While pregnant, we decided that we would use cloth diapers. Our decision was mostly based on cost; cloth diapers are way cheaper than disposables. You pay up front with the cloth diapers instead of as you go with disposables. Dropping $300 at once can hurt, but it is way less than you would spend on disposables in the long run. Let’s say you have 10 diaper changes a day for 2 years, which is 7,300 diapers. If you spend $45 on a box of 210 diapers, that is about $1,575 spent on diapers in the first 2 years. If you have 5,000 diaper changes, 6.8 diaper changes a day for two years that cost is $1,041.43. If you use 2 disposable diapers a day for 2 years, which is 1,460 diapers for a cost of $312.86.
We received one cloth diaper as a shower gift and about 300 disposables. My Aunt made us this kick ass diaper cake and we were gonna use it up. Those first few weeks you are constantly changing diapers. You change a poopy diaper and a minute later you are changing a poopy diaper cause baby wasn’t done yet. The diaper cake was made from pampers which have turned out to be our favorite of the disposables. We tried all sorts of hippie diapers, chlorine free, made from corn, unbleached. I didn’t even know why I should use chlorine free diapers (dioxions?). But we tried them all and they all leaked.
What no one tells you about diapers is that at some point all diapers will leak. It doesn’t matter who put the diaper on, it will fail. We have been lucky that we have only had 2 poopy leaky diapers. My husband got one which got on everything he was wearing including his socks, shoes, and underwear. My mother-in-law got the other one. Newborn infants lack the leg chunk that helps diapers not leak. The good news is that baby pee is pretty harmless. Yes, I did run to Whole Foods one day knowingly aware that there was baby pee down the front of me.
Many people think you have to do one or the other but we use both in our house. When Orion was 6 weeks old, we went to Abby’s Lane to invest in a cloth diaper stash and diaper sprayer. The very next day my father died and Orion and I spent the next few weeks out of town. We continued to use disposables because sometimes you just need to make things as easy as possible. Once we were back at home and had the diaper sprayer hooked up, we were ready to start our cloth diaper adventure. We still used disposables at night and we often still do. We have used cloth diapers at night with a wool cover with some success but it can be hard to get his pajamas to fit over the big diaper butt.
One issue with cloth diapers is getting clothing to fit over them. If you go up a size and your baby is learning to walk, they can end up tripping over their pants or footie pajamas or they may walk right out of them. I look forward to summer when I can have Orion running around in just a diaper, t-shirt, and baby legs to protect his knees from carpet burn. Then at night he can wear a shirt and sleep sack with a cloth diaper and wool cover. I have found that the Little Peanut happy pant by Peek is great for cloth diaper butt. I want these pants in every color and every size! (But of course I can't find them and got the one pair on clearance at Nordstrom Rack)
Then there is the waste factor of disposables. Can you imagine a pile of 7,300 dirty diapers!? There has been some debate regarding whether it is better for the environment to use cloth over disposables. Water is a renewable resource, for now at least but landfill space is not. We have one of those newfangled front loading energy efficient washing machines. I was worried that this machine would not be able to get my diapers clean because of what I had been reading on cloth diaper blogs. We cannot add extra water to our machine but we don’t need to, our diapers always come out fresh and clean. We have had no issues with staining or detergent build up. Most studies on cloth vs. disposables have not taken these new energy/water efficient washing machines into account.
Bottom line is that disposable diapers take up a lot of space in landfills. It really doesn’t matter what kind of disposable diaper you are throwing into the trash because nothing is going to biodegrade inside a landfill. I took a little seminar on composting and it is very important to turn, mix, and aerate compost in order for it to break down. That is defiantly not happening at the landfill and if your diapers are inside a plastic diaper pail bag it will never happen.
What we are doing seems to be working for us. Orion has had the smallest touch of diaper rash once way up on his coin slot. It did take me awhile to go out and about in public with cloth diapers but now that I have gotten used to it I find it as easy as disposable. Yes, I do laundry everyday but it is now apart of our bedtime routine. Next, I will go into detail about what cloth diapers we like. And if you want to read more about the diaper debate check: