Saving money and the trying to save the environment with cloth

THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.

I kick myself almost daily.  When our first was born over 5 years ago, I never thought about it.  When the second was on the way, 2 years later, I asked daycare if it they would allow me to use them.  They said “no” and I backed down (and anybody that knows me, knows that I don’t back down!).

What was I asking about? Using cloth diapers.  Kick.  Kick.  Kick.

Why did I back down?  I guess I wasn’t up for the fight.  And, most importantly I didn’t have all of the knowledge or experience to know exactly what I needed to argue.

But, now I know.  Cloth diapers are so easy to use it’s crazy.  Granted, right now, I’m using them on our youngest at bedtime, so I don’t have an entire days worth of diapers to wash.  But, if you wash 2 every other day, it really doesn’t seem like washing 10-12 a day for a newborn is that much more.  It will just be a bigger load of laundry.  Besides, once I go “all-in” for something, I don’t give up.  And, if you are concerned about the additional water bill?  I’ve done one diaper load every other day (which involved an extra rinse at the beginning and extra rinse at the end) and our water bill didn’t go up one cent!  Oh, and I promise you don’t have to stand around and babysit your washing machine, either.

Did you know that you don’t have to use pins and plastic covers?  Gone are the days of diapering like our mothers and grandmothers did.  These new cloth diapers, like my favorites at Cotton Babies* are stuffed with an insert (which can be done beforehand) and then put on your baby’s bum just like a disposable…without all the crinkling, that gel stuff, and the paper and the chemicals.  We had to deal with so many diaper rashes and I’m certain it was because of the chemicals on the disposable diapers (and believe me when I say I tried them all).  I’m also excited (yes, I said excited) about cutting out/ minimizing the blowouts and leaks (we were having tons of leaks with disposable “trainers” with our youngest at bedtime…now, no leaks!).

(*I haven’t received any form of compensation for the content, but I am entering this post in a contest where I can win 12 BumGenius! diapers and one lucky commenter of mine could win if I win, too!)

And, did I mention the cute factor?  Look at these little fluffy diapers.  They are adorable

fuzzibunz

Now, I’m fortunate enough to stay home with baby girl #3 when she arrives.  I won’t have to fight with daycare.  I won’t have to defend my decision to cloth diaper to them and have them jump on board. But, if I needed to, I feel like I’m fully armed with some experience and knowledge that I would be able to convince them to allow people to cloth diaper their children at daycare.  For now, I’ll just share my excitement about using cloth diapers with anybody that will listen.  And, I’ll take information from anybody willing to share with me because I fee like my brain is a sponge and I was to soak it all up.

Like I said, I’m going all in; or the savings (most estimates place it at around $1500 for just one child and increasing a couple thousand for each subsequent child), for the environment (no more icky, gel-filled diapers going into our landfills that take like a million years to degrade), for my baby’s little tushy, and because I won’t have to run to the store at midnight because we are almost out of diapers!

Are you cloth diapering or have you?  Share your hints, please…or what you love best about it!


THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. I MAY EARN FROM QUALIFYING PURCHASES.

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53 Comments

  1. I am expecting my first child in May and plan on cloth diapering from day one. I haven’t even gotten started, but there are already so many things that I love about cloth diapering-the cost savings, the environmental component and the cute factor. I also think that collecting fluff may become quite addicting!
    I think that this is a great contest, and I would love to win 12 diapers to add to my growing stash!

    1. It seems the addiction of the cuteness is an issue, too:) But, of course, after the environmental and monetary savings.

  2. I LOVE my cloth diapers! I (like you) wish that I had listened to my mother and given cloth a chance with my first, but better late than never! My second had such bad diaper rash! She would actually get open sores on her bottom! A few weeks in cloth cleared that right up and we never looked back! My favorites are prefolds and covers for infants, but Bumgenius and happy heinys are my favorite pocket diapers for bigger babies!

    1. Funny, my mom used cloth diapers on one of us (story always changes) and she’s wishy-washy on it…but I showed her a pocket and she thought it was adorable. I’m sure hoping we don’t have the diaper rash issues we had before…we’ve had the open sores, too.

  3. I cloth diapered my middle and youngest boys and it was a definite money saver, and my youngest two potty trained super fast. I loved them and will use them again if we have anymore children. We installed a hand sprayer on our toilet and pre-rinsed our diapers and I only washed once a week!!! I loved cloth diapering and my daycare let me use them there too!!!

    1. I hear the sprayer is the way to go..I’m thinking with two floors (baby on one floor, washing machine on another), I’m wondering if two would be the way to go…I’m very impressed that you washed once a week. Where did you store them (once they were rinsed) for a week without any stink issues?

