Tuesday, May 24, 2011

My first foray into cloth diapers!

I have been thinking/pondering/wondering about cloth diapering for quite some time now. I had thought about it when I was pregnant with Evie but with our septic literally leaking into our yard, it just wouldn't have been good to add any more laundry into the situation. Then we moved and it seemed doable again and then WHAM we became a family of 5. There's been A LOT going on and I'm running around like with a chicken without a head dealing with it. Financially things have been...interesting. My husband works his tail off to provide for us and is gone by 5 or 6am every day and works til 4pm without a lunch and then often works late (sometimes only til 6, sometimes til midnight or later). And then when he is not at work his phone is ringing all the time with people needing him and he frequently has to leave to go to random jobs and/or lock and unlock buildings for subcontractors. He works A LOT and only gets paid for 40 hours a week, nothing more. Days go by without us having more than 5 minutes of conversation. I know that sounds exaggerated, but I'm totally serious. When he is here we are entertaining chatty Charles, a 2 year old and an almost 6 month old- along with trying to keep the grass mowed, laundry done, veggies attended to, kids fed, house clean, etc. Craig and I haven't had any time together without kids fully needing us for 6 months. It's been hard and I'm feeling it. We are so happy and grateful to have Jacob living with us. We feel it was God that brought this opportunity and we wouldn't change it. However, feeding 4 people is different than 3. As is the amount of laundry, cleaning, neediness, etc. I'm reeling dealing.

SO, cloth diapers. I believe there a gazillion reasons why someone might cloth diaper and for each person it's a different main reason. For me, it comes down to a few reasons:

1) Financial. I would love to have more kids if God provides the babies and a way to pay a midwife. Spending some money up front now and being able to diaper a few more kids with one set of diapers would be fabulous! We spend about $30-$45 a month on diapers for one baby currently.

2)Environmental. I don't love that diapers end up in landfills :(

3)My babies. Diapers are full of chemicals and toxins and those chemicals become 'live' when they are wet- our babies are sitting in diapers full of live chemicals! Gross and sad. I like the thought of them having natural fibers against their skin and no chemicals.

4)Cuteness. This is really a totally minor factor, more of a bonus :)

Cloth diapers can be pretty confusing for the first type cloth diaperer. I took a look at http://www.diaperswappers.com/ several months ago and it really freaked me out. TOO many choices and too many kinds of diapers. Yikes!!! I ran for the hills. So let me see if I can break it down a bit-

Their are 4 major cloth diaper types - Prefolds, All In One's and All In Two's, Pockets, & Fitteds.

Prefolds- These are the cloth diapers most people picture when you talk about cloth diapering. It's a rectangle piece of layered material that you fold in 3 to use as the absorbent part of a diaper with a cover (can be with snaps, velcro, pins, etc).

All in One's/All in Two's- AIO's are pretty slick. These have everything you need all in one piece. They are typically snaps or velcro and have the absorbent piece built in. It's as easy to put on as a disposable diaper and just as easy to take off.

Pockets- These are almost the exact same thing as an AIO except they have a pocket that you put the absorbent stuffer in. This allows you to adjust the amount of absorbency to your child's needs. They also dry faster since you take the stuffer out to wash and dry. These are waterproof and do not need a cover, same as the AIO's.

Fitteds- These look just like a AIO or Pocket, but they do not have a waterproof cover built in. They are typically a tighter, slimmer fit and close with velcro or snaps. You need to put a waterproof cover over them, so they are a 2 piece diaper (or more if you add additional absorbency pieces inside).

A wonderful and generous friend has kindly loaned me some of her stash to try different kinds out and see what I like. For fit I'm liking the Fitteds with a cover. They fit closer to her body and aren't so bulky. I also think it's handy to just open the cover and change the fitted. The brand I'm trying is Thirsties. And you reuse the cover for a while unless it's got poo on it or something, so that is nice as far as laundry goes. I haven't tried the AIO's or pockets yet, but I'm pretty sure I'll like the pockets a lot. These particular ones are Fuzzibunz and they are so nice. Very soft fabric and very easy to use. I like that you can adjust the amount of absorbency based on how many inserts you put in and that they dry faster.

