Sunday, March 4, 2012

Cloth Diapering: my reasoning

I have wanted to cloth diaper since before I became pregnant. Now that I'm pregnant, it comes up sometimes in conversation. People seem so perplexed by the idea, and it honestly cracks me up. Quite often it goes like this: 
Me: I'm actually planning to cloth diaper the baby.
Them: Really? (with a face like they have a sour candy in their mouth)

My favorite is when a woman who is over 50, and used cloth diapers 30 years ago, acts like I'm nuts. This has actually happened several times, as if they have memory loss. "You're washing the diapers in the washer? Really? Isn't that gross?" Well, not really, much less gross than your washer probably ran 30 years ago. But of course I don't say it like that. 

I don't understand the need to judge people that cloth diaper. I don't judge you if you use disposable diapers. To each his own and all that. But I must admit, I may end up judging your baby. But only because my baby's butt will look so much cuter in a cloth diaper than your baby's butt in a disposable one. Way cuter! (I'm kidding, I won't judge your baby.)

So, why do I want to cloth diaper? Well there are several reasons: the environment, the health of my baby, and money. I've done a lot of reading, in lots of different places. I've spoken with many women who cloth diaper. I'll explain the reasons that I have seen, but of course I can't guarantee 100% accuracy as I pulled this information from books, articles, blogs, and discussions. 

I am one of those people that feels horrible throwing a plastic bottle in the trash, instead of recycling it. At my work they don't have a recycling bin for cardboard, so I bring my cardboard waste home to recycle at home. Granted, I'm not the most environmentally-friendly girl around, but I try. The fact that disposable diapers are the #3 item found in landfills bothers me. The fact that it takes 500 years for a disposable diaper to break down bothers me. Just throwing a disposable diaper in the trash will bother me. I don't want to do it. But that's me. 

 
Photo courtesy of http://dirtydiaperlaundry.com/disposable-diapers-according-to-willy-wonka/

I have asthma and weird allergies to lotions/scents/etc (and my husband has seasonal allergies), so I am assuming that there is a strong possibility that my child will as well. Cloth diapers (should) have less of a chance of giving your child diaper a rash, and less of a chance of irritating their skin. The baby will need to be changed more often because of the cloth diapers, but this will be a healthy thing in my mind. Also, children that wear cloth diapers are typically potty-trained a year earlier than children in disposable diapers. A YEAR!?!?! That alone is huge! 

So now it comes down to money. Cloth diapers are expensive, yes. They are a pretty significant investment up front, but it pays off rather quickly in my mind. With the cloth diaper stash we plan to start with (gDiapers: 8 shells, 30 cloth inserts, 12 liners), we are looking at an investment of $230. We may end up getting more shells or inserts, but this is what we want to start with. This should be enough to get us through 2 days (3 if we're lucky) before doing a load of laundry. Let's say that size small will work for our baby for 16 weeks. Also, let's assume that my home laundry costs about $1 per wash/dry of diapers. We'll say that over 16 weeks we will spend $50 on the actual cost of washing the diapers. 

Now I've heard a bunch of different numbers, but let's assume a newborn needs 10 diaper changes a day (probably more, but hey I'll just use 10). That means you would go through 70 diapers a week. In 16 weeks you would use about 1,120 disposable diapers, about $395 (based on Pampers pricing I've seen). 

Cloth diapers: $230 for the diapers, $50 to launder, resulting in about $280 in cost. Disposable diapers: $395 for the diapers, and I won't get into the "oh no we are out of diapers! I have to run to the store" stuff (cost in gas money and frustration). Saving $115 over 16 weeks is well worth doing the extra laundry, at least it is for me. The savings would be even better for the size medium diapers, and of course large as well. 

But it's yucky! Right? Well, yes. But you know what, you'll be handling dirty diapers either way. It's a little more work, with the laundry and all, but it is rewarding laundry. I'll feel better about our planet. I'll feel that I'm taking better care of my baby. I'll feel that I'm not throwing my money in the trash. I'll just feel better. That's enough for me. 

Now to close, please take a moment to look at this picture. If all of the ramblings above didn't explain why I want to use these, this picture can sure explain it. Super cute!


photo courtesy of www.gdiapers.com

Do you cloth diaper or use disposables? Do you think I'm being ridiculous? What did you do, or plan to do, with your child(ren)? 

Update 9/1/12: I have now been cloth diapering for two months. If you're interested in how it's been, here's the link to the post! Enjoy! 
Update 12/7/12: I am giving away $2 gDiapers coupons! Click this link to enter! 

