August 19, 2011

On my high horse

I know you've been waiting with bated breath to find out our parenting choices. Do we cosleep? (no) Do we breastfeed? (yes) How about diapers? I'm so glad you asked.

Using disposables was never an option for me. If I'd even thought of it, the Hypocrite Police would've been on me in an instant. So. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I started doing serious research.
Cloth diaper aficionados really love their all-in-ones and pocket diapers. Which sounded great, if overwhelming, but too spendy for me. (It's not just the environmental factor at work here; we're poor.) I eventually landed on prefolds with Thirsties Duo covers.

First, I'll give you the cost breakdown. We currently have 36 infant prefolds (a mix of Indian and Chinese) and 6 Size One covers. We will have 24 premium prefolds and 5 or 6 Size Two covers by the time we need them. We also have a large wet bag and two small wet bags for dirty diapers and wipes. I made a stack of cloth wipes from an old flannel nightgown. This should be plenty to get us through potty training and our next kid. All told, that's about $325. For everything.
Constrast that with an estimate of disposables costing $70 per month. That's $1600 if you potty train at two. For just the one child. We're set to break even next month.
Washing the diapers does add a bit more, but we haven't seen a huge increase. Our water bill went up, but there was also rate increase over the same time period. Our elecric bill has been dropping since we don't need to turn on the heat, so it's hard to say how much more drying is costing us. (I would really love to line dry, but we have no yard. And we live in Portland, where it rains even in the summer.) So maybe, maybe it's costing us an extra $15 per month for laundering.

So far it's a no-brainer. But what about actually using the things? That's where the drawback is, right?
I was actually pretty surprised at the skepticism I was met with when I said we were doing cloth. It wasn't so much cloth diapers themselves, but the washing. People tilted their heads and got that well, we'll see how you do look.
Munchkin was too small when she was born to fit into her diapers, so we used disposables for the first couple of weeks. (And no, I didn't feel that guilty. A combination of sleep deprivation and knowing it was only temporary, I guess.) I can tell you that using disposables was not any easier than using cloth. Even my husband agrees, despite his first few awkward folding attempts. And I think that was probably due more to her size than the diapers.
He is reserving final judgement until she starts solids, because the breast feeding, it makes the washing so easy. We throw dirty diapers into the wet bag. When a cover gets dirty, it goes in too. We use a spray bottle of plain water to wet the wipes and they get thrown in the bag as well. Every 2 to 3 days, I do a load of laundry. I dump the whole bag into the washer and run a rinse cycle. Then I add a scoop of Charlie's Soap and wash on hot. The covers get hung to dry and the rest go into the dryer. There's not even any folding, though I do stack the diapers to put away.
We have not had any blowouts and this is a baby that saves her poop for days. We haven't had to strip the diapers yet either. The only thing is that the leg gussets on the covers have a tendency to stain, but an afternoon of sunshine gets them white again.

I can be honest with you, Internet. I do not get why everyone thinks this is so hard. I have a really hard time not sounding judgy and cavalier when talking to friends that use disposables. These are the choices I've made that work for our family. Your choices are yours. I truly believe that. But. There are valid reasons to choose disposables over cloth, but the percieved difficulty of cloth is not one of them.

I'm going to distract you with picture of tiny baby in said diapers while I dismount.

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