Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The Cloth Diapering Experience v1

Before even getting pregnant I knew I wanted to cloth diaper our little ones. The most important reason behind this choice was having the control over what touches their skin. Disposable diapers appear to have come a long way, as more and more parents are becoming aware and interested in what is in the diaper for hygienic and ecological reasons. The financial savings and environmental factors for cloth diapering are tied for secondary reasoning. Although the initial investment for cloth diapering is a little bit higher, with enough preparation one can spread it out over time. A typical all-in-one style cloth diaper (works just like a disposable) runs about $15-20, which is not that much if you choose to buy one per paycheck, for example. Besides saving money by not having to buy disposables, you also save on your trash bill too.  The environmental factor is also a big deal, as newborns can go through 12+ diapers a day.. which adds up! 

It's estimated that about 4,000 disposable diapers are used per baby in their first 2 years of life. At about 25 cents a piece.. that's a lot that we spend to just throw something away. All of those end up in a landfill, and if you've ever seen a wet disposable diaper expand and blow up you can imagine that over time they take up even more space and are leaking gross chemicals and waste.

Our experience
I registered primarily for Bum Genius diapers (an all-in-one/AIO), but threw in some covers that I was hoping would fit her a little earlier on. One of the best gifts we got was from my brother's fiance - a month of cloth diapering service. For 4 weeks we were to have 70 prefolds delivered each week, and the dirties taken away so that we wouldn't have to do any of the washing. This was the best way to get into cloth diapering while getting accustomed to being a parent. The cost is roughly equal to purchasing diapers weekly.

An image from - this is what our system looks like

We started her on cloth when she was 20 days old. We were really surprised how often the diaper has to be changed. I think in the first 2 hours we changed her diaper 3 times. And the prefolds were.. steamy. Even when we changed the diaper within a few minutes of her wetting it. And it looked like she was getting a heat rash. ...What? I thought cloth was supposed to be healthier?

We gave up that night and revisited it again in the morning. I realized that the cover that was included with the subscription wasn't breathing at all, which was keeping all of the heat from her body within. Naturally, the covers are meant to be waterproof and aren't expected to breathe like the cotton will, but steaming diapers and heat rashes are not ok in my book! 
We also came to the conclusion that the prefolds that were delivered are too large. I'm assuming they were the 'standard' size, but for her little frame they were just pushing her legs too far apart. I called the service and they agreed to comp us for the current week and deliver the preemie sized prefolds the following week.
The next week I looked through our cloth diaper stash from what we received at our showers and hand me downs for a different cover. I had some Flip covers, which are recommended for 7 lbs and up (they have rows of snaps to grow with the baby). Unfortunately even though Penelope was just about 7 lbs, she's a skinny little one and the cover was just way too bulky for her. I found some Gdiaper Gpants that were handmedowns. Gdiapers are primarily known for their use of disposable inserts that are more environmentally friendly, but I found that a prefold fits perfectly inside! What makes it even better is that they were size small, so the fit is super trim and doesn't give her the huge fluffy butt that cloth diaper babies are known for.


Once we started using the Gdiapers plus the weekly deliveries of prefolds, we've been golden. She averages between 7-10 cloth diaper changes per day, which is between the hours of 6a - 9p. We still use a disposable (either 7th Generation or Huggies Pure & Natural) for overnight, just for my sanity and allowing me to sleep a little bit longer. She will go through 2-4 per night. Once we graduate to the thicker diapers we'll switch to 100% cloth.

Today is our last night with the cloth diaper service. I wasn't on the ball and hadn't purchased the prefolds that we will be using Gdiaper disposable inserts (another "handmedown") temporarily, but they are on their way! We'll be trying out OsoCozy Indian prefolds. I chose these primarily for price point and that they are diaper service quality, because they'll need to hold up to likely hundreds of washes! Even though they are in the 'infant' size, I'll use them in the future as extra absorbancy when I move on to AIO diapers, and of course they will still be useable for baby #2 (so crazy to think that I'm already planning ahead...).

Interested in starting to cloth diaper?  Cotton Babies (my favorite baby store!) sponsors the Change 3 Things Campaign - which challenges parents to incorporate 3 cloth diaper changes into their routine to replace disposables. This is a pretty attainable goal for most parents and keeps the initial investment low. We can use our Gdiaper cover about 3 times before it needing a wash, but that is because I'm on the ball and change her as soon as I hear her make a poop. The longer I may postpone a diaper change, the more the poop gets smeared around (so interesting the things I choose to talk about now that I'm a parent) and gets on the cover instead of staying on the prefold. Luckily my little miss has yet to have a blow out so this isn't all that difficult.

Using an AIO is just like a disposable, no stuffing needed and you just wash it when you're done. Using prefolds and covers is a little more time intensive, but honestly not difficult. It didn't even take that much "training" to get my husband and mom accustomed to using it, which is a big fear for a lot of moms who aren't sure how they can get the rest of the family on board. That just gives me more confidence for when we swith to the AIO type for when she can fit into them.. I bet it'll feel like a total breeze in comparison to prefolds and covers!


  1. I am 1 year from 60, with 2 grown daughters both mid to late 30. As babies I used cloth diapers but the disposables were coming on strong. I hated everything about them. Perhaps, as a convenience, on a trip or outing, but every day? Think of the massive amount of pollution: manufacturing, marketing, & disposing. Insane.

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  3. We are hoping to adopt a baby soon, and since it's been several years, I was clicking around to see what's new in the world of cloth! Great blog. One thing: you have the gDiapers on backwards! :)



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