Cloth Diapering Revisited
Once upon a time I wrote a post about cloth diapering and hand washing. Then we had a baby. I’ve finally taken the time to write an account of what we are actually doing, and no, it does not involve hand washing in the least.
Our stash began with six FuzziBunz S Perfect-Size diapers and a wet bag some friends of ours passed along to use when we shared our intention to cloth diaper.
- FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diaper, S (6)
- Pail liner
Another friend graciously took the time to give me a lesson in cloth diapering, including a demo on the ease of using prefolds, complete with prefolds and covers to try.
- Indian prefold cloth diaper, NB
- rump-a-rooz cover, NB
- bummis cover, NB (3)
- covers, S (6)
When we finally made it to the cloth diapering information session at Nurtured Family I felt confident enough to make a purchase. No need to recount everything we bought that morning because after receiving a couple gift cards and experiencing a tinge of buyer’s remorse we trekked back to return the original lot and buy the following:
- Blueberry (portable) wet/dry bag: $31.34
- Prince Lionheart Ultimate Wipes Warmer: $35.67
- GroVia Cotton Cloth Wipes (24): $23.71
- Snappi cloth diaper fastener, size 1: $6.44
- Snappi cloth diaper fastener, size 2: $6.44
I heard great things about gDiapers from a couple friends, so we used some store credit elsewhere to buy a handful. We actually bought even more than this, but those got returned later in exchange for some bumGenius.
- Small gDiapers (2): $31.38
- Medium gDiapers (2): $31.38
At the co-op one day I bought some prefolds from a guest vendor.
- Under the Nile prefolds (4): $34
Target gift cards helped us get some more diapering stuff.
- Diaper bag
- Gerber 6-ply prefolds (30): $55.18
- Spray bottle
- California Baby diaper area wash
- California Baby calming diaper rash cream
At our shower, we were gifted a bit more.
- Rumble Tuff changing pad, original
- Katie Little contour pad cover
I intended to only expose Leila’s tiny rump to cloth from day one, but then someone told me about the mess of meconium so I decided to use disposables until that stage ran its course. Then, after becoming accustomed to the convenience of the yellow-to-blue-after-pee line on the Pampers Swaddlers, we figured we might as well finish the diapers in the pack from the hospital during the initial days of diligent input and output monitoring. After we ran out of that pack we went ahead and bought one more. When the first pack of pricey gDiapers biodegradable gWipes ran out somewhere in week one, we easily made the switch to reusable wipes. I tried to put her in a gDiaper sometime around week three, but it looked ridiculously large and I questioned whether it fit correctly. Maybe it would have if I had not put it on backwards. Awhile later I gave a prefold and cover a try only to experience some projectile poo in the midst of my attempt to get everything situated. I took a break. About fifty dollars and exactly four weeks into the baby gig we bought 12 FuzziBunz XS Perfect-Size diapers and cloth diapering began in earnest.
- Disposable wipes & diapers: approximately $50
- FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diaper, XS (12): $157.40
During the first groggy days of parenthood, increasingly depending on the ease of disposables, I started wondering whether cloth diapers would be better in theory. However, it took approximately three weeks before they started irking me – less as a result of an environmental motivation and more out of a quirky phobia of waste. By the time we started using cloth I was ready (Ben was along for the ride). Maybe that’s why the chronic leaking we experienced with the FuzziBunz didn’t bother me. Or the case of thrush that involved diligently adding several drops of tea tree oil and remembering to avoid pockets for the twice daily application of the Nystatin cream. Forget the motivation to get our money’s worth from the recent purchase. Thankfully my friend invited me onto a Facebook forum for cloth diapering mommas in the Houston area where I could post questions about these initial hurdles. Ultimately we solved the leaking problem with more frequent changes. The thrush was its own beast, but even that didn’t seem to be much of a hurdle when push came to shove.
As I got my bearings, I added a few more diapering gadgets into the mix, including a hemp insert and a fitted diaper to handle Leila’s longer stretches at night along.
- Mother-ease Small Sandy’s (bamboo terry) fitted diaper, S: $15.43
- Kissaluvs 2.0 fitted cotton fleece diaper, M / L: $14
- Kissaluvs fitted diaper (old version), size 2
- Thirsties Duo Wrap snap diaper, size 1: $13.80
- Thirsties Duo Wrap snap diaper, size 2 (for later): $14.88
- Babykicks Hemparoo Joey Bunz insert, S: $6.44
- simplehuman slim plastic step can
- Blueberry diaper pail liner: $21.95
- Rock In Green laundry detergent: $14.95
By the second month of using cloth, Leila was finally getting big enough that the bulk of the prefolds and covers didn’t completely engulf her, and I started getting more proficient in using them.
