside, plus an absorbent insert that you stuff into the shell.
The inside of the diaper is made of a moisture-wicking material, so all liquid is immediately sucked through the lining into the absorbent insert, and baby's skin stays nice and dry.
The diaper basically looks like a disposable, and putting it on is just as easy except that it fastens with snaps on the side instead of sticky tabs. They're also adjustable in size from 3 to 16 kg.
Putting on cloth diapers is literally a snap!
2. Cloth Diapers are Easy on Baby’s Skin
My baby had diaper rash almost constantly for the first month of his life when we were on disposables, but hasn't had a single instance of rash since we went cloth. That alone is reason enough for me to stick with cloth diapers!
3. Cloth Diapers are Easy to Clean
This is the part that everyone gets grossed out about, but I swear: it's really not as bad as you think!
First of all, 95% of all the diapers you change for non-newborns are only going to be wet and not dirty diapers. I know some mamas whose babies only poop once or twice a week!
Wet diapers are not gross at all. All you do is give it a quick rinse in the sink to get rid of the pee smell, and then toss it in a dedicated laundry bin.
Each morning we run a load of diapers through the washing machine and hang them up on our clothes rack to line-dry. By afternoon the diapers are clean, dry, and ready to go for the next day.
For dirty diapers, there are a few options:
Option #1: Flushable Liners. These are very thin yet crazy strong sheets of tissue. They catch all the poop, and then you just dump it into the toilet, flush, and away it goes. The diaper itself doesn't get dirty at all.
Option #2: Elimination Communication. It sounds crazy at first but it's actually REALLY easy.
Just as you learn to read your baby so you know when he's hungry or sleepy, you also watch for signs of needing to poop. For example, my little monkey almost always goes early in the morning. He'll make grunting sounds first, and also let out a few little farts. When I see these signs I just whip off his diaper and hold him over the toilet so he poops directly into the toilet.
In the past 3 months we've had only TWO instances when we didn't make it to the toilet in time. Crazy, right? With this method, you actually almost never need to deal with the poopy diaper.
Option #3: Even in the absolute worst case scenario, if you didn't put in a liner and you didn't notice your baby going and now you have a poopy cloth diaper on your hands... it's NOT. THAT. BAD. You simply hold onto a clean corner, rinse it in the toilet for five seconds, and then throw it into the diaper laundry and go on with your day.
4. Cloth Diapers Save Money
Because pocket diapers are designed to fit babies from 3 to 16kg, you literally buy them ONCE and then you're all set until your baby is potty trained. And they last so well through washes that they can also be used for future babies — I have friends who've used the same cloth diapers for two or even three kids.
I have a stash of 24 Bumgenius pocket diapers, for a total cost of about 400 SGD. If I diaper two babies for two years each, that comes down to a monthly cost of a mere $8.30.
Meanwhile, a pack of 52 Pampers that lasts roughly a week costs 28 SGD, or $112 a month. You need to buy even more for newborns, who can go through 12 or more diapers a day.
If you have two kids who need diapers for two years each, you'd save nearly $5,000 by going with cloth diapers! That's more than enough for a very nice family trip to Bali!
Not having to buy disposables is also incredibly convenient. You never run out of diapers in the middle of the night, never find yourself having to make last-minute grocery store runs, and never have to fill half your suitcase with diapers when you go on a trip.
5. Cloth Diapers are Cute
Those fluffy little bums! So many adorable colors and prints! There's no denying that cloth diapers are cute... so cute, in fact, that you may choose to leave off the pants. In Singapore's sweltering weather, a t-shirt + cloth diaper combo is a totally legit fashion choice and makes for a happy baby.
6. Cloth Diapers Double as Swim Diapers
Just take out the absorbent insert, and the waterproof outer shell is more or less identical to a swim diaper. Ready to go down to the pool, mama!
7. Cloth Diapers are Environmentally Friendly
An astonishing 20 billion diapers go into landfills each year worldwide, and these diapers will take up to 500 years to decompose.
Also, by World Health Organization guidelines human waste is not supposed to go anywhere except into toilets. Toilets are designed to safely process this waste; landfills are not.
Finally, it doesn't have to be all or nothing. Many people use cloth diapers at home but choose disposables for travel or at daycare. Each time you keep a disposable diaper out of the landfills, that's a win!
If you’re ready to make the switch to cloth diapers, I strongly recommend joining the Cloth Diapering Singapore Facebook group to learn more!
Happy diapering, mamas!
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