Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Cloth Diapers

I've been considering making the switch to cloth diapering for a long time now.  I can remember talking about it as far back as babies #3 and #4, and considering it with each baby since then.  I wasn't entirely sure it would be something I could handle, and the initial cost of buying the cloth diapers was always a stopping point.  I also remember that my mom thought I was absolutely insane when I mentioned the thought to her, years ago.  This gave me pause, as she had diapered four babies the old-fashioned way, and thought disposables were a vast improvement.  Still, I never could quite let it go.
I brought it up again with Mr. Smith just before Genevieve was born, and he was open to the idea.  I clicked around, found a great deal on some bumGenius, the stars all lined up, and I had a dozen colorful diapers before Genevieve was 10 days old.

It's funny, at that time I wanted someone to tell me exactly what to do with them:  how to wash them (in what detergent, what setting, how often?), how to store them, how many I needed, what sort of diaper pail I should use, etc.  I foraged the internet, looking for a detailed how-to diagram that I could just program into my routine and call it good.  I realized that that doesn't exist, and now, months later, I know why.

There is some initial frustration in making the switch to cloth, because it's so different from just tossing those puppies in the garbage and not thinking twice about it.  I won't lie, there have been times I've regretted it.  It's really a process of figuring out what works for you, your family, your baby.

After much trial and error, I feel like we have a good routine down.  I started out with those 12 bumGenius, and picked up a couple of GroVia shells on babysteals.  A good friend gifted us with a boatload of Mother-ease that she was no longer going to use.  I still prefer the bumGenius, so I use those first when everything's clean, but the amount I have is only enough for a day or two for Genevieve.  Then I have the option of doing a wash, or, if I don't get to it, falling back on the Mother-ease.  I have a few days worth of those.

As a side note, when we purchased the cloth diapers, I didn't intend to use them with Sebastian.  For whatever reason, I thought that would be a difficult transition.  Well one night we put one on him, just for the novelty of it, and it suited him just fine.  He even refused the disposables for awhile!  At some point (it's been five months now since we started this adventure), his fruit-loving toddler tummy got the best of me.  I think it  was the day I washed out six of his dirty diapers in one day that I bought a box of disposables in his size.  I'm all for saving a dollar, but I try not to be a glutton for punishment.  Now I just try to strategically use each, based on what I think will be ending up in the diaper.

Overall, this is my assessment as of now:

  • we don't have to add diapers into our monthly budget  (this is huge, considering we've had between 1 and 3 children in diapers at any given time, continuously for the past 13+ years!)
  • we never have to panic over running out
  • they're cute!
  • no disposable diaper smell (I realize now the chemicals that must be involved in that!)
  • it feels very old-school, throwbackish, and I like that ;)
  • if we decide to ditch them, the resale value is excellent and we've already broken even 
  • the savings will only multiply with any future children we may be blessed with
  • it is definitely one more chore to add to my list
  • the initial cost can be hard to swallow
  • the diaper pail is tricky... it's not a smell you want associated with your house
Did I mention they're cute though?


  1. thanks for sharing. i've desired to make the switch but but the up front cost has always been too much for us to manage. also, i doubt i would be able to stay on-top of the laundry.

    i had great hopes this time around but i'm about to give up on the idea. i'm a bit overwhelmed with trying to get my home in order for the home birth. i don't remember it being this much work with the last homebirth.

    please keep me in your prayers.

  2. And now you've brought up the other thing that's always been on my radar: home birth. I will be praying for you.

  3. Seriously NOTHING better than a cloth diaper baby bottom. I love cloth diapers. I think I'm still having babies b/c I can't imagine putting my cloth diapers away :) We should meet up at my friend's store one day in Northville and covet the diapers (and go to lunch). I'm kind of glad I'm sick today because I rarely get to read blogs and yours made my day :)