Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cloth Diapers are Easy, Inexpensive, and Perfect for My Family

My son Peter at 6 months in a bumGenius 4.0

My Cloth Diapering Experience
When my sister started cloth diapering her son I thought she had gone off the deep end.  But then again, her baby, Henry, did look super cute in them, so maybe she wasn’t that crazy.  When it came time to decide what type of diapers to use on our new baby,  my sister convinced me to try cloth.  Had it not been for my sister, I’m not sure that I would have found the amazing world of cloth.

 Henry sporting a bumGenius Clementine

I had lots of questions so I went online and did my research.  Cotton Babies was a wonderful resource to find answers to all the laundry, product, and sizing questions that I had.  I am also fortunate enough to live near a Cotton Babies’ retail store located in Vancouver, WA.  My pregnancy coincided with the store's grand opening sale which allowed me to start up my cloth diaper stash with some amazing deals.

The next step was convincing my husband that we should cloth diaper, and he is one of the biggest skeptics on cloth diapering that I have met.  I showed him some of the bumGenius diapers I had gotten from Cotton Babies, and he was impressed with the ease of them.  However, his biggest question and concern was “What do you do with all the poop?”

This was something that I was worried about too, but thankfully you can just throw the diapers in the wash.  He was a little grossed out at the thought of the poopy diapers being washed in the same machine that his shirts and pants are washed in, but I can honestly say we have never had a problem.

We started using cloth diapers once Peter weighed about 8 lbs and I've never looked back. As for my husband, he's adjusting well.  I secretly think he likes cloth diapers more than he will admit.

Henry and Peter (cousins) in matching diapers


While Peter was exclusively breast fed, his diapers could just be thrown into the wash.  Now that we have started solids, I just rinse the contents of his diapers into the toilet with a diaper sprayer.

One of the great things about cloth diapers that I have experienced is that I have never had a "blowout."  Disposable diapers just don't hold the poop in like cloth diapers do so people often loose their baby's adorable outfits to nasty poop stains.  Because the cloth diapers have elastic around the back and  the front,  the poop stays in.

I usually don't have to change Peter's outfit during the day because we rarely have leaks and don't have to worry about the poop.  I would most likely being doing extra loads of laundry each week of baby clothes  if I used disposables.  There really is a trade off, use disposables and wash poopy clothes, or use cloth and wash poopy diapers.  When you have a baby, there is no way to completely avoid the poop.
So about that laundry...  I can honestly say that laundry is one of my least favorite chores to do in the world.  But its okay, because cloth diaper laundry is super easy.   I do a load of diapers every two to three days.  I know that the official “rule” is that you should wash your diapers every other day so that they don’t stink but I've never had a problem. (I'm not always the best at staying on top of my chores list.)

   My cloth diaper laundry routine is this:
  •            Regular wash on cold with a little detergent.
  •           Re-wash on hot with detergent with an extra cold rinse.
  •             Hang up covers and diapers with hook and loop closures to dry. 
  •          Throw everything else in the dryer on hot.

I hang dry diapers on a rack in the laundry room.

And that’s it.  I love cloth diaper laundry because I don’t have to worry about pulling everything out of the dryer the second it is done.  Most my diapers have pockets that I stuff but the nice thing is I can stuff the diaper 5 seconds before I put it on my child, so if I put off stuffing the diapers, it's ok. Even though it drives my sister crazy that I don’t neatly fold all my diapers all the time, my baby still always has a dry diaper and a clean bum.

bumGenius 4.0

These are my favorite diapers.  These diapers are very easy to use and are "daddy friendly."  You can adjust the size of the diaper so that it grows as your baby grows.  In figure 1 below, the diaper sizing snaps are in the small size, and in figure 2 they are in the large size.

Figure 3 shows the insert for the diaper.  It's folded over into the small size.  Because we have a boy we stuff the folded size into the front of the diaper for extra absorption but for a girl you would put that at the back of the diaper.  Figure 4 is the pocket that you stuff the insert into.
figure 1

figure 2
figure 3
figure 4

Cost Analysis 

Another wonderful aspect about cloth diapering is that you save money.  And because cloth diapers can last through the diapering of multiple children, the more babies you cloth diaper, the more money you save.  So lets do some math to see just how much we can save:

There are three basic diapering solutions for you and your babies diapering needs; disposable, cloth diapers (to wash at home,)  and cloth diapers with a diapering service.  For my calculations I am going to assume that the average baby is potty trained at two and a half years and that an average their diapers is changed 6 times a day, which is a very conservative estimation.

For the disposable diapers I am basing it estimate off of Costco's Kirkland brand diapers because that is what my husband and I would be using if we went that route.  I researched the Tidee Didee Diaper Service in Portland and used their prices for the estimate.

As you can see, using a stash of bumGenius 4.0 diapers is the cheapest way to go and the diaper service is by far more expensive.  The nice thing is that we started cloth diapering with our first child.  Hopefully, we will have more children in the future, and we can use the same diapers over for them with no added expense.

