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Thursday, February 14, 2008

Frugal Friday: Cloth Diapers...You've GOT to be kidding!

No really, it's not such a far out idea. I tried it and loved it!

The thing to remember is cloth diapers HAVE improved with time! New, savvy, practical moms are making them at home so they are more suited for today's lifestyle and REALLY CUTE!

There are so many different styles to choose from and unfortunately not near enough discussion on the topic in mainstream media. Cloth diapering is not some far out hippie, green, tree-hugging thing (as my family would like to believe). You can do this without changing your whole lifestyle or being shunned from your suburban neighborhood carpool! It's actually quite hip and you may even have your playgroup Mom's touting your industrious nature to family and friends of their own!

To find the most popular brands just do a quick google or yahoo search. I have linked the ones I know about below. As is the case with everything else baby related, you will likely try a couple of brands before you figure out which ones you like best. Many of the companies (Cotton Babies for example) will allow you a "trial period". You will be allowed to wash and use ONE diaper to see if you like the fit, absorbancy, etc. This is SO important and I would recommend doing it!

Going cloth does require some start-up cost ($200-$300) and you will have to spend a little bit of time researching the proper (or most successful) washing techniques so your investment doesn't go down the toilet, so to speak! For example, you can't just throw these diapers in with the regular wash. Often you will have to use all natural or dye and perfume free detergents.

I did a cost analysis (yes, the former Economist in me!) on this prior to venturing in and found that we would save $1500 over the course of 2 years with 2 kids (at the time our son was 18 mos and I was 7 mos pregnant with our daughter). I guessed (Ha!...hoped) that our son would be ready to toilet-train at 2 years...he's 30 months and still in diapers! That's give or take but considering the potential impact on your budget and the environment (plus your coolness factor with your Mommy friends!) it's worth investigating!

If you are still interested at this juncture I would start by reading some forums on the topic. The Diaper Jungle, The Diaper Pin and Cotton Babies have great blogs and information for getting started! It can be daunting to read at first but (as with parenting in general) trial puts it in perspective.

For us, the most difficult hurdle was traveling. Maybe because we just don't do that often or maybe we were being lazy...but we never did get that down, we just always took disposables.

Here's the part that usually gets the remaining interested folks (or at least the Dad's) off the band-wagon: YES, you will have to clean out and wash poopy diapers but there are several great and easy-to-install toilet sprayers to make even that job simple and less icky! If you've ever used a diaper disposal system (like Diaper Genie) you know that it can only hold in so much odor. Likewise for a plastic bag in the kitchen trash. If you have dogs you've possibly had to clean up a neighbor's child's diaper after it was "found" and "given" to you as a treasure. After experiencing all of these things I have to say (for myself and my husband) cleaning out the cloth diapers was a breeze and only smelly for a few minutes.

With all this in mind, I encourage you to check out the forums listed above and think about the favor you will be doing your child and the environment by using cloth! If you need another reason, read Carrie Lauth's article posted at on toilet-training and the benefits of cloth diapers.

Popular Cloth Diaper Brands I am aware of (there are many others):

Fuzzi Buns:
Bum Genius:
Swaddle Bees:

If you find that the start up costs are just out of your price range you should try looking online at eBay, Craigslist or DiaperSwappers for used and unused ones being sold second-hand. also carries a brand that is considerably less expensive than some of the ones I have listed above (Kushies). This also alludes to the should be able to resell them when your child has outgrown or stopped using diapers! Amazing, your savings on cloth can be even greater when you pass them along!

Share your info/knowledge on cloth diapering...comment here or link back to our e-mail.


Mrs. G said...

That was my reaction to my friends that used cloth diapers--were they crazy?! Then I tried Fuzzi Bunz and I'm a total cloth diapering convert. Order a trial pack of 3 (I can't remember the site that will let you do this--sorry!) and give them a try is my advice. It's not nearly as gross as you might think, or as much work.

Stace&Lis said...

Cloth diapers really do make diapering so much cuter, along with so much more affordable. I was by no means a tree-hugger before having my daughter, but was attracted to CDing because of the money-savings and the promises I kept reading that it was easy. It really is! Give it a try! I love the fact that I've spent only about $650 diapering my baby (she's one and has enough diapers and covers for another year, or even through potty training), and we won't have to buy anything for future babies!

Kristin said...

Stace&Lis, you make a good point I forgot! Passing them down from child to child multiplies the savings!!! You likely won't be able to sell them after using them for more than one child BUT, the savings has to be greater and maybe you can encourage some hesitant mother to try it by giving her your well used but still very good cloth diapers when you no longer need them!

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