I just realized it’s been just over a year since I made the switch to cloth diapers. It’s been a long year of laundry, diaper-folding, poop-scraping, as well as saving roughly 1200 bucks so far, (that’s net, after the 400 or so I spent on cloth diapers) and greatly reducing our carbon footprints, if you care about that kind of stuff..
I thought I’d share my thoughts on my experience with them so far. (And also use this as an excuse to show some cute pictures from a year ago- check out the bald spots!)
It hasn’t been easy, but it’s been worth it to me. When I first hatched the plan to switch to cloth diapers, I did all kinds of research on the reasons to switch, the different kinds of diapers, how to wash them… and it seemed a no-brainer. The cloth diapers available today are nothing like the ones that most people picture when you think about cloth diapers. There’s no pinning, no blowouts (for us anyway)no special folding techniques. They come in cute colors and patterns, and while they definitely add a half hour or so of work a day to my schedule, it is still worth it for me. I stay at home, and while I am always scheming up ways that I can make some money from home, it hasn’t happened so far. With Tood’s crazy work schedule, I can’t get a normal job. If I can’t work to earn us money, I can at least work to save us money.
For the first 6 months or so, I also used my own homemade cloth wipes, so I saved us some money there too. Until one day when I got my hands on a Pampers Swiper wipe from a sample pack in the mail. It worked about 790 times better than my cloth wipes, and I never went back.
I will say that most of the websites that discuss cloth diapering, and especially those that sell the diapers, don’t tell you the full story. They make it sound like it’s the easiest, most wonderful experience to cloth diaper your babies. It’s not. About 6 months into it, I started having weird smell issues- ammonia smell, specifically. It was very strange- the diapers would get clean, but as soon as they were “used”, they would reek of ammonia, which started to cause rash problems. I switched soaps several times, and finally ended up using more soap, and the problem seems to have worked itself out for the most part. Now that I don’t have to change diapers quite as much, I only have to do diaper laundry every other day, but when the diapers sit in the bin overnight, the smell comes back. It’s enough to knock you over if you aren’t expecting it.
It takes a while of experimenting before you find the diaper that works for you. Some people swear by a certain brand- personally I like BumGenius. Never, ever have we had a blowout with them. However, other people say they leak. I think it all depends on your kids, and which types fit their body type.
The other issue that i don’t care for is the whole poop situation. Solid waste has to be flushed, but of course, it’s not always so solid. Those are the times when I really question the decision to cloth diaper. It’s yucky, let’s leave it at that. When I “detect” that someone has gone number 2, I do a little prayer that it was solid. And I may or may not intentionally feed them a lot of cheese and grains to encourage this:)
In the interest of making my life just a tiny bit easier, and to avoid the babies sitting in ammonia-smelling diapers, I have resolved to put disposables on them at night, and when we go on longer outings. I don’t want to deal with carrying around a dirty cloth diaper when we are out- I have enough to keep track of!
Over the past year, it’s definitely gotten easier, and of course is now routine, so I am glad that we stuck with it. I love the fact that we have reduced our household waste as much as we have, and there really are a ton of other benefits:
- Not exposing my kids butts to all the chemicals in disposables (like dioxin, a known carcinogen)
- Saving money
- Being able to recoup some of the costs of the diapers once they are potty-trained by selling them on diaperswappers.com (they are still working like a charm after a year of use)
- The diaper covers can be used as swim diapers
- They are way cuter than disposables. Fluffy, yes, but some of the styles are truly adorable.
I would have to say that the past year of cloth diapering has been definitely worth the effort. Anything I can do to save my family money, and help out the environment at the same time, just makes sense, doesn’t it?
*random note* Every time I do a post about cloth diapers I get a weird comment from someone telling me to buy a bidet. Dear Bidet salesman: Not interested, thanks.