Nothing says “tree-hugging granola mom” like a baby wearing a cloth diaper. Yes, we have fully transitioned to cloth diapers! At first I wasn’t sure if I wanted to deal with all the mess. Then I came across this blog where a mother of twins is cloth diapering and decided to suck it up and do it.
What I found out is that it’s not as difficult as it seemed. At least for now while we have breastmilk poops.
If you are thinking about cloth diapering, I say give it a go! Here is what I learned along the way.
We decided to go with Applecheeks diapers because when I was at a cloth diapering workshop I was told they were the least prone to blow-outs. SOLD. I justified the greater cost of this brand by telling myself I would save money overall by using cloth diapers. I have to admit, a small, irrational part of my decision to use Applecheeks had to do with the fact that they are so darn cute!!
Reasons to cloth diaper:
1. The environment: Less waste. Disposables are bleached and processed and have an impact on the environment before they even hit the shelves. Not to mention the packaging and fuel emissions to get them to stores.
2. Healthier: I am worried about the chemicals used to bleach cloth diapers. There are a lot of unknowns since companies are not required to disclose what is in their diapers! CRAZY. These diapers are touching sensitive, absorbant skin ALL THE TIME! Makes me nervous.
3. Getting out of diapers sooner. Babies in cloth are more uncomfortable…therefore potty train earlier. Bonus.
4. Cost…or so I thought. I assumed I would be saving money, but realized that’s not really true:
Getting started with cloth diapers can cost up to $1000 depending on brand and quantity. Then there is the cost of the flushable liners. I can’t believe these cost 8 cents each! I can get environmentally friendly disposable diapers for 15 cents each when they are on sale. So cloth are only 7 cents cheaper per diaper. Then factor in the cost of laundry (water, special detergent and hydro) and the start-up cost of cloth diapering and you can see how there is not much savings. The savings can be greater with each additional child in diapers, as long as the previous child is out of diapers.
Another thing to consider: Cloth diapers are bulky so babies are in bigger clothes. If you are switching between the sleeker disposables and the cloth diapers you are constantly changing sizes….not to mention having to adjust the straps on the car seat. So it’s definitely best to stick to one type.
I bought fewer diaper covers than recommended. Applecheeks recommends purchasing 12, and I have 8 and I am doing just fine. Even though our little rascal is a pooping machine (6-8 times a day). That would probably be enough if you are doing laundry every 2-3 days. I have about 24 cloth inserts and just change those regularly. Maybe when she gets older and her poops get bigger, we will need more covers. So be it.
I decided that the applecheeks inserts were WAY too expensive. They are about $9 each. Sure they are bamboo and feel great, but really? $9??? So, I bought some bummies organic cotton liners (6 for $17) and gave those a shot. Turns out they are exactly the same size and they work great! We fold them using the “basic fold”. I figure I saved myself about $150 using the bummies liners in the applecheeks diapers (about $6 savings per insert for 24 inserts). I could have saved even more if I decided not to go with organic cotton but I splurged in case it might make a difference.
After each wash, I fold them into thirds right away and put the viscose disposable liner on each insert before putting them away. That way I am not fumbling with them at each diaper change. I am embarrassed to say how many loads of laundry it took me to figure out this brilliant technique.
Some people have a diaper service to clean the inserts. They cost about $100 a week. I don’t think it’s worth it when you would just have to do 2-3 extra loads of laundry a week. It’s really not that messy while baby is exclusively breast-fed. You also wouldn’t have to buy the inserts, but they are not too pricey ($51 total).
Some people only use cloth diapers at home or during the day. I decided that if it was going to be worth the investment I would try to use them all the time. The little rascal doesn’t seem to mind them at night and doesn’t wake up just to be changed. I haven’t even been using the fleece liners to wick away the moisture. So far, we use about 1 disposable diaper every week…usually when we get desperate on outings.
If we ever go on vacation I will definitely bring disposables with me.
Not to get all preachy but I am surprised at how easy it has been so far. I will report back when the poops are bigger and smellier.