Before we had our daughter we decided to diaper her in cloth. We were not motivated by environmental concerns (disposable diapers take years and years to decompose), although it is nice to know that we are being good stewards of the earth by using cloth. Rather, we were primarily motivated by the amount of money we would save by using cloth. We were also concerned about the chemicals and materials used in disposable diapers and wipes, particularly since they would be next to our baby’s skin. We ended up deciding to use cloth wipes as well as cloth diapers.
We have been cloth diapering for over a year now and my husband and I love it. There are numerous cloth diaper options available. We settled on GroVia diapers, which are what is called an “All-in-Two” type of diaper. This means there is a re-usable outer shell and an inner cotton pad (otherwise known as a “soaker”) that simply snaps into the shell. GroVia’s are also adjustable so there is no need to buy multiple sizes. The diapers should fit until potty training is complete. Once the cloth pad is soiled, simply unsnap it and snap a new, clean pad in place. The outer shell can be reused until it becomes soiled. We usually go through two shells a day. The soiled diapers we put in a wet bag, a bag lined with waterproof/stinkproof material, till we decide to do laundry. We usually wash the soiled diapers and shells every two or three days.
We have only used five small packs of disposable diapers in a year. We used two packs when Myla was born because she was a preemie and her cloth diapers did not fit her for a few weeks. The other three packs we bought whenever we were dealing with a particularly bad diaper rash requiring ointments not safe to use with cloth diapers because the ingredients would ruin the absorbency of the cotton (Burt’s Bees, Lotramin, etc.).
Unlike the disposable we have used, we have never had an issue with blowouts when our daughter is in cloth. There are cloth boosters (a slightly thinner cotton pad that lays on top of the cotton pad) that we add to the diaper at night so the diaper will last the entire night. We only had issues with leaks once and that was at night. We finally realized the diapers were leaking because was time to readjust the size of the diaper to the next size up. Once we readjusted the size, viola!, we had no more leaks. Once our daughter started solid foods we started lining her diapers with flushable liners. These look similar to dryer sheets. The flushable liner is ultra-thin and sits on top of her cloth diaper. When she poos, it keeps the poo off the cloth diaper. We simply pick up the liner and flush it (and the poo) down the toilet. We do not have to scrape or spray her poo off the cloth diaper since it is contained by the flushable liner.
When all was said and done, we spent around $450 for our stash of cloth diapers and diapering gear (wetbags for nursery and diaper bag, spray bottles, cloth wipes, etc.). So, all-in-all, that’s about $8.60 per week for a year of cloth diapering. This weekly cost is going down the longer we use the diapers. Even after over a year of use, our diapers are still in excellent condition so we will be using them on baby number two as well, which will further reduce the weekly cost average above. We probably could have gotten away with purchasing fewer cloth diapers and doing laundry more often (we initially purchased around fourteen shells and thirty-five cotton pads). However, now that we will potentially have two kids in diapers, I’m thankful we bought as many as we did.
There are all sorts of cloth diaper options out there to fit just about any budget. A few other types of cloth diapers include:
All-in-One: Think disposable, but cloth. These diapers are all one piece (waterproof cover and absorbent inner are connected) so you have to use a new, clean diaper with every change. These come in all-in-one size (adjustable as baby grows), as well as in specific sizes.
Pre-folds: This is what most people think of when they hear the term “cloth diaper”. It is a single piece of cloth that gets folded around the baby’s bum and pinned closed. A cover (wool, plastic, etc.) must be worn over the pre-fold to contain messes. This is the cheapest cloth diaper available and is comes in a variety of sizes.
Pocket diapers: These are similar to all-in-ones and all-in-twos, but the outer shell has a pocket in which the cloth insert is placed. By placing the insert in the pocket, moisture is wicked away from baby’s bum. A new shell and insert is typically used with each diaper change. These are available in specific sizes or all-in-one size.
You will find a plethora of cloth diapering options available, which are made of a wide range of fabrics like wool, hemp, cotton, flannel, bamboo, and many others. Two excellent online cloth diapering resources are diaperpin.com and diaperswappers.com
-You must use cloth diaper friendly laundry detergents to wash your cloth diapers. There are numerous options available. We use Crunchy Clean.