Thursday, March 15, 2012

Why choose cloth diapers?

FuzziBunz One-Size and One-Size Elite Diapers

I have to admit that when my husband first mentioned the idea of diapering our daughter in cloth I was shocked. Why would I want to do that? I had visions of trying to hold down the baby while accidentally jabbing her with safety pins... and I had nightmares of poopy laundry. But, after hours days of research I decided that cloth diapering would actually work well for our family.

First, I found that cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables. Way cheaper. You can find all kinds of information online about how much money you can save using cloth. FuzziBunz has a chart here showing the cost comparison using their pocket diapers while over at Diaper Decisions you can find another chart showing that prefolds, covers, and laundry expenses through potty training will cost you less than $500; disposables will cost around $2,500. If you use your diapers for multiple children you can really see a huge difference in savings. Fitted diapers, all-in-ones and pockets will cost you more but you can still save significant money over time. Even better, you can put cloth dipes on your baby registry and pay only the cost of laundry! (You can even make them yourself - here is a tutorial!)

After looking around online I discovered that cloth diapers are really cute. Although we ended up going with solid colors you can find them in all types of patterns. Women in various cloth diaper groups online go so far as to post pics of their adorable babes in cloth or of their enormous "stash" of diapers. We're not that obsessed, but my Sweet Pea sure does look cute with her fluffy bottom!

The proclaimed environmental benefits of cloth do not hold water (haha, get it?) with me. Although we are not filing up landfills with dirty diapers we are using a lot of water to wash those suckers. In the winter, our water is heated with wood so at least we don't feel guilty about using a non-renewable resource at that time. Once we get the oil cranking though we won't be so smug. Washing a diaper involves pre-washing, a hot cycle, and a cold cycle. If you live in an area with a diaper service you can reduce your environmental impact in terms of water use but then you are paying someone to drive to your house to pick up the dipes.  We can line dry our diapers in the summer but we do throw them in the dryer in winter. I suppose we are minding our poop though, as all diapers (yes, even disposables) are supposed to have the poop flushed down the toilet before tossing into the wash bin. I'm sure that most people aren't knocking out the poop before tossing their disposables in the trash can though - and all that waste ends up in the landfill.

Disposables are made out of all sorts of crazy things like polymers and dioxine, but if you choose cloth you can buy natural, organic materials for your babe.  Of course, these diapers cost more. After much thought and discussions with friends, we opted for the FuzziBunz One Size Pocket Diaper. This diaper is not organic - it's made of polyester microfleece - but it is very soft, absorbent, and will grow with our daughter so that we only have to have one stash of diapers (unless baby #2 decides to make arrive while #1 is still in dipes!). The new FB Elite pocket diaper - which came out right after we came home from the NICU - is trimmer and has a minky insert which is just as absorbent but less bulky and more stain resistant.

Taking care of a babe in cloth is pretty easy. The diaper goes on just like a disposable, and since we have adjustable dipes they will grow with her. Since Sweet Pea is still eating just breastmilk her diapers can go straight into the washing machine. Once she starts eating food we'll have to knock the solids into the toilet. Now, we just shake out the insert and toss it and the cover into the wet bag. Once a day we dump the dipes into the washer along with the bag and wash. (We have 36 diapers and could definitely go longer without washing, but our daughter has diabetes insipidus which means she pees A LOT during the day and we'd rather not look at a bag full of dirty diapers.) To show you how simple it is, here is a video explaining disposable liners with Fuzzibunz.

If you are unsure about cloth diapers you can do a cloth trial through a business like Jillian's Drawers. Basically you pay $160 up front to try all different types of diapers for 21 days. At the end of the trial you may return all of the diapers and get a refund of $140.99! By going with a trial you can test different diapers and get an idea of what kind works for you and your child.  As much as I LOVE my FB, if I had known about this while pregnant we would have gone with this option first, especially since baby girl was so dang small when she first came home!

Look for future posts re: FB One-Size vs. Elite One-Size, cloth-safe diaper creams, and laundering cloth.

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