Saturday, December 31, 2011

Cloth Diapers are Easy and Inexpensive... Really!

I am new to cloth diapering and must say, I love it! For any of you considering going this route, I think it's totally worth it. It's easy once you're set up to go and learn the new routine, and it saves so much money. Even getting started with baby number two, we're still going to save a ton of money. And believe me, I've done my research!

Earlier this week I went to Cotton Babies, the best place to buy cloth diapers (and also where you can find the best price on pumps if you need one of those). I love shopping there! The staff are very friendly, knowledgeable and helpful. They walked me through all the cloth diaper basics and showed me samples since I went in knowing nothing. There are so many more options out there than when my parents were diapering me. You can definitely find something that works for you practically and for your budget. They also don't try to sell you something you don't need. They really are out to help you save money.

Now about the cost: I walked out of Cotton Babies with a full set of diaper covers, inserts, some prefolds and wet bags to last me until Kaylynn is potty trained for a whopping $177 plus tax. I meticulously track all my spending so I know that since Desmond was born three years ago we have spent $1830 on diapers, wipes, and diaper genie refills for both kids. That's with shopping sales, using coupons, and trying all the discount brands. And all these items have gone straight into the garbage. Ouch! I've noticed a drastic increase in cost with having two kids in diapers this year. Since we live on one income I'm constantly analyzing where we can save, and this is one change that can make a huge difference. Also I can sell the cloth diapers once I'm done with them for even more savings! Now if only we had used cloth when my son was born the savings would pay for a family vacation.

This chart shows how much I have spent on Desmond's diapers (hover over graph to view specific amounts) and how much I will spend on Kaylynn's cloth diapers assuming she's in diapers as long as Desmond has been although I anticipate her potty training earlier as most cloth diapered babies do.  Buying the flushable liners for three years is more expensive than the cloth diapers so if you're okay with rinsing the poop off, you can save quite a bit more.  Also you could spend more on diapers if you want a bigger stash so you can go longer in between washings.

When I first mentioned my thoughts about switching to cloth, Davin was less than thrilled. "I'll have to think about it," was all he said. He likes to save money too, but not at the loss of everything convenient and easy with disposables. Truth be told, no, it won't be as simple as folding up the mess and tossing it out, but using cloth doesn't mean you have to live with stinky diaper pails and your hands in the toilet dunking off poop.

I'm impressed with how far cloth diapers have come to make the process really quite easy. I chose to go with the Flip hybrid diaper system (now doesn't that sound fancy?) because it was the perfect balance for me in terms of cost and efficiency. The Flips use an insert that comes in either stay-dry microfiber, organic, or disposable material. I like how the stay-dry inserts keep much of the moisture away from the skin and are less bulky than a traditional prefold. If you have prefolds you can also use them in these covers so they're very versatile. These diapers grow with your baby so you never have to buy a new size. You simply adjust the snaps and you're good to go.  I like how these fit, too.  Disposables tend to gap in the back but these hug nicely.  They are obviously a bit thicker than disposables, but Kaylynn gets around just fine.

I purchased a pretty wet bag that hangs on Kaylynn's bedroom doorknob, and it's been great for holding all the used, ready-to-be-washed diapers. I can even throw the bag in the wash when it's time to do a load. I haven't noticed any smell either, but my husband has a more sensitive sniffer, so I'll have to double check with him on what he thinks. The lady at the store said the key is to have good air circulation and not seal off your soiled diapers.

One thing that makes these cloth diapers a breeze is the biodegradable liners. This is what made Davin give me the green light. I have found I can get away with using half of a liner so that makes them only $0.03 each. Totally worth it to be able to pick it up and flush the poop. No mess, no rinsing, perfect! I've also made my own wipes with baby wash cloths soaked in a bit of water and baby soap. I keep them in a small tub so they're ready to go, and now after I use a wipe I can toss it in the wet bag with the diaper for washing later.

The biggest step for me will be keeping up with laundry to make sure I don't run out of diapers. Since I can reuse the Flip covers multiple times, there's not a lot of bulk to wash so I'll only need to do a small load every two or three days. Maybe this will encourage me to keep up with the rest of the laundry as well. You do need to use soap with no additives or softeners so you don't damage the absorbancy of the diapers, but this is all well worth it.

In a little over four months I spend as much on disposables as I have on my cloth system. I'm looking forward to enjoying pure diaper savings. Hurray for cloth diapers and starting a new year saving money!

Leave me a comment if you are considering cloth and I could help you start your cloth stash.  

I haven’t received any form of compensation for the content of this post, but I am entering this post in a contest. If I win I can choose a person who commented on this post to receive a gift of 12 bumGenius One-Size Cloth Diapers!