October 22, 2012

On cloth diapers

I don't think I've ever written about our experience using cloth diapers, and some of you have shown an interest in the past, so here we go.

We have been using cloth since day 1,when Emilu was first born. Back then I spent many weeks of research, going back and forth with friends that were already on board with cloth, and all the other related things like how to wash and what detergent was best.  Shortly after, we were sold on the idea of a cloth diapering system.  What appealed to us was the sustainable lifestyle. Sustainability is about conserving as much as we possibly can.  So, we liked the idea of not contributing to a carbon polluting product by buying and disposing massively. But we also love the money we are saving by not buying a pack of regular diapers every week.

But cloth diapering is not for everyone...

Cost:  Our initial investment was around $170.  This covered us up until she was about 6 months old. We got 24 organic cotton cloth diapers, 35 cloth liners, 7 diaper covers, and two diaper pail bags; one for the laundry bag and another one for the carry on/everyday bag. We initially used a detergent called Rockin' Green but after a few weeks, we realized we were spending too much money, as it isn't cheap at $14 for a smaller bag (18 onz.).  So I went more mainstream and started using the Arm & Hammer brand free of dyes, perfumes, and softeners.  This is extremely important for cloth diapers, because the buildup and residue of additives in regular detergents interfers with absorption.  We have been using it ever since.   

Performance and Maintenance:  I wash the cloth diapers every 2-3 days. A cloth diaper change lasts about 3-4 hours in an infant, unless it's soiled with fecal matter, and for a toddler it's between 2-4 hours. The good thing about cloth is that I'm able to identify number 2 more easily in cloth than in regular diapers, because of the breathable cotton material. As far as diaper rashes are concerned, I have not found a difference between using cloth or regular. Rashes occur when you have failed to immediately change a cloth or regular diaper that's been soiled with fecal matter. And this has happened to me with both.   Cloth diapers are not for everyone.  Laundering this often doesn't square with some people, in my case I don't mind, because we have a high efficiency, small washer and drier, which means I have to do laundry regularly every 2-3 days anyway,  to avoid dirty clothes from piling up.  As far as disposing of fecal matter in cloth diapers, we just flush it down the toilet, do a quick rinse out in the bath tub with hot, running water and soak them in a bucket filled with water I keep behind the toilet with a lid, since they get laundered every 2-3 days, this helps with stains or odor.  Therefore we don't use any bleaching or fighting-stain products ever.   

The second and final investment was when she turned 8 months old.  She needed new cloth diapers as her small ones were too small.  So I washed and stored the infant size ones for a future use, hopefully.  I also stored a couple of the diaper covers that were infant or small size.  I was left with 4 one-size covers, meaning they grow with her.  I bought another pack of 24 organic unbleached cotton diapers, and 4 more one-size covers.  These I bought with snaps, instead of velcro, and I love them.  The total cost was $85.   The reason why I need less diaper covers than cloth diapers is because they seldom get dirty.  A good wipe off is all they need in between diaper changes if they don't get soiled.

Technique: Putting a cloth diaper on:

We love our cloth diapers, but if you are asking yourself if I still use regular diapers, the answer is yes, I do. Whenever we travel or go away for vacation, we have to. But, overall it makes me feel less guilty. And I do like regular diapers too. They are very convenient, except I hate spending money when I could be using it for something else.

1 comment:

  1. Those are so cute. We had considered going the route of cloth diapers.. and after weighing all the pros and cons I gave into laziness and went with with regular diapers in the end.