In September of 2010 I began researching cloth diapers.
The images that entered my mind when I first thought of "cloth diapers" were Gerber prefolds, pins and plastic pants! Yikes!! As my fingers struck the keyboard and I used Google to search "modern cloth diapers" I was pleasantly surprised! The images looked nothing like the ones in my mind, instead, I was intrigued by images like these:
*photographs used by permission from Cotton Babies*
The reason I first started looking into cloth diapers was because on several occasions when I changed my son's diapers I noticed there were little gelatin looking balls on his skin. This was cause for concern. What were these little gelatin balls and what were they doing on my baby's skin? As I started researching what disposable diapers were made of I was shocked at what I found. The top three items that really caught my attention were: Sodium Polyacrylate, dying agents and dioxins!According to The Health Wyze Report:
"Disposable diapers pose a health risk to children. We have previously reported on sanitary pads and tampons causing endometriosis through dioxin exposure. Dioxins are a byproduct of chlorine, which is used during the bleaching process. Dioxins accumulate in the body throughout the lifetime of the victim, which makes this a particularly important topic. Dioxin exposure as a child will impede the immune system of the individual forever. It means that they will never be as strong as they should have been. Dioxins are responsible for a range of reproductive and developmental problems, damaging the immune system, along with causing major hormonal imbalances and cancer. Many infants are now exposed to dioxins 24 hours a day, and yet society wonders why girls are beginning puberty younger than ever, and hormonal disorders are becoming increasingly common in children."
Did you read that??? "Dioxin exposure as a child will impede the immune system of the individual forever" and dioxins are linked to CANCER! What the heck were those chemicals doing next to my baby's skin??? I was left speechless! I could not figure out how in The Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave these so called 'safe' baby items could be sold and purchased by good intending parents around the nation who were probably oblivious (like I was) to the dangers within!
As I was searching the Internet, I found a blog giveaway for 2 one size Fuzzi Bunz diapers. I entered, and I won! That winning opened the door to what I now proudly call my 'cloth diaper addiction.'
As I continued to use cloth diapers on my second son Joshua, I was amazed at how many different kinds of cloth diapers there were. There were pocket diapers, all in ones, fitted diapers, one sized diapers, all in two's, hybrids, prefolds and covers, and the list goes on!
When I received my two Fuzzi Bunz pocket style diapers I could not believe how soft they were. They came with two inserts each and easy to follow instructions. I washed them and then the next day tried them on my son! They were awesome!! Of course at this point, he had only peed in them! I was so amazed at how easy they were to use. I washed them again and hung them out to dry for the next day's use. I knew at this point that two diapers were not going to cut it, and I HAD TO HAVE MORE!!
The biggest hurdle before me was convincing my husband to make the switch! You see, my husband (love him) is a very down-to-earth, old fashioned kind of man. He sticks to what he knows and what tends to be "the norm." He
I knew I had to PROVE to him that cloth diapers were right for us, and for our babies! So I set out to work the numbers. I calculated how much our disposable diapers cost, and how many we were using per month. (Keep in mind, at this time, we only had one child, Aaron). This is what I came up with.
Cost of pampers = approximately 25 cents each.
Aaron (9 months old at the time) was using approximately 9 disposables in a 24 hour period which = $2.25 per day which = approximately $67.50 a month, which came out to a whopping $810.00 per year that was literally being thrown away in the trash!!
My husband was still was not convinced.
When I gently reminded my husband that we both knew we wanted more children, and that each child would cost us at least $810.00 per year in disposable diapers alone, he started to listen. When I factored in having two babies in diapers at the same time, and the cost of approximately $810.00 a year doubling (newborn babies require more frequent diaper changes and if using disposables, would cost more than $2.25 per day) to approximately $1620.00 a year, he gave me the green light! Good thing too, because shortly after making the switch to cloth diapers I found out we were expecting another baby!
Joshua was born in February of 2010!
When determining the cost of using cloth diapers, one must also factor in the cost of water usage and electricity. For us this has not been an issue as we are a military family and live on a military base, and pay no monthly water or electric fees. So if you are trying to determine if cloth diapers are right for you, you should also take into account the cost of water and electricity usage for the extra loads of laundry you will be doing.
Another thing to consider when you are thinking of making the switch to cloth diapers are the accessories you will need. Cloth diapers need to be washed in certain laundry soap, not any old store brand soap will do. I use Rockin Green and I LOVE it! It's pretty economical, at about 30 cents per load (if you have a top load washing machine like me). If you have a front load washing machine, it's only about half that at about 15 cents per load! Very doable. You will also need a pail liner or hanging wet bag. If you have only one child in cloth, you can get away with only two med-large sized wet bags. If you have two in cloth at one time (like I did for over a year) then you will need at least 4 wet bags. Two per child, one to store soiled diapers and the other to use while you are doing the wash!
