Sunday, June 27, 2010
I never thought I'd be the cloth diapering type. It's probably not for everyone, but so far I'm totally sold on them. Here's why:
1. We're saving money by not having to buy disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are fairly expensive up front, but we figured that if we got them for our first child, it would be a better investment since we could use them for the following kid(s) as well. Also, we were fortunate enough to get them as a gift for our baby shower, thanks to my mom, sisters, and sister-in-law! We used disposable diapers for the first few weeks after bringing Shepherd home from the hospital, both because we had been given several bags of newborn diapers as gifts and because we didn't want to bother with the cloth until we had gotten into somewhat of a routine. We started using the cloth diapers when Shep was around one month old. (And we still use disposables when we travel.)
2. Cloth diapers these days are so colorful and soft and easy to use (they've come a long way since the ol' diaper pins and plastic covers). And there are so many different styles and brands to choose from. Currently we use FuzziBunz pocket diapers, and I'd like to add some bumGenius all-in-ones to our supply.
3. They're not much more work than disposables. Honestly. I thought it would be harder. We have 12 cloth diapers in our rotation now (although I think that 18 would be an ideal amount), so I do a small load of laundry about every other day. When they come out of the dryer, I stuff the liners inside the pockets in the diapers, and they're ready to use. Sometimes I hang them out on the clothesline if it's convenient and if it's nice out, but you can just dry them in the dryer if you prefer. Next to the washing machine we have this diaper pail, and so far it has done an awesome job at containing the smell. In fact, it's probably less smell than when we used disposables for the first few weeks, because then we would just throw the diapers in the regular trash can, and it would really stink. The only time I smell the soiled cloth diapers is when I open the pail to wash them. People often ask if I have to swish the dirty diapers in the toilet. NO! Yuck. Thankfully we haven't had to worry about that yet since breastfed poop is water soluble. I just run a quick soak cycle in the washing machine before the regular wash cycle, and this has gotten them clean every time. At six months old, when Shep starts eating solids, this will change, of course. But they have this handy little gadget now, a diaper sprayer that you can attach to the plumbing on your toilet and just spray the diaper off into the toilet. So we'll probably invest in one of those when the time comes. Alternatively, you can buy little flushable liners to put inside the diaper.
4. It's environmentally friendly. Even though I'm not a fanatic when it comes to being green, disposable diapers really do take up a ton of space in landfills. Granted, it does take extra water to wash cloth diapers, but I've also heard that it takes a lot of water to manufacture disposable diapers. And the 12 cloth diapers that we have only make a small load of laundry altogether. Also, we have a well, so we don't have to buy the water.
5. We have fewer diaper leaks with the cloth. We tried Pampers, Huggies, and Luvs disposable diapers, and Shep was always leaking through with each brand. With the cloth, he's never had a blow-out up the back, and the leaking out the top of them is much more infrequent than it was with the disposables. There has been occasional dampness around the leg gussets lately, so I think we may need to tighten the leg gusset to the tighter snap or else add an additional liner as he gets older and wets more.
6. Supposedly you don't have to worry about diaper rashes because the absorbent fleece fabric is better for a baby's skin. We haven't really been using them long enough to test this claim, but Shep did have a couple of small diaper rashes with disposable diapers, and so far he's had none with the cloth.
We chose to go with the FuzziBunz brand because they're an all-in-one diaper that you just put on like a disposable diaper and snap together. They have a liner insert that you place inside the diaper after you wash it (and you can add an extra liner for nighttime or for heavy-wetters). Another reason we chose this particular diaper is because it grows with your baby. It has several different snaps at the leg gussets as well as at the waistline that keep it nice and snug. The size that we bought should work for Shepherd until he's about 6 months old, and then we'll buy the next size up, which should work for him until he's potty-trained.
There are lots of informative websites about cloth diapering. One of the sources that I found helpful in my research was Ali Edwards.