Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Cloth Diapers are Easy and Inexpensive

Diapers. There is something most people don't spend much time thinking about. However, there are many people who think about them a lot. I am not just talking about manufacturers. There is a growing movement of people bringing back cloth diapers. I am now one of those people. I started using cloth diapers about 6 months ago and they are amazing! I learned many things that completely surprised me.

1. They take the same amount of time to change as a disposable, you don't need pins, you can get ones with velcro, just like disposables.

2. They work really well. I mean REALLY well. I did not expect this, but when Lizzie was just a new baby, we had several blowouts, just like with Anna. However, they were ALL in disposable diapers. Almost every time she pooped in a disposable it leaked on her clothes. So, I moved her into a larger disposable size, she still leaked. I am not saying she NEVER leaks in cloth, but, she VERY rarely does. However, not all cloth diapers are equal. I have tried some different brands. There were 3 kinds that did not work well, which I won't mention. The kind that worked really well, was Bumgenius. That is why I am brand loyal because use what works and sell the rest. That said, I have had some leaks in the cloth, but honestly, I have never had a poop leak!

3. They can save major money. I can get diapers cheap. I can buy disposable diapers on the military base and save a LOT. I chose to cloth diaper the most expensive way possible (without getting into crazy high end designer diapers). Also, my daughter is a super fast grower so she has grown out of them more quickly than expensive. I have purchased the cloth diapers called all in one diapers that are pretty much the same thing as disposables, only you wash them. I am talking sticky (velcro) tabs and buying different sizes. The fact that you have to buy different sizes is what adds to the cost. I bought my diapers from a company called cotton babies Financially, I have about broken even. They are a great choice as they have good diapers, and I mean really good, and also have free shipping which is a big reason why I went with them. But, I am planning on having one or two more children and can therefore pretty much diaper them for free (less the cost of laundry). Most people doing it this way would save probably $800-1000 birth to potty training. But like I said I can get disposable diapers cheap.

4. They can be even cheaper. I have dabbled in some other kinds of cloth diapers. I mean things I would never have imagined myself getting into. I bought some diaper covers that you have to put something inside; they need an insert (gasp, a second step). Now, I bought the diaper covers manufactuered by the same company, cotton babies (this time listed as flip covers) only these work from birth to potty training. I bought two covers and 12 of what you can put inside (what I chose is called prefold) I bought all of this on sale for around $40. That means I got 12 cloth diapers good from birth through potty training for $40. After that purchase and how easy it is to use this system (it takes maybe 3 seconds more per change to switch out the inside). So for a good well made diaper cover that still does not leak like the disposables normally do, you diaper your kid birth to potty training for about $200 less the cost of laundry. WOW~

5. They can be EVEN CHEAPER... sounds a lot like # 4. BUT, here is how it is different. Because the diapers are cloth AND they don't disappear, when you are finished with them, IF you take relatively good care of them, you can sell them. Check out ebay and look up completed listings. I looked up completed listings for used bumgenius all in one diapers. I found people selling them. One was for 5 diapers, with some staining. I did not dig around, I just went to the first one I could find, it will be different everyday. It went for $36! What does that mean? I bought on clearance as they no longer make my "model" of diaper. The diapers cost me $10 each. The listing I am talking about was for the same diapers I have and again, mine have NO staining. Do the math, If I were to sell 5 of them for $36 I would have spent $14. That is how much I pay for 60 disposables and since I have used each diaper at least 33 times thus far that gets me 165 changes and counting.

6. What about the poop? Well, if you have a kid, guess what you are going to deal with poop. Its a given. BUT, honestly it is not as gross as you are thinking. They even make these things called diaper sprayers that rinse all the poop into the toilet. I rinse all my poopy diapers at the end of the day. I expected to actually HATE doing it. I don't (ussually). Many times in fact I find it therapeutic (not always). Why? Because I am constantly amazed that modern diapers clean so well. Clothes I often can't get stains out of. Not one of my diapers has a stain, not one. If you rinse your diapers into the toilet, you don't touch the poop at all. It does not take that long either. We don't have a diaper sprayer, but we have a really strong power shower that I rinse them in, no one uses that tub for baths anyway and we rinse it out before we shower. We have a strainer in the drain to keep clogs out. Again, not really an added cost.

