Falling in LOVE with Cloth Diapers
I absolutely LOVE cloth diapering. I never imagined how much I would enjoy it! I mean, they are diapers after all.
How it All Got Started
My husband and I decided the summer before my son was born to go the cloth diaper route. Initially my reason for looking into it was cost savings.
Before researching cloth diapers, I was doing a cost analysis of a list I had made for everything I thought we needed for the baby. I actually researched approximately how many diapers we might need in the first year and the cost was staggering. It was something like $1,500. Wowza!
My husband and I have been making gradual changes for a couple years now to try to lead a less wasteful life style, and try to save and make money where we can. We garden vegetables and herbs, compost, recycle metal, hang dry our laundry, and are looking into commuting by bike rather than car. Once we have some land, we plan to do a lot more.
So right off the bat, the first thing we liked about the possibility of cloth was the idea of reusing diapers rather than a one-and-done approach.
We liked that many of the diapers we bought would last from newborn stage right on through potty training! We especially liked the idea of using diapers for more than one child.
Making the Decision to Cloth Diaper
The truth is I didn’t know anything about cloth diapering. No one in my world used them. So I searched and read as much as I could online. Interestingly enough, both my mother and my husband’s mother cloth diapered with us, but didn’t like it. They both thought we were crazy for considering it, seeing it as unnecessary in this day and age. (They have been surprised at the options now available compared to 30 years ago!)
Before I actually decided cloth was for us, I decided to look into how I might save money buying disposable diapers. I read some crazy articles about constantly watching out for sales at six different stores, and buying in bulk and creating stock piles of different sized diapers and such. Those articles I read mentioned how I never needed to pay more than $.17 per diaper – a deal which I couldn’t find on my own as I have yet to learn the art of couponing. (A work in progress.)
There were a few things that made this approach unappealing for me, not the least of which was the uncertainty of just HOW MANY diapers I would need. If I was to stockpile diapers of various sizes, how was I to know what was enough…or worse, too many. It seemed easy to fall into the trap of wastefulness once again.
Another reason I didn’t want to go this route was because I’m not a big fan of shopping. Oh yes, I love to go shop for a new dress for myself, a gift for my husband, or toys for my son every now and then – and motherhood has certainly made me appreciate those trips to the grocery store as a way of “getting out of the house”. However, the thought of watching for sales like it was my job, and bouncing around from store to store looking at clearance sales was almost stressful for me. I do love online shopping though.
Not What I Expected
So my search for the most cost effective and easiest diapering method led me to cloth diapering. Let me be honest that this did not appeal to me at all at first. I decided to really do my due diligence, and pressed on. I read article after article, and blog post after blog post.
I needed to know HOW to cloth diaper. I had never even seen a cloth diaper before! I quickly realized there were several types of cloth diapers, so I had to read to overcome that learning curve as well. Then, I needed to know WHICH cloth diapers were best. What type? What brand?
When I started my research, I was fully expecting to learn how to use a large safety pin (just like I had seen in stork bringing the baby cartoons), to pin in a towel that I was attaching to my baby. I expected to learn the trick of pinning this towel without sticking him, and then I imaged my child crinkling about as he sported the plastic pants I’d inevitably be buying for him.
Three things surprised me, as I began my cloth diapering education:
- I was surprised that all these women whose articles I was reading, truly loved cloth diapering.
- I was surprised at all the different cloth diaper options out there. It’s not like it was 30 years ago when we were babies.
- I was surprised at how easy clothing diapering truly is.
Here are 5 Reasons Why I LOVE Cloth Diapering!
