Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Diaper Diaries: Part 4

It's been quite awhile since we talked cloth diapers. I wish I could say that the little man was miraculously potty trained at 21 months, but that's just dreaming. I thought maybe we were due for a little chat about what cloth diapering looks like with a kid constantly on the move, and one who eats real food. Basically, unless we are having something spicy for dinner, Bert eats exactly what Keith and I are eating.

First up, what have we changed? (Besides a lot of diapers.)
• We've switched from a wet bag to a diaper pail (like this), with a washable liner inside.
• We generally put Bert in a disposable at night, for a couple reasons: he was wet enough get uncomfortable during the night, requiring a middle of the night diaper change; and without going into detail, there was a minor health issue with his nether regions being damp all night.
• We had just been using plain water to wet the reusable flannel wipes but now I put a squirt of his baby body wash in the spray bottle with the water for a little extra cleanliness.
• He was in his medium-sized covers so long that the velcro started to wear out, so we had to sew on a new strip of that.
• Bert is now in the large size of the bummis covers (27-36 lbs) and that should take him to potty training.

The diaper routine is pretty simple these days. If it is just wet, it gets tossed in the diaper pail. Poopy diapers get scraped into the toilet and most of the mess gets flushed away, and then we rinse them with cold water before putting them in the pail. Every other day, the diapers, covers, wipes, and pail liner get washed. We run a cold rinse cycle first, then a hot wash/cold rinse with our homemade detergent. We hang them out to dry if we can, otherwise they go in the dryer.

So, has it been worth it? I think so. Here's a little breakdown of what we've invested in cloth diapers so far:
• $260 for the starter set, 4 medium covers, and 24 additional prefolds
• $60 for 5 large covers
• $20 for diaper pail
• $30 for 2 washable diaper pail liners

So that's $370 total (and some of the supplies we received as gifts, or used rewards points to purchase). At this point, Bert has about 6 diaper changes each day. I figured out the disposables we buy cost about $0.35 each. If we used disposables all the time, the $370 would only cover about 6 months of diapering. And that's being generous, because it doesn't include wipes (which we don't buy regularly) and only accounts for 6 diapers each day (he regularly had 8-12 diaper changes a day when he was tiny and still breastfeeding.) Granted, we do buy an eco-friendly (or at least eco-friendlier) disposable diaper for use at night and when we are away from home whereas if we used disposables all the time, we would definitely look at cheaper options.

We do have a bit of ongoing cost with the cloth diapers because of needing to wash them. And with the cold, dreary winter we've had, they have certainly been thrown in the dryer more than I would have liked. But let's just say that a load of diapers and wipes, which I do every other day, costs $2 to wash and dry. (You can check out those numbers here.) With an average of 12 diapers, that still only comes out to $0.17 a diaper, plus there are wipes in there, and the liner, so we are definitely at half the cost of a disposable. And if we have a nice day when the diapers go out on the line, we are talking about 3 pennies per diaper.

Overall, we have been really happy with the choice to do cloth diapers. We have actually had less leaks in them than in disposables. Even at night, Bert wouldn't be soaked through in cloth diapers, he would just feel the wetness more and be uncomfortable. I haven't dealt with poop leaking out of a cloth diaper, but several times when we have been away from home, his disposables have leaked poop. We're happy it costs so little, and we aren't constantly dragging garbage bags of yucky diapers to the curb to be dumped in landfills. We've also heard that kids in cloth diapers potty train easier, so here's hoping. (Occasionally Bert tells me, "Poopy!" when he has a dirty diaper so that's a good sign!)

So that's the scoop on the diapers these days. I thought about photos to accompany this post, but what part of this process would you really want to see?


  1. Thank you! I am still not in the position to buy diapers, but I've done lots of research, and it's so overwhelming! It's nice to have a real person share their experience.

    1. If you ever have more questions, feel free to leave them here as a comment and I'll give you whatever advice I can! I'm no expert but I know it helps to hear a first-hand account and sifting through online product reviews can be overwhelming.

    2. Thanks! I will keep your offer in mind. Today is our first home visit/beginning of our home study. We are pursuing adoption through the state.


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