Edit:  I also wanted to point out that you can save even more money on cloth diapers if you use prefolds and covers like the econobums.   Going this route you could cloth diaper a baby from birth to potty trained for only $100.  You can't beat that.  Also, in the cost analysis I said you would need 24 bumGenius 4.0 diapers, this is pretty conservative.  A lot of people prefer to have 18 diapers and I have even heard of people getting by with 12.

Tips on Cloth Diapering
  • You don’t have to be Super Mom.  I am far from perfect and I do just fine.  If you forget to put your diapers in the wash after on the second day, don’t freak out.  Just wash them the next day, they will be just fine.
  • Make sure you use the laundry tabs on the diapers.  If you don’t fasten them, you will pull a big blob of cloth diapers out of the wash all at once which isn’t very good for your diapers and will be a pain for you.
  • Get a wet bag or two.  I use the ones here and I love them.  They have a zippered dry section and a wet section so they will hold both your clean and dirty diapers. 
  • Get a garbage can with an easy open lid for dirty diapers.  Mine has a lid that swings open with one touch so you can dispose of dirty diapers with one hand. 
  • Find a pail liner that works for you.  I really want one of these from Cotton Babies but right now I’m just using a nylon draw string bag I got in the sporting good section at my local store. 
  • When buying a changing pad cover, don't get a terry cloth one.  We got one because it matched all our other nursery stuff but the hook and loop closures on the diapers kept snagging the on terry cloth.

      Goals for Cloth

           Writing this post has inspired me to make some changes.  First off, I still use disposable wipes.  I've kept thinking that I need to get cloth wipes but I just keep putting it off.  I've heard of  people using a diaper warmer to keep moist cloth wipes in at the changing table.  I've also seen people make their own spray to wet the wipes with before using them.  My first goal is to start using cloth wipes. They are super easy to make or really cheap to buy.  I will keep you all posted on my venture into using cloth wipes.

            My second goal is to invest in a few more diapers.  Cotton Babies just came out with a brand new diaper called the Freetime All-in-One diapers. Once they are in the retail stores I will have to head  over to Vancouver to check it out. 
            Finally, I would really like to influence a few people into trying cloth diapers.  I don't want to guilt anyone into it but I just want to let people see Peter in his adorable diapers.  Hopefully people will see how easy they are and try them out for themselves.

      Peter is in new "Albert" diaper

           Comment Below
         I wrote this entry to enter a contest for Jenn Labit, owner and founder of Cotton Babies.  I have not received any compensation for writing it but I could win 12 cloth diapers and if you leave a comment YOU could win 12 cloth diapers too.  Let me know what you think of cloth diapers.   


      1. Great post, Greta! I truly hope that others will be inspired to use cloth diapers, too. My only regret is that I didn't start using them sooner - just think of all the money I would have saved if I had! I'm glad that cloth is working out for you, and that you love your diapers as much as I do. :)

      2. Love your post about cloth diapers! We use BG also, and love love LOVE them! We just got some of the new Freestyle, and they are awesome. I'm making it my mission to convince all of my pregnant friends that they must do cloth too :)

      3. Greta, what a great post! This is such a good "intro" to cloth diapering, it isn't too overwhelming...perfect place to send my friends who are expecting. We use Bum Genius 4.0 also and love them so are right about the poop...disposables don't hold a candle to the cloth in holding all the BF poops - and the only time we've ever had leaks is because of user-error - silly husband :) Thanks for sharing!

      4. Great post! I love cloth diapering. Currently though since sone of thorns from my first child were junk we currently cloth diaper part time till I can get our stash built back up. I hope it is before baby number 3 arrives in June! I love your washing routine I may copy it! What detergents do you recommend?

      5. Great post! You provided some useful information to help me get started CD'ing my LO. Thank you so much for sharing your link!

      6. BetsyRose, right now I use Tide Free and Gentle but I know that isn't a recommended detergent because it can cause residue build up in the diapers. Because of this I use a very small amount in the loads. I need to get new detergent soon and I think I am going to try the Rockin' Green or the bumGenius brand detergent.

      7. Loving your laundry rack. We have cabinets and I have no idea what I'm going to do for indoor drying!

        And, it's so great that you can use the same diapers for both kids. I wish I would have known this when I had #1 and #2 in diapers!

      8. Oh I've heard the tide original in powder is okay. One more question did you create your diaper rack your self? I love it I think once our stash grows I may have to something like it. Do you care if I pin it for future references?

      9. Go for it! But I didn't make it, the rack was in the house when we moved it. I think it is just a basic laundry room self system.

      10. I love our cloth wipes! You won't regret it. You should try some with bamboo velour, it's so soft (we got ours at Sweetbottoms for $1.50 each).

        I can't imagine using disposable diapers (or wipes). Cloth is just too cute! Not to mention, I'm not sure where I would be getting the money to buy disposables from.

      11. I've been wanting to switch to cloth wipes too. I even have some with the cutest boy designs. I need to get on with it and make the switch!

      12. This makes me really consider going to cloth. Nice post greta!

      13. Thank you so much for sharing all of this information! As someone who currently uses disposables but would really like to start cloth diapering, I found this post EXTREMELY helpful!

