On Cloth Diapering

Holy poop I'm writing a post!  And ironically it's about poop!  OK, well not poop, but diapers, cloth diapers. Let's talk about them mmkay?

So, last time you really saw Syd she was just a wee-one.  Now this big girl is going to school!

I know everyone says this but it really is crazy how fast they grow.

But let's get back to those cloth diapers!  So yes, we use cloth diapers.  When the idea of using cloth first came up I had a "no way!" gut instinct.  I knew cloth diapers had changed greatly overtime, but I also had heard of inserts...the thought of pulling out a poopy insert was not at all appealing to me.  And the laundry seemed like it would be crazy.  Let's be real, we both work full-time, could we really do this?

Our good friends had a baby 5 months before us and got on the cloth diaper bandwagon before they delivered. Their friends gave them the low-down and once I learned a little more about it, we basically copied what they did.

We use bumGenius Freetimes.  These are an "all-in-one" style diaper, meaning the inserts are sewn in, so you don't have to put any in or take any out.  Let's just stop for a minute first though.  There is a ton of cloth diaper lingo out there.  I don't know it all yet.  In fact, I didn't know what an "all-in-one" was until after we bought our clothies.  For CD (that's Cloth Diaper, so I guess I do know some stuff) newbies, I highly recommend joining the Facebook group Fluff Love & CD Science.  There is a ton of good info and helpful people there with all kinds of CD knowledge.  In addition to that, I recommend looking for local CD pages and CD swap pages.  If you are in Sacramento, you can join Sacramento Cloth Diaper Swap.

So back to those diapers.  This is a good image of the diapers we use.  The "inserts" are sewn in at the edge and work like two overlaying flaps inside the diaper.

Don't quote me on this, but CD's with inserts that can be removed are often called "pocket" diapers.  The really great part of BumGenius diapers is that they grow with your baby.  For the first three months we used disposables, then made the switch.  Admittedly, the diapers are a little bulky at first, but really, who cares?  

Now, let's do some math.

Typically I'd say most people use about 7-8 diapers per day.  This is comes out to roughly 225 diapers per month.  Holy crap!

Let's say you are buying your Diapers on Amazon Prime Subscribe and Save:
Seventh Generation* diapers = $41.46 for 96 diapers or 0.44 per diaper.  This is $99 per month for diapers.

Huggies* diapers = $36.46 for 192 diapers or 0.19 per diaper.
This is $42.75 per month for diapers.

Assuming your kiddo will potty train at about 3, you will spend about $3,564 on Seventh Generation diapers and $1,539 on Huggies.

The bumGenius Freetimes are $19.95 each.  "Ouch", you say.  Well....not really.  We have 21 diapers.  Had we gone out and bought them all ourselves it would have cost $418.95.  The reality is we probably spent about $150 on the diapers, the rest were gifts (or purchased with gift cards).  But let's pretend we did spend $418.95.

Comparing to Seventh Generation, our CD's paid for themselves in the first 5 months.
Comparing to Huggies, our CD's paid for themselves in the first 10 months.

Looking at the period 3 months to 3 years (potty trained) CD's are by far cheaper:
$418.95 vs. $1,539 or $3,564.  

This does not take into account several other important factors - 
  • We really only spent about $150 and the rest were gifted
  • You can use your CD's again for your next baby
  • You can sell your used CD's on a swap page
  • You can cut down the up-front cost by buying your CD's used or receiving them as gifts
  • You can gift your used CD's to a friend or someone in need
There really is no arguing the cost savings.  Not to mention the 10,800 diapers you would be depositing in your local landfill.  Seriously.  10,800 diapers.

10,800 is a shitton of diapers

So now let's talk about cleaning these things.  Syd was a breast fed baby, so poops were really no big thing until she started eating solid food at 6 months.  I'll just be real, from there the poops just get progressively worse. But that's good because you get progressively used to them.  It is absolutely imperative that you get a sprayer attachment for your toilet.  We use the bumGenius sprayer pictured below.  (Here is a similar sprayer* on Amazon.)

They are kinda pricey but worth it.  I scored mine brand new on a mom's group for around $10.  This is really a must have item if you are cloth diapering.  I have traveled with our diapers and it is kind of impossible to get sticky poop off without the sprayer.  So get the sprayer.

We also have the Diaper Dekor* diaper bin and we use these reusable liners*.  We have two of the liners and that works for us in our laundry rotation.

Before we talk about laundry, let's talk about something I have never seen addressed in a cloth diaper post (seriously, I've googled it).  So your kid poops.  You take off the poop diaper and clean up your kid.  I'm guessing your changing table and diaper pail are in your kids room.  So you take the diaper into the bathroom and spray the poop out (another glamorous part of parenthood, right?).    

