Friday, February 25, 2011
Does This Diaper Make My Butt Look Big?
Maybe a little bit. But that's because it's a cloth diaper. We briefly experimented with cloth diapers for Cate when she was about 4 or so months old. I liked them, but knew school would be starting back up in a couple of months and wasn't sure how a sitter would react to cloth diapers. Plus, in the end, cloth diapers aren't necessarily better for the environment. Instead of rotting in a land fill like a disposable, cloth diapers just take quite a bit of water to wash. So rot in a landfill or use a lot of water? Pick your poison. In fact, in the research I did, if you want to go eco-friendly for diapering, g-Diapers are the way to go (reusable shell, flushable liner). But they're not easy on the wallet.
When we decided that I'd take an extended maternity leave with Brennan, we knew we'd need to find some ways to cut costs. With a little more research and a lot of encouragement from Eric, we went ahead and decided to cloth diaper Brennan. There are a lot of other benefits to cloth diapering, as we discovered in our research. Possible earlier potty-training and less diaper rash (due to there not being chemicals in cloth diapers like there are in disposables) are just two of them.
There are a ton of cloth diapers out there. We went with the Cotton Babies line-- Bum Genius, Flips, and Econobums. Our current stash consists of 5 Bum Genius One Size 3.0's, 2 boxes worth of Flip diapers (each box contains 2 shells and 6 inserts), and 2 boxes of Econobums (each box contains 3 shells and 12 inserts). All of the inserts and shells are interchangeable (you can use a Flip shell with an Econobum insert). This has been plenty. So far, the Flips are my favorite, but the Econobums are the most absorbent. We really only use the Bum Genius diapers when we're out because they can be pre-assembled (put the liner in before use) and because once the diaper is used, it's used-- no part of it is reusable. With the Flips and the Econobums, you can reuse the shells as long as your baby hasn't blown out his/her diaper. The Bum Genius diapers are also great for church, because they're easy for the nursery volunteers to change. They just put the used one in our wet bag and put on a new, pre-assembled one.
This stash has proved to be more than enough for us and cost us about $300. The shells are all adjustable, so the diapers will grow with Brennan. We made life easier for ourselves and got a diaper sprayer, which cost us $50. This little guy has made cleaning out Brennan's dirty diapers a breeze. We rinse off the poop over the toilet and put the diaper straight into the pail (which we keep in the bathroom). We bought two wet bags for the diaper pail (one stays in the pail while the other is in the wash) and two portable wet bags to keep in the diaper bag. Our total to get started in cloth diapering was right around $400. But considering that we've spent well over $1500 on disposables for Cate in the last three years (she's pretty much potty-trained, only wearing diapers at night now), we're saving quite a bit.
Brennan did wear disposables for the first three weeks or so of his life as the cloth diapers were way too big for him. We had a lot of generous friends buy us disposables as baby gifts and they came in handy those first three weeks and will continue to come in handy when we travel to visit family. Now though, they fit him just fine and he's cloth diapered 24/7. Changing a cloth diaper is just as quick as changing a disposable and it only takes an extra minute to rinse out the dirty diapers. And despite having a slightly bulkier rear, Brennan's clothes fit just fine.
As far as washing is concerned, we dump all the dirties and the wet bag that holds them into the wash. We do a cold rinse cycle first and then a hot wash cycle with cold rinse. In the hot wash cycle I use a homemade detergent (1/4 cup) and a cap-full of Tide Stain-Release. The shells line dry and the diapers go in the dryer (though in the summer I'll probably go old school and just dry them in the sunshine on a rack in the back yard to save on energy costs). I usually do two loads of diapers a week. Not bad if you ask me.
I'm no expert and am still figuring stuff out, but to be perfectly honest, this is way easier than I thought and is a great way to save money. I have nothing against disposables seeing as I put Cate in them for 3 years. But I think if I would've known it was going to be this easy, I would've done it with Cate too.