I've told some of you that I have been feverishly researching cloth diapers recently and that I was planning a post. Well, this post will probably be rambing, somewhat incoherent, and maybe too-detailed, who knows? There is a lot of information out there and, unfortunately, I have never been a list-maker or a highly organized person - that is what I married Brett for. Seriously, he's got it down. I seem to coast by in a state of barely controlled chaos and it has suited me through college, law school, and into life, so why change? In any event, here goes....
I am going to cloth diaper. It took a while to get Brett on board, but he understands how important this is to me and then I gave him the cost argument, in which cloth diapering wins by a landslide. As many of you who read my blog are aware, I have been known to be called somewhat "crunchy" or "granola". I am mildly so, I have to admit. I gave up law to be a full time yoga teacher, I am a little bit of a health nut on occasion, and I try to be green when it works for me. I always have. Well, in college, I started out as an environmental science major and, though I really suck at science, I stuck it out for a year and half...fighting against my natural instincts to run for the hills everytime we approached a science class or lab. However, after about a year, the fatality of the environmental science classes started depressing me and I vowed to try my best individually but to give up and go for my real love, English Lit. However, some things from those classes stuck with me. One of them was a class that revolved around the scourge that is disposable diapers. For those of you that don't know...they are not biodegradable. Basically, when we are gone from this earth, our diapers will remain. Now, I don't mind that others use them...it is a preference and I am very much not here to preach at all...I am just explaining my preference. I know the hospital will use them and I know they are convenient, but I'm committed to going ahead with cloth diapering.
First of all, the benefits of cloth diapering are: 1. Cost (even if you buy the most expensive cloth diaper "system" out there, it will save you thousands of dollars by the time you are done with diapers for one child). My cost estimate is $20 a week for disposables, $20 a week for the diaper service, which comes to $1040 a year. The most expensive cloth diapering system I am researching costs $309 for 20 pocket diapers, then about $7.95 for extra inserts, and then you have to factor in some laundry costs (obviously). But, this system alone saves me almost $600 a year. 2.Allergies - this one is high on my list. Some children get rashes from disposable diapers. I did as a child so my mom had to go to cloth (much to her annoyance, I am sure). Cloth diapers are gentler because they are more natural and you almost never hear of rashes resulting from their use. 3. Potty training is easier later - Modern day disposable diapers are very much like modern day maxi pads- you know, the ones that wick away any moisture so you can feel "fresh" even when you have a heavy flow? Well, that is great for us...however, for potty training, it makes diapers very comfy for little kids. They pee and don't necessarily feel the wetness. In cloth diapers- they feel it, and when they reach the age when it is time for them to change to going on the potty, they know they are wet and don't like it...so the transition goes smoother (at least this seems logical and is what my research suggests).
The Drawbacks of Cloth Diapers- 1. Daddies don't like them. Yes, they are a little more "hands on" than disposables and that makes daddies, who already try to avoid diaper duty, like them that much less, 2. Convenience - They are more work, create more laundry, and are harder to use than disposables. 3. Initial start-up is more expensive. Instead of buying one bag of diapers and going from there, the initial start up requires testing different ways to go and shelling out money at the start so that you have enough of them at home to start this process.
My research has taken me down several roads:
1. Local diapering service
2. Prefolds with diaper covers that need to be changed based on size (similar to the diaper service model but we wash them at home)
3. One Size Pocket Diapers (which I am leaning towards, particularly the Bum Genius ones that seem to be so highly rated in reviews and easy to use that even daddies don't mind doing it).
4. gDiapers- not exactly cloth - but a very good alternative to disposables since they are biodegradable and flushable in your toilet, so no laundry! We have a bunch of these right now even though they are expensive, to be used in the Diaper bag and when out and about.
