Jun 10 2009

Trying cloth diapers soon!

By the end of the month, we’ll be settling into our new apartment — complete with its very own WASHER/DRYER! You do not know how excited I am about these two machines. It’s been six long years of lugging laundry to a laundromat, down the hall or stairs or elevator to coin-op machines, or taking it to my parent’s house. Never again, please!

My disposable diaper stash that I built up before Johnny was born is starting to dwindle. I’m down to maybe 5-7 packs which should last another month or so. While I was able to get those diapers for super cheap, I think I’m ready to try cloth diapers.

I briefly considered doing cloth diapers without my own W/D. While it would be doable, many of you brought me to my senses and convinced me to just play the drugstore game and get disposables for cheap. Doing so saved my sanity in those early weeks and months, and I thank you.

I then shared how I stocked up on diapers pre-baby. And a few months ago, I shared our diaper usage up to that point. We’re mostly on par with my estimates for Johnny’s growth. He’s still in size 3s but ya know what? They seem fairly snug on him already and don’t always hold up to a night of peeing. I’m guessing he’s 17 pounds (we’ll find out for sure on the 19th) so he’s still at the lower weight limit for size 3s (16-28 lbs), but I’ve learned that the weight ranges are only a vague suggestion.

I want to switch to cloth diapers to save money in the long run and reduce how much trash our family contributes to landfills (with disposables, it’s BAD!).

I know many cloth diaperers absolutely love CDing. I don’t know how much I’ll like it.

Will it save money?

I think the cost savings will be substantial over the long haul. I was able to get at least six months of disposable diapers for about $160 (that’s including the newborn-sized ones we picked up in the early days at full price or close to it). I don’t know for sure how much we’ve spent on wipes, but it’s probably around $40. My average cost per diaper was around $0.07 (not including the newborns). Full price, Pampers can be $0.28+ each.

At that rate, let’s say our monthly average is $33. If I keep up that pace, it’s $396 per year or $1,188 for three years of diapering. And that’s if I can keep up that pace. I don’t think I can. When I was pregnant, I had the time to bargain hunt and hit up several drug stores per week for deals.

Since having Johnny, I haven’t done the drugstore deals hardly at all. I don’t have the time, and since I still have a big toiletry stash, I don’t need to right now.

Diaper prices have continued to go up. I think it would be a miracle if I was able to diaper my son for $1,000 if I did all disposables.

Depending on the type of cloth system I go with, it’s looking like I might be able to diaper him in cloth for $300ish until he’s potty-trained (how is this figure, folks?). If the diapers hold up well enough, I might be able to use some of them for a second child.

I’ve found several helpful posts from blogging friends:

The Natural Mommy is an experienced cloth diaperer and explains her process here. She also shows what the cheapest options are. Finally, she has a ‘new-and-improved’ cleaning process that’s worth a look.

Surely you’ve heard about or seen the amazing series that The Simple Mom recently did on cloth diapers — it’s not to be missed!

I’m going to get a small amount of diapers to start out (haven’t fully decided on which) to see how we like them. My Pittsburgh bff (hi Renee!) has graciously offered to loan me some of her son’s Happy Heinys to test.

Based on my past posts, I know y’all love to share your opinions on diapers. Consider this an invitation to tell me things or point me to your blog posts about the topic.



16 Responses to “Trying cloth diapers soon!”

  1. I just use prefolds from the big box store. They work great and they weren’t expensive. My mom made my diaper covers, so I was able to fully outfit doodlebug for two days worth of diapers for well under a hundred dollars. If you had to buy diaper covers, you could still do it for under $200 if you didn’t go with the expensive diapers.

  2. I’m not a cloth diaper expert, but my readers absolutely love the Bum Genius brand. From a financial standpoint, it seems to make sense since they’re one size fits all. Since you’ll be starting cloth diapers in the middle of your first baby’s time in diapers, and I would imagine you’ll want to use them on your next baby, OSFA seems like the way to go.

    Also, if you (and/or your husband and/or family members) are new customers to diapers.com, you can get $10 off your first diaper order of $49 or more. This works on cloth diapers and, if you strategically place several orders, you can really knock down the price of the expensive all-in-ones. I have a referral coupon code you could use (BABY9544) for the $10 off $49 with free shipping , or you can easily find another code for the same amount to use online.

  3. Oooh! I know about this. I’ve been doing a lot of research on cloth diapers because we are going to CD for baby #3 – a site that’s big on info but small on design is http://www.greenmountaindiapers.net (they seem to have the best prices on new prefolds, too!)

    Second, I visit Kelly’s Closet (www.kellyscloset.com) on a fairly regular basis too because she has such a wide selection of different diapers on her site and you can get a feel for what’s out there.

    (I’ve heard Planet Wise wetbags are the best, fyi)

    Last but not least, we have the super savings offered by the for sale or trade over at http://www.diaperswappers.com – a huge forum where I got one package of toddler prefolds about a year ago and they were better than perfect, because the more you use prefolds the more absorbent they become. They also have all kinds of other stuff for sale or trade…as well as an awesome community of mamas.

    We are planning to start off with 24 prefolds in the newborn size and 12 prefolds of infant (the next size up) and just use covers or all-in-ones over them to catch extra and keep leakage from happening. Then when baby gets to the infant size, we’ll buy 12 infant (for a total of 24) and 12 of the next size up. So other than a few covers here and there and a couple dozen prefolds we won’t have too many diapers in the house and we will be prepared for the next size up at any given time.

    Ok, novel over. Enjoy browsing!

  4. Ok, if my other comment went through you can delete this one. I hope it wasn’t deleted because it was LONG lol.

    Visit http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com and http://www.diaperswappers.com for the best prices and deals.

    Espcially diaper swappers, because they have a for sale or trade section and prefolds only get more absorbent with time.

    Best of luck! (We’re going to start CD in Sept when this one is born so I’ve done lots of research lately lol)

  5. I have been (silently) following your blog for a few months now, so I guess it’s time to leave a comment! I had a baby girl born 1 day before your Johnny, so I like to read up on how you are doing.

    I’m so excited for you that you will have access to a washer and dryer in your new apartment!

    We’ve been using cloth diapers the entire time, and I love them. I found a free pattern on the internet called “Ottobre”, and using materials found around the house and donated stashes of old fabric, I made about 100 diapers of both sizes. I was a needle and thread seamstress before, and now I’m super fast on the machine!!

    I have occasionally used disposables and found cloth to be superior for containing leaks. None so far!

    For washing, I use a dry pail method. No soaking of heavy lifting. I don’t notice any more smell than with disposables (but we haven’t started solids just yet!). As for the wash, I do a pre-rinse in cold, then a regular cycle with hot-cold, using a small amount of regular detergent and oxygen bleach. I hang dry all my loads, which helps preserve the diapers. The sun is a natural bleacher/disinfectant.

    Another note, I use scraps of cloth that couldn’t be used for the diapers as “liners”. If she has a BM, I just toss the scrap in the garbage. If it’s just pee, the liner gets tossed in the laundry to be used again.

    I also made some cloth wipes (I sewed some cloth squares) and keep a small container of water in the room. These are tossed in the diaper pail.

    I really enjoy your blog. Keep it coming!

    From Alberta, Canada,

    Carmen

  6. Having your own washer/dryer is a huge advantage in general. I definitely want to see how it works out for you using cloth. We have a little one due real soon.

  7. When I have kids I am definitely using cloth diapers. Can’t wait to hear how it pans out for you!

  8. My Chinese mother in law gave me old tshirts and pieces of fabric to hold around my son! That was a riot. I was changing clothes every time my son went to the bathroom, which seemed hourly in the early weeks! I switched to prefolds and plastic liners from http://www.tinytush.com as fast as I could. I did use disposables at night for the first five months, when he started to wake up to pee as he wouldn’t go in his diaper. At 7 weeks we started teaching him how to use the toilet.

    I know your post is about using diapers, but you could consider the diaper free option. I thought it was crazy at first, but now I love it.
    You can go to http://www.diaperfreebaby.com for more info on that. It’s working well for us. My 9 mo hasn’t worn diapers since February and occasionaly has peed if we weren’t paying attention to his fussing.

  9. We’re planning to use CD for our little one coming in August. I built the initial part of our stash by letting friends know that I wanted to CD. A few friends gave me some of their spares and another friend sold me her entire stash for $100 (a small part of which I sold off again for $40). I also bought a large bag of Chinese prefolds and plastic covers at the thrift store for $7. Since then, I’ve been focusing on picking up some specific types of diapers (generic Fuzzi Bunz and BumGenius) and bought a lot of 28 + liners for $50 on Craig’s List. For less than $120, I think we’re set for the first year or two (depending on baby’s growth rate). The bonus, I can sell them off as DD outgrows them and use the money to buy the next size up.

