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Friday, September 3, 2010

Cloth Diapering: My Experience So Far

About a month ago, I decided to make the big leap into cloth diapering.  I thought I would share my experiences with it so far.  Now if you have no interest in hearing about diapers and baby poop, or you know all about them already, please feel free to skip this post and enjoy the first weekend of September!  I know this isn't my usual post content, but I thought it might be of interest to someone out there.

{Rilo wearing a GroBaby shell with snap in soaker pads}

The intent of this post is not meant to imply that my way is the best or only way, but is mainly just an informative post on something that is not so mainstream (though it is gaining in popularity).  The only reason I had even heard anything about cloth diapering was because I knew a few friends (hi Alexis and Stacy!)  who had been using CD's with their kids.  This sparked my interest and I began doing some reading and research during my pregnancy.  I wanted to CD, but I just put off making the final jump until Rilo was about 5 months old.  Now I am by no means any type of expert, in fact, I'm just figuring out my likes and dislikes and getting my routine in place, but can I tell you that already, I love it!  And in my reading on forums, blogs, etc., I have yet to read about someone who didn't love it.  I mean, I'm sure they exist, I just haven't found them yet. 

Here are the reasons I decided to switch in the first place:

  • One word: Blowouts.  Rilo started having blowouts every.single.day.  I think our sheets got washed in the last few months more than in the 2 years we've had them.  No matter size or brand, she just starting having blowouts.  I am happy to report we have not had one in the last month!
  • I was getting really grossed out by the amount of diapers we were throwing away.  They would just pile up in this trash can we had specifically for diapers and the trash can always seemed full.  I also found out that diapers can take over 100 years to actually decompose and that just added to my bad taste for disposables.  Eww, landfills are gross enough, but thinking about the billions of diapers just sitting there seeping...Okay I'll stop now. 
  • One day, I saw these weird gel-type things on Rilo's bottom and looked online to see what they were. I started reading up on what was in diapers and I started feeling uncomfortable with what was touching her cute little tush.
  • MONEY.  Diapers are expensive!  Cloth diapers require an initial investment ($100 to about $300+, depending on what kind you use) but then, that's it!  We've already spent a few hundred dollars on disposables and she's only 6 months old.  But her one size cloth diapers will last until potty training and then we can even use them for our next baby as well.  You can end up saving thousands! There are lots of sites that can break it down for you in terms of cost.
 {Rilo modeling her chunky body and a diaper cover over a prefold with a Snappi}

Rest assured, these are not your mother's cloth diapers.  No need for safety pins!  These days, they can be pretty similar to disposables in shape and style, depending upon what type you use. There are lots of different types of cloth diapers so it can be overwhelming to start.   I really liked the way this site helps break it down for you and answers a lot of FAQ's.  Types and brands are also very parent and baby specific, so I decided to do a trial through Jillian's Drawers.  I was sent a few different brands of all of the different types of CD's to test out.  If after 21 days, I didn't like them, I could send them back for a full refund -$10 for shipping.  Pretty great deal!  I actually have found that I like pretty much all of the different types.  I think I prefer All-in-One's (most like a disposable) or Pockets, but I don't mind using prefolds (like big burp cloths), which I thought I would hate.  You have lots of options on colors, patterns, etc.  They are pretty darn cute and I love the puffy bottom look!  I have always despised having Elmo or Winnie the Pooh (as if she even knows who they are right now anyway) on diapers so these are a nice change. 

Now, I think the thing that most people worry and wonder about is washing them.  I'm still waiting on the rest of my supply of CD's in the mail, so I have to wash pretty much every day right now.  That will reduce to around every 2 days once the rest arrive.  I don't know about you, but with the three of us, that's about how often I do laundry anyway.  And maybe it's just me, but I would much rather throw in a quick load of laundry then have to pack up and go to the store for diapers or send Adam on a panicked midnight run to pick some up.  Since she is pretty much just breastfed right now, her poop is water soluble.  The diapers go in a kitchen-size trashcan with a special liner.  When it's time to wash them, you can throw them in, trash can liner and all.  I do a cold soak/rinse, and then a regular wash.  Then you can tumble dry on low or hang them to dry.  Did you know the sun is magic?  It bleaches out any stains that may still remain!  I haven't had any issues with smell either, like I did with disposables.

