Sometimes when your spouse makes a friend, you feel like you have to be friends with their spouse too, just to even things out. I’ve had both good and bad experiences with this, but, sometimes, it just works out that you couldn’t be happier to have been introduced to this new person. I feel this way about Aimoku. Our husbands grew up together, thus, we were thrust into friendship. But I know that I would be friends with Aimoku if we met randomly on the street. She is such a cool girl! She is super talented musically, an avid reader, cross-fit super-hero, and mommie to Kaiewa. Meet Aimoku.
Tara invited me to write a post, and I decided to write about cloth diapering. I know most of you are probably thinking those are two words that should never go together. But it really isn’t as bad as you might think. There are tons of blogs and research out there explaining types of diapers (The Humbled Homemaker), the frequently asked questions about cloth diapering (Diaper Pin , The Wise Baby ), is it actually worth it? And so on, and so forth.
Before I had my son last year I wrote a blog post about some of the reasons we were going to cloth diaper on my own blog: TyMoku’s Take on Cloth Diapering. Since having done it now for a year I figured it might be a good time for an update on how things have actually worked.
How much money have we actually spent?
Here is a bit of a break down (I tried to be accurate, but you know the memory of a mom is not always the best). We chose to use the gDiaper brand (gDiapers) and they have different sizes as your child grows. We also inherited some all-in-one bumGenius diapers from my sister that we’ve used, but mainly we use our g’s.
Smalls: $113 brand new
Mediums: $70 used off ebay, $40 new
Large: $71 used off ebay
Cloth Liners: $24
I will round up to $375 for things that I’m not thinking of, and that is all we’ve spent. My son is now 13 months. He is still in the medium size, which says it goes until he is 28 lbs, and he’s maybe 20 lbs now. We’ll see when he finally starts to use the larges. When divided out over the 13 months, that’s just under $30 a month. Now to you that may be expensive, but for me I also plan on cloth diapering the rest of my children. Yes I may need to buy a few replacements here and there, but overall I’m set.
If you would like a break down of what we actually bought each time (covers, pouches, liners, etc feel free to ask and I’ll let you know. For the sake of this post not being days long I decided not to include that.)
How has cloth diapering actually worked for me?
I will say it there is a big learning curve to it. You test things out here and there and figure out what you like and what you don’t like. I’ve actually really enjoyed it. Here’s a little of what we’ve done.
I should say that we don’t cloth diaper 100% of the time. When my son was a newborn, we used disposables because I thought/had heard that they are only that small for such a short period of time you don’t spend that much on disposables anyways (especially since we had gotten SO many newborn size at our baby shower). Plus I didn’t want to order newborn cloth diapers if he was going to outgrow them in 3-4 weeks. When we are on vacation it’s much easier to use disposables then having to pack up everything and bring it with us. Also, when my son was younger he kept waking up wet at night-so I just decided to use disposables at night as well. (Maybe I should factor that in to expense as well, but we only use one a night, so disposables last a long time at our house). If we get a babysitter I tend to leave disposables because it’s just easier for them.
Like I mentioned above, we chose to use the gDiaper brand, and I LOVE them! They have 3 main components. The outside cover: it is the colorful, cute part. The snap-in pouch: this part snaps onto the cover and holds the insert. Cloth insert: the cloth part that catches everything. They also have flushable inserts, but we’ve never used those.
Storage of dirty diapers is always a question people have. There a ton of ways to do it. We’ve gone back and forth between two, and they are a dry pail and a wet pail. And they are exactly as they sound. We have a 5 gallon white bucket that sits on top of our dryer. A dry pail has nothing in it, the diapers just get put in. A wet pail is filled with water. I’ve found with the wet pail the smell is much less potent than with a dry pail. I have also started sprinkling a little oxyclean in the water and I think it helps the smell as well. When I change my son’s diaper, I shake the dirty cloth insert out into the pail. The pouch is reusable, but I usually only use them once. If it doesn’t have any poop on it I put it in a plastic grocery bag that hangs next to the pail. If there is poop, in the bucket it goes. The cover goes on top to of the dryer to air out before it is used again (also not necessary, but something I’ve found I like to do), or if it got dirty with poop it goes in the pail, if it has just pee then it goes in the grocery bag.
So the next question you’re probably wondering about is what about poop? What do you do with it? When the baby is young and not eating solid foods yet-you don’t have to worry about it. The diaper would go straight into the pail without anything being done to it. At that stage everything is water soluble and will just wash off. With the introduction of solid food, comes solid poop. We have used cloth liners. They are a liner that is flushable that goes on top of the cloth insert. They are thinner than a paper towel, but thicker than toilet paper. They catch the poop, and are easily taken off and everything is flushed down the toilet. You can also buy a diaper sprayer that connects to the toilet and then spray it off. We haven’t tried that yet, but I may in the near future.
Washing the diapers has also been an evolution of its own. I’ve finally gotten the routine down and where I like it. I wash them every 2-3 days. I dump the pail and all its contents into the washer, and do a quick rinse cycle to get rid of the yucky water. Then I do either a 30 minute soak or a regular cycle. Dry them in the dryer. Fold them and put them away. At first I didn’t use a special detergent. Just a little regular detergent with a sprinkle of oxyclean. But I found that they would come out of the dryer with a faint pee smell. So I decided to try cloth diaper detergent. It is AMAZING! We use the Rockin’ Green brand. I bought it off soap.com with a coupon code in March, and last week I finished off the first bag. It cleans them so well. There is no smell, and it gets out any stains.
Going out is the last thing I think people wonder about. We have done two different things. The first is we put the dirty diaper in a grocery bag, tie it up, and then put in in the pail when we got home. We also have used a wet bag (which we were borrowing from my sister). I loved the wet bag. It held in any smell that there might be, and also made it so the wetness would be contained. We have yet to buy a wet bag of our own just because I haven’t gotten around to ordering one, but we will soon!
What else have I seen?
The only time my son has had a blow out or a diaper rash is when we have used disposables (i.e. when he was a newborn, or when we’ve been on vacation). He never has had either or those when he has been cloth diapered.
Cloth diapers are a bit bulkier than disposables. I’ve usually put my son a pant size/onesie size a little bigger to accommodate the bulkiness. However, that being said, because gDiapers run by the pound, they usually fit better than the all-in-one diapers. Along the same lines, they do take up more room in your diaper bag.
I do like the fact that we are helping mother earth out a little bit. Did you know that 7.6 billion pounds of diapers are thrown away in the US alone each year (http://www.29diapers.com/29-diapers/how-much-of-a-difference-do-cloth-diapers-really-make/)? Also no one knows exactly how long it takes for disposable diapers to decompose, but it is between 250-500 years (http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php).
They are just so cute. I’m sorry, I know that shouldn’t really matter, but it has to be mentioned. They don’t sag like disposables, and they are just so colorful. It’s something I really love.
Overall, I think that cloth diapering isn’t as bad as the stigma it tends to take on. Especially with all the options the cloth diapering world has to provide these days. It’s much more sophisticated than cloth and pins (though I’m sure people still use those). If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments section or on my personal blog! And if you are considering making the switch, do it! Happy diapering!