    When you’re shopping, don’t forget diaperswappers.com, the trade threads on mothering.com, eBay, and Craig’s List (even other cities besides yours, since some sellers are willing to ship). Check garage sales and thrift stores and don’t hesitate to talk to your friends. There is also large selection of patterns and DIY information online, and I’ve compiled some things here: http://mandigirl-muses.blogspot.com/2009/05/bargain-baby-preparation.html

    Can’t wait to see how you do!

  10. Congratulations on making the switch to cloth diapers! You’re going to save a lot of money. I’ve personally spent less than $500 diapering 3 children. Considering the average family spends somewhere between $1500-$3000 on disposable diapers per child, this is really significant, especially if you plan to have more children. If you’re going to go with prefolds, please don’t do the ones available at big box stores with cheapo plastic pants. You’re likely to become a cloth diaper drop-out if you do! Find some diaper service quality chinese or indian prefolds, and some good wrap covers. I personally love the Pull-On, Snap Off (POSO) covers by Blue Penguin. They are super adjustable, sturdy enough to wash and dry on high heat, and are the best covers I’ve ever used in terms of holding in poo. I recommend the all-white version, as the fabrics on the print, while really cute, do tend to wick moisture from time to time.
    Have you tried looking at DiaperSwappers? That’s a good place to find good deals on used diapers.

    I’m actually doing some research right now on the kinds of diapers that parents use and why. I would love to include your and your readers’ opinions in my report. You can participate by taking my diaper survey:

    http://spreadsheets.google.com/viewform?formkey=cjVCME83a3hKZ1Vzb0t0VENSQVRjLUE6MA..

    Thanks In Advance!

  11. Yay! So glad you’re getting a washer and dryer. Not just for diapers, but for all your laundry :-) Our little guy is 13 months old and has been in cloth diapers since he was born. We used a pattern we found online to make diapers before he was born, but then I started making more without a pattern, just winging it based on what modifications I wanted to make to the ones we already had. I love pocket diapers. Even with my non-existent sewing skills, it only takes me about 45 min or so to make a diaper. I use fleece sweatshirts as the inner layer (very good wicking material) and old pjs and flannel sheets as the outer layer. basic prefold diapers and fabric scraps make great inserts for the pocket diapers. Our diapers wouldn’t win any sewing awards, but they’re working just fine for our purposes.
    I never put them in the dryer, which I think helps them last longer. I hang them on a clothes rack to dry, and if it’s nice outside I put them out in the sun to bleach.
    We bought a pack of 20 basic white washclothes that we’ve been using as wipes ever since our son was born. We keep them in a plastic shoebox in his room, along with some water. They go in the diaper pail (we use a dry pail) along with the diapers, and everything gets washed together.
    The pocket diapers are nice because they dry super fast, and everything gets washed separately – inserts and outsides – which makes me feel like it’s getting really clean.
    All together, we’ve spent less than $50 on fabric for our diapers. I’ll probably have to make some more before the end of the year, as he outgrows some of the smaller ones in our current stash. But I still have tons of fabric left over, and shouldn’t have to buy any more.
    Good luck, and have fun with it!!

  12. I love Bumkins – their All-In-Ones. Love ’em! My friend has a cloth diaper business (in Indiana) but she ships everywhere (www.toastybaby.com). I also like Fuzzi Bunz but I get sick of the snaps. I know the prefolds and covers are somewhat cheaper, but with my third due in a few weeks I am all about convenience so the All In Ones are what I prefer. I love it when you are about out of diapers and you are using cloth and instead of having to run to the store and spend money, you just go to your washing machine and do a load of diapers and there you go! It is definitely easier as they get older and less messy.

  13. Wow! Who knew loaning out used underwear would get me bff status! Let me know if you need anymore help climbing over the learning curve.

  14. i love this concept, i’ve always been intrigued by it. talk about saving money!!!!!

  15. Unfortunately I’m past the diaper stage and have no advice to offer. But I can tell you, that I’m kicking myself for being grossed out at the thought of cloth diapers and wish I would have done it.

    Congrats on your very own washer and dryer!

    Gayle

  16. Yay! Right now, my plan is to cloth diaper when our little one comes in Aug/Sept. I decided to get some Baby Kangas to use, and also some Chinese prefolds. There is so much out there, though! It’s overwhelming! :-)

    You should check out reviews of cloth diapers on http://www.diaperpin.com .

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

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