- Cost Savings. I could go into great detail about how many of which type of cloth diaper is better. Naturally since there are different types of diapers, the prices vary. For the super thrifty, cloth diapers can even be purchased used from second hand stores, other crunchy mamas, and online marketplaces. The cheapest option I found is using prefolds with covers. The concept here is that the cover can be used multiple times (2-4x) and the prefold diaper replaced at each changing. To get started, I bought 36 prefolds (12 in a smaller size and 24 in a larger size), and 6 covers. From my experience this was probably more than I needed. The covers were about $15 to $25 each new. (I bought two different brands and the characters and prints may vary.) The prefolds were about $25/dozen. I also got a few special inserts to help with extra absorbency to get us through the night. For convenience only, I have since purchased (used from a second-hand store) “all-in-2” diapers, in which an absorbent insert is put in a shell, and this entire package is used once before washing. These were about $7 each. (If you decide to buy 2nd hand, I do recommend stripping the diapers first. Click here for great information on stripping diapers. Click here for great information on proper wash routines for cloth diapers.) This is much more than what is needed for one day. With all these diapers, I can go 3 or 4 days between washes, so I only do two extra loads of laundry a week. So, with the diapers, and diaper paraphilia (diaper pail, diaper pail liner, and wet bags, and diaper sprayer (not needed until my baby started solids), and the modern day “safety pin”, snappies!), my cost to get started was about $400.
- Versatility. One of my cousins asked me what my theme was regarding purchasing baby items. When I asked her what she meant, she said, “Like for me, I wanted things that were easy!” “Oh,” I replied. “I want things that last me as long as possible – from as early on after birth to toddler hood, if possible.” And THAT is precisely what cloth diapers do! Many cloth diapers come in “one size”. The ones I purchased are for children 8-35 pounds. (8 pounds? But what about babies who are born smaller than 8 pounds? Honestly, I used disposable newborn diapers with my son for the first several weeks. They do have cloth diapers that are made especially for newborns, but since this stage is so short, and there are meconium (sticky, dark, tar-like substance) poops in the beginning that are difficult to clean and can easily stain cloth diapers, I decided to use disposable at first.) However, since that stage we have loved using our Rumparooz diaper covers with snaps and prefolds!
- Durability and Absorbency. My husband and I recently took a trip out of state, and to avoid taking an extra suitcase just for cloth diapers, we went ahead and bought a small pack of disposable diapers. Although they served their purpose, they were so much more flimsy than the cloth diapers we have come to depend upon. My husband and I both agreed that anytime my son urinated, the pee smell was much stronger than when he is wearing cloth diapers. The disposables seemed to be plenty absorbent. When my son did do the dreaded “number two”, the smell was much more pungent than with cloth. Throwing it in the trash wasn’t enough to mask the smell even though it has a lid. It needed to be tossed in the dumpster outside! His cloth diapers, though, work wonderfully at preventing blowouts. I remember when my son was only a few weeks old, how the mess would escape his newborn disposables. Yucky! The cloth diapers are also incredibly strong and can last through several baby bums worth of diapering. I will say that not every brand is created equal. I have not been particularly impressed with the Bummis brand cover with velcro. The velcro has not shown itself to have the same quality as the other brands with velcro I purchased. Thirsties Duo Wrap hook and loop have been great diaper covers and the velcro still looks like new after 10 months of use. (We use velcro covers at night to get a more fitted diaper and better control leaks – aka No Leaks!)
- Adorability! Anyone who has ever seen a baby in just a diaper has probably said, “Cute!” Cloth diaper takes the diapered bum up to a whole new level of ADORABLE! With so many cloth diapering types and brands, a diaper has now become a cute accessory and a part of an outfit. There are so many color choices, not to mention fun designs and characters.
- Better for Sensitive Skin. My son has very sensitive skin, which we expected even before he was born as both my husband and I do also. Cloth diapers, when washed properly, are a terrific option for babies who experience diaper rashes. In our recent experience with disposables, my son had a bout of diaper rash which quickly healed once we were back home and he went back to his cloth diapers. If you are using cloth and do need a cloth diaper friendly diaper rash cream, I recommend using the all natural version of Boudreaux’s Buttpaste (green tube). It’s worked very well for my son.
So if you’re just starting out as a first time parent, or maybe have already started down the road of disposable diapers well into your third kiddo but are curious about cloth diapering, go ahead and take the plunge. Even if you just buy one or two to get you started so you can see how they work and compare to disposable, this is a great start! All I can say is I have not been disappointed in the decision to go cloth!
NOTE: Feel free to look through the different sizes and colors on the products links I shared throughout the post. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask!