Tuesday, July 9, 2013

New Mommy Files: Cloth Diapers Part I

Name something cuter than a baby's bum.
I couldn't think of anything either.

I'm not going to be talking about baby bums per se.
But I do get asked a lot of questions about cloth diapering.

Some simply find it intriguing.
Others find it quite horrifying.
While many are interested but don't know if it's worth the hassle.

Regardless, I get asked a lot of questions.

Mostly about whether or not we touch our baby's poop.
So, let's just get that part out of the way right now.
*I have never, nor do I plan to ever, touch my baby's poop.*
More on that, later.
How excited are you?

Honestly, Gabe and I probably aren't the model cloth diaper users.
We like easy.
And convenient.
Mostly, we are much too busy to fulfill our lurking inner hippie.

That being said, I get overwhelmed with where to even begin on talking about cloth diapering.
I mean, there are entire websites and blogs completely dedicated to the topic.
So this is just a very brief encapsulation of my thoughts.
Spewed out onto the page.
The lazy way, I guess.

The Lazy Man's {Brief} Guide to Cloth Diapering
Part I: Pros and Cons

First thing's first.
Why in the world would we choose cloth?

I've said it many times before, I like a good challenge.
So of course choosing to diaper my child with something that involves somewhat-of-a-process seemed very well-fitting. 
Plus, the more I read about cloth diapers, the more I realized that it was totally doable. 
And they're nothing like the old school little square cloths with pins back in the ol' days. 
Right, Mom?
Cloth diapers have come a long way, my friends.

Why Cloth Diapers are Great (Pros)

Saves Money. This is the clear and obvious reason. I'm a Frugal Fran. Love to save me some pennies. I don't remember getting a weekly allowance as a child, but when I got money for any occasion, it went straight to my piggy bank. 25 years later, and it's still there.

Now people tend to argue, "but your water bill goes up", "you have to buy special detergent", "cloth diapers themselves are so expensive!" Yes. All true. But doesn't matter. You still end up saving money in the long run. And because I'm not a numbers person, I'm going to leave it to the experts like mint.com (whom we've used for personal budgeting) and I Heart Budgets (an expert budgeter) to show you some magic numbers. Depending on how you cloth (e.g. how many diapers, which brands, how often you launder, etc.) determines how much you save. But bottom line? You save. A lot. Especially over the course of time...and with any additional babes.

*Cloth diapering alone saves a lot of money. But, a couple of ways I pinch a few more dollars is by purchasing this detergent via Amazon Prime and by line drying the diapers outside when it's nice out. Now that I'm home more, I'm actually able to do this. {Bonus: The sunshine is a natural and complete stain remover. Seriously. It's like magic.}

No Blowouts. Ah. The infamous blowout. Of course they always happen at the most inopportune times. Church. Dinner with a friend (who does not have children). Smack dab in the middle of grocery shopping. One of the less adorable experiences of parenting. But the moment we switched to cloth, absolutely no more blowouts. True story. Lyla has never, ever blown out of her diaper while wearing cloth. However used to have them somewhat frequently with disposables.

No waste. Now. I love the earth. I do what I can to help our earth. And I may or may not have cried while watching The Lorax. But contrary to what one may believe, I am not an environmentalist. However, cloth diapering is pretty pat-yourself-on-the-back worthy in the environmentally friendly department.

Having a baby alone has increased our trash output exponentially, so I can't imagine what it would be if we used disposables. Yes, we use *a little* more water and electricity with CD's. But those utilities went up in general after having a baby. And I really like the idea that we're not adding to the mile-high mounds of waste in the landfills. That just sit there. For 1,000 + years. Plus it's two or three less hauls from inside the cubbard to the big trash can outside. *Hence "Lazy Man's Guide".

They're Cute and Comfy. Remember those cute little baby bums I talked about earlier? I love that Lyla is so comfy in her super-cute, cotton cloth dipes. Almost as much as I don't love the idea of her sitting around in chemicals all day. {Seriously, just google "chemicals in disposable diapers."} Plus, cloths are oh-so-soft. Not to mention oh-so-cute. Perfect for that sweet little bum. Plus, apparently some celebrities use them. An obvious reason to go run out and drop $300 to get you started.