We retired the FuzziBunz XS exactly two months after they made their debut. Since we hope for more babies I’m not too worried these didn’t get much wear. For awhile I tried to think of upcoming bums that could use them and considered trying to jimmy rig some type of rental set-up with them during the in between, but Ben’s persuasion convinced me we should probably hold onto our gear until we’re ready to say adieu for good.
Somewhere around this time, Leila graduated from the small to medium gDiapers. We liked this hybrid option okay but both preferred a pocket diaper, so I returned the unused packs of gDiapers and bought six BumGenius one size pockets instead.
BumGenius 4.0 : $116.88
At first I thought we’d CD through travel, but convenience prevailed and we went back to disposables for one week. Four travel days (two in a plane en route to Chicago and two spent cooped up in a car for 10 hours) seemed like a bit much when also considering how we might navigate laundry in the midst of it all.
Since we’re not doing a wet pail (i.e. soaking our nappies while they wait to be laundered) the vision of hand washing went out the window once I learned that diapers need to undergo a rinse cycle before washing them. The laundry routine is still under construction as our very hard Houston water makes getting rid of the “funk” quite a bit of work. In general, dirty diapers go into a wet/dry bag that sits inside a Simple Human trash cash and every other day get dumped into our top loading washing machine for a cold rinse, followed by a hot wash with 7th Generation laundry soap (both Rock In Green & a homemade batch didn’t work for us) and a cold rinse. Sometimes I squeeze in a soak with Borax in between the 1st rinse and wash, and occasionally I add a second rinse as well. Nine times out of ten we dry it all in the sun, though bouts of rain or delayed start time on the wash necessitate dumping it all in the dryer. Our stash is large enough that we could probably go three, maybe even four, days between washes, but I’m not keen on the idea of them sitting in their own filth that long. Plus, it means I don’t have to rush to get a load through so I have something to put on Leila’s bum.
Total Cloth Wipes & Diaper Cost (not including other gadgets & gear): $527.36
Katie shared that a more budget savvy estimate of disposable diapering is $30 a month, which means two years (and I know that’s an early potty training estimate) would cost about $720. Since we plan for more tikes I figure we’ll get the biggest savings with future babes. I’ll be happy if we could keep the cost of our stash around $600. Probably a noteworthy savings considering we’d probably not be great at keeping our disposable diapering costs as low as $30 a month. From what I’ve heard, this is a pretty high price tag (and could easily be cut by buying more all-in-one of the same brand, more second-hand and/or having a higher percentage of prefold/flat diapers), but we used gift cards, store credit and gifted money to cover almost the entire cost thus far.
Prefold/flat diaper & cover
These are by far the cheapest option. You can use the waterproof cover several times and just change the inside prefold/flat diaper. Ben is just now getting comfortable using them, and I felt uncomfortable using them until Leila got a bit chunkier at two months. They’re not my number one choice, but they’re nice to have in the mix and as long as we’re using a cover with double gussets seem to cover leaks well. Also, unlike the days of yore, instead of pokey safety pins you can use a harmless plastic Snappi to hold the inside diaper together.
Fitted diaper & cover
The fitted diaper performs the same function as a prefold, but is a lot thicker and more absorbent and we love using it overnight.
A gDiaper is a hybrid. Like the prefold/flat/fitted & cover, you can change the inside and keep the outside through several changes, ideally at least. We seem to struggle to make the covers last more than a change or two. Another key difference with a hybrid is that you can either stuff the inside of the diaper with a disposable liner or per a suggestion from a friend we stuff ours with a folded prefold for a 100% reusable option. It’s pretty straightforward, but I like that the other options are only two pieces whereas this is three (cover, inside waterproof liner & absorbent liner).
Our favorite option since the beginning, the pocket diaper goes on just like a disposable. It’s called a pocket because you slip an absorbent insert in a pocket in the diaper. I like that you can double the inserts for longer stretches and that it is a bit less bulky than other varieties. Both our FuzziBunz and BumGenius are pockets though we haven’t used the BumGenius enough yet to have a preference for one over the other.
Probably the easiest to use and most like a disposable. The liner is attached, so you just put it on without having to worry about inserting or folding anything else inside. However, we don’t have any of these because I’d heard they were harded to keep clean and took longer to dry. Plus, I like the versatility the other types offer.
As you know, I first talked about sticking with one brand of pocket diaper. Almost everyone suggested we wait until after baby was born to figure out which one(s) worked best on Leila. After three plus months, I prefer having a variety (none of which we took for a trial run before buying a few)– we’ve found it’s easy enough to finagle them to work to fit Leila and sometimes one suits one occasion better than another.
Okay. I’m done for now.