Once she starts eating more solids and her waste becomes, well, more solid, we will probably place in a biodegradable, flushable liner.  You just flush it down the toilet, much like toilet paper, and wash the diaper as normal.  Pretty easy peasy I think.  Plus, as it turns out, if you check a box of disposies you will find directions to flush solids (who knew?).  You can also buy a diaper sprayer that attaches to the side of your toilet to spray off the diapers if needed.  When I'm out and about, I have a cute wet bag that I can place the diapers in that keeps in the smell and moisture.  The bag can also be thrown in the wash.  For longer outings (like flying at the airport), I've just been using disposables. 

I honestly do not find them any more difficult than disposables.  And Adam has been cloth diapering with me like a pro!  I think he loves it too.  As I said earlier, I would rather throw in one more load of laundry then have to go out and buy more diapers, so for me, the laundry step is actually a win.  I now have to hold myself back from going too crazy buying all the cute patterns and colors, so that they remain a money saver!  All-in-all, I have no complaints.  I love how soft they are on her bottom.  I love that we're saving money.  And I'm no crazy green girl, but I like that we're doing our small part for the environment!

This option is obviously not for everyone!  It would be especially hard if you do not have a washer and dryer in your home...I can't imagine going to the laundromat so frequently!  And for working parents who use daycare or a sitter, you may not have the option to CD.  (Though if you are wanting to CD, be sure to check with your sitter/daycare.  I've read quite a few stories where after showing a daycare how easy it was to CD, they happily went along with it.)  What it essentially comes down to, is personal choice and preference, as do most parenting issues!

If you have any questions, feel free to ask in the comments section or by email and I'll be happy to respond.  Or I can send you links to places with better answers than I might be able to provide!


Jen @ Letsmakeitours said...

Thanks for this post! I love to see how other moms cloth diaper. We are cloth diapering our 8 month old and we love it! Since he is our second (and last) child, we have been selling off our used diapers as he outgrows them. He was a preemie so, he didn't fit into the onesize diapers for a few months. Anyway, I have been able to get at least 50% back from selling the diapers....makes it even more cost effective!

Melissa said...

I didn't even know about the new and improved cloth diapering until we had spent a year with 3 kids in diapers (a two year old and twins). We used 800diapers.com for discounted diapers but we spent thousands and I wish I had known earlier about cloth. We used cloth diapers on my brother and I'll never forget the horrible safety pins and rubber pants. Be sure to check out www.younghouselove.com with their tutorial of the easy installation of the toilet sprayer.

Rachel Pond said...

I LOVE this post! Marcus and I have been thinking about using cloth diapers and it's great getting feedback from real people you know.

Lindsay said...

I love this post! I am not a mom, but we are trying, and have decided to CD with our babies. The long-term cost savings and environment are my two biggest reasons, but the convienience is certainly a plus I hadn't thought of. Thanks for this!

Michelle said...

Oh my gosh i would so love to do CD with my baby girl but we have no washer and dryer in our apartment. We don't even have hook ups. We wash once a week using Dan's parents washer and dryer every Sunday when we go over there for dinner. I wish we could be able to do cloth ones. Maybe with our next kiddo we will have washer and dryers and be able to save on diapers.

Diana Smith said...

I have been thinking about using cloth diapers. It just seems like so much more commitment than a disposable diaper, true? I like your post though, very informative. We are still using the diapers we got from the baby shower, so until we have to hash out the cash ourselves, we might just go the CD route.

Stacy said...

i'm so glad you are liking them! you didn't say, have you chosen a brand yet? i am curious because i only used the bum genius - so let me know what you decide. i might get some different ones for this next little baby (but still use the other ones too). rilo is a sweetie! when are you guys coming back?

Charlotte said...

Thank you for posting this! We have no baby yet but are really hoping to make it happen in the next year, and I really thing cloth is the way we will go. It always seemed a little weird but I never hear anything bad about cloth, so someday... cloth it is! :)

Katie Bug said...

Great post! I wish we had started out CDing. Maybe we'll give it a try with the next bambino (if I'm able to stay at home again).

the sleepy time gal said...

ok, so bobby and i are doing research... do we want to make the switch with the twins???? maybe. i'll let you know.

Bri said...

Thanks everyone! I'm glad this was a helpful post! Good luck, those of you wanting to give them a try!

Er Bear said...

Great post... I was actually very intersted!! When I first read this I was thinking, "cloth diapers... now thats just nasty!" Now I am wondering why I haven's been doing it all along! I am seriously going to look into it:) I had no idea that they came up with a better way to use cloth diapers, I thought they were still the safety pin ones!! Thanks for the info!