Now what?  No, really.  Now what?  You have a drippy, kinda poopy, wet cloth diaper.  What's the best method to get it from your bathroom back into the diaper pail?  This is what we do...and before I tell you, please to you extra super granola people who may be reading, let me just preface this with a "simmer down": We drop the diaper in a plastic bag, tie it off, walk it back to the diaper pail and drop it in.  Yes extra super crunchy granola people.  A plastic bag.

So.  Even though we are doing good for the environment by using CD's, we are doing bad by using a plastic bag to transport the dirty CD back to the bin.  The solution to this would be to buy more wet bags, which I haven't done.  Please accept this post as my admitted suckiness to the environment.  For the record, I also should buy these reusable trash bags* and then we will have cut a bunch of plastic out of our lives.

But wait.  What are wet bags?  Wet bags are these nifty bags that you can put your dirty CD's in.  They contain the smell and the wetness which is great.  My favorite is this off-brand one* I found on Amazon.

Now let's talk about the nitty-gritty of laundry.  I do a diaper load every other day.  At one point our diapers were getting a funky smell, so I consulted the Fluff Love & CD Science page and was given a particular washing routine for our particular washer/dryer and diaper type.  Also, we were using the environmentally friendly Kirkland detergent from Costco, but we have since switched to Tide.  We were on vacation and bought Tide at the grocery and it just worked much better on the diapers.  Last, we line dry our CD's as much as possible.  The sun is great at bleaching out any spots (that said, we rarely end up with spots after washing) and is of course, more environmentally friendly than using the dryer.  

While we're at it, let's also talk about diapers and daycare.  Our school "accepts" cloth diapers.  In our search for a school only 1 told me no so they got crossed off the list.  I bring 8 diapers on Monday morning with a wet bag. The school puts dirties into the wet bag (and poops in a plastic bag inside the wet bag) and sends them home each day.  I return each morning with the amount of diapers they sent home the prior day.  On Friday's I bring them all home.  This seems like a lot but it is really no big deal.

I want to be honest in this post and mention that, in our opinion, cloth diapers are an overall better choice health-wise as well.  I do not want to start a debate about what is better for all babies.  What is best for your baby is whatever you decide.  That said:  There is a lot of different info out there on what chemicals are in disposable diapers.  I have not done a bunch of research on this but I will say sentences like these really freak me out:
Diaper companies aren't required to list what's in their product on the packaging,
Sodium polyacrylate is supposed to stay in the core of the diaper. But sometimes it leaks through the lining, leaving small transparent crystals on the baby's skin.
To avoid any of these ingredients, look for diapers that are dye-free, perfume-free, chlorine-free, and so on. 

The chemicals in some disposable diapers definitely helped us in making our decision to use CD's.

If you are still sticking with me on this very long post, let's talk about CD vs. Disposables in regard to the wet factor.  I don't think there is an argument about disposable diapers being more absorbent.  They are.  They also seem to keep babies much more dry, this is at least in part, because of the chemicals they contain.   So, with CD's you are changing your baby more often and your baby is feeling wetness.

Some people may view this as a negative but to me it is a positive.  I've been through 2 kiddo's in diapers, one in the "dye-free, perfume-free, chlorine-free" disposables mentioned above and the other in cloth.  We've had a total of 2 diaper rashes between those two kids.  So in my very unscientific study, I've found that CD's or natural disposables are better for the rash factor.   When we had a rash we used Boudreaux's Butt Paste*^ (the natural version in the green tube is safe for CD's) and it works great.

Another positive of the wet factor is that CD or natural disposable diapered kids tend to potty train faster. Again, another totally unscientific study on my part.  However, because these kids are feeling wet, they are recognizing it and wanting a change.  Syd tells us and daycare when her diaper is wet, which is very helpful. So, at 22 months we have started potty training!  Though I will be glad to make a big dent in the CD laundry, I'm admittedly a little sad to start saying goodbye to our CD's.

I hope this post was helpful!  If you have any questions, please ask in the comments.


NOTE - The Amazon prices listed were current at the time of this post.  Amazon prices are constantly changing, so the links may lead you to prices different that what I used.  Hopefully when you click the link the prices have dropped.

*Affiliate link - if you click this link and buy something from Amazon it won't cost you a penny more but it will help support the blog, so thank you!
^Bourdreaux's kindly gifted me a couple of tubes of their product for this post.  That said, I only post about things I actually use and their product was specifically recommended on the Fluff Love page for CD's.  It works great.

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