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Cloth Diapering : It’s Not Just For Your Grandma!

August 2, 2010
By Jessyka

Cloth diapering doesn’t work for everyone. Like just about any good choice for a child, cloth diapering is a big commitment. You have to make sure you have a large enough stash of diapers that work for you, that are comfortable for baby and won’t do too much damage to your wallet. Not to mention the wash routine…

But once you find what works for you and your kiddo, and you have enough to suit your needs, it’s a lot easier than most people think. With the newer style of cloth diapers that are on the market, disposable diapers are not much more convenient that cloth diapers.  Gone are the days of the giant safety pins and rubber pants - the multiple layer, velcro or snap fastening cloth diapers are just as easy to put on and take off as disposables.  Cloth diapers do not really need to be presoaked, or even rinsed out, and they only add about 2 extra loads of laundry a week to your schedule (depending on the size of your rotation – we only do ONE extra load a week!).

Not only that, but think of the environmental impact alone - It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of untreated pee, poop, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It can take several hundred years for these diapers to decompose, with some of the plastic material never decomposing. However, when flushing solids from a cloth diaper down the toilet and washing the diapers in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at wastewater plants.  This treated wastewater is much more environmentally friendly than dumping untreated soiled disposable diapers into a landfill.

And oh, the money we’d all save! Even if that is the only reason one switches to cloth diapers, it is a wise decision. The beauty of cloth diapers is that while the upfront cost is much higher, the recurring cost is much lower. Once you purchase them you are only paying for laundry detergent and the energy to clean them. And because some types of diapers have a pretty long life, you can purchase gently used diapers in top condition at sites like Diaper Swappers or even on Craigslist, and save even more. We purchased about half of our diapers used, and we may have spent somewhere around $500 for all of the diapers Evie will ever need. Prices for disposable diapers also vary, ranging anywhere from roughly $.10 each to over $.25 each. Babies will use anywhere from 6-10 diapers per day, putting your average cost at roughly $.60-$2.50 per day, or about $20 to $75 per month (depending on brand and number of diapers used). Figure roughly 2 years or more of diapers and you are looking at up to $2000 literally thrown away.

If you can’t tell already by my pontification about why cloth is superior – we chose cloth. And this week’s Crunchy Mama Blahblahblog is about how we make cloth diapering work for us.

When we were still at the hospital, Evie wore Pampers Swaddlers. We also received 7 or 8 packages of newborn-sized disposables (as well as some 1s, 2s, and 3s) as gifts. Once we came home from the hospital, we used the disposables at night and while we were out, and during the day Evie wore Blueberries pocket diapers. We have a rotation of 10 of these, so we washed them every day once Evie was in her ‘sposie for the night.

Once we were getting close to running out of the newborn-size disposables, I put in a pretty massive order at Kawaii Baby, a site run out of Canada that sells all sorts of awesome quality cloth diapers for INSANELY low prices. We ordered 30 (yes – THIRTY) one-size snap-closure pocket diapers in an array of gender-neutral colors (just in case we want another baby later on), extra microfiber inserts, and two wetbags (to keep dirty diapers in until wash time). Total cost?


Thirty diapers is enough of a rotation alone to only have to do diaper laundry twice a week. However, we also use cover-style diapers from Bummis and Thirsties with an insert in them. What I like most about covers is that unless Evie poops, we only have to change the insert. Less laundry! We bought all of these diapers from Diaper Swappers and Craigslist for half what we’d pay in stores, and some of them had never even been used.

Now, unless we’re traveling somewhere that we can’t exactly carry around a bag full of dirty diapers, Evie is in cloth full-time. We use a mix of covers and pocket diapers during the day, and she wears pocket diapers at night (as they have more absorbent material). The money we save is great, the eased environmental impact is awesome, and Evie has never had a diaper rash. But all of that aside, aren’t cloth diapers just TOO CUTE???

Yesterday, the first day of World Breastfeeding Week, Evie turned 6 months old – so next week’s blog will be focused on our nursing relationship and how we are incorporating solids. Have a great week!

  • Sol

    We cloth diaper as well and have found it wasn't difficult at all. Our system differs a bit (we use mostly prefolds and covers during the day). I've been interested in Kawaiis and am going to look into trying out some. We do cloth diaper while traveling but only if we aren't away for more than a week or if we can find a washer/dryer to use. Still it isn't the easiest thing to do.

    My lil one is 7 months and we just started on solids. It has been fun but somewhat stressful at times. I look forward to reading about how you are incorporating solids.

  • http://twitter.com/VegaVelocity Jessyka Greene

    I have 5 still in the package if you'd like one to try out!

  • Sol

    Great! Send me an email @[email protected] when you have a chance. I'd totally buy them.

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