Thursday, December 17, 2009

My Experience w/Preparing for Cloth Diapering

Soooo ... I've decided to cloth diaper and honestly, I can't wait to get started. The process of becoming acclimated to the world of CDs ... with all of its innovation ... well ... lets just say that cloth diapering a baby today is nothing like the experience of moms from yesteryear. At this point, I'm totally obsessed with everything and anything cloth diaper ... I can't believe how many hours of research have gone into this process ... hours that I've spent on a daily basis searching the internet, asking questions on various sites, visiting local Chicago and Houston cloth diapering stores, searching for the "just right" ingredients for homemade detergent, etc. ... its been completely and totally overwhelming with sprinkles of complete glee and satisfaction ... I'm proud of what I've accomplished ...

While I'm FINALLY at peace with my decisions (after all, there are so many options to choose from), I have to admit that there have been a few threats to that sense of peace that I've worked so hard to attain and maintain. From time to time when I see that some other cloth diaper has been recommended (other than a choice that I've made) or some experienced cloth diapering mom has had less success with a particular diaper that I've chosen ... a tiny bit of panic sets in ... but what's a new momma to do but wait and see ... that's just what I plan on doing ... waiting and seeing ... after all, I've learned throughout this process that what works for some doesn't necessarily work for all. There's also the negative comments (e.g., "Uh ... do you have any idea of how much work that's gonna be ... you're brave ... I definitely wouldn't do it") and looks of complete and utter confusion to contend with that I receive from time to time from people who are solely familiar with the historical challenges of cloth diapering ... the horror stories that they have heard from their moms or grandmothers.

Fortunately, I always have my mother's voice of reason who has always insisted, "I was pleased when I found out that you were cloth diapering your baby ... you NEVER wore a plastic diaper in your life. I never had a problem with them and I have nothing to compare them to ... I know one thing, you never had a diaper rash ... we didn't have all that you all have now ... like the wet bags ... when we were out, your dad or I would just change you and then I'd put the dirty diapers in a plastic bag and stick it in my diaper bag ... no biggy." Thanks mom :D

Regardless of what challenges come about as a result of my choice to cloth diaper my little girl (an extra load or two of laundry a week), its a decision that I stand by ... after all, there are just too many reasons to stick with it ... (most of the following information came from The New Parent's Guide (

1. I know for a fact that it's better for the environment ... I mean my goodness, for one, they're reusable. From what I've seen, good cotton diapers will hold up for 75 - 100 washings (at minimum), and can be saved for the next child. WooHoo! Free for baby #2! This is also evidenced by the number of cloth diapering moms who actually sell their cloth diapers once they've finished ... again, great for the environment. Even though energy is required for washing the diapers, it's still a fraction of the energy used for disposables. Cloth diapers are also recyclable (great rags in the future).

It's estimated that about 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture disposable diapers for American babies alone. Honestly, that's INSANE!!!! Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they have to be exposed to air (oxygen) and the sun. These conditions are often unlikely making for the decomposition of disposable diapers to take several hundred years , with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The untreated waste placed in landfills by dirty disposable diapers is also a possible danger to contaminating ground water. The amount of water used per week to wash cloth diapers at home is about the same from what I've hard to flushing the toilet 5 - 6 times a day. Also, when flushing solids from a cloth diaper down the toilet and washing the diapers in a washing machine, the contaminated, dirty water from both toilet and washing machine go into the sewer systems where they are properly treated at waste water plants. This treated waste water is much more environmentally friendly than dumping untreated disposable diapers into a landfill.

2. I think that there are so many health related benefits to cloth diapering. Some concerns about disposable diapers have been about dyes, sodium polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel), and dioxin, which is a by-product of bleaching paper. Babies have been known to pull disposables apart and put pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth. That can't be a good thing.

One of my main concerns is diaper rash. According to the Journal of Pediatrics, 54 % of one-month old babies using disposable diapers had rashes, 16 % having severe rashes. A study done by a disposable diapers manufacturing company (won’t name the company, but its one of the largest manufacturers) shows that the incidence of diaper rash increased from 7.1% to 61% with the increased use of disposable diapers. Hands down, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (and a little common sense might I add), the best way to prevent diaper rash is to change diapers, cloth or disposable, frequently. While disposable diapers can hold large quantities of urine, this slight wetness is still against your baby’s skin, which can lead to rashes. Cloth diapers are more often changed every time baby wets. From what I've heard, baby immediately lets everyone know that they're wet ... there are no "super gels" to keep them feeling dry and so parents are apt to change more frequently.

3. My research also indicates that the cost of cloth diapers, home laundered, is considerably lower cost than buying disposables ... from birth through potty training. Now I will say that the "start up" costs were "staggering" ... I was however, able to save some money by purchasing some gently used diapers that were in great condition ... I mean excellent condition. I was able to find some great deals via the internet and I couldn't be more pleased ... particularly considering the amount of money that I would have spent on them had I purchased them new.

In the long run, I know that we're saving money. Babies will go through an estimated 6000 diaper changes from birth to potty. Lets check out the actual savings over a 2.5 year period of diapering ... The following information came from the Banana Peels Diapers (

Cost of disposables: $2000

Cost of disposable wipes: $800

Total cost disposables: $2800

Cost of cloth diapers: $840

Cost of cloth wipes (24): $42

Total cost of cloth: $882

Uhh ... hello ... Savings: $2000!

4. Last but not least, they're adorable ... as I stated earlier, I'm completely obsessed with cloth diapers ... they're absolutely adorable! So, for my little lady, they're a bit of a fashion statement :D

Now lets take a look at my stash but a few things before we move on:

  1. no bumgeneious ... for some reason, the not so great reviews of the velcro kinda freaks me out ... I've heard that the manufacturer has no problem with fitting your used cds with new velcro but honestly, who wants to go through the trouble of sending the diapers in to be "fixed." (NOTE: you will find that a few of my dipes have velcro ... they were purchased before my revelation)
  2. I'm loving the one size diapers ... well the idea of them ... after all, they grow with your baby ... I did purchase a couple of all-in-ones (AIOs) just to see what they're like but I've heard that in general, they tend to have more problems with leaking and of course, they can become expensive ... it's not like you're just switching out a soiled prefold w/a fresh one and keeping the cover ... you're getting rid of the entire diaper with each change ... expensive to purchase that many ... I'm not interested
  3. You'll also notice that in general, there tends to be a lot of variability ... I'm new and was interested in trying out a few options ...

This is what my stash and diaper related accessories looks like as of today:

  1. 6 thirsties duo wraps - size 1
  2. 12 flats
  3. 12 prefolds
  4. 2 thirsties pocket AOIs (all in ones) - size small
  5. 2 one size blueberry delux snap diapers
  6. 2 fuzzi bunz one size diapers
  7. 24 fitted Kissaluvs (used might I add) - size 0 (great for healing cord)
  8. 3 econobum one size diaper covers and 12 one size econobum prefolds (one size - grows w/baby)
  9. 3 fleece covers (for nighttime) (2xs, 1 sm)
  10. 3 Olive Jane's diaper covers (etsy seller) (1xs, 2 sm)
  11. 3 Flip one size diaper covers and 10 Flip stay dry diaper inserts (one size - grows w/baby)
  12. 3 snappi fasteners
  13. 2 Planet Wise Diaper Pail Liners
  14. 2 medium Planet Wise wetbags
  15. 1 small Planet Wise webag
  16. 5 Kissaluvs Super Soaker Diaper Doublers
  17. 35 cloth baby wipes
  18. Bummis Biosoft Liners
  19. Bummis Fleece Liners

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