Thursday, October 25, 2012

Beginning the Cloth Diapering Journey

I'm not going to lie-on one hand, I'm really excited about the prospect of cloth diapering (CD, from here on out) T-Quad. On the other hand, it's really kind of intimidating. We didn't CD Tony, and to be honest I kind of regret it. I was so overwhelmed with the whole "new mother" thing; trying to get a handle on my brand new life which included a newborn and less sleep than my college years, and having a difficult recovery from birth. I had tossed around the idea of CD, but abandoned it after a couple of days. After all, it's not like disposable diapers are poisonous or anything. I mean, millions of parents use them for their babies. Unfortunately, as we quickly discovered, disposable diapers don't do a whole lot to protect those adorable (and let's face it, expensive) baby clothes from explosive newborn poops. Not to mention, Tony frequently had diaper rash, even though Will and I were very good about changing him as soon as he appeared to have a wet or dirty diaper. I was also trying to evolve towards a "greener" lifestyle (I have the very strict recycling laws in Germany to thank for that!), and I was becoming uneasy at the thought of Tony's stinky, chemical-filled diapers remaining in a landfill for approximately 250-500 years.

When I broached the subject of CD to Will a few months ago, he was a little skeptical at first. Honestly, I couldn't really blame him. Not only did we have to figure out how we were going to do it (I believed that people still used diaper pins, like my mom did in the 80's!), but we were both a little hesitant about the initial investment. Will is a student and in the Army Reserves, and I'm a stay at home mom. We've definitely made quite a few lifestyle changes since our time in Europe as DINKS, and while we're certainly okay with it, that does mean we need to be as frugal as possible. So the first thing I did was sit down and make a budget; one current and a future CD budget. I added up how much we've spent in the last 21 months on disposable diapers and wipes. I then had to figure out how much we will CONTINUE to spend while Tony is still in diapers. Despite my fervent desire to potty train Tony as soon as possible, I'm not convinced he's ready yet. And the absolute last thing I want to do is make him frustrated with the whole potty training process, and then refuse to do it. So our current total, combined with our future total, adds up to about $1400. Yikes. I'll admit, that was a little scary to look at. (I'm also assuming that Tony will be potty trained within six months. A lofty goal, but I'm not going to hold my breath).

Then I started reading as much material as I could get my hands on about CD. One of my absolute favorite books is Changing Diapers-The Hip Mom's Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering, by Kelly Wels. To be blunt, it's the idiot proof book, which was perfect for me! :) She goes through all the different kinds of diapers, from prefolds and diaper covers to pocket diapers to one-size diapers to All In Ones (AIOs). All the new cloth diapers have either velcro or snaps, so you don't have to worry about sticking your baby-or yourself-with a pin. The prefolds can be attached with "snappis" (more on those later), and covered with an adorable diaper cover. That's the other bonus-CD are freaking adorable. There are a million different colors and patterns to choose from! I can already tell I'm going to have WAY too much fun with this.

On to the not-so-fun part: the cost. Yes, the initial cost can be kind of overwhelming. I decided to start with prefolds and diaper covers until T-Quad hits the 4-5 month mark, for a variety of reasons:
1. It really will be cheaper. Prefolds (you will need approx. 20-24 prefolds) combined with a diaper cover are much cheaper than the AIOs and pocket diapers. The experts recommend having 6-7 diaper covers on hand as well.
2. Many CD moms say that the AIOs and pocket diapers really didn't fit their newborn babies until they had weighed at least 12lbs.
3. I like the idea of using organic on my baby's bum, at least during the newborn stage when their skin is so sensitive. Organic prefolds will run you a heck of a lot less $$ than the other types (I know this goes along with my first point).

Once I did a sort-of budget for CD (because really, you can do as much research as you want but you're going to have to do a lot of the purchasing after your baby arrives), I was surprised at how much we would save. Even with the prefolds, diaper covers, AIOs and pockets (we will switch to those eventually, as I think they're more husband-friendly), diaper pail, wet diaper bags for the pail and our personal diaper bags, special detergent, cloth wipes and diaper sprayer, we will be saving over $500. Not to mention, the beauty of CD is that they're reusable. We plan on having more than 2 children, so even if we have to make a somewhat hefty investment now, we can use everything all over again for any future children we may have. Not to mention, CD in good condition can be sold again!

So, that cemented our decision to CD T-Quad. I decided to do a series of CD posts, once I start purchasing more diapers and accessories, and of course, once the babeh arrives. In the meantime, if anyone is interested in learning more about the wonderful world of CD, I would suggest these sources:

The Cloth Diaper Whisperer
This is Kelly Wels's website; pretty much anything you need to know about CD. She is also the author of the book I mentioned a few paragraphs ago.
Jillians Drawers
A WONDERFUL CD website (even lets you try a variety of CD for just $10!!!). They offer deals on all the major CD brands, as well as accessories.
The Bump
Connect with veteran CD moms on this wonderful forum! The ladies here are incredibly well-informed and helpful, and they have a great FAQ link on their board.
 You Tube
Mom Jaimee Gleisner did a 7-part series on CD. Her information is fantastic! She covers everything from different kinds of diapers (and how to put them on your baby), how much you will need of everything, different brands and their advantages, accessories and more. I can't say enough good things about her series.

4 comments:

  1. I cloth diapered both girls (though we are now using disposables on Amalia - I couldn't get toddler age clothes to fit over her fluffy diaper and fluffy butt). We really liked it, and it really isn't much more work. Good for you!

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  2. That's great to hear! I think the CD movement is really making a comeback. :)

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  3. I got really excited to do them this time around and now that its almost time for Owen to get here I'm more than a little scared at how it will go! I've got everything but the sprayer for the toilet, which Will and I insist on as we are still dealing with Keirnan not being poop trained. (I knew he was a little poop!) I think I paid around $250 for everything. Of course, i will probably end up spending more depending on what he needs when he gets here, but we'll see how it goes! I got a lot of it used off a FB CD exchange and through craigslist. Like you said, if well taken care of they can be resold! Anyway, we haven't decided if we're going to switch James over yet. He'll be two next month and isn't really interested in the PT thing yet. (Well he likes to sit on the potty and read for hours on end, but not actually do anything!)

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  4. That's great Veronica! You will have to let me know how the CD goes for you. Yes, the diaper sprayer is definitely an accessory I plan on purchasing! They're pretty cheap on Amazon. I think (down the line) I'm going to do a separate post about CD accessories.

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