Before Cooper was born we had an entire wall of his bedroom lined with packages of diapers. I remember thinking, “We won’t have to buy diapers for a long time.” Then Cooper was born and they all seemed to disappear instantly. Every time I bought another package of diapers I felt like I was literally throwing money away. As our garbage can filled up higher than ever before, both my frugal self and my earth conscious self began to feel a little sick.
I have a handful of friends that use cloth diapers and used to find it strange when they would talk about how much they “loved cloth diapers.” It would have made sense to me if they’d said they liked how they saved money or felt better about their trash footprint, but the use of the word “love” seemed a little excessive. When I decided to try cloth diapers I got some advice from friends (special thanks to Lina for answering all my weirdest questions), but never thought I would actually become attached to the method. I bought my first cloth diaper 7 months ago and in 7 months I’ve gone from a skeptic, to a part-time user, to an absolute lover that hasn’t bought disposables in over a month.
For those of you that have ever even considered trying cloth diapers, try it, you might find you love it too. I think three of the major hang-ups for people are 1. It’s gross 2. It’s time consuming and 3. Do you actually save money? Allow me to share my thoughts.
I think using cloth diapers is far less gross than many of the other things I don’t get a choice in doing as a mom (washing a poopy baby, having spit up in my hair, wiping someone else’s nose, etc). When I first started using cloth diapers I occasionally swished diapers in the toilet because that’s what I thought you were supposed to do. That was kind of gross. Then, I did some reading and discovered that not everyone swishes. If Cooper produces a particularly runny diaper (more common before he started solids) I just throw the diaper in the pail. If there’s a more solid substance in there, I find that simply holding the diaper upside down over the toilet usually takes care of most of the mess. When it’s time to wash everything I can just empty the pail directly into the washing machine with minimal waste contact.
On a weekly basis I suppose cloth diapering does take a little more time (although I don’t have to drive to the store, compare ads, look for coupons, etc). Essentially it’s an extra load of laundry to wash and put away. Still, I don’t think it’s that bad. I push a couple of buttons, the washing machine does all the work, I hang the covers up to dry, and throw the absorbent inserts in the dryer (unless it’s warm out, then everything goes on my beloved clothesline). When everything is dry I take 10-15 minutes to assemble everything. Not too shabby.
Starting to use cloth diapers can be a little bit of an investment, especially depending on the diapers you use. However, with all the options you save money long term. Trust me, I’ve done a lot of cost analysis. Besides, cloth diapers feel more like an investment since you don’t just throw them away and chances are you’ll be able to use them with more than one child.
Pretty much any website that sells cloth diapers will have some information on diapers, but here are some I have found helpful:
Fran’s Cloth Diaper Primer
Cloth Diapering Dictionary
Green Mountain Diapers- New mom info
Nell’s Natural Baby (they have good prices on the diapers I like and amazing customer service)
If you aren’t convinced that cloth is the method for you, there are still some things you can do to be more green as far as diapering is concerned. There are several cloth diapers that have a hybrid option (Gdiapers are the most well-known and the only one I’ve tried). With this option you use a cloth diaper cover, but you dispose of the inserts after the baby has done his/her business. Still not sold? Try Chlorine Free Diapers like Seventh Generation. You can get coupons by signing up for their newsletter. I am slightly in love with their products.
Everyone I know has a different preference for diapers and how they take care of them. I’ve tried a couple different ones (Bum Genius, Flip, gDiapers, Thirsties, and GroVia). I’ve discovered that I prefer diaper covers (probably the diaper that pops into your head when you think of cloth diapers) to pocket diapers (they have a pocket that you stuff with an absorbent insert – the finished look is similar to a disposable) simply because I hated pulling soggy inserts out of the pocket diapers. Plus, I can reuse diaper covers a couple of times which makes it so I don’t need as many diapers as I would if I were using the pockets. I’ve used microfleece inserts sold by diaper companies as well as prefold Gerber inserts. I’ve found that I actually prefer the cheap prefolds to the slightly more expensive special made inserts. Cooper doesn’t seem to notice the difference. I prefer one size diapers to fitted diapers. This choice is a money saver since you don’t need to buy several different batches as your child grows. Lastly, I prefer snaps to velcro. This one is probably the silliest of my preferences, but I hated how the velcro would fray with washings and how if the tabs came undone in the machine they all stuck to one another. I have 10 diapers (7 Flips, 1 GroVia, and 2 Thirsties) that I use regularly (Bum Genius and gDiaper got axed). I wash diapers every 1-3 days (depending on how things are going) using a short cold cycle followed by a longer hot one. I did buy some special detergent (Charlie’s Soap), but it was more related to environmental convictions than thinking the diapers needed special soap. I don’t have any special diaper pail. We just bought two little lidded garbage cans that open when you step on a lever (one for cloth diapers and one for wipes since I haven’t gotten up the gumption to try cloth wipes yet). I did buy a wetbag for traveling since we’ve decided to go completely cloth. Thus far we have not had any negative repercussions. I can honestly say that I love my cloth diapers and as an added bonus, I think they look cute. Everyone does it differently, but I’d obviously love to answer any questions if you have any 🙂