I put Evie in her first cloth diaper today and was surprised by how easy it was. We took off to run errands in Silverdale and I put two cloth dipes in the diaper bag and had the wet bag along, too. The wet bag is a cloth zippered bag that is waterproof on the inside. This one has a fabric piece sewn to the inside so you can put lavender oil or something yummy smelling on it so your diaper bag doesn't reek when you open it during the day :) Genius! Upon arriving in Silverdale and parking at the first store I realized she had done the poop of the century! Apparently she felt very relaxed in her new hippy, crunchy (that means 'natural') diapers. Ha! I cleaned it up and put her in a new diaper. The first diaper she was in was a prefold. I may not have folded it all that well because her poo did leak. After that one I put her in a fitted with a cover. I changed the fitted 2 more times during the day and then before bed put her in a GoodMama fitted (which is thicker and has two built in extra layers of absorbency) and cover for nighttime. Pretty simple! I am running a load of diapers right now because I didn't want to nasty poo one sitting around. Laundry will honestly have to be a whole different post since it's a lot to talk about and I'm JUST getting started. But this is the basics (thanks Katie):
1. Cold pre rinse cycle

2. Hot wash then cold rinse with 1 tablespoon of soap. It has to be free of fragrance/dyes/enzymes/brighteners

3. Extra rinse

4. Tumble dry or hang to dry

This is a great chart for what laundry soaps to use or not to use- http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html .

Right now I'm feeling like I'm going to have a meltdown about some $$$ things and so that being said cloth diapering is looking very attractive. It appears that you can cloth diaper if you have $50 or $5000. Whatever you have to spend on diapers, you can and you will :) BUT you don't have to spend a ton. A friend showed me Sun Baby Diapers and they are super cute! 12 pocket diapers and 12 inserts is only $60 and of course you can get more and spend more.

TheGoodMama diapers are super nice, but spendy. They start at $29 just for the fitted inside part and then an additional $16 and up for the cover.

I'm finding a lot on Ebay and Craigslist, so that is also a good option for buying if you don't mind used. I personally couldn't care less. If they are washed, who cares! It's just baby poop :)

Let's think about it this way...when I was a Personal Banker I often had to help people judge whether a mortgage refinance was beneficial. One way to do this was to see how much the refi would cost and then how long it would take them to recoup the cost. Ie. If a refi cost $4k and they would save $300 a month, it would take them 13.3 months to be ahead- meaning they better plan on being in that home longer than 14 months to make it work it. I think we can apply this principle to diapers. I currently pay $30-$45 a month in diapers. I'm finding some great Fuzzibunz diaper lots online and if I can get an adequate stash for $100, it'll only take me less than 3 months to make it profitable! Evie is about 6 months old so we have 18 months or more of diapering left which means I would save $450 just in diapering her (based on a $30 a month cost)! And if we use the diapers for other children we'll just keep saving. Of course if I spend more on buying diapers, and I might have to, then our savings would be a little less. Interesting, huh? Many websites will tell you that you'll save $2k-$4k by cloth diapering and that just makes me want to say, "where the heck are you buying your diapers? You're getting ripped off!" BUT, it can still be cost efficient to cloth diaper and it's obviously better for your child's skin and our nation's landfills.

More to come on this topic, but so far I'm liking the thought of cloth diapering. Last week I posted on Facebook, "I'm not totally sure how it happened, but somehow I turned into a homebirthing, veggie growing, amber teething necklace wearing, breastfeeding, baby-wearing, sometimes co-sleeping, limited vaxing, semi(and more by the year)-crunchy mom ♥" What was missing from that??? CLOTH DIAPERING! lol


  1. Go check out my blog, I have a ton of info up on cloth diapering lately. www.sumnerrain.com

  2. Too tired to repost the long post I just made that it deleted (grrr), but I mainly did Clovers brand fitted diapers as well as Little Beetle. Favorite covers were Imse Vimse and Little Beetle wool (yummy). Didn't like the pocket dipes as much, as they seemed to not hold as much and most seemed to be made of synthetic material. Poo stains really do bleach out in the sun and I love DS website though I, too, was initially super intimidated at first. Started CDing Amelia at 3 months, went until she was 2 when I thought she was gonna potty train. Guess I was a year too early on that prediction!