I can’t believe that I have been blogging for over 6 months and I’ve never done a post on cloth diapers!
When I was pregnant with Scott, Gregg and I made the decision that I would quit my full time job once he was born. With that decision made, it only made good stewardship sense for us to use cloth diapers. I personally couldn’t see the waste in money and earthly resources associated with disposable diapers if I would be free to do an extra daily load of laundry.
My mom used cloth diapers with all four of her kids. I remember her folding diapers and putting them together ready for use. So when I started researching where to buy them, I had in mind cotton cloth with diaper pins and rubber covers. If you know anything about cloth diapering today, you know that there’s a whole new world out there than what there was 30-odd years ago.
I learned all sorts of words like all-in-ones, pockets, fitted, prefolds…it was all very confusing and in some cases rather expensive (like: $15 for ONE diaper!). After looking at all of the options out there, we decided to try it the “old fashioned” way and see if it worked for us.
We found 100% cotton diapers, called “prefolds”. This means that I wouldn’t have to fold diapers like my mom – taking two thin cotton diapers and folding, twisting, turning until you had an absorbent middle and a diaper to go around the baby perfectly. Instead, these diapers had the layers sewn into the middle and simply folding it into thirds facilitated putting it on the baby.
When Scott was born so early, and weighing just 3lbs 5oz, we knew that the huge squares of cloth would not work for him. Because they were “prefolds”, I couldn’t refold them to fit his tiny body. While he was in the NICU, I searched online and found preemie sized cloth diapers. Here’s a picture to show you the difference in sizes. It’s it amazing?
So, for a few months I used cotton prefolds, diaper pins, and vinyl covers (no more rubber like my mom used!) They were wonderful. Easy to use, I could throw them into a diaper pail with bleach water as they were soiled, and I just dumped the whole thing into the washing machine every morning. With the machine on a “small load” setting, I did a rinse cycle, a wash cycle in hot water with dye and frgrance free soap, then another rinse cycle before drying them without any kind of fabric softener.
Even with our investment in preemie diapers and preemie covers, our up front cost to cloth diaper was $28 for two 12-packs of cloth diapers, $14 for one 12-pack of preemie cloth diapers, $4 for two packs of 4 diaper pins, $20 for three specially designed preemie covers, and $7 for two 3-packs of small sized vinyl covers. That is an initial investment of $63, give or take some for tax and shipping, for diapering Scott for the entire first year of his life.
Since then, we’ve probably bought 4 more 12-packs of the diapers. They get worn with the washing and the bleach. And, as the boys have grown, we’ve needed to buy larger vinyl covers. For a pack of 3, I pay $3 at Babies R Us. I find diaper pins for a $1 for each pack of 4. Over all, it has been EXTREMELY cheap.
I have a friend who uses the all-in-ones with pockets. I watched her kids this past weekend and for the first time used them myself. As easy as they were to use, if I’d known that and not tried my way, I might have been convinced to pay the extra money. But it is very simple.
Like I said, you just have to fold the diaper in thirds.
Before putting it on the baby, you open the top half.
Set the baby on the open part with the hem at the top of the hips, then fold the lower part up.
Bring the “wings” of the back forward.
Then secure those wings with diaper pins.
Here it is in practical application and all fastened.
Here’s Jeb super annoyed that I was taking pictures of his diapering process.
I cover the cloth with the vinyl.
All done. :)
I store them folded in thirds, then in half, and stacked on this little shelf. The basket below holds vinyl pants, and the basket on top holds the washcloths I use as wipes.
They are super thin washcloths that we bought at the Dollar Tree. A pack of 4 cost $1, and I’ve had the same cloths since before Scott came home from the hospital. I imagine that they’ll last through the next year of Jeb in diapers.
If you are considering cloth diapers, I highly recommend it. I don’t use them exclusively. I use disposables for church, for some babysitters, and when I’ll be in a hotel that doesn’t have a washing machine. Otherwise, it’s all cloth.
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