I never imagined myself using cloth diapers, because in my mind, that involved folding, stuffing, pinning and being a lot more hands on with poop than I ever wanted to be. Frankly, it sounded like too much work. Then I read this post over on Young House Love. One size? All-in-one? Snaps? No blowouts or diaper rash? Cheap? Let's be honest here - Eric and I are Frugal (that's right, with a capital F), so the idea of buying diapers once and only having an up-front cost was the most enticing part of the whole deal.
Really, across the board, cloth seemed like not that much work at all and like something we could definitely do, especially if it meant saving a lot of money in the long run. We had several things that we considered when deciding on cloth, and then when picking out our diapers. My biggest concern was that I knew I would be going back to work, so we would have to have a diaper that was easy enough to get any babysitter on board. For the same reason, I knew we needed something low maintenence for ourselves; with 40 hours devoted to work throughout the week, and then additional time devoted to making dinner and keeping up our home (which I already fail at most days), I didn't want to give up any more time with my family to stuff diapers.
I researched and researched, and then I researched some more. The best diaper I was able to come up with for our lifestyle was the same one that Sherry and John from YHL have: the bumGenius all-in-ones. They are a one-size fit and grow with baby, so we knew we would only have to buy one set of diapers; they are very low-maintenance and they received great reviews. Sign us up! I registered for diapers and wet bags (super important part of using cloth!) on Diaper Junction and hoped and prayed that we would receive some as gifts.
We currently have 11 diapers, which were all gifted to us by wonderful friends, families and coworkers. Ten of these are the bumGenius Elemental all-in-ones and one is the bumGenius Freetime all-in-one. We have found that 11 simply is not enough, which we had anticipated. This week, I ordered six additional Freetime diapers, since Diaper Junction is currently hosting a special on them (buy 5, get 1 free).
Both diapers are essentially the same, but I prefer the Freetime for three main reasons:
- They dry faster
- They are cheaper
- If we ever have a boy, they have sewn-in flaps that can be folded up to create more absorbency at the front of the diaper.
I'll be honest - cloth can be a dirty business. Where disposables can be wrapped up and tossed away without any soiling of hands, I spend time rinsing our cloth diapers out in a sink and wringing them as I go. For anyone that has ever been a fan of Homestar Runner, Eric has referred to me as the Poopsmith. Before having a child, this thought would have most likely made me gag. Now...meh...it's poop - nothing a little hand washing can't handle.
Around week two of using our cloth diapers, our dryer pooped out on us (see what I did there?) and five weeks later, we just got a new one. We had to mix in some disposables during this time - line drying takes way too long, and there was just no way to keep up. Needless to say, I'm so thankful to have a new one.
Staining - not a big deal, but about once a week, I hang the diapers on the line to be sun bleached.
Our other greatest challenge is educating others on how to use the cloth; throughout the week, we hand her off to her sitter, my mother-in-law and the church nursery volunteers. The biggest challenge is the nursery, because we drop her off before first service (when we go to Sunday school) and pick her up after second service. Between those times, the volunteers switch out. I can instruct the first group how to use her cloth diapers, but I can't guarantee the message gets passed on. I'm pretty sure this is how we lost one of our cloth diapers (we used to have 12); my best guess is that one got thrown away. I'm still stressed about losing one of our flock, and now I've become compulsive about counting how many diapers we have after we go anywhere.
So worth it. We have a happy little baby with a rather cute, large tush from all that fabric. She has only wet out of her diaper twice (once it was not put on correctly, once after going 12 hours through the night), has never blown out and has not had any diaper rash. Also, hiiii, with our plan to hold off on number 2 (no pun intended) until Lucy is out of diapers, we should be able to pass these gender neutral colors off to her little brother or sister and neverrr have to pay for diapers again. Isn't that incentive enough?