I gradually started building my cloth diaper stash. By the time I was done, I had purchased 15 Fuzzi Bunz one size diapers which cost me approximately $300! Still less than the $810 per year that I calculated we were 'throwing away' with disposables. During my first year of cloth diapering I had spent $300.00 on 15 cloth diapers. If I had been using disposables, I would have spent approximately $810.00! I had saved $510.00 in the first year alone!!
Cotton Babies! They carry everything you need to get started on your journey with cloth! They sell several brand name cloth diapers, to include the award winning BumGenius cloth diapers! Cotton Babies also has a GREAT information section on their website where you can learn more about cloth diapering basics and how-to tips!
Do you think $300.00 per year is still too expensive? There are several other ways to cloth diaper that are less expensive. I would have to say that the least expensive way to cloth diaper is to use prefolds and covers! One of my favorite is the Econobum! You can purchase one set (one waterproof cover and one prefold) from Cotton Babies for $9.95. Cotton Babies also sells Econobums in a kit, which have 3 diaper covers, 12 prefolds and one wet bag for $48.95!
Hypothetically, let's say you wanted to start out with 15 diapers, like I did. You can purchase the single Econobums (one diaper cover and one prefold) for $9.95 each. $9.95 x 15 = $149.95 (still way less than the $810.00 a year for disposables)!! Or, you can buy two of the kits and end up with 6 diaper covers, 24 prefolds and 2 wetbags for only $97.90! The great thing about using prefolds and covers is that the covers can be reused (without washing) unless they get soiled! So ideally, one cover could last you all day long, and you would just change the prefolds throughout the day!
Another little thing that sort of creeped me out when I was first considering cloth diapering was the poo-factor! I mean, I was envisioning wearing plastic gloves and swishing poopy diapers out in the toilet with a clothes pin on my nose! But you know, cloth diapering and cloth diapering accessories have come a long way. No more swishing out poopy diapers in the toilet. Now there were things called diaper sprayers!
*photograph used by permission from Cotton Babies*These things are awesome! You simply attach it to the water flow from your toilet and viola, you spray your diapers clean. I have found too that only few of my diapers actually need to be sprayed, as when babies are breastfed or have soft stool! Most of the time the stool is solid and you simply knock it off into the toilet! You can purchase this BumGenius diaper sprayer from Cotton Babies for $44.99. A diaper sprayer is not a must-have accessory to cloth diapering, but is a nice accessory to have if you can afford it!
So now that we have determined that cloth diapering is inexpensive, let's talk about how easy it is to use cloth! I mostly use one size pocket diapers (BumGenius and Fuzzi Bunz are my favorite). I like the one size because they last from birth to potty. One diaper for all stages of growth (cost efficient). Pocket diapers normally come with two inserts, a small and a large, the small to be used on a newborn, and a large to be used on an older, larger baby!
Pocket diapers are one of the most easy diapers to use. You simply place the appropriate insert (small or large) into the pocket opening of the diaper and you are ready to go. When you change your baby, simply drop the wet diaper into your wet/dry bag and let it stay there until wash day. If the diaper is soiled, simply knock the solids off into the toilet and flush, then place your diaper into the wet/dry bag until wash day!
When wash day comes (for me, I wash diapers every other day to two days, now that my oldest is potty trained), simply take the diapers out of the wet bag and pull out the insert and place both the insert and the shell into the washing machine. Then run a cold rinse. Once the diapers have been rinsed, do a hot wash with your cloth diaper safe detergent, followed by a cold rinse. If you are using microfiber inserts (which come with most pocket diapers) you can throw them into the dryer (using wool dryer balls are a great idea), but I ALWAYS hang my shells to dry. I've never placed them in the dryer.
Keep in mind that you should always check with your brand's manufacturer care instructions for your diapers so that you don't do something that may void your cloth diaper warranty!
It is so easy to use cloth! I actually enjoy washing my cloth diapers, I know... it's kinda weird :)
Cloth diapering is affordable, easy and fun! How is it fun, you ask? Well lets be honest here, babies in cloth look so adorable, and I've had lots of fun taking pictures of my littles in their cloth diapers. Just take a look at these pics and tell me "what's not to love?"
My youngest son Joshua in all his fluffy goodness!!
I do not have any newborn pictures of my boys in cloth, but just look at this little gem sporting a BumGenius artist series cloth diaper in Eiffel Tower: (it does not get much sweeter than this):
*photograph used by permission from Cotton Babies*
Once you've tried cloth diapers, you won't go back! And if you are anything like me, it will become not only a fun hobby, but a heart-felt addiction!
Please leave me a comment!
Have you tried cloth diapers? If not, why not? If you are a cloth diapering mama/dad what made you decide to use cloth? If you use cloth diapers, what's your favorite part about cloth diapering?
If you do not currently use cloth diapers, but would like to, what would you say is the number one hurdle you face in making the switch?
I'd love to hear your thoughts!
Disclosure: These are my own opinions and experiences mentioned above. Though I was not compensated for writing this post, I am submitting this post into a contest!
~Mama of the Littles~