Monday, April 20, 2009

My Cloth Diapering Adventure

You might think I'm crazy...ok, I am crazy, but I decided to try out cloth diapers. I didn't ever think I would be interested in such a smelly alternative, but after becoming a mommy I came to the realization of how much waste diapers alone were producing. I also am slightly obsessed with saving money. So there was my motivation: save the environment and save some cash. Of course, I was only motivated up to a certain point. It had to be easy enough to manage.

If any of you are interested in cloth diapering, my advice is that it is a lot easier than you think and has a gross factor that is only slightly above changing disposable diapers. I'm not trying to convince you if you are not interested, I'm just saying that if you are interested at all, you should go for it. These aren't your grandma's cloth diapers. I'm amazed how easy they are to use.

After much research, I decided upon gdiapers. These are hybrid diapers that have a flushable insert and resuable cover and liner. The insert biodegrades in about 50 days compared to diapers biodegrading in 500 years. I, and a lot of people, use cloth (gerber prefolds) in place of the flushable insert to save money. [Huggies size 3 diapers come to be about $.20 a diaper and the gdiaper flushable is about $.40] I get by with 4 gdiapers and 18 gerber prefolds. One gdiapers cost about $17, but I purchased all of mine in 2 starter kits [$26 for 2 gdiapers and 10 flushables].

I discovered that the cloth prefolds are not absorbant enough for nighttime use. I discovered this the hard way. Poor Parker soaked completely through 2 gdiapers one night. I know that they work for many babies at night, but Parker is a heavy wetter. So I am now using Bumgenius 3.0 one-size pocket diapers. They have snaps to adjust for size so I'll be able to use them until he potty trains and they can get tiny for when I have another baby. I can "stuff" them with cloth to make them as absorbent as I need. Plus, they come in cute colors. I LOVE these diapers! They are so easy to use.

A lot of people I talked to had concerns about how well cloth diapers would perform (Kelli). The good news is that I have had LESS blowouts and absolutely NO leaks (except my nighttime experimentation). I only had two blowouts and they were both user error (I put on the diaper too tight or not straight).

Most people are concerned about touching poop. Let me assure you, I touch poop just as much as I did when I used disposables. Actually less because there are less blowouts. When I do have a very poopy diaper, I take it to the toilet and I have this nifty sprayer thingamajig that sprays the diaper clean and my fingers remain clean too. Yeah, it is fourty-five dollars, but worth every penny. I don't even bother to clean the ones with only a little poop. They just go straight into the diaper champ with the wet diapers. Every two days I do laundry. I just open my diaper champ and throw the diapers and the bag into the washer. Easy Peasy.

You can spend as much or as little on cloth diapers as you want. I found the products I was comfortable with and bought them. Here is how it adds up:

2 gdiaper starter kits: $54
1 Diaper sprayer: $45
3 Bumgenius 3.0: $53
18 Gerber prefolds: $20
2 diaper pail liners: $32
2 wet bags: $32
flannel for wipes: $10
Soft bum for Parker: Priceless
Total: $214

That may seem like a lot, but the average mommy spends $1500 on diapers over the course of 2 years. Yeah, I like the idea of saving thousands of dollars over the span of a few children. Plus babies with cloth diapers experience less diaper rashes and potty train earlier. Oh, the benefits! So far my system seems simple enough. Even Matt will change Parker's diapers. Plus I get the satisfaction of cutting the amount of waste my family produces in half. The thing I struggle with now is traveling. I just hope I can stick with it.

Did I mention how cute Parker looks in his gdiapers?


Kelli said...

I never would have guessed you would like it so much. Maybe I'll consider it. After teaching Earth Systems for a year and pushing the importance of lowering our carbon footprint and cutting back on waste, I feel like I can always do more!

Thanks for the thoughts! I'm sure we'll be in touch.

Jeremy said...
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jfarnsworth said...

Hey Ashley that is so awesome, way to go! I might even look into that! Me and Jeremy both had cloth diapers and our parents survived so it's definitely worth looking into! Thanks for sharing!