Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Converting to Cloth

This is my cloth diaper journey...
Growing up, all I had ever known in diapering were disposibles. I knew when first dating my now husband, that his mom was still using cloth diapers, but I didn't really grasp the idea of it. At 15 years old I had no interest in babies or diapers! So I never gave it a second thought. It wasn't until after I had my first son that I realized how expensive diapers were! And since he was a breastfed baby, he went even more! Even with the abundance of gift diapers, we were constantly going to the store to buy more diapers. I had thought about cloth diapers, wondering if they would really save us money... but I read things that said it's not really that much cheaper when you factor in the water costs and detergent and the investment of the diapers. Plus the thought of poopy diapers soaking in water grossed me out. From what my husband told me about cloth diapers, they were disgusting and stinky.
I was reading a parenting magazine and came across an article about the evolution of the cloth diaper. They were totally cute! And from what I was reading, they were easy. I took baby steps in trying cloth diapers out. I was given used prefolds and covers at my local kids consignment shop. So far it seemed ok, but it was a hassle to do part cloth, part disposible. There was a lot to store, 2 diaper pails, AH! My husband thought I was just going on one my crazes, getting obsessed with learning about cloth diapers and trying to convince him (and myself) that they would be a good investment. Not only would they be free diapering once they paid themselves off, but they are better for the child and the landfill. I'm not a major environmentalist, but I do think about my carbon footprint. I try my best to be a good steward.
This website helped me a lot with an array of products and links to cloth diapering information. It was my local cloth diaper store at the time.
From what I gathered, a pocket-type diaper with a cover and insert or prefold would be easiest and most cost efficient. The covers can be used over again with wet diapers (and poopy ones too if the mess doesn't get on the cover). I went into a diaper shop in a nearby town and told the owner what I was looking for. She suggested the Flip diaper system made by BumGenius. I slowly added more to my stock, as needed. I also added things that I needed over time. A pail (which is a tall kitchen garbage can) and 2 liners (which I made from 1 yard of water proof fabric, $9.99), a dry/wet bag (Planet Wise, $20), doublers ($3 each) and a diaper sprayer (bumGenius $45). Almost 2 years later, I ended up with about 30 inserts, 9 doublers and 11 covers.

I did some rough calculations on my start up costs, we spent about $250 on cloth diapering, for everything. (Of course I have added things over time, and each day they pay themselves off!) Because I was diapering 2 in the beginning of this journey, we spent over $100 a month on bulk diapers and wipes. So the cloth diapering paid itself off in less than 3 months! Wow! We have a well now, so water is free. No guilt or cost for washing diapers. I usually line dry, and in the summer I like to hang them outside. My house never smells like diapers, and it's not any harder, really, than using disposibles.
Another thing I contemplated was making my own inserts. And I spent many hours on the computer looking at different patterns and fabric choices. For a pattern that had similar fabrics as my StayDry inserts, it would cost about the same to make as it would to buy. So I thought I would save myself the trouble and buy them from CottonBabies.com. Plus, they have a resell section (which I didn't know about until AFTER I bought 2 dozen inserts). So you might be able to save a little money there. Even though homemade patterns may seem easy or less expensive, I find assurance in the quality of the fabrics used in store bought inserts, prefolds and covers.
When Euan was about 1 and a half, we were just using disposibles at night since he was a heavy wetter. I was almost out of disposibles and I dreaded the thought of buying another pack of diapers to use at night. I figured there had to be an answer to overnight diapering. I stopped by Cotton Babies and Hurrah! Hemp diaper doublers, used for naps and overnight wetting. I bought enough for 3 nights worth so I can have a set even when washing diapers. Since Ethan rarely wets at night, he would wear one Stay Dry insert and cover. Even if he tinkles, it's sufficient. I use 2 doublers and an insert for Euan and so far so good. He has nights were his cloths are a little damp. He wets SO much! His overnight diaper weighs a ton! It really absorbs.

I still use disposibles when we do date swaps and I don't want people to have to bother with cloth diapers. Or if we go away for a weekend. I used to use them for diaper rashes too. Rash cream and create a lot of build up in the cloth diapers. They make a disposible fleece insert for that purpose. They are cheaper than disposibles too! Some people like to use them regularly so that their diapers won't be a mess when baby poops.

I plan on being 100% cloth from here on out. It's become a part of our routine now. And I love that I am doing the best for my kids and for our wallets. Any way I can help out with saving money, I'm eager to do it.

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