Thursday, June 17, 2010

Back to cloth diapers

 I know I'm bouncing around, but some nights I just blog about what's on my mind or what's easiest (depending on how much effort was needed to get the kids not only in bed but asleep).  So I'm back to cloth diapers for awhile.  Deciding to cloth diaper was actually a pretty easy decision for us.  The conversation went something like, "Lee, what do you think about cloth diapers?"  "I think that's a great idea!  I would have been ok with it earlier, but I didn't think you'd go for it."  That was it.

Honestly, if you know me and definitely if you know my husband, our first motivation was for money.  Disposable diapers are crazy expensive at the rate you start going through them with two kids!!!  It just irked me that we were spending so much for something that was going in the trash about 14 times a day.  I knew it was a good thing to do for the environment, too, but it wasn't until I read further about all the chemicals in disposable diapers that really convinced me to make the change. 

This first post is just to look at the cost savings of cloth diapers.  Then I'll talk about the environmental impact, which is slightly more political.  Last of all I'll talk about how far cloth diapers have come because you probably already think I'm crazy for using the old Gerber cloth diaper "burp rags," plastic covers, and stabby diaper pins...which I don't!!

I think we easily went through a minimum of 10 diapers a day for Caitlin, if not 12-14, at first.  Now, we're down to about 6-8.  Kai is potty training but at the time we first switched he was going through at least 4, probably 6.  Caitlin is not a small girl so she was never in newborn.  Pampers size 1-2 are about $0.20/diaper.  That's about $2.50/day or $75 a month.  Pampers size 5 are at least $0.35/diaper, so $2.10/day and $63/month.  TOTAL = $140+/month (and that's on a conservative day, not counting all the extras in diaper bags, and after poop explosions right after you put on a clean diaper, or all the tabs that rip off in the middle of the night).  That's just one expense that I was eager to cut out.

What's the hardest part about cloth diapering?  The start-up cost.  There are definitely ways to do it on a budget.  There's even a Cloth Diaper Foundation that helps families afford diapers.  The second hardest part is deciding what type of cloth diapers to use...which system.  Maybe I should be doing that post first, about the different types, but I want to explain our reasons for switching first.  I'll just tell you what we put into our "stash" and then tell you more about our stash later.  For all intensive purposes, I decided to go with the most daddy/sitter/grandparent friendly diapers and chose the Flip diaper and Bum Genius all-in-one diapers (BG AIO).  That will make a lot more sense later.  The Flip diaper comes in a "day pack" of 2 outer covers and 6 inserts for $50.  You probably need at least 3 days packs to get through 2 days of diaper laundry.  Some people would recommend 4, but Caitlin just doesn't have as many poopy diapers as Kai EVER did...combined, added up, muliplied, and doubled again.  Bum Genius was also running a promotion at the time that if you spent $10 on any of their products (Flip is a also BG product) you get a free all-in one so I also built up a stash of about 9 BG AIO diapers.  I probably put $200 into enough diapers to last 3 days, plus another $50 into a diaper pail, liners, and detergent.  Not bad for less than 2 months of disposables, and wait, I've been doing this for almost 4 months with not other additional costs!!!  (Except for the occasional boutique cloth diaper that Caitlin HAD to have...)

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