Why and How We Cloth Diaper

Every three days or so my laundry room looks a lot like this:

Why, you ask? Because today is diaper day. Before Liam was born we made the decision to cloth diaper. We love the idea that there won't be a huge pile of diapers in a landfill for hundreds of years with Liam's name on them; however, that isn't the reason that we are doing it. We are doing it because we are cheap, or as I prefer to call it, frugal. :)

Here is the math:

I used disposable diapers and wipes on Cadence for three and a half years at a cost of approximately $20.00 per week. That comes out to $3,640.00.

I used pull-ups on Cadence every night for another three years at a cost of approximately $10.00 per week. That comes out to $1,560.00

Gabriel skipped the pull-ups at night but also wore diapers for three and a half years at a cost of approximately $20.00 per week. That comes out to $3,640.00

Grand total of using disposable diapers on two kids from infancy through potty training age = $8,840.00

I did not want to repeat that with Liam. I bought a lot of his stuff on sale and traded some of my pocket diapers for more Best Bottoms, but here's the approximate math that it would take to replicate what I have purchased for him:

12 Best Bottom diapers at $16.95 each comes to $203.40

24 small inserts, 10 medium inserts and 36 large inserts at $276.50

Wet/dry bags, wipes and diaper sprayer cost approximately $86.00

One dozen Chinese prefold diapers is $18.00

An average $8.00 per month increased water bill for three and a half years comes to $336.00

Detergent for three and a half years costs approximately $252.00

Grand total for using cloth diapers = $1,171.90

That is a savings of 77% over the cost of using disposable diapers on Cadence and 53% over the cost of using disposable diapers on Gabriel.

Now you know why we do it so let me show you how we do it.

If you ask ten people how to cloth diaper a baby, you will receive ten different answers. Here is my answer:

This is a diaper. It is a far cry from the cloth diapers that our parents put us in, isn't it? There are no pins or rubber pants. Just a diaper with a whole bunch of snaps. The snaps determine the size of the diaper. This particular brand fits a baby from 7lbs to 35lbs depending on how the snaps are set.

Here is an opened diaper shell. The lining of the diaper is made of PUL (polyurethane laminate) fabric. It is waterproof and can be wiped clean.

The insert is the absorbant part of the diaper and is snapped into the diaper shell. It is now ready to go on the baby.

If the baby pees the insert is removed, the liner is wiped down with a cloth wipe and a new insert is placed in the diaper. If the baby poops and the poop makes its way off of the liner and onto the shell the whole diaper is removed and a new diaper shell and liner is put on the baby.

Cloth wipes are much easier to use than disposable wipes. This is because you just toss the wipe into the laundry paid with the dirty diaper. If you were to use disposable wipes, you'd need a trash can along with your diaper paid. Here are our wipes. We have 27 of them. The are made of flannel and are stitched around the edges to prevent fraying. I fold them so that they pop out of an old Pampers wipe case that I used with Gabriel.

Here is our diaper pail. It is a household trash can. We put a reusable diaper pail liner in the can (not pictured as it was being washed at the time). When it is time to do laundry we lift the bag out and dump its contents into the washing machine. Then we toss the bag in too. There is no need to ever touch the dirty diapers.

The diapers do a cold soak and pre-wash. The detergent is then added and they are washed on hot with a double rinse on cold (this is the cause of the slight increase in our water bill). We only use about a tablespoon of detergent during each wash so the detergent goes a long way. Once a month or so we do a special treatment to take care of any stains and to freshen them up.

Breastfed diapers do not require any spraying prior to tossing them in the wash; however, once Liam starts eating homemade baby food his diapers will get pretty gross. Prior to tossing them in the laundry, the poopy ones can be sprayed down with a diaper sprayer. It hooks into the water line to the toilet and hangs on the side of the toilet ready for use.

That is why and how we cloth diaper in a nutshell. William hasn't worn a disposable diaper since he was a week old (yes, we do cloth when we are out too). He has never had diaper rash and has had no more leaks than my other two did in disposables. We love it!


Candice Brevard said...

Very cool. I never used cloth diapers and have always wondered how you would clean them...very interesting

Candice Brevard said...

I just sent this blog post to a friend of mine who just started cloth diapering :)

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