1. The local diapering service- I was super gung ho about this one solely b/c I was fascinated that my area actually has a diapering service! I knew big cities had them and I knew more eclectic cities had them...my city is neither, yet we have one! So, I went ahead and filled out some paperwork and we were well on our way to doing the service...and then I hit cost. Okay, the local cost is $20 a week. I get enough prefolds for 2 weeks, 7 diaper covers, 1 large hanging wetbag, and 2 diaper snappis (take the place of pins). The benefit is that I don't have to do laundry. However, the dirty diapers have to sit in that wetbag for a week in my house...and every time I unzip that bag, I will be reminded that it has been 3 days, 4 days, 5 days, etc. The costs is equivalent to disposables, I get the less convenient prefold system, and I have 6 day old dirty diapers in a bag in my house. I'm starting to get over the excitement of the diaper service. Seriously. So, that led me to research other options...
2. Prefolds and covers. Here, I've been lucky. A good friend gave me a huge bag of prefolds and 5 covers in a size M. For now, I'd have to invest in a few more covers in size S or XS to start but at a cost of about $11 a piece, that isn't going to break the bank. Of the diaper covers, I've looked into Bummis ones and Thirsties...and so far, Thirsties are winning by a mile. I'd also have to buy a few of the snappis ($7.95 for 3). Some people swear by these regular cloth diapers. I am not entirely sold. It is, by far, the most economical method. Though, I think Brett will balk a little (as he would with the diaper service). However, I do like that I can wash them as needed so no 7 days of dirty diapers in a stinky bag here...I can do them every day, every other day or every 3 days to keep it down to a minimum. The drawback is that prefolds with covers are bulky, they are definitely more work in that you need to put the fold in, clip it on with the snappi, put a cover on, and hope you did it all perfectly so that nothing comes out the little leg holes...it will be an experiment. These are probably the closest thing to what my mom used on me and she said they were simple once you got used to it...and I had no more diaper rashes/irritation at all, and I was a super fast potty trainer!
3. One- Sized pocket diapers- of which I am leaning towards the Bum Genius 3.0 ones. I actually ordered one of these yesterday to help me get an idea for why they are praised up and down the internet. People LOVE these. First of all, an investment of about $309 gets you 20 of them, including newborn inserts. They are sized to grow with your baby and average 2 years of use...so that is $309 for 2 years! They are already put together so daddies love them - it is almost like a disposable in that you take them off, pull off the insert, if there is poo, scrape it in the toilet, put it in the wetbag, clean your baby's tush, and then simply slap another diaper on...no folding, working with pins, etc. They go in the wash and have been rumored to be very sturdy. I'm really liking the sound of this. Some reviewers actually say that they have used these for kid after kid they have stayed good so long. Imagine the savings? So, this is the front runner. Some of the complaints have to do with a smell from the microfiber cloth used for absorbency but the company has come out with a natural spray that is supposed to help with that (and this was only about 3 reviews out of probably 50 that I've read). They also get the highest rating for no leaks (they say they are better than disposables) and ease of use.
4. gDiapers- This was initially our first choice. I mean, Brett didn't want cloth and I didn't want disposables so a biodegradable, flushable thing sounded perfect. However, they are pretty expensive $52 for 128 of them at target.com, you still need to buy the covers. $17 a piece at target.com, and they are VERY hard to find locally. We bought a bunch when they were carrying them at Babies R Us near here. They have since stopped carrying them and we'd have to order these, inconveniently, through the Internet. The reviews are also mixed. They are convenient but often leak until you really figure out how to use them properly, they often get stuck in the toilet and cause plumbing problems, and of course, expensive. We have a few of them for use in the diaper bag and for convenience when traveling or out of the house, but other than that, we are pretty much putting these out of our consciousness.
So, there you have it. Not the most comprehensive guide to cloth diapering...but you see where my head is. I am kind of excited about this and have been obsessing over it for days. I know some people think I am nuts for not using disposables. I just can't bring myself to do it. I've known since that class back in 1992 (eek), in my freshman year at college, that if I ever had a baby, it would be cloth diapers. Poor Brett is sucked into my craziness again.