I get that at least once a day lately. I am sure most think I have lost my mind when they discover I cloth diaper my girls. I have a 5 month old, a 17 month old and a 28 month old all still wearing diapers. The very thought that I would CHOOSE to use cloth over disposables dumbfounds most.
I didn’t cloth diaper with my first child at all. I didn’t make the switch when the second was born or when we adopted our third, it was only after our fourth child was born that my “trash guilt” got to me and I decided something had to be done. The volume of diapers I was throwing in the trash each day was disgusting. I vented about my guilt on Face book – my friends felt they had the answer for me, cloth diapers.
I wasn’t sold on the idea at first, in fact I was far from sold. I was one of those people saying “cloth diaper 3, are you nuts!?” I felt there was no way I was going to be able to even afford to buy enough diapers for all three, let alone keep up with it. I am a stay at home mom and we operate on a very tight budget. In my head the idea of not buying disposables sounded good, I just didn’t know where the money to start cloth would come from. One of my friends, knowing our finances were tight, was kind enough to send me a good amount of diapers to get me started. Then I could decide for myself if it was for me and purchase more. How could I say no to that? No, seriously, how could I say NO? I racked my brain for a way to get out of this, I wanted nothing to do with cloth diapering, or so I thought.
Reluctantly I decided to take my friend up on her offer. Once they arrived and I got started I was pleasantly surprised with how easy they were to use. One of my main concerns, after the initial cost, was the amount of work required to keep up with them. I was worried I would have to spend all day long changing diapers, but I only had to change them about as often as I did with disposables. I kept up the same routine I had with disposables which was when I changed 1 girls diaper I changed all 3. This way I did not get confused as to who was changed when.
I started out slow, only cloth diapering the oldest girl at first. Things went smoothly, I kept waiting for something to happen to make me not like the cloth. Something legitimate that I could use to excuse me from having to keep this up. No matter how hard I tried to dislike those fluffy things, I couldn’t help but love them. They were so cute. After a few days of using my oldest to practice on I added in the baby. She looked so cute with her fluffy bum too, how could anyone not absolutely LOVE cloth diapers!
I was a little more hesitant to switch my middle girl over to cloth as she is a super soaker and I was worried there was no cloth out there that could hold her. Finally, after about a week, I added her tush into the rotation. I was pleasantly surprised to learn we had LESS leaks with the cloth than we had had with the disposables.
Another concern I had was the laundry aspect of cloth. The “how to’s” of washing cloth diapers as well as the extra work more laundry would create for me. I spent a lot of time looking into “wash routines”. If you have never cloth diapered this may sound as foreign to you as it did to me, what is a “wash routine?” I would find myself asking. I discovered that cloth diapers have to be cared for a certain way and all the sites I visited made this sound WAY more intimidating and overwhelming than it turned out to be. It was actually quite simple and my laundry machine made it even more so as it had different options for pre-washes, 2nd rinses and soak cycles.
Before the diapers arrived I whined to anyone and everyone that the last thing I needed was MORE laundry, in a household of 6 you have plenty to keep you going everyday. I expressed my doubts that I would be able to cloth diaper because I would never be able to keep up with all the extra laundry they would create. It turns out that cloth diapers actually came in handy in this area, they keep me thinking about my laundry everyday. With 3 girls in diapers I have at least 1 load of cloth each day. After I do that one load I do at least one load of regular clothes as well. This keeps me caught up with the laundry and keeps the ginormous pile from sneaking up on me. Blink and that thing can triple in size!
There are so many pleasant aspects of cloth diapering but by far the biggest one that motivates me is the money. Show me the numbers! The first week that I cloth diapered all 3 I figured up that we had saved $15-20! At that point I was hooked like an addict. I would brag to complete strangers about how much I was saving. Best of all, now I could avoid the baby aisles at stores all together.
I still needed to buy a few more diapers to have enough of a “stash” to comfortably cloth diaper all 3 girls full time, but the savings I now had from not buying disposables provided a little bit of money to do just that. Thankfully I was introduced to Econobums and a thing called “2nds Sales” and I was able to purchase some covers and prefolds at VERY decent prices. I still don’t have a lot but I have enough for each girl to have 3 covers and 12 prefolds a day and that allows us to not have to use any disposables. I figured up the other day that I have only invested $30 into this cloth diapering thing. I have been cloth diapering a little over 2 months now. That gives us a savings of at least $160!!
Add in the fact that I quickly switched over to cloth wipes, a step that just kind of comes naturally after you switch to cloth diapers, and the savings is probably closer to $200. Every month that we continue is more money in our pockets.
So now whenever someone asks me “You cloth diaper 3, are you insane!?” I just reply “I would be insane NOT too!”
By Christy R.