Diaper Denouement


In the spirit of sweeping out the old, I packed up the Kid's diapers just before New Year's.  

There was a tiny pang of "my baby's growing up", of course, but for this particular milestone it was a very small one.  The mamas reading will understand when I say that underwear has given us a whole new kind of freedom.

Because this is the last time they'll be part of our lives for awhile, this also seems like a good time to do a little cloth diapering wrap up.  (I also did a Q&A for anyone looking for more info.)  

Of course, I can only offer experience as to what we specifically did.  There are certainly different--and definitely cheaper--ways to go about cloth diapering.  On the whole though, I feel like we struck a good balance between sticking to it and keeping our sanity, so hopefully this will be helpful to others.

What we did.

  • For the first few days home we used disposables, but we quickly switched to cloth pre-folds with covers.  We used those, with mixed success, until the Kid hit between 12-15 pounds.  
  • Then we switched to Bum Genius with snap closures, which have been our workhorse diapers for daytime use ever since.  These diapers weren't cheap, but because they adjust so well they've fit the Kid for over 2 years.  They were also super easy for daycare and babysitters.
  • For nights, we had good luck with my friend Libby's diapers (paired with a cover).  They really held in the extra wet well.
  • We used cloth wipes.  At first we kept a spray bottle of water mixed with tea tree oil next to the changing table, but we eventually just started using plain water.
  • We did find that we had to use special soap to keep our diapers from repelling liquid. Rockin' Green worked well for us.  
  • We used disposables for the days we were going to be out and about for several hours.  I found that I didn't like carrying around a big bag of dirty diapers.
  • We also used disposable diapers and wipes for travel.  As we generally stayed with family, it wouldn't have been that hard to take our cloth diapers with us, but, again, it was just a value choice I made.  (Relaxing time with family without worrying about laundry>cloth diapering.)
  • And speaking of laundry, with about 15 Bum Genius diapers, we had to wash them about every other night.  We kept a pail and wet bag in the bathroom, and just dumped the whole thing into the washer.  I know everybody who cloth diapers says this, but really, after a few weeks it becomes as routine as brushing your teeth.  
  • In the last month or so--as the Kid has gotten closer to being officially potty trained--we've also used disposables at night.  At first, it was because he was finally wetting too heavily for the Bum Genius.  Then, it was because he was only wearing one diaper a day and they were getting stinky as we were saving them up to have enough to wash.

What I'll do differently next time.

  • We'll start using Rockin' Green right away.  The biggest problem that we had with our pre-folds was that they weren't absorbing well.  I can count the number of poop leaks we had on two fingers, but we were perpetually dealing with pee leaks.  Knowing what I know now, I strongly suspect it was a detergent issue.
  • I'll worry less about getting straight into cloth diapers with a newborn.  It didn't make sense to me--and still doesn't--to buy an entire set of newborn size cloth diapers.  But the normal diapers didn't really screw down enough to fit well until the Kid was about 10 pounds.  Once he started to gain weight he turned into a chunk fast, so it wouldn't have taken long to hit that threshold.
  • With that in mind, I think we could have probably survived with less diapers.  Because we have the pre-folds we'll use them, but if I were starting from scratch I might try to make do with just the Bum Genius and three or four thicker diapers for night use.

So let's talk cost.

I kept really careful track of the cloth diapers and supplies we bought, so I can tell you that we spent very close to $1000.  That number counts our cloth wipes, all our diapers and covers, several wet bags, a diaper sprayer, and the water/electricity/gas to do the laundry.  Guessing that we bought a pack of disposables about every month and half, I would add about another $250 to that for a grand total of $1250.

I know that the cost of keeping a baby in disposables varies quite a bit, but--just taking general figures I've seen--I think that we at least broke even, and probably did a little better.  What's more, a friend has already gotten some use out of our pre-folds.  Even though that didn't save us money it saved someone near and dear to us, so that counts for something.  

Lastly, when we have kiddo #2 we won't have to buy much of anything.  We could use a few new wet bags.  We might buy a few "girly" covers if we end up with that flavor of baby.  And I assume that our occasional 'sposie use will continue.  But really, we're talking a few hundred bucks, tops.

So, there you go--that's all I have to say about that and yay for potty training!