Cloth Diapering – What We’ve Learned

Long before Issa was born I had considered cloth diapering. I’m a sucker for saving money. I’m also a fan of saving the planet. Also I saw a diaper someone had left in the parking lot of Babies R Us that had been run over and spilled all it’s contents all over. Whatever chemical is in there that creates the blue goo, I wasn’t sure I wanted that close to my baby’s lady bits. While I was pregnant I read somewhere that traditional disposable diapers take up to 500 years to break down in garbage dumps and according to the Environmental Protection Agency, about 20 billion disposable diapers are dumped in landfills each year, accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste.  I’m convinced.

I should also say if you use traditional diapers I do not hate you or think less of you as a human being. Too often mothers judge each other for what we do and don’t do and I think we all need to stop that crap and support each other, because parenting is hard and we’re all just trying to do the best we know how. We used regular old diapers for the first month of Issa’s life because she was too small to fit into the cloth diapers we purchased and bonus the hospital sent a TON home with us (remember how I like saving money). Really, what I’m here to say is to share how our system works and what we’ve learned, which is also why I’ve waited 6 months to do this post.

Our System

I did a TON of research about cloth diapering before we chose a system. My major resource was a site that reviewed every cloth diaper on the market. Unfortunately it looks like the site sold to Disney and all of that info is no longer there. But a key factor was looking at our lifestyle and trying to find something that would fit in. AND talking to Bill, because he was going to change diapers too and I wanted him to be on board with whatever we ended up doing. After much review and research we decided to go with gDiapers.

gdiaper-folded

gDiapers are a three part system which sounds confusing but it really isn’t. Let me break it down…

gdiaper-undone

There’s the gPant, the cute, colorful outer part. The gLiner, which snaps into the gPant. And then the gInsert which slides into the gLiner and comes in a reusable cotton or biodegradable disposable insert.

gdiaper-inserts

At almost 6 months Issa is still in Small gPants (yes we have the skinniest healthy 6 month old around). We have 5 small gPants, about 12 liners and 18 inserts plus we always have a pack of disposable inserts handy. It should be noted that the gDiaper disposable inserts decompose in 50-150 days, can be flushed or composted (assuming they are only wet).

g-alltogether

Here’s what I like about this system:
-The colorful pants are adorable.
-We have the option of a disposable insert which is handy when we’re traveling or when we forget to wash diapers.
-We don’t change the liner or pant every time we change her. If the pant and the liner are dry they get reused. Sometimes the liner is wet so we change that. If we stay on top of diaper changing she can usually stay in the same gPant all day.
-You can find gDiapers in many physical locations (Babies R Us, Whole Foods, and Target), so when we need something we just go buy it. There’s no need to wait for shipping.
-Issa has not experienced one single diaper rash. Not one.
-We’ve never had a crazy blow out due to the diaper. Yes, in the first few weeks at home she had a huge poo which I was unaware of, and I was patting her bum to try to get her to sleep. And well, you know, that was a poor choice.
-They’re husband approved. Seriously, and I quote, “They’re easy to use.” Boom.

What We’ve Learned

1. Cloth diapering is not any harder than using regular diapers.
Like I said we used traditional diapers for the first month, and honestly, it wasn’t any different. Yes we have to rinse out poopy cloth diapers. Yes we have to wash them. But we never have that panic moment of, “oh crap that was the last diaper now I have to get dressed and go to the store to buy more at 3am.” We still have oh crap moments, but we just toss them in the wash. And our friends and family have learned the system and they agree, not hard.

2. Yes, there are some serious savings.
We spent about $250 up front to get our system set up (Babies R Us had a 35% off sale). We bought everything we’ll need until she’s out of diapers (S, M, and L sizes). I’ve tracked our water and electric bills for the past six months (we have an electric dryer) and compared them to last years bills at the same time of year. We have seen no increase whatsoever in our electric bill. Our water bill has jumped by about $10 but we also started watering our gardens and lawn for 15 minutes twice a day which we did not do last year and I’m pretty sure the increase is due to that. So I’m going to go ahead and say there was no increase in water either. We have future savings too, because we’ll get to reuse everything for the next kid. At first I was a little skeptical about this because of the wear and tear on the diapers, but Issa has been in the same size for 6 months and they look as good as new.

3. Washing them is not hard or a lot of work.
Poopy diapers get rinsed in the tub (we tried the dunk in the toilet trick, Issa’s #2s are just not a good…consistency for that). We do a load of diaper inserts and liners every day and a half. We wash them on a small load, on a longer heavy cycle, in hot water. We use about a tablespoon, maybe two, of all natural detergent, Ecos Laundry Detergent in Lavender and no fabric softer. The inserts get dried on high heat, the liners get hung dry. The gpants get washed with our clothes and hung dry. There aren’t many stains, a tad here and there on the liners but nothing that would make someone cringe in disgust.

issamonthly

They’ve also made a great addition to her monthly pictures.

Now if you’re wanting to do something different but don’t think you can commit to cloth there are a lot of other options out there. I have a friend that’s using Honest diapers which are disposables but they are hypoallergenic and ecofriendly and super cute to boot. Just do some research, talk to other moms, see what’s out there. There are resources everywhere on the web and some may be just around the corner, like a boutique here in Houston called The Nurtured Family that offers free classes on cloth diapering and can help you find a system that works for you. And if you decide traditional disposable diapers are for you, then that’s ok too. :)

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