Diapers, diapers, diapers. If you’re a mom, there’s no way around it — you’ll be changing diapers for the next couple years. I have had a child (or more) in diapers for the past 11 years, 10 months and 15 days, give or take a day.
For us, disposables have been the way to go. I know. I know, “Save the landfill.” Well, each of us needs to find her own groove and mine is called Huggies or Pampers or whatever brand is on sale this week.
That said, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those of you who do cloth. Wow! This guest post is brought to you by Kerrie, who’ll share her diaper journey with you.
When most people hear the words “cloth diapers” they head for the hills. They think of handling poop and of the tedious laundering. When I became pregnant with our first son 9 years ago, my husband was interested in the environmental aspect of cloth; I was just interested in saving some cash. LifeAsMom readers are practical, frugal and smart, so I’m going to give you the skinny on both “green” aspects: environmental AND financial.
THE “GREEN” ADDS UP
Along with not having to race to the store for diapers when I run out, I also enjoy not having to work the cost of diapers into my monthly budget. I’ve read different figures on how many diapers the average child will go through by the time he is potty-trained, so I’m going to average it out to about 6,000 diapers used and about $2,000 per child spent. As for the environment, almost 20 billion diapers (3.5 million tons of waste) are put into landfills each year, and this doesn’t even take into account the packaging of the diapers.
I estimate I’ve spent about $600 TOTAL on cloth diapers (plus about $255 on water, detergent, and washer/dryer energy) over the course of 8 years for 4 kids. My husband was able to buy a fishing boat recently, and the figures I worked up show that my cloth diapering allowed him to do that!
We don’t have a diaper service in my city, so I’ve always washed and dried our cloth diapers myself. For me, it’s no more difficult than doing a regular load of laundry. When I have an infant, I probably wash and dry diapers every other day. When I have a baby who is over a few months old, I often launder diapers twice a week. It’s easier than ever to use cloth these days.
For instance, if you can’t stand the thought of touching poop, you can buy a sprayer that hooks up to your toilet and will get the poop off for you after a diaper change! I use an old kitty litter pail to store dirty diapers, and keeping the lid on tight keeps the smell away from me! You can also buy deodorizing discs for your pail.
I’ve always used one-size Motherease diapers, which is a two- or three-part system (diaper with snaps, optional liner and waterproof, breathable cover). There are many companies that make different kinds of cloth diapers. Your best bet is to do an Internet search for “cloth diapers.”
Keep in mind most daycare providers will NOT use cloth diapers for sanitation and storage reasons; still, you could use cloth at night and on weekends. And I’m no cloth diaper snob … I love my disposables as much as the next gal when it comes to vacations, travel and times when I think I’m gonna go insane if I have one more load of laundry to do. We also use Pull-ups at night with my 4-year-old daughter.
Whether you are trying to conceive, are pregnant with your FIFTH child, or have grandkids coming down the pike, give cloth diapers a thought … you might be surprised!
I’m always happy to answer questions about cloth diapers at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me at The Kerrie Show for posts on all kind of topics, including attachment parenting, product and book reviews, writing and daily life, homeschooling, and growing a large family.