jeremy and i made the choice to use cloth for a number of reasons:
1. we think it's better for the environment.
jer and i were sickened to learn that disposable diapers can take up to 500 years to break down in a typical landfill. which means that each and every one of my diapers is still sitting there, with 472 years to go. (jer was cloth diapered... and he's a triplet!). over the course of 2 years, your average baby craps and pees its way through 8,000 diapers. god, that's a lot of changes... no wonder i can't get anything done. but i digress. just thinking about the insane number of diapers (18 billion) getting tossed away each year across the world makes my head spin.
now, opponets of cloth will say that all that washing is as detrimental to the environment as disposables. and yes, they do take water to wash. i'm currently doing 3 extra loads of laundry per week at my house. and laundering cloth diapers isn't as easy as laundering regular clothing. with the washing machine set between small and medium, i do a cold rinse and a hot wash, to get the diapers thoroughly clean. This is followed by an extra cold rinse, to get the laundry soap competely out of the diapers (residue can interfere with their absorbancy). Still, even with this agressive cleaning regimen, experts say that the amount of water used is the eqivelant to flushing the toilet 5-6 extra times per day... the same as having a potty-trained toddler in the house. we also use biodegradable soap in the laundering process. no environmental guilt there.
conversly, disposable diapers use 1.3 million tons of wood pulp — a quarter-million trees — each year, along with plastics, which are made from petroleum resources. water is used in manufacturing, and toxins and byproducts are released into the environment during this process as well. packages of diapers are wrapped in additional plastic. this is an astounding amount of resources used for something that might be on child's bottom for only a few minutes to a few hours... then tossed to sit for centuries.
2. we think it's healthier.
disposable diapers are full of nasty, water-absorbing chemicals. which is why you can stick one on a baby and not have to change said baby for a good long while. but as baby sits, warm urine begins to break down into ammonia, breeding bacteria and resulting in the perfect conditions for diaper rash. parents of cloth-diapered babies often report much lower rates of diaper rash in their children. lucy has yet to have any kind of irritation that has not cleared within a few hours of a changing, and even these have been few and far between. i also get the added relief of knowing there are no plastics or unknown chemicals near her pint-sized dainty parts.
3. we think we're saving money. kinda.
cloth is cheaper in the long run. this fact is easily "googleable," so i won't bore you with stats. lucy's diapers have cost us anywhere from $8-$35... but this is a personal choice. i'm a sucker for cute prints and soft fabrics. but i also have no qualms with buying used diapers, so long as they are in good condition. half of my newborn stash of diapers was 'gently used,' and purchased over the internet. when they arrived i washed them on hot, dried on high, set them in the sun for a day and we were good to go. as of now, i figure i've spent around $400 on diapers and diapering accessories. i have more than enough diapers (see below) and could easily be done for good. could is the key phrase here. c'mon. i already admitted i'm a sucker.
4. we think it's totally fashionable.
i've actually started buying lucy clothes that show off her diapers. things like babylegs, knee-high socks, and regular shirts instead of croch-snapping onesies. we like hot, diaper-only days. and most of what we own are just your run-of-the mill workhouse diapers. there are diapers out there that are over-the-top, to-die-for gorgeous (thegoodmama.com). but i have to remind myself that diapers are for poopy pants. it's not a fashion show... i don't think. sigh.
on to my stash.
we started cloth diapering with 25 kissaluv newborn fitteds:
lucy in a kissaluv fitted (no cover), age 2 weeks
fitteds are an all-cloth dipe with no waterproof layer, therefore needing a cover.
for covers, we had:
6 prowrap covers, a bummis super whisper wrap, and 4 dappi pants.
all in newborn size. we had way too many covers for what we needed, as the kissaluvs are great at containing mess... covers only need to be washed when they get poo on them, and that really only happened maybe once or twice a day... usually accidentally as we were changing her and not a direct result of her actually pooping. at over 12 lbs, lucy still fits well into her kissaluvs, but she had to go a size up in covers. i purchased 2 bummis super whisper wraps in size medium, and that will see us through until she is about 25 lbs.
likes: super soft. come in cute colors. have snap-down to promote umbilical cord stump healing. easy to wash (all one piece). fairly easy to find used, and in good condition. snap closure. line dry very well. contains poo very well.
dislikes: require cover. soak through fairly easily (need to change every 1-2 hours). take a bit long to dry in the dryer. have to buy more as baby grows.
we also had some prefolds. prefolds are the "old-school" cloth diaper. a flat piece of layered cotton, with extra layers in the middle. these are the ones that make great burp cloths, dusting rags, etc. i don't happen to have any pics of lucy in a prefold, which is hard to believe b/c i have nearly 1,000 pictures of this 8 week old child. anyway, prefolds look like this:
that wacky looking thing holding the diaper together is called a snappi. we did not use snappis. i have no idea how they work, either, so don't ask. ... we just folded the diaper into thirds, laid it inside of the diaper cover, and closed the cover (all but the dappi pants have velcro tab closures, very secure).
likes: easy wash. easy dry. kinda retro... feels like a rite of passage. multipe uses. very inexpensive. great to have on hand for backup.
