Raising a Blended Family

Cloth Diapering-Curious

on May 24, 2011

You know how some people label themselves “bi-curious” or “queer-curious?”  Well, I’m labeling myself cloth diapering-curious.  Curious, because I’m in no way ready to commit, and am really just kind of at a junction, peering down two intersecting streets and wondering which way to go.  Shorty is curious as well, although perhaps less curious than me and much more ready to go one way over the other ;-), but I think this is partly because, as a couple, we just don’t know that much about cloth-diapering. For my part, I think the only time I had heard of the term (prior to reading the blogs) was in reference to the Amish? Or something?  In any case, it wasn’t something I ever gave much thought, until now.

I have read soooo many of your experiences on this, and to be completely honest, my inner dialogue when I first ran across this topic went something like this:

“EW! POO! Are they CRAZY?! There is NO WAY we’re doing that with our kid!.” 

I was completely disgusted by the idea- couldn’t see around the whole “poo” aspect of it all, lol.  Shorty and I even made comments to each other to the effect of “to each their own but not for us.”  I kept reading though, and started running across this idea more and more frequently- it seems like a lot of you are cloth-diaperers!  At least a few times a week now I read about (or seek out posts about) prefolds and bumgeniuses and inserts and something else- and I’ve officially worked my way from Completely Disgusted to Moderately Curious about the whole subject. Moderately Curious, yet still pretty durn confused.

This is a choice that I *think* would work for my family… think, but do not know for sure.  I am picturing us buying cloth diapers and having our baby crawl around with a cute little cloth diaper butt… which seems perfectly fine, eco-friendly, and baby-friendly, until I start getting into questions such as these and realize that cloth diapering may not be mom-friendly:

  • What are the costs of cloth-diapering a baby butt?  Is it really so much more economical and affordable? Do you ever have to replace the cloth diapers or do they pretty much last the lifetime of the baby? And where do you even get them, anyways?

I ask these questions because, while it seems like it could be economical, I’ve read figures that go well into the four, five, or six hundreds to start off with.  Is this really true? I suppose that even if it is, that could still conceivably be cheaper than the cost of buying 2-3 years’ worth of diapers, assuming we wouldn’t have to replace the entire stock or start from scratch ever again… which begs the question:

  • How durable are they???  Can they handle blow outs and baby pee?  Do they eventually get poo-stained and yucky, or does it all come out reasonably well in the wash?  And oh yeah, WASHING. How exactly does that work???

My thoughts right now are that if we did choose to cloth diaper, we would have a “wet” bucket or pail already prefilled with some sort of presoaking solution (begging yet another question, how to keep said bucket safe from baby) and the used diapers would go straight into the bucket, which would then be emptied directly into the washing machine without me ever having to touch the diapers again until they were clean.  I do know that neither Shorty nor I are up for any sort of “toilet swishing” and that our involvement from the time the dirty diaper comes off to the time it comes out of the washing machine will have to be pretty minimal, otherwise it’s probably a no go.  Hmmm… guess I didn’t quite get over those poop issues, after all. 🙂

My final (for now) questions revolve around convenience and feasibility.

  • How does cloth diapering work when you’re on the go? Does one just give in and use disposables on outings? I’ve read about a cloth diaper “wet bag” but not sure what, entirely, that entails.  Also, I’m wondering what happens when baby goes to a relative’s house… do the moms educate the relatives on how to diaper their baby’s bottom? Or does the baby hang out in disposable for the week?

Honestly, although it may not seem like it from these questions, I have learned a TON from reading all your blogs on the subject… just not enough to make any sort of decision yet.  I’m still missing some pretty fundamental concepts as well, such as “what are the different types of cloth diapering styles available?” and “what are the benefits of some of these types over others?”  I really feel like I just need to go find a cloth-diapering 101 website… can anyone recommend one?  In the meantime, the good news is I’ve got plenty of time… considering we can’t even test to find out if Shorty’s preggers until Saturday. And then it’ll be, you know, another 9 months after that of waiting to put theory into action. 🙂

PS, this is me making a promise that if we do decide to do cloth diapering and I do eventually find all the answers to these questions, I will come back and do a big ginormous post and answer every single one of these questions, so that my blog can be a resource for future mommies-to-be who may be, at some point in the future, just as confused as I am right now.  LOL.


