Forget Toilet Paper—What About Diaper Shortages?
The pandemic caused a panic among consumers for toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and yes, disposable diapers. Are cloth diapers the answer to at least one of those problems?

You’ve had those midnight runs to the corner grocery store to grab an essential item that you’ll need in the morning. You’ve felt the panic of realizing there are only two diapers left in the diaper bag.

Unfortunately, the recent shortages that the country saw in the spring due to the shutdowns related to COVID-19 shined a spotlight on a big vulnerability: taking care of babies’ essential needs, from wipes to formula and even diapers. These shortages had an even harder impact on the medically fragile children who needed specialty formulas or allergen-free diapers.

As families scrambled to find disposable supplies to care for their children, many families asked the question, “Would cloth diapers be better?”

Disposable Diaper Shortage in a Pandemic? Absolutely!
Ransacked store shelves were a common sight at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, especially on shelves with toilet paper, baby wipes, and disposable diapers. Photo credit: ifeelstock –

Cloth diapers have historically been sought out by eco-conscious parents looking to purchase organic, vegan, or plastic-free products to cover their child’s bottom. Others are health-conscious, looking for 100% natural options for their family.

However, when panic hit, families worried about finding themselves without diapers, and many turned to cloth as the quarantine persisted. Many cloth diaper retailers tripled in orders—seemingly overnight—as parents sought a sustainable way to diaper their child. Just one benefit of cloth diapers, reusability, became the most sought-after security.

How do cloth diapers provide for families in supply shortages? How can they provide security for families caught in future crises? Here are four ways cloth diapers can ease the stress of an unforeseen shortage.

1. Reusable. Once you purchase a cloth diaper, you use it again and again after washing. You’ll never find yourself running to the store at midnight for diapers, although you may need to start a load to wash at midnight when you’re running low on clean diapers. About 20 cloth diapers can save you from buying and throwing away more than 2,900 disposable diapers in a year.

Not sure about the wash routines involved with cloth diapers? Check out our detailed washing instructions available for keeping your diapers in tip-top shape while safely remaining at home. For some families, the “ick” factor keeps parents hesitant to explore cloth options. Our diaper wash service is available for families who cannot or choose to not wash diapers at home.

If you're washing at home every 2 to 3 days, a set of 20 cloth diapers will last you a week … a month … a year … your baby's entire diapering lifetime. And your next child's. With disposable diapers, you're using an average of 8 to 12 diapers per day, depending on your baby's age.

2. Longevity. Cloth diapers are available in a variety of brands, and they have an array of features and materials to select from. But at their core, these diapers are meant to handle wear, tear, and wash. One diaper, depending on style, could last multiple children from birth to potty training.

3. Versatility. Cloth diaper styles, such as all in ones or prefolds with covers, can be adjusted to fit babies as small as 7 lbs. and toddlers up to 35+ pounds. These diapers often have snaps to adjust the rise and size of the diaper to accommodate a growing child. These aren’t your grandparents’ cloth diapers—pins are long gone! If purchasing your own stash, you will likely need two different sizes to fit a baby from birth to potty training.

4. Cost Savings. Cloth diapers are an investment if you decide to purchase up front as opposed to a rental service. However, more and more budget-friendly options are becoming available. For example, the initial cost of purchasing diapers with Diaper Stork is as low as $210 for the Classic Bundle of diapers and accessories, a cost savings that families could see in as little as 5–6 months. Diaper Stork also has a Rental Option for as low as $27 per month—we deliver all the diapering products needed, including the pail, and swap out sizes as baby grows. This is a low-investment way to test out cloth diapering at home.
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In a pandemic or not, you can spend valuable time and money searching multiple stores or pay inflated prices online with delayed shipping for disposable diapers month after month. Or, you can purchase or rent a bundle of cloth diapers and never worry about a supply shortage, shipping delays, or beating the crowds again.