"Tigger" age 3 weeks, just over 9lbs
Like many people, I thought that cloth diapering meant wrangling a rectangular piece of fabric (a "prefold") onto a squirmy baby then pinning that in place and covering it with an ugly white plastic underwear looking thing. As I researched our options, I learned that there are lots of people who use prefolds although the covers can be downright adorable but it still seemed like a bit too much work for me. Then I discovered the world of "pocket diapers" and "all-in-ones" which truly are as easy to put on a baby as disposables. I don't have a problem with learning a new way to diaper my baby but when I learned about pocket diapers, I got so excited that this was an option I wouldn't hesitate to ask a friend, babysitter or the grandparents to use on my kiddo.
Because we chose pocket diapers, I'm going to mainly focus on the benefits we discovered through using these diapers. Please remember, there are lots of different options out there, many of which can be found in my favorite online cloth diaper store, Cotton Babies. I hope that by reading this post, you too might consider using cloth on your favorite little bum.
- They're adorable. See photo above if you're not sure about this. That's Tigger modeling a bumGenius 3.0 in Ribbit (color). His big brother wore that very same diaper just a couple of years ago.
- They save us money. Did you know that the average baby goes through around 3000 diapers in his or her first year? Now, I'm a couponer and I'm very frugal so I'm going to estimate each diaper costs $.19 (that's based on the Costco Kirkland brand size 1-2 diapers). That comes out to be $570 for the first year of diapering on the first child. In our stash, we have 24 bumGenius 3.0s which we bought for $16 each 4 years ago. That comes out to be $384. The laundry detergent I used on the cloth diapers cost $.16 per load. I probably did a load of diaper laundry every other day so the laundry detergent that first year with Snickerdoodle, probably cost me around $30. That means we forked out around $414 for diapers and detergent that first year. The best part though . . . while all my buddies had to continue to buy disposable diapers in year 2, I continued to use those same cloth diapers. And wait, it gets better, we're going to use those same 24 diapers on Tigger. I'd also like to note that we could have bought these same diapers gently used for even less and saved ourselves even more money. I didn't know that at the time that we bought our original stash but will probably be buying some additional diapers from a friend soon (hey, little Tigger deserves something his big brother didn't already use plus I'm hooked on cloth). UPDATE: After reader Amber commented about the wipes, I wanted to add in the cost savings from those too. I'm going to conservatively estimate you'll go through around 40 packs of wipes per year with disposables and at the cheapest I've ever found, that comes out to around $40 per year. With cloth diapers, it's easier to use cloth wipes too. A bunch of those cost me $3.99 at the fabric store for a yard of flannel fabric (which I cut down to squares).
- We're not contributing to landfills. I don't think I need to explain this one, it's simple, we're not throwing away thousands of disposable diapers that will sit in some landfill for hundreds of years. Plus, did you know that you're actually not supposed to leave poop in even a disposable diaper? Rain falls on the landfills, runs through those diapers, picks up feces and becomes our groundwater. It's actually not good for the environment . . . would you put human feces in your home compost pile? The treatment plants at the end of our toilets are designed to deal with human waste, the dumps are not.
- We rarely see diaper rash. Think about it, would you rather wear soft fabric against your bum or sit around in/on some strange ultra-absorbent gel all day? I'm a fan of the fabric - it breathes, it doesn't contain chemicals, it is soft. The only time we saw diaper rash with Snickerdoodle was when we accidentally used too much detergent or forgot to do a second rinse at the end of the wash cycle.
- We rarely have blowouts. Every once in awhile we'd use a disposable diaper and I kid you not, our first son could blow out any disposable. Talk about unwanted laundry!! I found it far easier to throw a load of diapers into the washer all together than to toss in a poop-covered onesie with the rest of his clothing. Ewwww!
- Potty training is often easier for cloth diapered kids. Yes, you read that right. The thing about cloth diapers is that no matter how absorbent they are, a toddler can still feel when it is wet which helps tremendously when it comes to potty training. This means that many cloth diapered kiddos are potty trained earlier than their disposable diapered buddies.
- One size diapers work for multiple children at the same time. Can you imagine how convenient it would be if your 2 1/2 year old could use the exact same diaper her 6 month old sister used just last week? Many of the cloth diapers out there are just that flexible. The diapers we use have a system of snaps that allow us to customize the fit as well as different inserts to dial up or down the absorbency as needed.
Cloth diapering really was easy with Snickerdoodle and will be easy with Tigger too. I didn't find that extra load of laundry every other day to be a huge burden. I'd just toss in the diapers all together (not with clothing, diapers only), wash them using the recommended soap then toss them in the dryer. Pocket diapers contain a washable pad inside a pocket between the layer of fabric closest to the baby and the outer waterproof shell which needs to be positioned inside the diaper and we chose to do that before restocking them by the changing table. That way they were as ready to grab as any disposable diaper. The extra work was minimal but completely worth it to me knowing how much better these diapers were for our son and for the environment.
I feel like I could go on and on about why we love cloth diapers but I don't want this post to be overwhelming. My hope is that maybe it'll get you thinking about what an easy move this could be for your family. I'm always willing to answer questions about our experience too. If I get lots of questions, I can also do a follow up post to address those.
Now here's the best part - although I received no compensation for writing this post, I am entering it in a contest and if I win, I'll receive 12 bumGenius diapers to add to our stash PLUS 12 bumGenius diapers for one lucky reader who comments on this post. Do you already use cloth diapers? Do you want to start? Do you know of someone who might want 12 new adorable diapers? Please leave a comment below to be entered into the contest.