Wednesday, June 02, 2010

My Adventures with Cloth Diapers

Update:  I recently received a question about cloth diapers from a friend today and was going to forward this link to them.  I then realized there were a few things that I wanted to add.  I figured I would take this opportunity to add those updates and re-post so I could share them with all of you!  Please leave me a comment or contact me via email if you have any questions or suggestions!

I have been meaning to do this post for a while now.  I wanted to share my take on cloth diapering now that I have been doing it for about 4 months. Curious?
  • COST: Cloth diapering is definitely cheaper than regular disposables.  There is some question about the cost of washing them, but I think it was generally excepted that washing them did not bring the cost above disposables.  In fact, our water bill hasn't risen since we had the baby. 
Update: After revisiting our water bill, it has risen a little bit since we had the baby.  Of course one reason is the diapers, but I also do about 2 more loads of laundry each week (that aren't diapers) and we give him 3-4 baths a week. 
  • ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: There seems to be a great debate about the environmental factors between throwing disposables in the landfill and using water to wash cloth diapers.  Not surprisingly, the people who use disposables tend to point out that cloth diapering wastes water and people who use cloth diapers will point out the 500 something years it will take to break down the disposable diapers.  My take? If you consider the fact that water can be treated and reused, it is not a very good argument for not using cloth.  The only counter argument I have heard about the landfill is the use of diapers that will break down, but that requires air and you won't find that at the bottom of a landfill.
  • EASY OF USE: Cloth diapering is much easier than it was when I was little.  Pocket diapers, all in ones, and one size diapers are put on the baby just like a regular diaper.  (This fact was a plus for me because I was having to convince my husband that this wouldn't be more work for him.)  Yes, there were still prefolds and diaper covers, but with the invention of snappies there was no need for diaper pins and the covers are so much cuter now. 
If you decide to cloth diaper you have a couple of choices to make right up front.
  • First, are you going to use a diaper service or buy and wash your own diapers.   If you use a service the cost savings compared to disposable won't be much, if anything.  However, you don't have to do any of the cleaning.  Downside to this (besides the cost) is that you have to store all the dirty diapers for a week till they come and get them (they usually pick up dirties and drop off clean ones once a week) and that can get stinky.  If you buy and wash your own you need to consider how you want to store them till you wash them. Most people use a dry bag like this one and put inside a garbage can with a lid.  Most people will tell you to buy enough diapers to last you 2-3 days because that is the longest you will really want to store them before they get stinky.  
  • Second, what kind of cloth diapers do you want to actually use and if your child is going to day care, will that daycare allow them?  I have heard that daycare centers are getting better about taking cloth diapers, but it seems to depend on where you live. (Here in Portland many daycare centers allow cloth and some even hire their own diaper service.)  You could consider doing cloth at home and an eco-friendly diaper like Nature Baby Care while at daycare. 
So what do I use and why?
  • I use mostly Bum Genius 3.0 (they are pocket diapers that are also one size diapers) because they grow with our baby, are easy to use, and pretty affordable given that we bought 12 at a time I got $1 off each one.  Each diaper comes with two inserts- one for when they are small and one for when they are bigger. You can use the small insert as a doubler when they get bigger.
  • We also use some prefolds with these Thirsties Duo covers.  I wish they were less bulky because I totally would use them more.  I typically put S in one for his naps since all he is doing is sleeping in it.  I am hoping that as he gets bigger, it will fit better. 
  • We used gDiapers with their gCloth for awhile when S was smaller.  I wish I liked the gDiapers more. They are a local company that is run by some totally cool people and they have fantastic customer service and do a lot for their gMums and gDads.  But they (the gCloth) just don't hold as much liquid as the BG 3.0 does (the owner of gDiapers told me that the industry standard is to have a diaper that is to be changed every 1-1.5 hours, but I don't have to do that with my BG 3.0s).  I would continue to use the gDiapers with the flushable inserts if they were more affordable. 
Update: I have come to love gDiapers once again!  I am using them along with the BG 3.0s to extend the time between laundry days.  I stuff them with prefolds and they fit great and hold a lot of liquid!! The only time I don't like them is first thing in the morning because that is typically the poopiest diaper of the day and poop always seems to get on the liner (I really need more liners!).  In fact, we are thinking that when Baby #2 comes around that we will diaper Superman in the gDiapers and Baby #2 in the BG3.0s.  I am so happy they are working because I love this company.  They are super cool, amazingly down to earth, and are local!  They have a new partnership with and currently offer free shipping and 30% off the diapers.
  • I do Nature Baby Care diapers every night and whenever I want a disposable.  The link is above if you are interested in learning more about them.  
Update: We have had to switch to a night time diaper.  Unfortunately, I don't know of an environmentally friendly option.  If you know of one or have some suggestions on what we could do, please leave me a comment or send me an email

 So there we go. I could go on, but I really need to go be mommy now.  If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments and I promise I will get back to you!

Mommy C

PS Many of my links will lead you to Jillian's Drawers.  This is an awesome site if you are just starting out because they have a "trial" package that you can do (it is how I tried a bunch of different types in the beginning).  This is the site where I have bought almost all of my diapers (I bought my prefolds elsewhere because of free shipping I think).  They have great customer service too.

Also, my only connection to any of these companies is with gDiapers.  I am signed up as a gMum, but haven't received anything to post my opinion on this site.


Anonymous said...

Very interesting. The other thing about cloth is the chemicals used to clean them.(bleach, laundry detergent) I used bum genius for several months with my son until they started to smell like ammonia. I used all of the recommended cleaning methods but just couldn't get rid of the stink. And now having two kids, well... there is the huge convienience factor of disposables.

kris said...

Count me with Anonymous as a user of disposables. As the oldest of 5 kids? I changed and cleaned and dealt with far more than my share of cloth diapers before the age of 12. When I became a mom? I just did not see the appeal of cloth diapers at all.

So while I respect your opinion? We'll have to agree to disagree on this one.

Mommy C said...

Anonymous- I am sorry you had such a difficult time with the smell. I have heard that they can start to smell like ammonia, but I have not heard of anyone that couldn't get rid of it.

Kris- I totally respect your decision too. This post was never to project a "holier than thou" feeling. I just thought I would share my point of view. :)

Addition: Jillian's Drawers posted this link on Facebook today. It is a directory of daycare centers that accept cloth diapers.

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