When we put cloth diapers on our baby registry, people thought we were crazy. We were told that we would never be able to keep up with it and were encouraged to throw in the towel before we even started. On the other hand, we met die hard cloth enthusiasts who shunned anyone who would even think of using non recyclable materials on their children’s bodies, not to mention the carbon footprint that disposable diapers leave behind. Joe and I tried to settle on a happy medium and have chosen what we think is a realistic approach to sustainable diapering. Parenting is hard enough as it is without making it more complicated. So I wanted to share with you how we have incorporated cloth diapers into our busy life while still maintaining our sanity.
Are cloth diapers really that complicated?
For most of us, the idea of cloth diapers seems DAUNTING. I know when Joe suggested it when we got pregnant, I was a bit hesitant. “You want me to wrap Jake’s butt in a handkerchief and safety pin it together without stabbing him!?” But here we are over a year later still using cloth diapers and really loving it. Cloth diapers have come a LONG way since safety pins and handkerchiefs. There are a ton of brands who make washable diapers with snaps (no safety pins!) that make changing a wriggling baby a breeze. These diapers come in all kinds of adorable prints and include absorbent inserts to soak up whatever your kiddo decides to expel from his body that day. ALVABABY is a great brand that we really enjoy.
We bought three sets of 6 diapers and do a load of diaper laundry on Wednesdays and Sundays. Each set can run $30-$50 (depending on the brand) but the investment really pays off. You could easily buy more sets to allow for only one laundry day a week and not have to dig too deep into your pockets money-wise.
Do you use them 100% of the time?
When Jake was first born, we used disposable diapers for the first few months because we were given so many diapers from friends and family. I’m glad I didn’t have to worry about cleaning cloth diapers during this time because newborns go to the bathroom CONSTANTLY.
Would it have been impossible to use 100% cloth? No… but it would have been a challenge. Especially because the cloth diapers feel wetter than disposable diapers if you sit in them long enough. Jake would last longer in a disposable diaper than the few times we used cloth and this was extremely evident during nighttime.
14 months later, we use both cloth and disposable diapers. Jake sleeps exclusively in disposable diapers (we use Hello Bello diapers which is an affordable sustainable baby brand) and we use cloth during the day. We also don’t expect baby sitters or Sunday school volunteers to change a cloth diaper so we use disposables during those times too. Essentially, we aren’t chained to the idea of cloth diapers. We LOVE them and find them easy to use and a money saver in the long run but we realize that in the modern world, sometimes you just gotta use a disposable diaper.
Are they easy to clean? (HOW GROSS IS IT?!)
This is probably the question I get the most. The best way I can describe it is this: If you think the Nose Frida is gross, then cloth diapers are not for you. Otherwise, with babies, you get covered with poop a lot anyway so you get used to it. We keep all the dirty/wet diapers in a bag by the changing table and wash them twice a week. For poops, we put as much of it as possible in the toilet right after we change Jake and then wash them out before putting them into the washing machine. Otherwise, cloth diapers are easy to clean. We wash them three times before drying. One rinse cycle. One cycle with bleach and detergent. One final rinse cycle to make sure all the bleach residue is gone. BOOM, dryer time!
When we first started, we were honestly winging it and didn’t realize that cloth diapers require a little bit more TLC. We didn’t use bleach at the beginning and Jake ended up getting a yeast rash, which is really common with cloth diapers. Its harmless and doesn’t hurt but can look terrible. A couple days in disposables and it goes away but thats when we did the research and started bleaching them during every wash. Haven’t had a problem since!
Is it worth it?
Yes. It is.
We go through approximately 40 cloth diapers in a week and do two loads per week. At $0.31 a Hello Bello diaper, we are saving $12/week. We have been using them for roughly 50 weeks, saving us $600 that we would have had to spend on disposable diapers. We haven’t seen a noticeable increase in our water bill but we also have a high efficiency washing machine where you can select load size and we run the diaper loads on the lowest water setting.
If you aren’t sold already, I’ve done some research and kids who use cloth diapers tend to have an easier time potty training. So that’s a plus.
They also have extra padding for when your kiddo is learning to walk so they soften the blow a bit and help your toddler get back to toddling.
Lastly, you never run out. Period. There is never a time when Joe and I have had to
run to the store at 3 AM because we need more diapers. If a snow storm hit Dallas (never going to happen) and all the roads were closed but we needed diapers. We would be covered. If a zombie apocalypse happens (more likely than a snow storm),
people will be hunting us down just to steal the cloth diapers from us. They will be the new form of currency. Mark my words.
At the end of the day, if you are still planning on being a disposable diaper user, that’s fine. Cloth diapers aren’t for everyone and I won’t call you a planet killer for not using them. But I hope I was able to make them seem a little less daunting and a little more possible to fit into your world. The last thing parents need is to be shamed for their choices especially when, in the grand scheme of things, those choices have to do with poop.
DISCLAIMER: All pictures of Jake in a cloth diaper are bad photos because the kid won’t sit still for photos anymore. So enjoy and let me know in the comments if you are a fellow cloth diaper family or if you have any more questions!