19 comments:

  1. Honestly I had all intentions of cloth diapering when I was pregnant....then I had the baby and everything went out the window. I was just too tired and focused on her 24/7 to even consider it. It didn't help that she came early and we hadn't even bought any diapers yet so we had to run out and grab a pack and well just stuck to disposable from there. But you've done so much research and seem really committed, plus I agree that bum looks cute. hah!

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    1. We will see! I've heard that it overwhelms plenty of women in the beginning, especially when you first take the baby home. Hopefully I (and my husband) can handle it and stay with it. But you never know! Thanks for reading :) and I appreciate the feedback!

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  2. Nice article! I appreciate your concern for nature and keeping our environment clean. I'm sorry to inform you that I think you have your math wrong. While changing to cloth would keep the landfills cleaner, it will also consume lots of electricity, detergent, water, and of course your time. It would cost atleast 5 dollars of electricity for each load due to the drying machine, and you would have to keep up on the soiled cloth daily or it will stink up the house. I hope this helps :)

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    1. Hello! Thanks for reading, I really appreciate your time. I definitely agree that extra washes will affect the environment, which is unfortunate. Luckily, I have a drying rack that I plan to use for helping with saving electricity. My goal is to keep the cost per load to $1, but we will see how that goes. I'm just starting out, and going on numbers that I've seen quoted. I don't have any experience yet to really drive home the numbers or the amount of work required. Who knows, this all may go out of the window once I'm actually cloth diapering. Also, I'm planning to breastfeed so the smell should be reduced significantly. I will have a sealed "wet bag" to store the diapers in for the night or two between washes, so I'm hoping that it will not smell that bad overall. Heres to hoping! Thanks again for reading, and I appreciate the feedback! I'll update more once I have more data to share!

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    2. Diapers are going to smell either way anyways ;)

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    3. Pokeher Face, I wanted to let you know that I just posted an update on our cloth diaper journey. Some of your information is applicable to the details in the post. If you're interested, it's here http://whererootsflourish.blogspot.com/2012/09/cloth-diapers-two-months-later.html

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    4. We have a gas dryer and using it to dry the cloth does not cost that much. I think the actual amount, whether you have gas or electric, depends on the make/model/year of your washer and dryer. Older models are not as efficient. Also, my wet bag of diapers smells way less than a pail of dirty disposables. I know because I used disposable on my daughter for the first 11 months of her life and I was so happy when I switched to gCloth (for all of the reasons Dawn Marie mentions above). My son has never worn a disposable in his life, and he is 11 months now.

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  3. wow..nicely written, and I absolutely respect your doing the cloth diapers, tho I do not, I will most definitely think more about my environment because of this . Thank you and good luck, you should write another after 6 months of using them as well, just so, if anyone, including myself decides to have another baby and use cloth diapers you'll have some "knows" about the whole thing..first hand...again, great article

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    1. Hello Michelle, thank you so much for the positive feedback! I plan to update once I have some experience actually walking the talk, and I'm sure I'll have some entertaining stories to share as well! I know that it will be a challenge, but hopefully a great one that I can share with others. Thank you for reading!

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    2. Hi Michelle! I wanted to let you know that I have been cloth diapering for two months now, and love it. If you're interested in learning more, here's my new blog post about it: http://whererootsflourish.blogspot.com/2012/09/cloth-diapers-two-months-later.html

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  4. Awesome blog :) I read the comments and just wanted to give you some peace in the smelly arena. You can actually add a few drops of tea tree oil (natural cleaner so it won't harm baby's sensitive skin) or lavender oil into your wet bag so that it never smells at all. They also sell attachments for your toilet to rinse off the poop! Although, I used the dish sprayer from my sink, then I would leave the CDs soaking in a 5 gallon bucket with water and tea tree oil until I had a big enough load to wash all at once, it NEVER smelled bad. I used the diaper genie (when I did use disposables)and that straight up rieked! My cloth diapers never came close to smelling anything remotely close to how disgusting the diaper genie filled with disposables did. Also, I put over a year into researching so I could make my own cloth diapers and save ALOT, with the best (sustainable) fabrics because my hunny also has skin allergies and so it was something I expected. I bought 16oz bamboo fleece @ 14.00 per yard and got 6 yards (bamboo absorbs 10 times more then any other fabric. It is also naturally microbial and antibacterial, and what doctors recommend if you're child has skin conditions such as eczema,etc. This is the fabric I used as my inserts. I used bamboo velour as the inner of my diapers and I then went on to buy the PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric (the outter plastic fabric) and made covers for the diapers. STAY AWAY FROM PUL, the babies skin will not be able to breathe and it has the SAME impact as disposables as it is plastic. After learning this hard lesson I started upcycling my wool sweaters, and made ALL my covers with wool. I knit longies and booster soakers (for heavy wetters) made from 100% merino wool or silk bamboo. They sell the yarn at craft stores. I am currently in the process of creating a DIY site for moms to make there own for a fraction of the cost of buying cloth diapers :) I'm proud of you mama for making the committment to at least try it and not get discouraged from those with different opinions. If it feels right, then it probablly is right :) Congrats again on your new addition :)

