Yep. Washing the diapers instead of throwing them away. Kind of an undertaking, but so far it’s going really well.
I spent some time looking into cloth diapering when Evelyne was young, but in the end I chickened-out on spending so much money on something I wasn’t 100% I would like using. A friend of mine recently made the switch, and it got me looking at cloth again. We found these great diapers called Nubunz (all the cloth diaper companies have silly names that are usually a play on a baby’s bottom….cutesy words added to “bunz,” “bum,” heiney,” “rump”… it’s kinda silly.) that are kind of a knock-off of the much more expensive BumGenius diapers. Instead of paying the average price of around $18, these are $9 and they’re almost identical. So I bought a few of those, and I’ve also bought a few used ones from Craigslist including a couple of FuzziBunz and one BumGenius.
The type of cloth diapers I’m using (there are lots of different kinds!) is called a pocket diaper. It’s shaped like a disposable with the outer layer being a colorful waterproof material and the inner layer is soft cloth against the baby’s skin. They come with either snaps or velcro closures…. I got mainly snaps since I hear they last a lot longer, although it’s a big harder to put a diaper on a wiggly baby when you’re trying to fasten snaps. The velcro closures are almost exactly like a disposable except they’re actually velcro, not sticky paper, but you put them on the same way. In the back of the diaper there’s an opening that goes in between the two layers, and into the empty opening, you stuff a cloth insert. They have all different kinds of materials for inserts, but the ones I have now are all microfiber, so they absorb a ton of liquid. So pretty much all I have to do is stuff the insert into the pocket of the diaper, and put it on him. And if I remember to stuff the inserts after they come out of the dryer, then I only have one step in changing his diaper, just like I do with disposables. I do have one diaper that’s an “all-in-one” which means that the insert is permanently sewed inside the diaper, so there’s no extra step. You put it on like a disposable, and wash it afterward.
The yucky part is after the diaper change…. and it’s really only gross if there’s poop involved. Supposedly if you’re exclusively breastfeeding you can just toss the poopy diapers into the washing machine since breastmilk poop is water soluble. But Harris’ toddler poop I have to dump in the toilet. Not a problem when it’s solid, but his is often a consistency similar to peanut butter (aren’t you SO glad that I’ve devolved to talking about the consistency of my child’s poop on this blog!!! One day it’s the plight of the homeless, the next day—peanut butter poop!!!), so it makes it hard to get into the toilet. I’m looking into flushable liners that my friend uses that you lay on top of the diaper when you put it on, and when there’s poop, you dump the whole liner into the toilet with no mess. And then you go throw the dirty diaper into a diaper pail. I grab the top of the diaper and shake the liner out into the pail, so there’s really minimal to no touching of the dirty diaper. Some people really worry about the grossness of the diaper pail, but I keep ours in the garage, so it really hasn’t been a big deal at all. I just toss them and close the door, and I have yet to smell anything, and I don’t even have a lid on ours.
I’ve only washed a few times so far (I just got my diapers last week), but it really hasn’t been a big deal. I run a cold rinse first, and then a hot wash and sometimes another cold rinse after that. Then in the dryer on low, and you’re done. Our washer and dryer are in the garage which makes it a little annoying to have to go out there to do laundry, but it’s really not that big of a deal. Actually, I’ve found that it encourages to me to do more laundry since I might as well just throw another load in while I’m at it! So maybe our regular laundry will get done more this way? Our washer is also ancient, so I have to manually set each cycle, but if you have one of those new-fangled ones that you can program? Oh my gosh, so simple. Really, no more of a problem than just an extra load of clothes. You do have to be really careful to use the right kind of detergent on your diapers and the right amount, but you actually use way less than you do on a normal load, so your detergent will last for a long time.
And that’s it, kids. I’m still a newbie, so we’ll see how it goes, but so far it’s great. And here’s the awesome part: This is going to save me a buttload of money. Almost all of my diapers are one-size diapers (and I plan to buy more one-sizes.), and this means that they’re supposed to fit a baby from the time he’s 7 lbs. through 35 lbs. Oh yes. Of course there is some variable there, I hear that they don’t always fit little babies until they’re around 8-10 lbs., but that also has to do with your baby’s body type. There are snaps on the front of the diaper that allow you to adjust the rise to three different sizes to accomadate baby’s of all sizes. So you could very realistically buy one set of diapers when your baby is young and use those same diapers until he potty-trains…. and if they’re good ones and you take care of them, you can then use them for the next kids. I’m not exactly sure how many total diapers I need to have since Harris goes through maybe about six a day, but say I have 20 at $9 each…. that’s $180 that should last me for years. Talk about some big-time savings! And if Harris is still in diapers when the next baby comes (not an announcement, people!), then I can use the same set of diapers for he and the baby, just adjusting the rise as necessary.
Right now we’re still using disposables at night, but I’m probably going to switch to the cloth soon. (You can stuff two inserts in the diaper for nighttime or other times when they need to go longer without being changed.) And really, they’re just SO cute…. I’m glad summer is coming-up because right now I’m having a hard time keeping him in pants because his little cloth booty is so cute! There are also places where you can get them in some beautiful patterns, I can see where it could be quite an addiction to buy new, adorable diapers!
So that’s where we are on that.
Anyone curious about cloth diapering and have more questions? Anyone already doing it and have more suggestions? Any favorites that I should know about?