When Tammy Gulotta Chambers chose cloth diapers for her kids, on the outside it may have seemed like she was delving into the past. But in reality, she was thinking of the future.
The future of the earth, her kids and her bank account.
“I knew I was going to have more than one child, and so it seemed like it would be a good investment and it’s a lot more gentle on the earth, all that good stuff,” Gulotta Chambers says. “And so now I just like it. Instead of having to run to the store because I’m low on diapers, I just wash them. It also prompted me to potty train the children a lot earlier. Funny enough, it’s just very convenient for me.”
Gulotta Chambers’ family started cloth diapering nearly 10 years ago and since has watched cloth’s popularity rise as more and more moms are interested in them as alternatives to the more common plastic disposable diapers.
Lawrence moms who use cloth diapers say they are easier on their babies’ little tushes, cheaper in the long-run despite heavy upfront costs and better for the world their children will grow up in. Cloth-diapering mothers also say they know exactly why other moms may resist joining them: Fears about laundry, leakage and cost.
For Molly Lang, those pros outweighed every con she’d heard. The second her daughter, Lotus, was out of the hospital, she was into cloth diapers.
“We actually never bought a diaper — I registered for these diapers when I was pregnant and they were all given to us as gifts,” she says of her diapers that should take Lotus, now 7 months, up to 35 pounds. “I don’t know how much a pack of disposable diapers costs, but I’m glad I'm not spending money on them every month.”
Lang says that the diapers she picked cost $17 each, which is about as much as a jumbo package of premium diapers.
But there are other ways to keep initial costs down. Lawrence mother of two Rachel Brashear Anderson says she buys diapers on clearance or second-hand and makes her own covers out of wool. She estimates she’s spent just $200 on diapers in five years.
“When people ask me about that, I say, well you don’t have to buy the diapers that are $20 apiece,” Brashear Anderson says about cost. “Nothing is as great as just the pre-folds and you can use the Velcro covers or I like use wool covers a lot that I make. And you can also find stuff on clearance, I mean, that’s what I do.
“I’ve also sold things that’s I’ve bought that I didn’t like — there’s a pretty big resale market online. I really feel like you don’t have to spend a lot of money to do it, but you can.”
Gulotta Chambers has lost track of how much money she’s saved on cloth diapers, mainly because she reuses ones no longer in service with her three kids, ages 9, 6 and 7 months, as cleaning rags for her job as a professional cleaner. She says that the changes in diapers from even what was available 10 years ago to what her youngest, Liam, now enjoys make the whole thing simpler than taking out the trash.
“People are really amazed when they see how easy it is,” Gulotta Chambers says. “Our mothers had to use pins and little plastic pants, and that’s not very easy. It’s come so far that it’s just as easy as throwing out a disposable diaper, really.”