      14. I'm really glad I found this post! We use disposables but this has given me a lot of information and made things seem a lot clearer. Cloth might be something my husband will consider after reading this!

      15. Thanks guys, I'm really glad this helped. Kristen and Jen, I hope you guys take the plunge. Cloth diapering can seem really overwhelming but once you get started its actually quite easy. Feel free to email me or leave comments if you have any specific questions. I'd be more than happy to help.

      16. Great post! We love cloth diapering too! It is surprisingly easy and our son is so cute in cloth :)
        My mom used cloth on me when I was a baby and she is so amazed at how user friendly and adorable modern cloth diapers are. She mentioned that I never had diaper rash as a baby and that has held true for us so far as well.
        Good luck (to us both ;) 12 diapers from Cottonbabies would be AWESOME!

      17. No blowouts!? You sold me! Great post :)

      18. This is a very helpful article on cloth diapering. As a dad, I've had some reservations to fully support there use. After reading this post, your insight and reasoning makes a lot of sense. I really liked the monetary comparisons. I'm finding it more challenging to find reasons on why not... The bar chart was very helpful for me, thanks for providing a different approach on a surprisingly interesting topic.

      19. My husband and I were reluctant about cloth diapering, but after using them for 3 months we are sold. For the first month we used disposable diapers and had MANY blow outs. With our cloth diapers we have maybe had 1 or 2 blowouts. When we have to use sposies now we always comment on how flimsy they are.

      20. Your article inspired me to start CD. My husband still isn't sold, so we currently have a 2 week "trial" pack. I really hope they work out! 12 diapers would be awesome! Good luck! (To both of us I guess!)

      21. Kaitlin, I am so glad you are trying cloth diapers. Feel free to ask if you have any questions about it.

      22. Thanks for comparing cloth to kirkland disposables. Most cloth comparison charts I have seen compare Huggies or Pampers at full price with no coupons or sales and most people I know never pay full price for disposables so the charts aren`t that accurate. I love my cloth diapers, currently using them on both my 7 month old and my 24 month old. Love the cute matching fluffy bums:)

      23. I couldn't imagine having to buy pampers. Peter was a preemie so while I waited for him to get to 8lbs we used disposables and only used kirkland because everything else was so expensive.

      24. Thanks for posting this. I really had no idea how they worked!

      25. Awesome comparisons and insider info on CD! I am going to look in my area for a store to see what they have!

      26. Thank you for all the info! New CD mom right here!
        Jessica huffman

      27. This is a great post! We have been CD'ing since we got home from the hospital and we haven't looked back. Our DCP told us in the beginning they would use cloth, and then changed their answer... so now we have in-home care that loves the cloth too!

      28. Great blog, Greta! Very thorough and informative! So glad you're taking the environmentally responsible route! So many people seem to think that disposables are so convenient, but I think you've shown how truly convenient, versatile, environmentally responsible, and AFFORDABLE cloth diapers really are.
        Nice job, Gret!

        1. Thanks Gail! And they really are affordable, as long as you don't have too much of an addiction :)

      29. I am also using cloth on our 6month old son and Bum Genius is by far our favorite! It is so much easier than we first thought & it is nice knowing that we're not filling up our trash with disposables.

      30. Great post Greta! I am currently Part-time cloth diapering, and am so excited & ready to get into full time! I got a great recommendation from a friend about cloth wipes- rather than buying some of the more expensive ones, you can just prep & use baby wash cloths. I got tons at my shower, and saved a few to try out. If it works for me I'll let you know!

      31. I love your blog and especially this post. It really makes me consider getting cloth diapers for my little one for coat and environmental reasons. Thank you for the information so I can show my husband :)

      32. Loved this post, I have been thinking more and more about trying cloth diapers, and this really helped me understand it better!

      33. We've been using cloth diapers since our son was about 6 weeks old. At first it seemed really outrageous to have a tiny baby in such a giant diaper. Now I'm so glad we've stuck with it and really have a groove for the laundry/stuffing routine. I'm so glad we don't have to buy hundreds of dollars worth of diapers and run to the store every time we run out. Excellent post. I hope it helps a lot of people realize just how easy it is.

      34. Super informative and helpful fir someone lookng to get into cloth diapering. Thanks!

      35. I love this post! It is so true that cloth prevents blowouts. Everytime we use a "sposie" I dread poops because it usually goes everywhere. I can't imagine living in fear of poop all the time! I use cheap baby wash rags for cloth wipes and make my own solution. I love using cloth wipes even more than I love cloth diapers! They get her bottom so much cleaner and the solution leaves her skin soft. I also think your drying rack is genious!

      36. Well done and very informative Greta. I used cloth diapers for my girl long-long time ago and we did not have anything this cool, what a find!

        Being environmentally responsible - perspicacious
        Price of cloth diapers - affordable
        Pictures of the kids - "Priceless"

      37. Greta love your blog it is great. I had tried the cloth diapers many years ago or actually tried to start but was not able to due to living arangements. Was curious if they were different than 23 years ago and have to say I was impressed. They are much improved! Gotta say that boy or yours is very handsome!!!

      38. awesome, thanks for all the info! i am considering switching from disposables to cloth and this has helped a lot!