Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cloth Diapering

When I first decided to cloth diaper Nathan I was overwhelmed. Seriously. There are so many choices. And then everyone was saying things like "Why would you want to do that?" Honestly? At first I didn't want to. I felt like I needed to. When I found out I was pregnant we still had Haley in diapers. We had been looking forward to her upcoming potty training and losing that expense. And while I thank God daily that He gave us Nathan...we were going to extend that expense for another 2 (plus?) years! Ouch!

So, I started looking into cloth diapering options. The things that interested me were this:
1. Money Savings. A modest estimate of how much we would spend during the two years of diapering another baby (not accounting for tummy ailments or diaper rashes that would require more frequent changes during that time) was around: $1,440. And that is very modest. (Many have much higher estimates). Yes, the initial start-up fee is fairly high and kind of scary to many (me included) and I'll get to that in a bit-because you can go way cheap...or you can get the cadillac of cloth-diapering! The cost per month for washing my diapers (assuming I do 3 washloads per week-which I usually don't) is about $7.50. PER MONTH! I don't think that's too bad. (Compared to about $50 for buying disposables and wipes)

2. Chemical Free. My baby would not be wearing diapers with a bunch of chemicals. I don't know how huge of an issue this is, but I read that disposable diapers still contain Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. Now, I know it's a little different since diapers are worn externally...but still!? That's kind of scary to me. We take them out of tampons, but leave them in something that is up against our newborn's skin night and day!?

3. The Environment. While I'm not into being "totally green" (I don't really have anything against being green, I'm just not.) I think we should all do what we can to take care of this Earth that God has loaned us. It's just a matter of stewardship. Anytime someone loans you something you should strive to return it to that person in the best possible condition (ideally better than you found it). Obviously, we can't really do that. But if each person does his or her part to minimize the damage we inflict...I figured since I had diapered 3 babies in "sposies" I'd already contributed to the landfills in a major way. Ick. While I don't think everyone needs to feel the same way I do about it...I felt a prick in my conscience. Hundreds of millions of literal doody bombs sitting in our landfiis.

4. Cuteness The new cloth diapers are just plain cute! So many colors and options. Some of which are:
:: fitteds with a cover-these have elastic around the legs so that there is no folding or gaping. You will need pins or a snappy to keep them closed
:: pre-folds with a cover-one of the cheapest easiest to care for. You will need the prefold diapers, a snappy or pins and a cover to keep wetness in.
:: flats with a cover-I think it is THE cheapest and I've heard good things about it. They are supposed to be less bulky than prefolds. (I was given so many prefolds that I haven't tried flats because I can't justify buying more diapers...)
:: pockets-they need no cover. they are like an "all-in-one" but you put the stuffing in a pocket at the top of the back of the diaper-the benefit to this? they dry so much faster! Really they do! I love pockets! the bumGenius ones that you see in the first picture in this post are one-size fits all bumGenius pocket diapers! Great!
:: all-in-ones-one of the more expensive options and take longer to dry. I personally didn't care as much for these because of the drying time.

My favorites? I love pockets-even with the added step of stuffing...they are the easiest and most husband-friendly. And next to those, I use prefolds with a cover. My favorite cover for my chunky little guy? THIRSTIES hands down. Second place? Bummis Super Whisper Wrap.

Washing is so easy. At least if you're exclusively breastfeeding it is. There is no toilet dunking. You simply throw the diapers in the washer. That's it. Seriously. Yeah, it sounds kind of gross. Like your washing machine will be full of poop. But it's not. Breastfeeding baby poop is fully water-soluable! I was skeptical. But it's true! My washer is clean. Here's how I do it:
:: cold wash/cold rinse with 1/3'ish of the amount of detergent you normally use
:: hot wash/cold rinse with 1/3-1/4'ish of the amount of detergent you normally use
:: extra rinse (cold)
The only time you even touch them is to throw them in the washer.
Then you can either dry them in the dryer or hang dry them. The fancier diapers will definitely last longer if you hang dry them...the pre-folds? No matter! They're almost indestructable!

When you get to the point where the baby is eating solids you can look into a diaper sprayer system (it hooks to the water line on your toilet so that you can simply spray the diapers off over the toilet). There are several websites that sell all of this-and most have good deals or shipping free if you spend a certain amount. And while the start up cost *seems* ridiculously high...think of the $20 that won't be coming out of your grocery budget every week!

**disclaimer: Nathan is wearing disposables right this minute. I still have and love my cloth...but my mom bought him a box of sposies that I'm not too proud to use! :) (Thanks Mom!)

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