11.04.2012

Cloth Diapering Update

We started using cloth diapers at 3 weeks and change and have been exclusively cloth diapering since Kennedy was about 6 weeks old.  With about 2 months of experience under my belt, I feel like I have learned enough to review and give a bit of advice for anyone thinking about using cloth diapers.

I figured that I would start this with some of my initial questions/concerns...

"But aren't they ugly?  And what about those safety pins?"

First of all, these are NOT your Grandma's cloth diapers.  Not only have they come a long way as far as ease of use and absorbancy... but they are darn cute nowadays.  I have found this extreme cuteness to be both a good thing (for the environment, for my daughter's skin, for promoting CD use in general) and a very very bad thing (for my wallet).  I think I *might* be a bit addicted to buying cute cloth diapers, or at least looking at them.  My mom and my mailman would confirm this obsession as both have witnessed first hand the near daily influx of fluffy mail.

So no, they are NOT ugly... see exhibit A...
 Yep, that's a cloth diaper.  Cute right? 

And no, you do not have to use safety pins.  Most actually come with plastic snaps or velcro-like stuff called "Aplix".  Personally, we stick with the snaps... like this... 
 Moving on...

"But they're really expensive aren't they?"

Obsession aside, cloth diapers are WAY more practical and are no where near as overwhelming as they may seem.

My stash to date includes:
  • 4 Rump-a-Roos pockets- these are our favorite for night time
  • 3 Bum Cheeks minky pockets
  • 4 Bum Cheeks jean pockets
  • 4 Fuzzibunz pockets
  • 5 Alva 4.0 pockets- our second favorite for night time
  • 5 BumGenius pockets
  • 2 Sunbaby pockets
  • 2 random fitteds
  • 1 Flip cover
  • 1 Blueberry cover
  • A random assortment of prefolds and inserts 
All in all I would say I have spent about $200-$250 on my stash.  The majority of these I have purchased second hand from various Facebook groups.  There is a local store called Basic Baby that sells new and pre-loved cloth diapers as well.  I have a budget of $10 or less per diaper, although I have gone over a few times (mostly for the RaRs as they are pretty heavy duty).  This $200ish investment will likely last us (with maybe a few more additions) until Kennedy is potty trained.  Best part... the diapers can (and will!!!) be re-used for our next little one... and the next one... and the next one... ok I'll stop there.

But seriously... do you know how many disposable diapers $200 will buy?  About 5 cases... on sale... with coupons... maybe.  And do you know how long 5 cases will last?  About 2-3 months.  Maybe.

The average estimate for the cost of diapering a child, with disposables, from birth until potty training ranges from $1500-$2000.  The cost of cloth diapering, laundry included, is around $500.  Let that sink in for a minute.

If you weren't thinking about cloth diapers before, you are now, right?

"But what about the laundry?  And the poooooooop?"

Yeah yeah... the poop.  Well, let me start by saying that we definitely used disposables for that wicked meconium poop (the black sticky tar like stuff that you swear paint thinner would have a tough time cleaning).  I wasn't about to mess with that stuff and risk staining my cloth diapers forever.

Once you are past the tar poop stage, for an exclusively breastfed baby, there is no need to mess with the poop at all.  You can toss the poop and pee diapers in a wet bag or diaper pail and wash them all together.  No pre-treating, poop scraping or soaking necessary.  Just toss and wash!!  Cool, huh?  Once Kennedy is old enough to start solids, I will have to pre-rinse, soak or somehow take care of the poop (we may try disposable liners... not sure yet)... but until then it's super simple.

My cloth diaper laundry routine:
  • All wet and dirty diapers go into a pail with a pail liner.  I separate the inserts from the diapers as I toss them in so I don't have to go fishing through a bag full of stinky presents to separate them before washing.
  • When ready to wash I take the whole bag, liner and all, and toss it in the washer. 
  • I run one Rinse & Spin cycle with COLD water- NO detergent.  Every so often I run a second Rinse & Spin.
  • Next I add 1/2 the normal amount of All Free and Clear detergent and I run a Whitest Whites cycle (which is just a regular cycle with HOT water followed by an extra rinse & spin with WARM water).
  • I "sun" (line dry or dry outside somehow) my diapers as much as possible.  All of the stains sun out in minutes.  It's pretty amazing.  When unable to sun (thank you Syracuse weather) I dry the diapers in the dryer on LOW heat with NO dryer sheets.
That's it.  No big deal, right?  And with our diaper stash (what was it... 30ish diapers?) we do a load of diaper laundry about every 3ish days.

"But they don't work as good as disposables, right?"

Leaks, blow outs, explosions... I won't lie... we have had a few.  Cloth diapering definitely has a learning curve, although I had a few leaks and explosions pre-cloth as well... so maybe diapering in general has a learning curve.  We use primarily one-size snaps and sometimes it can be tough to get a perfect fit.  We also had trouble at first finding the perfect diaper for night time as baby girl started to sleep longer/wet more.  We are still trying out different kinds of diapers, inserts, covers, etc. and learning our likes and dislikes.  

"But I don't know what the heck I'm doing!!"

And neither did I.  As a matter of fact, we have been doing this for several weeks now  and I still have many questions.  I have found several CD centered groups on Facebook, a few local moms in a moms group I attend and a few moms at my church who have been more than happy to show me the ropes.  The owner of Basic Baby (local store that sells cloth diapers)...  is a wealth of information and even holds classes and get togethers in the store to help new moms figure things out.  One thing I have learned about the mamas who CD is that they all seem to be very helpful and excited to share their knowledge and experience.  So ask around!  You just might be surprised at who else is into cloth.

So that's it... so far.  My thoughts on cloth.  And now I am off to go change a diaper, lol.  :)