Friday, September 10, 2010

cloth diaper baby

Before Nico was born, I read in Consumer Reports that parents will spend $1500 on diapers on the average kid before he or she is potty trained. I'd been going back and forth on the idea of using cloth diapers for the environmental benefits, and that statistic pushed me off the fence. After doing some research and talking to some friends who cloth diaper, I chose one-size diapers from bumGenius as the best combination of simplicity and price. We have the recently-discontinued 3.0s, which go on as easily as disposables and were purported to fit kids from 7 - 35 lbs. (The same diaper has been upgraded and is now available as the bumGenius 4.0.)

In the interest of full disclosure, I'm going to tell you all of it. The wash routine is a little more involved than clothes, but I don't find it too awful. I have had a little trouble with a funky smell in mine, but I suspect I've been using the wrong detergent combined with late-Summer water quality issues here in the city. My new routine is to do a soap-free cold wash, a hot wash with Rockin' Green detergent, and then a rinse. So far it seems to be going well. UPDATE: I now soak the diapers in the washer overnight in hot water with a scoop of either Rockin' Green or Charlie's Soap and then run a regular wash cycle the next day. It works great and no extra rinses are needed. I keep Nico's dirty diapers in a cat litter bucket with a lid. With the new version of cloth diapers, you don't have to soak them before washing, so there's no spillable pail full of gross water to deal with. If your baby is exclusively breastfed, you can put poo diapers straight into the washer without rinsing them. It sounds disgusting, but I never had trouble with finding remains in the washer afterward or anything horrifying like that. I won't lie; pulling the cold peed-on inserts out of the diapers by hand to put them in the washer is pretty gross, but to me the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. Once the kid starts solid foods, you can't just chuck the poo diapers into the wash. Some people install a diaper sprayer on the toilet to rinse them, but we're trying flushable / disposable liners from Bummis to catch the poo and so far they're working great.

Some people complain about having to stuff the inserts back into the diapers, but I don't find it to be a big deal. When Nico was little I stuffed diapers while I pumped and now I can do it while he plays with his toys or while watching TV after he goes to bed. The covers have to be air-dried. Drying them in the sun is recommended, but we don't usually keep an outdoor clothesline. I put them on clip hangers that I saved from little pairs of baby pants and hang them up on my rolling laundry rack in the basement and they usually dry overnight. Always use the laundry tabs if you choose hook-and-loop (velcro) closures, because the tabs will stick to the inside lining if you don't. The closures are holding up pretty well on our diapers, but I think if I buy more I'll go for the new snap closure option.

I'm pretty pro-environment, but I also work full time and have a pretty tight budget. I'm only able to go so far in pursuit of my green aspirations. I really feel like the time and money invested in cloth diapering are going to be worth it in the long run. Just think how many books I can buy for Nico with $1500, and I'll be saving even more if I use the diapers for a second kid. Plus, let's be honest, these things are super cute!

DISCLOSURE:  I purchased all of the products mentioned and received no compensation for writing this post. The words and opinions in this review are my own.