7 responses to “Cloth Diapering-Curious

  1. Liz says:

    We are planing on cloth diapering, so I feel like I could answer alot of your questions on it, but I’ll just link you the blogs that I got most of my answers from:
    and their follow up: http://www.younghouselove.com/2011/05/dog-days-cloth-dipes/
    and then one of our fellow bloggers has this to say:
    But the costs are small compared to disposables and they should last for at least the whole time baby #1 needs to be in them, if not longer. Maybe once the baby is here you could just get a few and see how you like them? And if you hate them, most people don’t seem to have a problem selling them on ebay.

  2. Ohhh…cloth diapers! One of my favorite topics!

    To start I’d say give up the poo-phobia. Babies = poo. Lots and lots and lots of poo. Also, puke 😉

    I was hesitant to CD too, but my partner was insistent and I’ve grown to love it. We CD all three of ours.

    To answer your questions:

    1. We spent about $400 on our initial stash. I think we bought 24 BumGenius diapers. They definitely last the life of your baby, without having to be replaced. We bought ours from diapers.com. Nicki’s Diapers (.com) also has good deals usually. Right now, there is a buy 5, get 1 free sale on BG (thought it might be a bit early to purchase yours). Using disposables can cost up to $100/month, so they’ll pay for themselves in less than 6 months – you won’t have to wait 2-3 years to see the savings.

    2. We don’t have any problems with staining, it all comes out in the wash. To wash, we throw the dirties in a dry bucket with a lid (just a regular diaper pail). When it’s full, we dump the whole thing into the wash. We do one “rinse” cycle on cold, then start the machine over, add a small amount of regular detergent and do a hot wash/cold rinse cycle. Every few months, we’ll add a couple of drops of bleach to keep everything smelling fresh. They handle blow-outs fine, we’ve had very very few problems. (and, fwiw, disposables leak on occasion too).

    Oh, re: poo and washing – get a diaper sprayer (http://nickisdiapers.com/catalog.php?category=278). When the baby is young, its not a big deal. But once they are eating solids, you plunk/spray the solids into the toilet before throwing the diaper into the pail.

    3. On the go, we throw dirties into a wet bag (http://nickisdiapers.com/catalog.php?category=101) We have three of them and that is enough to last a weekend out of town (well, it was when we only had 1 kid!! We don’t go out of town anymore!) It really isn’t hard to “teach” a relative how to use CDs, they are pretty self-explanatory. We’ve had no problems with this – and actually, several of our siblings have fallen in love with our CDs and are now using them with their own kids.

    Let me know if you have more questions, like I said, this is one of my favorite topics! 🙂

  3. Joy says:

    We cloth diaper. Prefolds and covers (which we love and are super easy). Diaper covers that snap (rather than velcro) have been a better bet for endurance for us (the velcro can wear out). But, worn out velcro has only been an issue in the medium size covers for us (b/c they fit from about 14-35 pounds in FLIP and Thirsties). And, we’ve never used a wet pail–the dry pail (a kitchen garbage can with a wet bag in it–one that has a lid) sits in out bathroom and we wash every 2-3 days. No problems with stink or staining either.

    Just commenting b/c I have come to think that the whole disposable diaper system is yet another “necessity” that is anything but. The only time we have ever had a blow out was when we used disposables on a vacation!

