That's my little man of the cloth! Yep, we've made the transition to cloth diapers (mostly, still using up the last of our 'sposies) and there's now a little more "crunch" to this mainstream mama.
Looking at the pictures above, you can tell how it's been going.
Overall I prefer cloth diapering (CD) to disposables, and I'm really glad I decided to take the plunge and try them. But there are definitely some pros and cons. Here is what I like most about cloth diapering.
1. Shopping. I am hard pressed to think of many solo activities that I enjoy more than ordering crap online and having it magically delivered to my house several days later. In fact, I can't even come up with one solo activity that I enjoy more than ordering crap online and having it magically delivered to my house several days later. When I was building our stash, I spent hours and hours of Bean's naptimes reading the CD forums, visiting online shops, and selecting the fluff. Overwhelmed at first, I studied and researched the terms and items with more passion than I did any subject as an undergrad. Now I can whip out an "SBish" or "wool soaker" with the best of 'em. Okay, maybe not the BEST of 'em. There are some CD nuts out there, let me tell you.
2. Saving money. To be honest, getting started this late, the money savings won't be that enormous in our household. I can perhaps order a latte with less guilt, but between the price of the diapes, the accessories, and the extra laundry, it's not really paying off much at this point. HOWEVER. If we have another child, we will then reap the rewards of our investment. Plus, either way, I can sell the diapers on DiaperSwappers.com and recoup partial cost there as well. I love that I am actually getting something substantial for my money when I purchase a diaper, instead of the irritated feeling I would get at the grocery store when I grabbed a box of 'sposies, adding another $30 to our bill for something that I'd just be throwing anyway. Like that tofu.
3. Less waste. Living in Seattle, there is enormous pressure to be green. Even the waste removal company provides these HUGE recycling bins and tiny little garbage bins. In our neighborhood, if you don't use the recycling bin and instead have extra trash, the homeowner's association makes a flyer with your face on it and puts it in everyone else's mailbox. Then your neighbors give you the stink eye when they pass your house. It's harsh! (They probably also do this if you have excess weeds in your landscaping, which would explain why we don't have any friends in the 'hood yet.) It's a nice feeling to know that we are producing SO much less needless landfill waste each week, and it gives our neighbors one less reason to hate us.
4. Safer for baby. "They" say that the cloth is healthier -- not to mention more comfortable -- for babies than the chemicals and other substances used in 'sposies. I have heard of people using cloth when they need to cure a bad diaper rash, so there's probably something to it. I'll just trust "they" on this one and list it as a positive.
5. The cuteness/fun factor. You saw the pictures, right? 'Nuff said.
Here is what I don't like about CDing.
1. More time spent with poop (and pee). Obviously the convenience of disposable diapers is that you can simply throw them out and be done with it. (Other than emptying the nasty garbage bin, of course.) Now Bean happens to be an awesome pooper. I am happy to brag that he could eat 12 bananas in one day and still be as regular as the Friends of Police calling during dinner asking for a donation because I value the sacrifice of the officers in the name of my family's safety, don't I? But just because I am proud of my son's Digestive System of Steel doesn't mean that I want to prolong the time I spend communing with his turds. It's not the most fun thing ever to remove a poopy diaper, rinse it off, put it in the storage bag, and see it again when I'm doing laundry. Oh yeah, I remember that shite! Corn and beans. Good times!
2. Expense. The initial expense of cloth diapers makes a significant dent in the wallet. I haven't added up the entire cost for us, but it's a few hundred dollars. You could go cheaper, but you'd have to give up some cuteness, which is not a sacrifice I'm willing to make. Some women make their own diapers, too, which totally kicks ass. Sewing is probably the number one talent I wish I had. That and being a pet psychic.
3. Learning curve. With the snaps and snappis involved in the diapers I bought, it's taken me some time to be proficient enough to get the changes done quickly. And our switch to cloth has coincided with Bean deciding that he wants NO PART of diaper changes, and he is willing to scream, thrash, kick, and give Indian Sunburns (how the hell did he learn how to give those?) until I will Unhand Him, Now. It's frustrating and not fun. Little punk.
An important factor that did not make either the pro or con list is the extra amount of laundry. You must wash the diapers frequently; to get the max life from your diapes it's recommended every day or every-other-day. (Sometimes I do it every third day.) But here's the thing... I kinda like doing laundry. Shhh, I know! Don't tell DH, it ruins the whole martyr act I have on reserve for crucial bargaining. And if you try to have me committed to the hospital for insanity, I will totally deny it. But I find it oddly satisfying, so other than the whole poop-revisited thing, I don't mind washing them.
In case you are curious as to what diapers and accessories I purchased, here is a brief guide and some links.
-- bumGenius. The "genius" clearly referring to them for coming up with their products, and not for us lazy folk who purchase the diapers. I have an all-in-one (which is just as it sounds, basically it works just like a disposable except you wash it) and six one-size pocket diapers (similar to the all-in-one but there is a pocket down the center where you stick an insert to absorb the mess).
-- Goodmama. This company makes super cute, basically irresistible fitted diapers. Fitteds are not waterproof, so you have to buy diaper covers to put over them. However, in the summer, a lot of moms let their kids run around in uncovered fitted diapes when just hanging out at home.
-- Prefolds. These are more like what you might remember of cloth diapers of yesteryear. (Wow, I can't believe I just said "yesteryear." Weird.) Anyway, they are a square of fabric divided into three panels, with the center panel having extra layers for absorbency. You fold the diaper appropriately around the baby and then secure with pins or a snappi (I use snappis, haven't tried the pins yet). I got my prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers because they were unanimously the favorite on the CD forum I visit. I am still getting the hang of them, but they are pretty cool. Like the fitteds, they are not waterproof, so you need a diaper cover.
-- Diaper covers for the fitteds and prefolds. I have some plain covers that I bought at a local baby store, plus I ordered a froggy one from Amazon, and a couple cute ones from Blueberry.
-- Wet bags. These are for storage. I have one large butter-colored bag that stores several days worth of diapers in his bedroom, and then a small cute flowery one for his diaper bag.
-- Diaper sprayer. To help clean the poop off. It's hooked up to the toilet in the guest room, so when needed, I can rinse and flush before putting the diaper in the wet bag. Now that is genius.
I hope I answered all your burning questions about cloth diapering. If not, just ask, and I'll direct you to a CD nut near you. Have a happy and safe holiday weekend!