cloth diapers · finances

How Goes the Cloth Diapering

A few weeks ago, we woke up to Little Man’s pajamas full of the inner parts of a disposable diaper – all that gel stuff. I was horrified. I wrote about it here.

When we brought Little Man home, I used the diapers we’d swiped from the hospital, and then I switched to cloth. I loved them, but he outgrew them. And we didn’t have the funds to buy more.

But a few weeks ago we did have the funds, and I bought the FLIP diaper system.

I. Love. It.

Love it. They are easy to use, easy to wash, contain all of his, um, bodily fluids, and unless I forget to do laundry, I don’t ever have to worry about running out of diapers.

A friend who is adopting baby # 2 and a friend who is pregnant with baby # 3 have both asked me about cloth diapers recently. I thought I’d share with you what I shared with them:

Okay…so, cloth diapers. I really do love them. And if you aren’t grossed out by your child’s poo, you’ll be fine. It is about 3 extra loads of laundry a week (wash every other day, basically), but you use hardly any detergent. And not having to worry about disposables (except for church and things like that) is wonderful.

I did a lot of research before I bought diapers (although not enough at first!). We have a local company called Toasty Baby where I have purchased everything. (http://www.toastybaby.com/) They are a little more expensive than some other cloth websites, but I appreciate that they are real people I can call, visit, talk to, etc. And we are all about supporting local businesses. But on their website that have great general information as well.
You can also go on babycenter.com and join their cloth diaper group. I joined (not that I post) and I got lots of great information just by skimming what everyone has written. Cottonbabies.com is also good, as is the Green Mountain diapers website. This blog was great: http://cding101.blogspot.com//.

Before Little Man was born, I decided to use prefolds and covers. These are like old fashioned cloth diapers, but you just fold up the cotton prefold and put a cover over it – no pins, buttons or anything. The covers use velcro. We ordered 36 infant-sized prefolds, 6 Bummis Super Brite covers, 6 Bummis Super Whisper Wraps, 3 Bumkins All-in-Ones and 6 hemp doublers. We also got an extra large wet bag to use as a diaper pail liner and a small wet bag for the diaper bag. And I would HIGHLY recommend the mini shower – it’s a shower-type device that you can hook onto your toilet tank or sink faucet and use it to rinse diapers (instead of swirling them in the toliet). Keith figured out how to attach it to the sink so I can rinse with warm water!! I also got a cheap plastic shoebox to use to carry soiled diaper to the bathroom & back to the diaper pail in the nursery! All said, it was about $400 (some of those things were shower gifts, however, and because we had the benefit of time, we bought stuff a piece at a time).

I never used the All in Ones. Never.  I just never got into them.

I did use the other things and I loved them. The problem is, those covers (which are great!) only go up to about 15 pounds. That wasn’t very long for us. Little Man got heavier quicker than I anticipated. If I had to do it over again, I would have probably purchased covers that “grow” with the baby (which is what I did a few weeks ago).

I purchased the FLIP diapers from Cotton Babies. They are covers that expand. The use either prefolds or inserts. I bought 3 day packs (1 day pack = 2 covers & 6 inserts). I’m trying those before I buy more prefolds. Some people like the inserts; some like prefolds. But the inserts are working well for us. I also bought 2 Tots Bots Bamboozles – these are bamboo diapers. They look like regular diapers, but still need a cover and are for overnight. You put on a bamboo diaper and a doubler or two, then the FLIP cover. Little Man soaks them, but they never leak!!!! I also got a second large wet bag to use in the diaper pail, and a new small wet bag with a zipper to use when we’re gone from home. That was about $235.

Miscellaneous other purchases: tea tree essential oil for washing, lemon essential oil for the diaper pail (few drops on a wash cloth keeps it smelling better than it would otherwise!), and cotton wipes (that I use as washcloths, currently, but it is a goal to stop using store bought wipes, too!).

So I’d say we spent less than $700, which sounds like a lot. However, had I known then, I would have just started with the FLIPs and not bothered with the other stuff. The wet bags aren’t essential (but rock), nor are the mini shower or essential oils, but… they are all helpful. Plus, if you spend $10 a week on disposable, you’re at $520 at one year, and what I bought last week will carry us through potty training.

I would encourage you to find someplace where you can actually touch and see and maybe practice (with a doll) all the different types. I have a good friend who actually makes all of her cloth diapers, mostly out of old t-shirts. She also makes the waterproof covers. I’m not there, yet, although it saves ever more money 🙂

Oh, I wash everything in All Free & Clear. You cold rinse the diapers & covers, wash them on hot with barely any detergent & a few drops of tea tree oil, cold rinse again, dry the inserts/prefolds on hot and let the covers air dry (I drape them over a laundry basket sitting on top of the dryer). Sunshine bleaches them white again. You have to wash everything 5-6 times before use, so you’ll need to get them before the baby arrives.

One last “disclaimer,” I’m all about simple, so I bought all blue covers this time. I did buy fun prints for when he was first born, but I’m not one of those that has dozens and dozens of covers in my stash. I’m more about function and thrift than style or fashion! Just be aware that there are people out there (esp. on the babycenter board) who are CRAZY about cloth diapering and spend thousands of dollars on it.

We also bought a BabyTrend Diaper Champ for the wet diaper pail. It works really well and keeps the smell totally out of the air.

So, for those of you interested in cloth diapers, whether for the baby you have or the baby you’re going to have…  I hope this is helpful information!!

5 thoughts on “How Goes the Cloth Diapering

  1. When my medium diaper covers died a few months ago after almost getting two kids potty trained, I bought some Econobum and Flip covers as well as some Flip inserts. I use the Walmart microfiber automotive towels under the Flip inserts for those times when I need extra absorbancy. I also use both kinds of covers with my prefolds.

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  2. Hey Debbie!!

    A prefold looks like a giant dish towel (it's probably what you already think of when you think of a cloth diaper). You can fold it in any number of ways, depending on boy, girl, size, type of cover, etc.

    An insert looks like a giant maxi pad 🙂

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