Cloth Confessions

So, you know how I like to recycle.

And I am all about repurposing things.

I do not like to waste.

I guess with those things in mind, it was only a matter of time before I turned to cloth diapering. I have been doing cloth  for quite some time now with Wesley.

I am not sure what took me so long to come to cloth diapering. Actually, I take that back, I do know…..
See, when Thomas and I decided one day to just take our chances, we made a baby. We were blessed to have quick success. I did not have any friends at the time that had children. I felt like I was journeying a path all alone, going where “no friend has gone before,” so everything was new. I did not have the privilege (or frustration most likely) of thinking for years what I would do when I finally became pregnant. True, I did have 9 months, but if you have had a kid, you know that time passes quickly, especially when you are trying to decide on the gazillion other things, from a name to a crib.

I remember researching cloth diapering when pregnant with Daniel. I also remember finding very little about the idea. It was, after all, 5 years ago, and although the approach has gained much more momentum since then, there was little at the time to read (or at least little that I could find). I knew not a single soul to question and the message boards that I discovered had so much jargon on it that I was completely lost and frustrated. I had no clue at the time what DNW, SAHM, WAHM, FFS, AIO, DDS, FLAG, OS, and things of the like meant (some I am still not sure of!). Once I randomly encountered a mom that was cloth diapering and I tried to pick her brain. She was so proud of herself (and not the good kind of pride). It was sickening. It all seriously hurt my brain.

When pregnant with Wesley, I had a few friends that had entered the world of parenthood. One of those friends had used cloth, and she had actually asked me a few questions before she started cloth diapering, since she knew I had done a little research. I shot her an e-mail with some details I thought could help, but I by no means had much to share. She, being braver than I, took the plunge with her first child regardless of knowing people who could help. When #2 came along for me, she assumed that I would go cloth, yet I did not.

Here was part of my reasoning: 1-She had some issues cloth diapering, so my one example was not a good one. She spent a small fortune to acquire her supply and then never really bought enough in the first place, so she was washing every night to the point of exhaustion (she has doubled her supply now in prep for her second child). This did not reflect well for me. She said it was a lot of work, and the last thing I wanted to do when adding a second child into my life was to add another task. 2-My good friends from college offered to have a diaper shower for me, being that it was my second boy and we had most all “big things.” This sounded nice.

After Wesley, I had one other friend that was pregnant that planned to use cloth. She had a little boy due about 6 weeks after me. One other college friend also planned on cloth and when Wesley was a few months old, we went to visit her before her baby was born and got a grand tour of her hand-me-down diapers that she acquired from her sister-in-law.

And somewhere along the line, the whole idea became trendy. People were popping up all over the place that were into cloth diapering. It was suddenly cool and information abounded.

Still, the cost was so disappointing for me. I know people argue that you save so much money, but when you only buy  diapers on sale and with a coupon, not to mention you can even earn gift cards when you buy, the cost is not much, and it is certainly nothing near the amount websites that sell cloth diapers claim you save. Had someone just gifted me their whole lot of previously loved cloth diapers, I would have switched at that moment, but, as mentioned before, I knew no cloth users (or none that were not about to use the items for themselves!)

One day though, I found a cloth diaper on sale at a “don’t pay retail” store (see my favorite diaper pic of Wesley to the right, which was bought at that store). I thought that $10 off the retail price, along with no shipping costs, was a good price to pay if I wanted to experiment. I then found another, and another, and another, and before I knew it, I was building a supply at an extremely discounted rate, which I liked. A chance consignment sale provided me with a wet bag and some more covers (someone bought it all and never used it), and soon I had all that I needed to be completely cloth.

I feel pretty good about not throwing away diapers into the trash to take *forever* to deteriorate, which was my main motivation. I have definitely spent some cash building up a supply, and I can honestly say I need about double what I do actually possess in order to have breaks in laundering, but being that Wesley is not a newborn, my amount is sufficient. One thing that I love though: they are SO cute. It is slightly addicting to see the bright colors, different styles (I’ve now found what I prefer), and personality in cloth.