But let's get real.
Like anything else, there are also cons to cloth diapering.

Why Cloth Diapers Stink (Cons)

Another To-Do on the List. Cloth diapering definitely isn't the most convenient. Especially for the working mama. It's not quite as easy as 1. take off diaper 2. close up diaper 3. throw away diaper. 4. never think about said diaper again.

Actually, I take that back. It is exactly that easy. But you just add another step in there. It's the other step that some moan and groan over. *Myself included*. It's washing and drying the diapers after throwing them "away". {Every other day in our case.} I can't tell you how many times last year I'd sit down to relax, only to realize that I needed to wash the diapers. Doesn't seem that annoying...but when you have approximately 17 other things needing your attention, it's not exactly a treat.

Not for the Faint of Heart. So, I mentioned that I've never touched my baby's poop. That's not entirely true. I did once. It was an accident (one would hope so), but it had nothing to do with using cloth diapers. Nevertheless. Cloth diapering can be a bit...gross. Because the poo does have to go somewhere, regardless of if you have to touch it or not. And dirty diapers do sit in a pail for a couple of days. So this can lead to some stink if you're not careful.

But you know what? Pretty much everything that goes along with having a baby can be a bit gross. *See previously mentioned "blowouts". Not to mention the multiple outfit changes (for all parties involved) caused by a slew of bodily fluids during the newborn phase. Need I go on?

High Maintenance. For something so earth-crunchy-granola, cloth diapers are spoiled little princesses. They have to use special detergent, some have special washing/drying instructions, some can't be dried at all, and you have to use specialty diaper ointment in the case of diaper rash. Kind of obnoxious.

Sometimes Leaky. Cloth diapers really shouldn't leak. At least all manufacturer instructions says so. But ours have had some minimal leakage during different phases. Most of the time, it's if Lyla has gotten too big for the current diaper size. So it's just a matter of releasing some of the elastic or going down a snap. Another time, Ly started having more wet diapers, so I simply needed to change her more often. One thing I haven't tried, which is often recommended, is doing an occasional stripping of the diapers. It's just finding the time to do that...

**Side note: One thing I do get asked somewhat regularly is if we've noticed more diaper rashes with cloth. And the answer is no, not more than with disposable diapers. Lyla has slightly sensitive skin, so sometimes gets rash-y with new foods, excessive heat, or being wet. I'm just more aware of her sensitivity. And when she does have diaper rash, I personally switch to disposables so we can clear it up with Desitin ointment. (Even though there are more cloth-friendly natural remedies).

So there you have it.
An introduction of sorts.
Into our personal world of choosing to use cloth diapers.
A world we love.
{And on the rare occasion hate}.
But those moments are fleeting.
Because we really do enjoy clothies.

Up next with Part II...
Our favorites, routines, how we manage cloth, and some helpful tidbits.

**I linked up today with Miss Kristin over at Busy Bee for Baby Talk Tuesday!

**Also, we said a sad goodbye to Google Reader this month. So go ahead and follow me on BlogLovin if you haven't already!


Shoshanah said...

I really want to use clothes diapers eventually. It's what my mom used, so it seems normal to me, plus they've come a long way since I was little. My husband is definitely not on board with it. But I'm hopefully that if I bring it up enough, by the time we eventually have a baby he'll have changed his mind a little. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

And just out of curiosity, how many do you actually have, and how long did it take before you had that many? Plus, I'm helping you with topics to include in your follow up post! :)

Sarah @ Life, Love & Dinner said...

Love, love, love this! We plan to cloth diaper and registered for everything we think we need to get started so we will hopefully save some startup costs. I love reading about other mom's experience bc it's so helpful to know the pros and cons. Especially when you can't see past the cute bums!

Carolyn said...

OMG! I totally didn't know you cloth diaper!!! Jake and I are planning on trying it out with our little guy when he gets here, and I've actually been doing posts on what we learned during a class about them! I would LOVE any more tips you have!! :) :) :)