dislikes: require cover. soak through like kissaluvs. need frequent changing. no elastic on the legs, therefore runny poo is not all that well contained.
when lucy reached 10 lbs at about 3-4 weeks, she was ready to enter the exciting world of big girl diapers.
we have 15 bumgenius 3.0's
lucy in a bg 3.0, age 4 weeks.
bg 3.0's are super popular, affordable and do an amazing job at containing mess and keeping baby dry. they're a pocket diaper, meaning that the diaper is comprised of a waterproof outer layer, a bottom fleece-type layer and a top fleece-type layer. an absorbant 'stuffer' insert goes in between the fleecy layers, pulling moisture away from baby's skin. bg's come with 2 inserts, a newborn insert and a larger, thicker insert that absorbs more liquid. inserts can be used together or separatley, depending on the absorabancy desired. there are many brands of pocket diapers, but they all work in this similar way. this particular diaper is a "one size" diaper, meaning that it grows with baby from about 7-35 pounds. snaps on the front make this possible. the diaper closes with "hook & loop" which is a fancy way of saying "velcro."
likes: grows w/ baby (saving money). cute colors. soft. works really well. pocket-style lets user control the absorbancy. great for overnights. come very clean in the wash. drys quickly in the dryer b/c it is in pieces.
dislikes: stuffing & unstuffing diapers is not my favorite activity. not available in prints. not availiable in snap closure. pocket diapers are more prone to repelling issues if not properly laundered.
we have 2 bumgenius organic one size all in ones (that's a freaking mouthful).
lucy (with best bud bugsy) in a bg os organic aio, age 6 weeks
these are super similar to the bg 3.0's, except that insead of a pocket, the absorbant layer is sewn into the diaper. in this case, the absorbant layer is organic cotton. nice and soft. they look identical to the 3.0's from the outside, and grow with baby in the same way.
bg organic os aio's:
likes: organic. grows with baby. comes really clean in the wash. cute. colors. drys VERY quickly for an all-in-one diaper. pretty much all the same benefits as the 3.0.
dislikes: does not wick moisture away from baby's skin like the 3.0 pocket. absorbant layer is cotton which "feels" damp. not availiable in prints or with snap closure.
we have 2 blueberry minky one size pocket diapers
lucy in a blueberry minky one size pocket, 8 weeks old
a one-size pocket diaper in soft, minky fabric. i don't find the inserts to be as absorbant as the bg inserts, so often i stuff them with a bg insert instead. these diapers are meant to be seen & patted often!
likes: so soft. so cute. grows with baby. good absorbancy.
dislikes: have to be stuffed/unstuffed. more likely to repel than non-pocket diaper. insert not as absorbant as bg 3.0. spendy.
we have 4 blueberry snap diapers
lucy in a medium blueberry front snap pocket, age 6 weeks (duh).
i bought these before lucy was born. blueberry was having a 2 for 1 sale, so i splurged even though i had no idea how they'd fit her. glad i did. these are quickly becoming my favorite daytime diaper. they are a pocket, though a microfiber insert is already sewn inside. i sometimes stuff them with an additional bg insert, sometimes not. but these diapers are extremely well made, and are bought by size, so they are noticiably trimmer than their one-size counterparts.
blueberry snap diapers:
likes: well made. adorable. trim. stuffing optional.
dislikes: have to buy as baby grows. not exceptionally absorbant. more likely to repel than non-pocket diaper.
we have 3 swaddlebees one size econappies.
your basic one-size pocket diaper. very similar to the bg 3.0, though not nearly as effective. the insert is not very absorbant at all. still, when stuffed with a bg insert, this is a good diaper. top layer is velour, so nice & soft against baby's skin. we've had a few leaks here and there with this dipe, but as of now i'm chalking it up to the fact that they're a bit big in the thigh.
swaddlebees os econappis:
likes: cute prints. grows with baby. trimmer fit than bg 3.0. soft inner material. snap closure.
dislikes: crappy insert. stuffing & unstuffing sucks. feels somehow cheaper than other diapers... but isn't cheaper. leaks, at least a few for now.
there you have it. i do wash every other day, though i could easily go 3 days in between washings. dirties go into a plastic pail with a PUL liner. when it's time to wash, i throw the whole thing into the machine, liner included. cold rinse, hot wash with ~1/4 c. seventh generation gentle care liquid detergent, and additional cold rinse. line dry. i most often stuff the pockets when i take them down from the line, so that they're ready to go when i need them. sometimes jeremy helps. :)
the only real downside to cloth that i have found (outside of shortcomings of individual diapers), are that they take up a lot of room in the diaper bag. you have to tote the dirties when you're out and about... this is not icky, as dirties are contained in a waterproof, leakproof, stinkproof bag. it's just so... bulky all of the time. i feel like my diaper bag is constantly overflowing, either with clean diapers or dirty ones. maybe i just need a bigger bag, though. but cloth diapers certainly take up a LOT more room than disposables do.
oh, and they do add a bit of bulk to the booty. we think it's cute, lucy thinks it's comfy. whatever you do, don't call her fat. she much prefers the term 'fluffy.'