Monday, October 4, 2010

The Cloth Diaper Experiment

You read right. I've decided I'm going to take the plunge and give cloth diapers a try. For real.

Some people are probably reading this right now wondering WHY?!

Well, I asked myself that question time and time again when I wondered why others do it, and when I was debating it myself. There's a few reasons.

For one thing, everyone else is doing it. Ok, not really. In fact, most people I know aren't. But the people I know who do cloth diaper love it. Well, obviously, otherwise why would they be doing it? Anyway, it's intrigued me and I've thought about it for awhile, and since Lil' J isn't pooping quite as much as she used to... I figured now's a good time to try.

The FIRST reason I thought I'd give cloth diapering a try is for similar reasons to why I wanted to commit to breastfeeding--To save money. Did you know formula cost some people about $100-$400 a month? The higher end is like half my rent! Breastfeeding is saving me some dough yo. And now I actually like it!

So when people said you can save thousands cloth diapering I was like WOAH! Sign me up!! But then I did the math myself and realized by thousands they mean if you use the same small batch over and over again for like 2+ kids (and don't become addicted like many people do and buy and swap and buy and swap). Compared to buying the oober expensive disposables and change them like every hour.

When we had Lil' J we were gifted HUNDREDS of diapers. We haven't had to buy ANY diapers, and we exchanged several cases of newborn diapers and got $70 back! We STILL won't have to buy diapers for another couple of months. But when I switched the newborn sized diapers out for a case of size 2s and realized that a case of Pampers was only $20 I realized diapers are a whole lot cheaper than I thought and a heckova lot less than my formula savings.

That's when I began to think I'm not broke enough to switch to cloth diapers. Sure we'd save 40-50 bucks a month, not taking into account the additional energy and water costs. So I'd be saving a bit more than a dollar a day to do 15 extra loads of laundry. Is that really worth it to me? I was hoping it would be along the lines of $100-$200 a month.

People also insist that cloth diapers are more awesome and disposables suck because they have "chemicals" in them.

OMG Really?... But wait, so does EVERYTHING else. Know what I'm drinking right now? A glass of chemicals. Yea... Good old natural Dihydrogen Monoxide. Put down the phone, don't call poison control. I'm drinking water. Personally, it's a HUGE pet peeve of mine when people throw around the word "chemicals" like it's a bad word. What people may mean to say is "harmful chemicals" in diapers. But I have yet to hear the one they're talking about.

But then again, salt water is a harmful chemical. If you swallow too much of it, you're dead. But the ocean is as natural as it comes. We're all allergic to some things but that doesn't mean it's bad for everyone, or that it'll kill you.


I also hear the argument that "We don't know the effects diapers will have on our kids 30 years from now." Yea? Well we also don't know the effects using our cell phones while pregnant have on our fetuses 20 years from now, or what HDTV will do to our children when they're adults, or about the "chemicals" contained in thermos inside our kindergartner's lunch box that was washed with Dawn soap which was packaged in a plastic container *gasp* plastic!! Are we just as concerned about that?

My point with all of this is to say that I'm not trying cloth diapers because I'm worried my daughter will get leprosy 40 years from now, thanks to my having put her in Pampers. Or that I'm going to save enough money to buy a new car because we'll be rolling in the dough thanks to the switch. And I'm not going to use those arguments to make myself feel better. I'm going to be completely honest. I'm trying them because I think they have the possibility of being really cool. And if I, of all people fall in love with cloth diapers, you'll know they must be THAT GOOD and that truly, anyone can do it.

Now I will get back to my original point--The positives to cloth diapers that made me interested in trying them.

For one, I like the way they look. I never let Lil' J just sit in a diaper. I like to dress her up and change her outfits two, sometimes three times a day. But a plain cloth diaper may be fun to leave her in from time to time. I'll admit it, they're cute. It's like a new addition to her wardrobe that doubles as poop-catchers.

I also like the fact that it IS saving trash. I'm not going to act like I'm not the greenest martian on the planet, I have a LONG way to go. I don't drive a hybrid, use public transportation regularly (unless you count airplanes) or compost my garbage. But I'm taking baby steps, and cloth diapers are one step in the right direction. I know we'll use more energy and water washing, and drying them, but I don't think it compares to the garbage we take up in landfills using our disposables.

I will admit that I think Lil' J may like them a little more. Not that I give her everything she likes, or buy the most expensive detergents and shampoo cause they're "better" but let's face it--She's a pudge, a rollie pollie, a chunk. She's a big girl. And I do feel bad when I see the number her diapers now do on her rolls... They squish them all together and I just can't help but feel that she'll like the feel of cloth a little better against her bottom.
cloth diaper baby
We've never run out of diapers before, so I can't say I know what it's like having the "oops we need more diapers" moment in the middle of the night. But I imagine this would keep that from happening.

And ok, $40 a month isn't a huge savings to me, but it is some savings. And if washing, drying, and reusing them is as easy as people make it seem than $40 a month can go into a college or wedding account for my daughter... Or maybe to reward myself for doing laundry I'll get her a new outfit every month, and put the rest in savings.

Some of my concerns right off the bat? Well, I'm no Martha Stewart. I don't do the laundry and starting now won't exactly be easy. I don't mind doing Lil' J's laundry though, I just hardly ever get around to putting it away. My husband does the laundry, and the cleaning, and since I work 50 or so hours a week, and he's at home, he does 90% of the diaper changing too.

What does that mean? Well, it means he needs to be on board too. Because, well, he's a stay at home dad and he's dealing with the poop. He thinks it's gross to put poop straight in the washer but I'm telling him he can put it in a pail and I'll clean them when I get home. He says he's ok with trying them with me.

I also do worry a little about energy costs. We pay all of our utilities so I'm curious to see how much all of the extra laundry costs us.
When we're out and about I'll probably still use disposables. I worry a little about putting poop in my designer diaper bag. I'd rather just throw it away.

I'm also concerned about her clothes still fitting over her ginormous cloth-stuffed bottom.
cloth diaper stash sprout change
But I'm going all out. I've got enough Sprout Change diapers (which appear to be good and easy for beginners like myself) to give it a good and honest try, because by golly I'm curious and I think you can't dog something if you haven't tried it. ...Not that I want to dog it. I'm really hoping we like it.

So, join me on my cloth diaper experiment. If you're a skeptic, or a lover, follow along. I'll be giving updates on how it's coming along.

I'm starting tomorrow with the prep work washing and drying and washing and drying and... You get the idea.