Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cloth Diapers

I LOVE cloth diapers!  If you would have asked me with my first child if I'd EVER use cloth diapers, I'd say you're out of your mind to even think I'd consider it!  Cloth diapering is like homeschooling.  When you have the right tools, you've done your research, and you actually know what you're doing and do it right, it's so awesome (not always easy, but awesome)!  I always thought cloth diapering meant I had to do it the way my parents did...prefolds with pins and noisy plastic covers that made your kids legs turn purple, and the toilet dunking and flushing has always totally turned me off!  Really, who wants to do that?  Certainly NOT me.  Try to get my husband to do that...not in a million years!  

When my 2nd child was born, I learned about a new thing called g-diapers.  They're kind of a hybrid...reusable, but you can also put in disposable inserts that biodegrade in like 3 days.  That sounded right up my alley, but at the time I wasn't sure if I wanted to make that giant (or so I thought) leap of faith and invest in something I wasn't sure I wanted to do.  So I never did it.  BUT I DID buy a couple cloth diapers to try.  I can't even tell you the brands of them all, but they were mainly prefolds with covers.  I HATED them, so I put them aside and never used them again.

Then came my 3rd baby.  I started him out like all the rest in disposables.  One morning when he was about 3 months old, I woke up and looked to the side of my bed where I'd tossed all of the diapers from the night and realized how MANY diapers I use in ONE night.  That's not even including the day.  The environmental impact definitely crossed my mind, but even more so was the fact that I was litereally throwing money away.  There was a pile of money sitting next to my bed, soaked in my child's business, waiting to be taken out to the trash.  Money, just thrown away.  And I had been just throwing money away like this for 8 years!  

Thats when I made the change.  I put out a call to all of my Facebook friends - which cloth diapers were the best.  Surprisingly I found a LOT of my friends were doing it and I didn't even know.  I decided to try out one BumGenius, since they sold them at our local maternity/mother/baby store.  I love, love, LOVED it!  It was so easy to use.  I couldn't believe it!  It was surprisingly easy to talk my husband into letting me invest a little money into buying a dozen diapers.  I got him at "these will last him at least a year and in less then 3 months we will have paid for the diapers."  He was sold!  

I'm not one to try to talk anyone into switching over unless they're interested.  Here are a few tips, though when considering switching:
  1. Shop around and see what's new and what will work best for you.  I wanted something that would grow with my baby so I wouldn't have to buy different sizes every time he had a growth spirt.  And I've been totally turned off to prefolds (they work for LOTS of people, just not me!), so I wanted something that was either an all-in-one (AIO) or had pocket inserts.  Plus I love that I can add an insert for the night time for extra hold.  
  2. Consider a diaper sprayer.  Its a special sprayer that attaches to your toilet (it can also double as a bidet they say, but I don't know why you'd want to use freezing cold water for that!).  You definitely don't NEED one, but I LOVE it!  All of that dunking and flushing I feared, is all resolved with one simple spray and flush.  SO easy!  
  3. Get a good amount.  I recommend getting at least 15.  The more you get, the less often you have to wash them.  I only have 13, so I have to wash them at least every other day.  Keep into account that if you hang dry them, it'll take at least a day to dry.  
  4. Wash them according to the manufacturer's suggestions.  You should at least wash them every 3 days or else they'll start stinking and I'm sure eventually get mildewy.  Make sure you use the right detergent and wash them according to the directions so as to prevent your diapers from repelling moister, as opposed to absorbing it!

I can't tell you how nice it is to not have to buy diapers any more!  My 4-year old is actually a bed wetter still, which I've recently bought a reusable pull-up for him to try out.  It works great (I got the One Step Ahead DriNights), but since I've only got 1, I either have to wash it every day or use something else occasionally, so I put on a works great on him too AND I'm saving SO much money on not buying pull-ups any more.  

What are the benefits of cloth diapering?
  1. Saves money.  Like I said, after just a few months you're already saving money!
  2. Bringing down your trash consumption.  My trash was filling up so fast, now it's not. So nice not to have to jam the trash bags in and hope the trash man will take my heaping pile.  The biggest argument I've found when talking about the environmental impact of cloth diapers is if it is better to fill up the landfills, or use up more water.  From what I've researched, it takes WAY more water to make the disposable diapers, then to clean my cloth ones.  So I'm both saving water AND lessening my trash by using cloth!
  3. They look so darn cute!  My baby's bum has never looked cuter :-)  They really are so stinkin' much better then just plain ol' white plastic diapers!

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