When I was pregnant with the twins the cost of diapering them seemed like a huge financial obligation. I had never considered cloth for any of my previous children. I still envisioned cloth diapering as plastic pull-ups and those oh so scary diaper pins. Modern cloth diapers are convenient, versatile, and ridiculously cute.
The world-wide web can make cloth diapering seem daunting. Proper detergent, build-up, stripping, repeated rinse cycles, and prepping. Upon initial investigation I imagined this horrible time-consuming wash routine. It sounded complicated too. And I hate doing laundry. I wasn’t too concerned with the “ick” factor. As a mother I deal in poop, pee, and spit-up on a daily basis.
I scoured Craigslist and Ebay initially for a good deal on a starter stash. I found a dozen pink bamboo diapers for $20 bucks. At the time I wasn’t aware the second-hand diapers I purchased were fitteds and required a cover. Upon learning there are actually several different kinds of cloth diapers I was bummed that I bought ones that required extra effort. I also only had enough to diaper one baby for one day. At this point I quit before I even started. I sold my cloth diapers for more than I paid. I was amazed. In hindsight I wish I still had them. I love fitteds and I will never find such a sweet deal again.
I quickly realized after the twins were born that the cost of disposables were going to bankrupt us. We were spending on average $40 dollars per week on disposables. One year of disposables would cost us about $2,000. We have 5 kids, a $160 bucks a month is a huge expense. I decided to give cloth diapers another shot. But we were faced with a slow recovery from a financial set back earlier in the year. There was no way we could afford the initial investment for two babies. Luckily we found a local cloth diaper project that donated to us a starter stash.
This is when I really learned about the many varieties of cloth diapers. I was able to try prefolds, aio(all in ones), pockets, and fitteds.
Prefolds and flats are old school. They are what your grandmother or mother used. The scary ones that you pin. Except now you can use these nifty things called snappis or just tri-fold them and toss them in a cute cover. No more pins! They must have a cover. These are your cheapest option. I believe every stash needs these. They are my back-up diapers. Sometimes I get a little behind on laundry!
AIO and AI2′s require no cover. They basically work like a disposable. They generally have a soaker sewed inside or you can snap in extra soakers. Sometimes they have a pocket where you can stuff in more inserts for extra absorbency. They are super convenient. Generally more expensive and in my experience take longer to dry. They usually come in one size but it is adjustable to fit your baby from birth to those toddler years.
Pockets also are adjustable and grow with your baby. They have a pocket where you stuff in inserts or prefolds for absorbency. They do not require a cover.
Fitteds are generally sized to fit your baby. They require a cover. Sometimes they have several soakers for absorbency. I can actually use a fitted at home for a couple of hours without a cover. Though I wouldn’t dare leave the house. These are my favorites for overnight. The twins are heavy wetters and they seem to do the trick. No accidents!
Now inserts come in many varieties. And you really just have to find what works best for your baby. You can also purchase disposable liners if you don’t want to deal with poo.
I was given about 2 dozen diapers. Which enabled me to stop buying disposables and work on building my stash. I love Cotton Babies sale section. I have found some amazing deals on bumGenius and Flips. There are also many places where you can buy, sell, and trade on the web. I have about 65 diapers now, a mixed variety. I do laundry every other day. And it is easy. Once you establish your routine it’s a piece of cake. I found an excellent tutorial on Cotton Babies website for cloth diaper care http://www.cottonbabies.com/clothdiapers.php#detergent. I actually do not mind washing diapers. Now I had heard other moms say this. And I thought they were liars. But it is true I do not mind for some reason. And did I mention I totally hate laundry.
Cloth diapers pay for themselves within months. You are not adding more trash to landfills. I have not seen any increase in my water bill. I use the dry storage method. I toss them in a lined pail and forget about them.
Now I will warn you, you may become a cloth diaper addict. You may find yourself obsessed with building the perfect stash. My husband jokes that I covet diapers. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m petting them and calling them my precious when no one is looking. Every mother is different. You may prefer snaps over velcro, pockets over fitteds. Heck you maybe old school and love prefolds. A cloth diapering mom loves her cloth diapers. I have never met a woman in love with disposables.
I love my fluff!
Disclaimer: This is not a paid advertisement for http://www.cottonbabies.com/. This is a contest entry. An effort in sharing how easy and affordable cloth diapering is. http://jenniferlabit.com/2011/12/12/all-i-want-for-christmas-is-to-tell-the-world-about-cloth-diapers/