Cloth Diapering in India
Cloth diapering options as we know it these days were pretty much unknown when my daughter was born in the year 2012. My mother had got a tailor to stitch white nappies made from soft cotton cloth for her. This worked till she started rolling over and then I came back to Bangalore and went back to work. And all of a sudden, my daughter started developing diaper rashes. There started my journey in search of better diapering solutions.
The diaper rash was not due to unsuitable diapers, but it was because my daughter was allergic to the lactose in the milk powder and the cerelac I fed her. I did some research on different diapers as I suspected the huggies that she wore during the night.
I was amazed at the kind of cloth diapering options available in the US. More than that I was surprised that Americans do not depend on disposable diapers as much as we think they do. I bought a few bumgenius and flip diapers for a trial along with organic inserts.
Buying a bumgenius 4.0 All-in-One diaper used to cost around 1.5k rupees per piece and I ended up exploring cheaper options for my daughter, but nothing feasible was available in India. I restarted my attempt to find better cloth diapering options when my son was born in 2014 and I found that amazon's venture into India has made a lot of difference. I was able to find affordable cloth diapers for my son online and is now happy that I fill landfills in India with less number of my son's soiled diapers.
These are few of the cute cloth diapers I bought through Amazon.in for my son. I just love these pretty prints and love how I don't have to worry about being pee-ed on by my son every time I pick him up and keep him in my lap.
My son is mostly seen in a cloth diaper when he is at home. There are lot of people who uses only cloth diapers, but I was not ready to take up that extra trouble of changing the diapers when we are out or during night time.
And most of these diapers have cost me around 500 to 600 rupees on an average and I have around 15 of them which when used with disposable for nights and extended outings works alright. If the weather is not favorable, we do use disposable ones for few hours.
So here are my thoughts on using cloth diapers:
All-in-One Size Diapers
The best and most common diapers are the All-in-One Size diapers with snap buttons. These diapers are fitted with lots of snap buttons enabling us to adjust the waist size and depth of the diaper. The white layer that comes into contact with the baby is a highly absorbent material which makes sure that your kid is not uncomfortable even if they have pee-ed on the diaper. These can easily soak 2-3 pees.
The inserts are generally made of highly absorbent material like bamboo fabric or microfiber cloth and they soak quite a bit the urine. There are many online resources available to help you if the absorbancy of the clothes have come down.
The outer layer is made generally of polyurethane and is water proof to some extend. I was a bit concerned about this rubbing against my son's thighs, but they are generally ok.
Advantages of using cloth diapers
1. You do yourselves and the future generation a big favor when we cut down on the number of soiled diapers that we sent to the landfills, left to lie there for years to come.
2. Though using cloth diapers involve a higher initial investment and constant washing and drying, they are economical in the long run.My son still wears the bumgenius that I bought 4 years back.
3. Cloth diapers are more softer on your baby skin.
4. It is so cute to see those baby bumps adorning those cute prints. Trust me, nothing can replace that look.
5. Your kid pretty much don't need many pants or diaper covers.
What is involved when you start using cloth diapers
1. You will need to invest a few thousand rupees when you start off. If you invest well on All-in-One size diapers, you can use these diapers from the time your baby turns 3 months to around 3 years.
2. You will have to plan to run a load of diapers in your washing machine daily. You will have to pull out the insert, wash the diaper & the insert so that the urine washes off and put them in the machine for better results. Do pour some dettol too. Since the urine is washed, these can be put with the normal baby clothes which means there are not much extra cost involved in washing/drying them.
When there is poop involved
There is always poop involved wherever babies are involved. I have found that the water-jet in your bathroom does a pretty good job to clean the messy diaper before you put them into the washing machine.
Can I use them for nights?
Yes, of course. You just need to use extra inserts or thicker inserts for more absorbancy. I have tried it few times but I went the easier way of using disposable diapers.
How to start?
Explore various options available on amazon.in and purchase 1or 2. Make sure to buy cloth diaper with insert and stay away from diaper covers. Give it a try and see how it works for you and the baby.
You can start using the diaper when you are at home and see for yourselves before deciding if cloth diapers are for you. If you form the habit of washing the diapers everyday, it becomes a daily routine ingrained in your life and can do your bit for the environment.
Do let me know your experience using cloth diapers in the comments.