Today’s post is a contribution from a friend I’ve known many years thanks to our “Mommy Group” online. She has written a great article detailing her personal journey to using cloth diapers and how it works for her family. Thanks Lisa!
I cloth diaper for one reason and one reason only…to save money. When Kim started cloth diapering along with other women in our group, I was uninterested. At the time, I was a working mom with a full time job and spending $40/month on disposable diapers seemed cheap and it saved me from spending my precious free time doing extra laundry. Plus my daughter was going to daycare and I didn’t want to deal with trying to get our provider to use cloth. Then I had my son 19 months after my daughter was born. My husband and I made the decision that I should stay at home and I started looking for ways to save money. While $40/month on diapers seemed cheap, $80/month seemed like a fortune!
One of my friends mentioned that with my sewing skills, cloth diapering could make diapering the second child almost free, so I looked into it. At first I was blinded by all the cuteness. Great patterns, great fabrics, so many choices! Then I priced it out. Even making my own all-in-ones would have cost around $11/diaper. (And let’s face it, sewing time with even one child was very limited…how was I going to make enough diapers?) Instead, I went the prefold and cover route. I bought some infant and toddler sized cotton prefolds for around $50. Then I got the Little Comet Tails diaper pattern and got to sewing covers. I spent around $30 on the pattern, fabric, elastic, and aplix and made 10 covers in varying sizes.
When my son was born, we used a few disposables in the hospital, then went to the prefolds and covers at home. They worked great! I loved that I could just wash the breastmilk poop and hang them to dry and remove stains in the sun. Doing the extra 2 loads of laundry a week didn’t bother me, especially since I didn’t have to fold anything after the wash. I just stacked up the diapers and put them next to the changing table.
We do use some disposables though. I don’t want to deal with dirty diapers when we go out and about, and once my son started sleeping through the night, he wet through the cloth every time. Rather than try to figure out how to make cloth work at night, I put him in disposables for bed.
I also prefer not to deal with big kid poop. Once he started eating solids, I invested in some flushable liners. I use the Imse Vimse brand and have been pretty happy with them. If there is no poop, I throw the liner in the wash with the diapers and can reuse them once or twice before they fall apart. If there is poop, I throw the whole thing in the toilet and the cloth stays relatively clean.
This system has worked well for us. We go through a large box of disposables every 4-5 months now instead of every month, so using cloth part time has saved us ~$30/month. More, if you count the Diaper Genie usage. Now our Diaper Genie is mostly filled with wipes and not dirty diapers, so the refills last longer.
I like how using cloth diapers is not an all-or-nothing venture. We save money where we can, but don’t give up convenience when we need it. My son loves and prefers cloth (he recently complained about being in disposables for a week when we went out of town), but I regularly go out with 2 kids by myself and I have 2 water bottles, snacks, and sometimes even a meal in my purse. I can’t cart around clean AND dirty cloth diapers if we go to Disneyland or the zoo all day. 2-3 disposable diapers and some wipes takes up far less space. It’s all about what works for us, and I’m glad we figured out a good compromise between cloth and disposable diapers.