I’ve always been a little on the crunchy side. Not sure how it happened growing up in a conservative suburban family… (Nature v Nurture?) I even remember a couple years ago, my brother emphatically asking me, “Where did you come from?” Granted this was after he nearly ate a potato peel that was staged for the compose heap.
So it wasn’t a surprise that I got some strange responses when I first expressed my interest in cloth diapering. Everything from “you don’t want to deal with that” to “are you crazy?” And I wondered if maybe they were right. I only knew of one person that used cloth diapers (with the exception of my mother-in-law) and she lived 900 miles away at the time.
But unemployed and pregnant, I had to explore every possible way to curtail the expense of having a baby. And cloth diapers seemed to be a good place to start.
Now there are lots of websites out there that will tell you how much money you can save by switching to cloth. So, I’m not going to rehash that information for you. That’s what Google is for. But what I can tell you, is that I have spent approximately $150 on cloth diapering supplies in the last 20 months. And at $7.99 for a package of 31 diapers (Luvs), I know that I’m saving a bundle.
If you’re new to cloth diapering, this may all sound like Greek. There are some great resources out there for reading the basics, however, I really had to learn by doing. I started out with the most economical system (prefolds and wraps), but when I discovered the BumGenius… My life was forever changed!
I’m not trying to knock prefolds. They are definitely tried and true. And they work great for young babies. Matter of fact, most of the time I didn’t even “pin” the diapers. I just did a basic trifold and laid them in the cover and velcroed them shut. But once your child starts squirming… It gets a little tougher to get those Snappis positioned right so that your kid’s diaper isn’t around his ankles in less than 3 minutes.
That’s where the BumGenius come in. (Or FuzzyBunz. Or EconoBum. Or any other pocket or all-in-one style cloth diapering system.) These fantastic inventions are most like a disposable diaper in the fact that they are put on the child in one step. The insert is stuffed inside a pocket (hence the name) that holds it in place, so there is no need for Snappis, covers, or a ratchet strap to hold your child still during changing. These inserts are also much trimmer than the traditional prefold, so your baby won’t develop a complex from the other kids making fun of her ghetto booty at the playground. Win, win.
But what about washing?? Poop’s gross! And I don’t have time to be chained to my washing machine while my toddler stages guerilla warfare on my house!
I think that is most people’s first response to cloth diapering. But if you think disposable diapers will get you out of dealing with your baby’s bodily fluids… You’ve got another thing coming. Seriously, though. I wash diapers every 3 days. And I have approximately 22 diapers. We use a Diaper Genie for dirty diaper storage (I know, not the traditionally recommended option but it works great to containing the smell of wet diapers) so when laundry day comes around, I just hold my breath, open up the Diaper Genie, and dump them in the washer. Now my washer/dryer are ancient, so washing takes about 2 1/2 hours, but if I start ’em right after the kid goes to bed, they are in the dryer by the time I’m ready to hit the sack.
If your baby is exclusively breastfed, then you don’t even have to worry about the poop. It’s water soluble and can just be thrown in the washer. Ours was never exclusively breastfed, so we used these fancy liners that look like dryer sheets to make poop removal easier. They don’t really cover poo-splosions, but what does? And as your child gets older, it gets easier to just dump the contents into the toilet and let gravity do the work for you.
Honestly, one of the best parts of cloth diapering is the camaraderie. It’s like smoking. (Not that I ever did that…) It bonds people instantly. I can be out with my daughter and another mom will see her green BumGenius sticking out of her pants and strike up a conversation about her adventures in cloth diapering. And that’s pretty cool.
*Disclosure: We still use disposable diapers for nighttime. She is a heavy wetter and I hate how red her little lady parts get after sitting in a wet cloth diaper all night. And a rash free baby is worth the $8 per month for disposables to me.