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    1. Thank you so much for all of your wonderful feedback! I appreciate the tips as well, I'll definitely have to try the tea tree oil in the wet bag (hubby and I are both allergic to lavender). I'd be VERY interested in reading up on how you make your inserts and cloth diapers! Please let me know when you have that up and running, and I'll be one of your biggest fans! Thanks again for the kind words, and good luck with your DIY site!

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  5. Hi Dawn - we have some mommies who cloth diaper at school and absolutely love it! The teachers prefer the cloth diapers too (probably because they aren't in charge of the laundry...lol). The cloth diaper does definitely reduce diaper rash and they are super cute! Also the mommies say it would save money but they keep buying the diaper covers with the seasons cause they can't resist the super cut new designs! Wish I had cloth diapered Louis but he is already starting to potty train so I am a little late! If there's a next baby though I think we will go in that direction!

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    1. Hi Bailey! That's awesome to hear! I'm always hearing that schools are anti-cloth, and that a lot of centers will not do it at all. That's great! Hopefully I'll be able to resist buying new ones all of the time too, but yes.... I can see an issue already! Too cute! Too late for Louis is right, but hooray for potty training :)

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  6. Hi! Thanks for stopping by my blog the other day for the review on gDiapers! As for the smell around the house-- I use a wetbag and haven't had any smells. It's all nicely contained in the wetbag, zipped up, and is only unzipped when I put a new diaper in or do the laundry. I also spray the wet part with a 50% water 50% Bac-Out solution which has a sort of lime scent, so it actually smells really nice!

    Also, I wanted to add to my review-- I haven't had a chance to review the other diapers yet, but I also use Kawaii (www.theluvyourbaby.com) & Thirsties covers with prefolds and love both of those, and they're cheaper as well! Thirsties work about like gDiapers with the inserts (or prefolds) and you can reuse the cover. Kawaii are pocket diapers but for $5 each, you can't beat the price! And they are super simple to use. My little one started wearing the Pure & Nature (0-15 months) at around 8 lbs.

    Enjoy cloth diapering! You are correct, it's way cheaper, and even with the electricity used, its way better for the environment than all those disposables hanging out in the landfill.

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    1. Thanks for the feedback, and all of the tips! I will have to keep my eyes peeled.

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  7. Thank you so much for this article. I really hope it is working for you. My husband and I are trying to get pregnant and I'm starting my research as I am a planner. I do hope to use cloth diapers, but my question to those who have used cloth, is it true that you need to wash them and rinse 2 times in the washer? That just seems like a lot. I'm thinking if it's done in hot water it should be fine right?!? Is there specific cleaner you use? Or do most recommend Dreft?

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    1. Hi Amanda! Cloth diapering is working out really well for us. Doing your research ahead of time is a great idea, planning is ideal with things like this. You sound just like me! As for washing cloth diapers, it really varies by person. Some people will just do a warm wash, with detergent, and that's it (this is what I typically do, now that I've tried a few methods). Some will do a cold rinse with no detergent, a warm wash with detergent, and an extra rinse at the end. You will have to experiment with your diapers to see what is best for your family. The type of water (hard vs soft), the detergents you use, etc can have a lot of impact. There are many different types of detergent you can use, and this is also somewhere you will find lots of different preferences. The cheapest and most popular might be Tide powder. Use about 1/4 of what the box tells you to use, as detergent buildup is actually what causes the stinkies with your diapers. I'm posting a follow-up blog post tomorrow with my two-month experience update, so be sure to check it out! I wish you guys luck in trying to get pregnant, you're at an amazing point in your life! It's quite exciting! Thanks for reading :)

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    2. Hi Amanda, here is the link for the new update if you're curious :) http://whererootsflourish.blogspot.com/2012/09/cloth-diapers-two-months-later.html

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