6. Diaper Rash. I use to think cloth diapers caused diaper rash, nope it is not the culprit. In fact, some people claim they get less rash in cloth as there kids are sensitive to the chemicals in disposables. In our experience it is about the same. I will admit that when my daughter had a rash, I froze, I was scared it was the diapers. But, then I trouble shot and found out there are different types of rash. She had a rash in her skin folds from sweat. When I put her in disposables it did not make it better. Diaper cream did. Lanolin did even better. I did put her in disposables when applying the cream as I am protective of my cloth diapers, and diaper cream can be used with them if you put either a disposable liner or a piece of fleece in between baby and diaper, but I didn't want to risk it. She has had rashes since that time. The worst one she got was while in a disposable. I also learned the magic combination of treating diaper rash, it works great. Alas, this post is not about rash but if you want to learn more check out askdrsears.com for great tips.

7. One of my friends said it can be addicting. I was not sure what she meant, now I know! At the end of the day when people want to relax, some people sit down and I watch a show or read a book. For months I sat down and looked at diapers. I probably read and learned more about cloth diapers than I would need to know for a masters thesis (literally). For some reason there is something about them that calms me and brings me peace. I am a little embarrassed to admit that when my sister (who had struggled to get pregnant for a long time) told me she was having twins, I was excited, REALLY excited. The next morning Bumgenius (a brand manufactured by cotton babies) came out with a new diaper (Freetime) and I cried a little. I was overwhelmed with joy. And no, I have not been paid to write this post. But like I said there is something about all this that just makes my heart happy.

8. It does not really take much more time than disposables. Once you have chosen the ones you want and purchased them. You read the washing instructions as you would with any new product and you are good to go. That being said you might think that sounds strange after reading #7. But if you are really just using the diapers and not addicted to seeing all the different products out there or watching videos of different features, or reading stories of people using diapers, or entering competitions on diapers... Like I said same amount of time to change. Rinsing adds a couple minutes a day. You throw them in a trash can with a lid, (I use one with the flap kind of lid that you can get at target and have never had any problem with smells) lined it with a type of bag called a wet bag as it holds wet things. Then two or 3 times a week walk the whole bag to the washing machine, put the whole bag in and turn it inside out. Turn it on a cold wash. when thats done put it on a hot wash with an extra rinse and dry them. So, It takes me about 3 minutes to put clothes in the was (if I have to empty the dryer). About 1 minute to push the button for the second cycle. So, all in all I spend maybe 10 minutes more a day on cloth diapers.

9. It is not an all or nothing thing. If you are not sure if it is for you, buy some. Be a part-time cloth diaper user. You will still save!

10. This is probably the big reason why I started in the first place. Environmentally I am sending nothing to the landfill (I do use 1 disposable at night, so other than that). If you want go be a bit "greener"it is a great choice. However, and a lot of people spend a lot of time debating his one, you will use more water and if you don't line dry them you use electricity for the dryer as well. Seriously people spend so much time comparing these factors it is crazy, even comparing the water used to manufacture disposables and gas to get them stores, vs. the cotton grown for the cloth, blah blah blah. For me, I don't want to throw things away, so I feel good about it.

11. I think they are cute. Well at least cuter than disposables, I like color.

12. Emergency Preparedness. Lose your job, blizzard, earthquake.... If you have reusable diapers, you won't run out. You can even learn to hand wash flat diapers and you would not have a problem if you don't have a washer/dryer.

One last thing, the daddy factor. At first my husband was a bit skeptical about the whole thing. However, one of his good friends use cloth diapers as well, same brand even, and so it seemed like something he was willing to try. I have heard often it is hard to get husbands on board. He said that he only uses the all in one (disposable style) because they are easy. Most of the time, I wash the diapers as well, being protective of them as I am, so honestly it is literally, no extra work for him. With the cover system, you could take a minute and put them together so they are ready and then they would be no extra step at a change.

I have wanted to write this post for a long time. I was finally prompted to sit down and do it as Jen Labit from cottonbabies mentioned that all she wanted for Christmas was to tell people about cloth diapers. I have expanded my use of cloth to all kinds of different cloth products. Anyway, let me know if you are interested in learning more. I have so much more I can share with you. And if my lovely sister wants to give it a try, I would be so excited and more than happy to help you get started! I will enter this post in a competition and if I win some diapers I will spread the wealth, I don't need anymore, so I am more than happy to share anything with someone who wants to get started, either with one baby, or twins (hint, hint!).

Here are some photos of my diapers, check them out and see how easy they really are!