Posted by: Bethany Davis | August 31, 2011

We switched to Cloth Diapers

Vera loves her cloth diapers!

Before Vera was born, I was set on using disposable diapers. My response to cloth was, “it’s too gross, takes too much time, and costs too much to get started.” Here’s how I’ve overcome each of my misconceptions…

The Gross Factor. Maybe being a mom for a few months desensitized me. Getting  burped on constantly, changing countless diapers, etc… it doesn’t seem to faze me much anymore. Don’t get me wrong — poop is still poop; it hasn’t magically changed into something flowery-smelling. But, there is little difference between rolling up a disposable diaper to put in the diaper pail and pulling out an microfiber insert and putting it in the wet bag with the diaper cover. When it’s time to wash our stash, I simply dump the entire wet bag’s contents (including the bag itself) into the washer. (We will have an extra step when Vera starts solids – we’ll buy a diaper sprayer and rinse the poop into the toilet).

Time Commitment. I will admit, there are some extra steps involved with cloth. Notably, washing the diapers with 3 wash cycles, hanging them to dry, and re-stuffing each diaper. It does not take long, but is an added part of my week. Our little laundry room looks very colorful with all Vera’s diapers hanging up! And, since I like to pre-stuff and pre-snap to her size, during the actual diaper change it takes the same amount of time to put the new diaper on her.

The Cost. This is main reason we switched to cloth diapers. Yes, it is SO much better for the environment, but realizing how much money we were saving won us over. According to this blog, the grand total cost for disposable diapers is $2,577.35 with an average cost per change at $0.36.

Here’s what we’ve spent on cloth diapers:

$90 10 bum genius (mixed lot of 3.0 and 4.0 with snaps) from diaperswappers
$48.50 hanging wet bag diaper pail from snuggy baby on etsy
$17.50 large travel wet bag from snuggy baby on babyhalfoff
$35 8 bum genius 2.0 from craigslist
$20 conversion to snaps of 8 bum genius diapers by Tammy Tinkle Traps
$18.40 shipping total to get the 8 diapers converted and sent to me
$22 1 bum genius 4.0 & 1 Happy Heiny from diaperswappers
$18.40 smitten baby wet bag from babysteals
$35 5 bum genius 3.0 with snaps from diaperswappers
$20.06 bum cheeks denim diaper from babyhalfoff

= $324.86 (26 cloth diapers & 3 wet bags)

Note: All prices include shipping. As a price comparison, Target sells Bum Genius diapers for $20/diaper – for 26 diapers I would have paid $520 +tax. You can see I got some great deals on diapers, and other things I splurged on (like the hanging diaper pail and denim diaper). We will also need to purchase a diaper sprayer, which I can probably get for $30.

What about laundry? Well, this site factors in detergent, electricity, and water costs for one child’s diapering period. The grand total of Laundering Expenses is $413.40.

So, diapering Vera in cloth will cost us total $738.26. Using the same diapers, to diaper our next child in cloth will only add $575.83. The saving are enormous when compared to $2,577.35 per child in disposables!

Specifics…

Entering the world of cloth diapering is quite confusing. It’s like learning a new language! Once I decided on the type of diapers we wanted, then it was a matter of finding them for a price we could afford. We went with one-sized pocket diapers, specifically Bum Genius with snaps. They have a good resale value and seem to be the industry standard along with fuzzibuns. The snaps also last longer than velcro and the one-size will fit her all the way to potty training. We purchased some with velcro and had them converted to snaps by Tammy Tinkle Traps (still the cheapest way to go!) (and don’t you just love her company name?!). Runners up were Best Bottoms, Go Green diapers, and Sunbaby (the cheapest way to go!).

We got some great advise from friends on facebook and from blogs like young house love. My first purchase was the 10 for $90 on diaperswappers. This allowed us to try them out before spending even more money.

My advice? Ask for others’ opinions (I will gladly help in any way I can!) and do your research. Build your stash slowly to see what you like and don’t like over time. Check sites like babyhalfoff for deals. Make sure your spouse is on board with the switch. Be realistic and realize that your babysitter and church nursery may not be as excited about cloth diapering as you are.

If you like getting pooped on and aren’t up for diapers at all, check out diaper free baby — it made me shake my head, but maybe you’ll want to try it. 🙂

Oh, and next we are contemplating switching to cloth wipes!

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