Switching Gears

When I was pregnant with baby #2, I never considered using cloth diapers. Not until I realized that we have spent over $2,000 for diapers and disposable wipes with my first who was then over 2 years old. I thought that was crazy, but for the convenience disposables gave our family, I didn’t mind.
And then baby #2 was born, and instead of changing him every 2 hours or so, we changed him sometimes 10 minutes after the last diaper change. There were days we’d go through 12 diapers at least because he was a serious poop machine. At the rate we were spending for disposables, I was afraid we’d run our out our savings. I then knew I had to go back to the drawing board and started my quest for cloth diapers.

Search and Research
I started with a cloth diaper trial from diaperdaisy.com. They sent me a bunch of different brands and types of diapers to try for 2 weeks (they’re all 2nd hand, gently used, and looks like new). After I returned them, they credited everything except for $20 trial/rental fee. I loved this because it allowed me to try out the different kinds and sizes to see what worked best for Liam without having to BUY one. With the overwhelming number of brands and kinds of diapers, this helped narrow down my choices.

From that, I concluded the following:
1. I didn’t want to use a prefold diaper + cover, coz that just meant I’ll have to put diapers on twice – the cloth and the cover. With a really wiggly baby, it’s a challenge to put him in ONE diaper as it is.
2. I didn’t want to stuff diapers. It’s work for me to wash them, and I didn’t want that extra step of stuffing, so pocket diapers are OUT.
3. I wanted to use one size – the kind that grows with baby because I felt it was counterproductive to buy different sizes. The goal was to save money.
4. I wanted diapers with snap closure, because I didn’t think Velcro could withstand all the washing I will put them through for the next 30 months or so.
5. I was definitely going the cloth diaper route.

All these meant I needed a brand that fit my needs: an all-in-one, one-size diaper. I found two: Grovia and Kissaluvs Marvels, brands which were not included in my diaper trial. I went on to buy a couple pieces of both to check which one would fit baby best.

Grovia didn’t work because it felt like the material didn’t keep wetness away from baby, and it leaked like crazy. So I decided to try the other brand, and it worked perfectly. That’s when I took the plunge and went with this system.

This is How We Do It
I bought 21 diapers from diapers.com, using about 7-12 a day.

I also bought 2 packs of cloth wipes, because it was easier to have the wipes go with the dirty diaper in my dirty diaper bag.

I got the Fuzzi Bunz diaper bag from Amazon.com, because it did help to contain the smell, and the zipper at the bottom made it easy to load the diapers into the washer (and when we’re done diapering, it can be a handy laundry bag).

Now, here’s what we do:

To clean baby’s bum, I spray water in a cleansing bottle given to me at the hospital (who knew I could keep using them!), then wet one to three cloth wipes to wipe him clean. The dirty wipes and dirty diaper go straight into the diaper bag, as I use the “dry pail” system – a dry bag in my case.

When I have about 4 to 5 clean diapers left, usually about 2 or so days, that’s when I wash. The dirty diapers go straight into the washer, with the diaper bag. Since baby is exclusively breastfed, his poop rinses easily in the wash. When he starts eating more solids and his poop changes, I will have to see if I will use a liner. I’ll cross that bridge when I get there.

Wash cycle goes this way: Cold rinse, Hot wash (with ½ detergent required – I use Tide coldwater), then another cold rinse. By that point, most of the inserts of my diapers have been agitated out of the cover, then I completely turn them inside-out before drying in high heat setting. I keep everything in there, including the cloth wipes.

Money, Money, Money
Does it really save you dollars? I guess the answer will depend on a few things:

1. How long will you be using them? If you’re trying to save money, it will only make sense to switch if you’ll be using the diapers in as many times as it takes to make the cloth diapers start paying for itself, compared to using disposables. Does that make sense?

Let me put it this way. Just like shoes, the real cost of each diaper will be: price divided by how many times used. So if you’re potty training in a few more months, it won’t make sense to spend over $500 for a system you’ll use only for a short time. In my case, I will start saving sometime around my baby’s 8th month or so because I started cloth diapering when he was about 2 months old.

2. How often will you wash? Given that you need to consider water, detergent, and power consumption, you’ll have to factor this into your computation.

3. What other cloth diaper accessories do you intend to use? As I said previously, there are wipes, bags or pails, and sometimes liners that you have to include in the math. In my case, I bought wipes, because I didn’t want to have to put the disposable wipes in another container during diaper changes. I also thought it would save me more, because each disposable diaper wipe that I bought from Costco actually cost 3c each.

Not All or Nothing
Using cloth diapers didn’t convert me to a full-time cloth diapering mom. We still use disposables when we’re out. I had no intentions of lugging around dirty diapers with me. We also use them at night, because I noticed that they hold more overnight than the cloth dipes do, since I don’t change baby at night anymore.

Even with cloth and disposables combined, I will still get to save more than $600 for the time that my baby is in diapers, not including the time when baby #3 (if/when we do have another one) will be using them.

Aside from the savings, I also get to help save the environment. The thought that I am keeping landfills free of at least one more disposable diaper makes me feel good about this decision. And though I still have so much to learn about cloth diapering – like if I’m using the right detergent, and if or when I will have to strip diapers – making this switch makes it all worth it.

And then maybe this time I can ease up a bit about potty training my second boy early.

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I’m a new mom and this is my story. I’m sharing with you my moments of joy, tears, excitement, and every other emotion that comes with being a mom, whether you’re a new mom yourself, a veteran mom, a mom-to-be, even a dad-to-be. Learn from my experience, or reminisce about your own. Welcome to this mom’s world!