Wednesday, May 6, 2009

WFMW: Cloth Diapering...... or Not.

The theme of this WFMW is supposed to be "being frugal", so in that spirit (sort of), I'll talk about our diapering! Since shortly after Joey was born we have used cloth diapers. So we're going on 2 years of cloth!! Matt and I decided to do this to save money (supposedly it is over $2000 to diaper a child through "fully-potty trained", but can be as much as 4 or $5,000), and sadly I can say it had little to do with our concern for our environment. In case you are interested you can find out more from: which was an interesting article I found on cloth diapering (very pro, so beware, it's not an objective viewpoint). We use Fuzzi Bunz and will use them until they fall apart, with the money that we invested in them.

BUT.... I didn't set to brag about cloth diapering...actually that's not the "Works For Me" part.....the works for me part is cloth diapering when we can.... Let me explain. Cloth diapering is great in theory, a little harder in practice. For example, you really have to have the money to make an initial investment, (that you might not see a return on for some time!). You also have to have the time and diligence to be responsible for your diapers. Cloth diapering takes time! You have to:
*wash the diapers very specifically
*wash the diapers on time, if you aren't just pulling out the next pack of disposables you have to have the load done when that last diaper is coming off, or you have a naked baby butt running around (very dangerous)
*change diapers quickly
*deal with keeping odor and detergent from building up on the diapers
*Have a system worked out for wet/dry storage, a way to get the yucky stuff off BEFORE the diapers are washed, and have everyone in your household onboard/and informed!
*plan on how many diapers you need for an outing and remember that the dirty ones can't simply be thrown away, you get to cart them back home! yea!
*Always have a back-up plan for rashes/emergencies/babysitters, which usually means: buying disposables.

I would say grand total over Joey's life that we've used cloth between 60 and 70% of the time. We definitely haven't gotten a return on our investment yet. There are a WHOLE bunch of reasons, but the easiest to explain is, that for us, it just doesn't work all the time. Joey is EXTREMELY prone to diaper rash. He can get a pretty severe rash in a matter of 15 or 20 minutes (like if we didn't know he had a dirty diaper and couldn't smell it) that will stick with him for days. At that point we have to switch to disposables and diaper cream, and sometimes it will take nearly a week to shake a really bad rash! We've also done a lot of traveling which involves buying more disposables, and with arrival of BBB#2 I've purchased enough diapers for Joey for several weeks so that visiting family, (and tired parents) can use disposables without worrying about cleaning/and caring for expensive diapers.

What works for me, is using our cloth diapers when I can and NOT feeling bad about it. We have another little guy coming and no diapers to buy!! We already have what we need! Because older (more than 1 year) fuzzi bunz are not one-size-fits-all, we have a full supply to fit a newborn to 1 year old without digging into Joey's diapers. They aren't overworn, and were well taken care of and it might have taken us a little longer to get a return on our investment, but hey, it worked for me! ;-)

So if you are thinking about trying out cloth but don't think you can keep up with it all the time, don't worry..... you don't have to be supermom/dad, you just have to do what works for you!

To find out what works for other Moms, visit:


The Sinks said...

We are the same way. We cloth diaper as much as possible while at home, but don't stress about it if we just don't feel up for it or aren't able to wash, are out, etc. Even though it is an initial investment, we have clearly seen the savings already, even though we don't cloth diaper hard core all the time. I'd say we use cloth about 80% of the time, and it's totally worth it!

Jeff9 said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain. One review:

susannah said...

in our emailing i remembered you had a blog! so came back to visit.

we are "cheaters": we use a diaper service (tiny tots). we only had to buy 2-3 covers in each size (so in monrovia's first year that was like 5 or 6 covers- about $60), plus others have lent us theirs and vice versa. then it is $15 a week(so about $700 a year). i love it because i just throw the dirty diapers in a can, they pick them up and our water and pg & e didn't inch up at all. environmentally it is better as they can wash them hotter and in bigger batches. but i know it is more $ than if we did it the way you guys are doing it.

i have only bought two big packs of disposables in the whole year (using gift cards left over from target and babiesrus), and that was to have on hand for the many babysitters we've had to use the past few months working on my mom's house. i think overall we have done cloth 90% of the time (to my surprise)

i am actually surprised at how much i've liked it. if it is a day when i am not feeling dealing with cloth, i just go disposable for one or two turns. matt was the one who wanted to do it, but now i'm all about it!

Herb of Grace said...

Great Post, Laurie :) I'm going to pass it on to a friend of mine who's thinking about cd-ing for their third little one.