Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Cloth Diapers: Final Verdict

Now that I've been using cloth diapers for a while, and since a couple of my pregnant friends have asked my official opinion, I thought I would give you an update on what I think of this whole cloth thing.

  • I see a substantial cost savings. However, keep in mind that I have TWO babies in diapers...I'm not sure that the cost savings are quite so significant if you only have one babe. Also, keep in mind that I bought the bulk of my diaper stash used via Craigslist. The retail price on cloth diapers is quite high...which would still be worth it for multiples, but definately less of a savings for a singleton.
  • No diaper rashes. Neither of the girls has ever had a diaper rash and I have had no issues with them reacting to the diapers. While Henry never seemed sensitive to any of the disposable brands, there are many children who react to certain brands (apparently I had a perpetual diaper rash as a baby until my mom switched me from Pampers to Huggies!).
  • They're cute. I know this is lame, but I like them better than the Sesame Street characters. :)
  • If you are concerned about the environment, they save landfills. Apparently no one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to biodegrade...but estimates range from 250-500 years. I don't think you have to be a hippie to find that worrisome.
  • They are bulky...both underneath clothes and in your diaper bag. In fact, I've taken to just packing disposable diapers when we go out. I have a wet bag so I'm not concerned about having to carry around a dirty cloth diaper...but when you have to pack a minimum of 4 diapers...and they don't fold down as compactly as the disposables...they take up a HUGE amount of space in my bag. Again, if you have a singleton this may not be a big deal since you don't have to pack as many diapers to begin with...
  • They leak at nighttime. I was supposed to buy hemp inserts a while back to see if that solved the problem of the regular inserts not holding 12 hours of pee...but I was lazy and we just put the girls in a disposable for nighttime. Remember, my major motivation is using 2 disposables per day is fine by us...and I just didn't want to fiddle with it to be honest.
  • They leak if you keep them on baby longer than 2 hours. Here's my biggest issue with cloth: if you don't stay ahead of it, you'll find yourself changing baby clothes and crib sheets a lot. The cloth diapers hold just fine...but you know how in disposables they get all mushy when they are overfull and you go "oops! you need a new diaper!"...yeah, well, there's no grace period with cloth. You really have to stay on top of things and be sure to give the baby a fresh diaper about every two hours. If you lose track of time, you'll have a leak on your hands. As long as you can keep track of time and not end up totally side are fine. I have a harder time with this...not sure if it's because I have three kids 2 and under or what, but I find myself swapping clothes a lot. Maybe if I only had one baby at a time this would be less of an issue. But for now, losing track of time is the story of my life. Which is a bit of a bummer. Incidentally, the fact that they can't stay on too long is probably why you end up with no diaper rashes...
A few weeks ago, I stayed at my grandma's for 4 days. I used disposables while I was down there so that I wouldn't have to lug laundry soap and deal with it at someone else's house. At one point I thought: "Gee, this whole throw it away and never have to see this diaper again thing is kinda nice..." And then I realized that I went through about 65 diapers in 4 days. Not counting Henry.

Eh, it's not THAT nice.

Notice how none of my cons have anything to do with laundry? HONESTLY, truly...the laundry thing is NO BIG DEAL. I end up doing about 2 extra loads of laundry per week. And really, my washing machine does 90% of the work. I just have to push a few buttons and then stuff inserts in about 10 minutes' time. The laundry thing is a complete if that's your worry...don't let it be. I *hate* laundry and this doesn't phase me so you should be fine.

Oh, and it's not gross...not much of an icky factor either. But I'm a takes a lot to gross me out by now.

Summary: I highly recommend cloth for moms of multiples. Just be sure to change frequently. If you do that and use disposables at night, you are golden. If you are only baking one baby??? Well, I'm not sure it's entirely worth it. The cost savings is definately less...especially if you have to buy the diapers at full retail price. And if you are a first time might not need another "project", you know?

IF we have a fourth baby (and it comes without a mate) would I use cloth? Um...probably not. It is more work...not a TON of work...but it is more work than just tossing things away. I guess it all ends up being just one. more. thing. Not a big thing or a difficult thing, but another THNG. So, you either have to really need to save that money or you have to really want to be "green".

It's not awful, it's not terrible, it's not difficult. The laundry is a non-issue. It's not gross. It's just an extra thing to keep track of...which can be a pain.


Mary Kay said...

I'm glad they're working for you. Since I'm your "hippie" mother-in-law, I do think that the landfill issue is a good reason for everyone to cut down on the amount of disposable diapers they use. Better for the planet is better for all babies!

andy gibson said...

Ok, I was going to post this before I saw my mother's comment...let me be clear...I DO NOT care about the landfill issue. I just need to uphold my reputation there...I am not a hippie.

Jeannett Gibson said...

First of all, I KNEW just KNEW that you would comment on this post. Secondly, I don't think ANYONE would mistake you for a hippie (not that you would let them). Thirdly, I was SURE that your comment would refute the number of years I quoted for diapers to biodegrade. You are a nerd. Thanks for sharing.

Jonathan said...

[Insert cliché dissenting Republican comment here]