  4. Joy says:

    Oh, and in regards to your questions…caregivers have easily managed the 2 minute learning curve on prefolds and covers AND on trips shorter than 3 nights we just take a big wet bag (waterproof bag…google it 🙂 and wash when we get home (one cold was w/o soap then a hot wash w/ soap and extra rinse). No staining in general but occasionally drying the dipes outside whitens them beautifully! Cost wise…I figure we’ve spent about 250 total in the past year on diapers. greendiapers.com has prefolds that are GREAT. We like the Flip system sold by cottonbabies.com (their organic prefolds are super absorbent and the covers have snaps which we like). Thirsties covers are great on a newborn (they are sized, the newborn size has a cut out for the umbilical cord) and their duo diapers have snaps (their standard cover is velcro). All that said…breastfed baby poo is water soluble and no dunking or swishing is required 😉 Once you start solids you’ll have to shake poo into the toilet (which we’re actually supposed to do with disposables too) and for stubborn poo we have a diaper sprayer that attaches to the toilet and is helpful. Not any grosser than disposables, really!!

  5. 2mommies2b says:

    Love that you have written about this. I’ve also taken CD into consideration but the sites I went to left me so confused. Thanks for the links in the responses. I wonder if I can get G to take this into consideration. We have 7mos to think about it.

  6. Melissa says:

    Ooh, this makes me want to make a blog post that answers all of these questions. I haven’t the time at the moment, but I’ll do it soon. 🙂 But what I do have to say right now is that I worried about all the things you mentioned before we started cloth diapering, but once we actually got our diapers and were doing it I realized that it is really no harder than disposables whatsoever. I mean, this is the schpiel we give to the childcare people at our gym: “I just wanted to show you, we use cloth diapers. You put them on just like a disposable, and the dirty one goes in this bag.” None of them have ever been confused by this. The laundering is made much easier with flushable liners and/or a diaper sprayer.

    Also: You do not have to commit to one type of diaper. In the beginning we got a stash of prefolds and covers and then we bought some cheap used fitteds, all in ones, and pockets from friends, plus a few hybrid style diapers. We later tried flats and all in twos. After we figured out what we liked, we customized our stash. It doesn’t have to be terribly expensive and you can even start out with just a few cloth dipes and disposables too…

  7. I don’t have the time or energy to reply in depth, but I will say that we cloth diaper and love it. We use pre-folds and an assortment of covers. Most of our covers have been handed down to us, or picked up at consignment sales, so we haven’t really spent that much on them. I would suggest trying a variety, and see which ones you like the best. Part of it is personal preference on your part, and part of it is kind of the shape of your baby. (I.e. some covers work a little better on skinny babies, some do better on chunky babies, etc. And you won’t know that until after the kid is here.) We love the Bummies Super Brites and the Super Whisper Wraps, as well as the Thirsties wraps. We have some velcro Thirsties and some of the snap ones. I like the snap ones just fine, and I will say that Critter is still wearing the same snap ones that he wore as a newborn (they’re more adjustable for size). PB prefers the velcro, as she finds the snaps a bit more of a hassle. (Like I said, personal taste.) This site has a pretty good selection (although as I’ve said, we’ve found it worthwhile to seek out consignment sales and the like): http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/covers.htm (They also have a “see this on a baby” feature, so that you get a better idea of how they actually fit, which is nice.)

    I feel like I should add as a disclaimer, though, that we use a diaper service rather than washing the actual diapers ourselves. Our current laundry set up is coin-operated, which would have made cloth diapering cost-prohibitive for us without the service. (We wash the covers, though, along with the rest of Critter’s laundry.) As it is, the cost of the diaper service is about on par with buying diapers cheaply (like, in bulk on-line cheaply), and we feel a lot better about our environmental impact. And for what it’s worth, from what I’ve read, cloth-diapered kids **On Average** (no guarantees) potty train earlier than kids who are used to disposables.

    We have had occasional leaks (no super blow-outs… yet…), but I haven’t noticed a difference between the frequency with cloth and disposables. PB takes a wet bag to work with Critter, but for going out for a few hours we’ll sometimes stick him in disposables. And we used disposables the entire time we were in Palm Springs, and will do it again when we go back east for a visit this summer. (The diaper service doesn’t really like you leaving the state with their merchandise, not to mention I don’t really want to be flying around with 10 days worth of dirty diapers…) I will say that looking at the trash pile we created with the disposable diapers in Palm Springs really made me glad we normally use cloth.

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