The verdicts:

  • It is work to wash them but not really more than washing anything else. If you already do laundry, you just have a little more. No big deal.
  • They are cute and let moms of boys relish in some fun aspects that they do not normally get!
  • Less waste and harm on the environment.
  • Better for baby.
  • Lots of prepping for new diapers, which is just plain annoying (another reason why I wish someone had just given me their old ones). You have to wash them so many times in so many ways to make them ready.
  • Poop while out and about is not fun, unless you are officially in a bathroom with a changing table. Even then, still not as easy as disposables.
  • Since Wesley is a heavy wetter, I feel like I have more leaks.
  • Wesley’s pants fit better (skinny-minis usually lose pants but the little extra bulk of cloth helps them stay).
  • You can not tell as easily if the diaper is dry/wet. Thomas still has no clue without taking it all off and looking. I guess he could stick his hand inside but that is a whole new complication :O)
  • I wish I would have just bit the bullet and invested with Daniel ( I think that on a lot of baby items though. You live and you learn. This is just one of the cons to being the first of your circle of friends to take a plunge). I would have gotten even more bang for my buck.
  • There are a lot of rules with cloth. Detergents to use, settings to dry on, creams to not use, ways to stack, etc. It can be overwhelming. Once you learn, however, you’ve got it.
  • Our current rental home has the best set-up for cloth diapering. The laundry room is a random half-bath and exit from the house, so a toilet, sink, washer, dryer, and door access to a covered screened in porch and place to hang my diapers are all just within a few steps of one another. This was all just random fortune, and our previous home was not as accommodating to this process.
  • The convenience, when you use the style I have chosen to use is just as simple as disposables. I just keep them together, inserts inside, and ready to grab and go for diaper change time (see below).
  • I seriously smile when I see all the bright colors, when air drying or just sitting in a pile to be put on Wesley. I mean, I have a cow print. How is that not fun?

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6 thoughts on “Cloth Confessions

  1. I’m so glad you’re doing it! I now have “enough” for baby #2. I have to admit–they’ve been great for naps during potty training (no wasting diapers while he’s sleeping), yet easy to throw in the wash, if needed. What brand did you go with?

    • Summer: I remember you saying that you’ve inherited some from a friend that will help you have a bigger stockpile. Yeah for less immediate laundry! We’ve been using all kinds, since I was grabbing them at the discount store but they are nearly all pocket diapers (which was another term I had to learn because I thought I was using all-in-ones when I first started so long ago with Wesley). Thirsties seem to be my favorite but I do have other names, like Fuzzi Bunz. I just bought a Bum Genius pocket diaper today for $7.50 so we will see how that one stacks up in preference. (and I guess you missed this whole conversation at your shower? Julie and I were discussing it…..turns out girl was most likely taking mental notes since she was pregnant and not saying anything yet!).

  2. How fun! CD’ing is so addictive isn’t it? Glad you found some cheap ones and worked out a laundry system – that’s the hardest part IMO. It really gets easy when they become toddlers because you don’t need as many. I am only using about 1/3 of my stash now that Keziah only goes through 6-7 a day. I love the cow print! And thirsties are some of my favorites! If you like the Bumgenius, let me know – I have a blue one I’d be happy to give you (Keziah never wears it)

    • Jennifer: Good to know you like Thirsites too. I just remember you showing me the snappies and pre-folds that you practiced with on the teddy bear, which still makes me laugh. It was cute :O). I am not big on having to do all that but the Thirsies and that same style I love. I will let you know how the Bumgenius turns out. I am sure I will like it well enough. And yes, it *is* addictive. It will be a year this summer that I have been cloth diapering, and I find myself wanting more, even though at this point and age, I do not necessarily need them.

  3. I slowly built my stash too. I had 36 infant prefolds and a couple of Thirsties covers. I had a couple of Bum Genius diapers. I just have watched the sales on Cotton Babies for used diapers that needed new velcro put on. I got 10 of them before Nick was born at two dollars a diaper and then I paid $1 per diaper for new velcro and sewed it on myself. Pretty cheap that way. I think a cloth diaper baby shower is a great idea and lessens the cost for new parents. I also agree on the cuteness factor. I love the prints. We do utilize fleece or wool pants/shorts at nighttime to reduce leakage factors. That helps a lot. I too practiced on teddy bears to get it right. Easier than a squirming baby. :) Very true on getting them used and saving time from having to prep them. I don’t quite understand why people have issues buying the used diapers. They are washed, clean and save a whole lot of money when purchased used.

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