This post is part of series I did on "Things I Said I Would Never Do (And Now Do!)". Read the other posts in the series on owning a small dog, homeschooling, and drinking goat milk.
I remember the moment clearly. It happened in June of 2012. I was sloshing out a pair of soiled undies in our toilet while trying to potty train my oldest. Wet. Soggy. Smelly. And I was thinking, “This takes away any desire I ever had to try cloth diapers!” I thought this because I assumed that if I were to use cloth diapers a large chunk of my life would be spent by the toilet rinsing out diapers. Things have changed since that hot day in June 2012. I now use cloth diapers and can’t imagine going back to my Luvs coupon-clipping and sales-chasing that I used to do. (Still love Luvs, by the way, read on!)
There are many reasons that moms use cloth diapers – from saving the environment to saving money to saving their child’s delicate skin. True to Mennonite heritage, I switched to save money (for any readers not familiar with the Mennonites, we are known for our frugal ways). But what changed to get me interested in cloth diapering? Enter our second son, 14.5 months younger than our eldest. Two in diapers. That’s a lot of diapers. After many months of double diapering, we thought, hmm, what about cloth diapers? At that point, we had already potty trained our oldest, but we were expecting baby #3. So, we knew many diapering days were still in our future. We heard from someone that cloth diapers had come a long way from the rubber pants and diaper pins phase.
I took a trip to Weaver’s Store. I found myself in the cloth diaper aisle feeling overwhelmed – Bumgenius, inserts, newborn size, pre-folds, 4.0s, special diaper soap?? I was rescued by a kind, warm Weaver’s Store employee who slowly explained the different styles and choices. I settled on two choices – Bumgenius freetime and another brand that I long since sold on Craigslist and can’t even remember the name.
Why do I like cloth diapers? Beyond saving money, it is so rewarding to see clean cloth diapers getting whiter in the sunshine. They are simple to use, simple to wash. And my babies have had no diaper rash since I have switched to cloth (except when my newborns battle thrush).
But, I mentioned that I still like Luvs. Yes, I do. I still use disposable diapers (like Luvs) overnight. I don’t like the way a cloth diaper smells after being worn for 10 hours overnight. I also use disposables on vacations for convenience.
Before I wrap up this post on cloth diapers, I thought I would address some common questions I get from other moms about cloth diapering.
1. Does it really save money? Yes, yes, yes! We sat down and did the math before purchasing cloth diapers. There are so many factors involved – brand of diapers you use, brand of cloth diapers you want to purchase, number of diapers you use, diapering soap, cost of water, time, etc. However, from our figuring for what our family uses, we found that in 4-6 months cloth diapers paid for themselves.
2. Are they hard to clean? When my babies pee, I simply drop it into the diaper pail. When they poop as newborns, I don’t wash them out unless they are really soiled. (My youngest is 6 months, and I may have washed out 3 diapers in her lifetime.) Around 7 months or so as solid foods become part of the diet, I find you need to dump them in the toilet and rinse. Not scrub. Just a quick dip. My Bumgenius diaper soap does the rest.
3. Do they help you potty training more quickly? Hmm…this is hard to answer. All my boys were easy to train. 1 used disposables and 2 used cloth. My two in cloth were ready for potty training before 2. I think cloth diapers do help get them ready, but I think the bigger factor may be that moms using cloth diapers aren’t afraid of messes. Therefore, we aren’t as timid to step into potty training.
4. Do you always hang them out? Yes, even in the dead of the winter. Diapers need sunshine to stay smelling fresh. In the winter time, they don’t dry outside, but they still need that sun time. There are a few days where I cheat and hang them by the wood stove.
5. Don’t they stink? No, but they don’t smell “good” either. It is important to use diaper soap without all the extras – fabricate softener, fragrances, brighteners, etc. So, they don’t come out smelly all rosy, but they don’t stink either. The biggest factor in keeping them from stinking, I think, is to hang them out.
6. What kind do you use? I’m sold on Bumgenius freetime – a one-piece cloth diaper. No stuffing, no folding, no pins. Simple & easy for Grandmas and babysitters to use.
7. What kind of diaper pail do you use? A very simple one - a five gallon bucket with a lid. I long since trashed my smelly fancy flip one from Babies R Us. Cloth diapers don't sit in the diaper pail as long as disposables. Therefore, you don't have the stink issues. I wash diapers everyday or every other day. That keeps my bucket smelling just fine even after 3 years of use. I also don't use any liquid or anything in the bucket.
8. Don't you have to change your baby more frequently? In general, no. I like babies to have a dry diaper at nap times and wake up times. Whether cloth or disposable, that is typically when I change them. I would say cloth diapers don't quite match the absorbancy of a disposable, but come very close!
I would welcome any questions or comments on cloth diapering!
Up next in my series...."I Will Never Own a Small Dog."
Vanessa from Russell Homestead. Follower of the Lord Jesus, wife of my knight in shining armor, mother of 5 wonderful children, and joint-keeper of the Russell homestead. Thanks for stopping by!
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