      And, super impressed your daycare let you use them…but like I said, I didn’t push at all! I wonder how accommodating our church nursery will be on the weekends?

  4. I started cloth with my first of three. In fact, my youngest just graduated out of the infant size prefolds we bought for his sister 5 years ago. Nothing surprises people more than that little fact. Not only safer for the environment, and proved to be better for baby’s skin, I have to admit that my first impulse to researching cloth was a monetary one. When trying to include the cost of diapers into our budget as a newly starting family who had purchased a house less than a year before, it added up that if I wanted to keep working we could afford daycare or we could afford disposables. But not both. Our initial startup costs for prefolds and covers was a handful over $100. It was mindboggling to me that we could thereotically only spend $100 to diaper a kid for 2 years. But we did. We actually used prefolds during the day, and pocket diapers for overnight until my super soaking night wetter children pushed me to find the bamboo diapers for overnights instead. My husband and I both get sticker shock when we buy a small package of 20 disposables for vacations or road trips. I cannot imagine wasting that kind of money daily.
    We actually own 2 BumGenius One size diapers – one in each car for a diaper emergency. But for day to day I’m currently using the “better fit” prefolds since my youngest is out of the infant sized chinese prefolds we had. And with the new size-adjustable covers that fit from 9 months to 2 years, I can’t forsee needing to buy anything at all until he needs underwear. Some people think it must be so hard to wash diapers, but I always ask them, “When your kids are potty training and accidently mess in their underwear, what do you do? Do you wash the underwear or throw it away?” Its the same concept. Everyone gets all squeamish about having to get the poop out of the diaper and into the toilet, but if you ever read the label on a package of disposables they recommend the same thing. And besides that, its not like I have to touch the poop. My husband tapped into the toilet’s water line and made me a diaper sprayer with a spray nozzle most people use on their kitchen sink.
    There are just so many stereotypes out there. Especially in today’s world of competitive parenting. Breastfeeding, cloth diapering, baby wearing, attachment parenting, they all turn into these hot button words to pigeon-hole people into categories. I’ve had a few comments that “I didn’t seem the type to do that sort of thing” when people discovered my kids are/were cloth diapered. I don’t think there needs to be a specific type of parent to do it. Unless parents who only want to do what’s good for their kids is a type. Then sure, label me as you wish. I can only think of one drawback to cloth – that it can get a little addicting shopping for all the different diapers and accessories. I’m always like a kid on Christmas morning when my newly ordered covers arrive. Might need to find a 12 step program for that! 😉

    1. So awesome that you have used them for over 5 years! That’s amazing. And, yes, those disposables are sooo pricey. It’s ridiculous.

      Now, you are going to have to figure out what you are going to do with all of those tiny prefolds and your covers now that they don’t fit anymore:)

      The poop issue makes me laugh…I cleaned up poop off clothes all the time…we had explosions like crazy with the disposables. I’m so over that!

      And, the competitive parenting…good grief. It’s too much to handle, and full of judgment! Drives me insane.

      And, apparently, you aren’t the only one addicted (see above comments)…a program might be good for that:)

      Oh, and great idea to keep the BG in the car for emergencies…especially if you have more than one in diapers so you don’t have to worry about them not fitting. And, so impressed your daycare not only did cloth diapers, but they did prefolds.

      1. The way I got around the daycare is I had worked previously for the YMCA and talked to the head of childcare there about it. She said the state by laws mandate that you need to provide a separate container for the facility. So I just bought another diaper genie for the school and brought home the liner with me at the end of the day. I brought in a doll during one of the nap times before Monkey started there and showed the girls how to do it. The director wasn’t all for it at first, but afterwards when the girls in the childcare were all well versed it actually became a selling point. I was there many times when they were giving tours and it was mentioned that “We even accomidate cloth diapering parents.” It really is just about presenting your case. By law they can’t deny you. (At least here in NJ)

        1. Hmmm..wonder what the state says here. I’m sure if I pressed, I would have found out (but there are some stupid rules here, like no swaddle blankets and other things I had to argue, and didn’t win) and been able to go against it (even if I had to get my doctor to write a note).

          You are lucky it went well for you…and doing a little lesson had to help and make the girls there feel more comfortable with it.

  5. Hey ! Daycares would love to use your cloth diapers. The problem comes when you have to store soiled diapers for 8+ hours. It is not healthy for anyone and the smell would knock a buzzard off of a poopwagon. I have been round and round with people about it but it is the state licensing that says no because of the heath and safety of others in the building.
    That is all.

    1. Tammi, there are plenty of storage options (including wet/dry bags) that are lined and have zippers that wouldn’t have any smell coming out of them in 8+ hours (or even longer). Plus, you could also have the option (like mentioned above) where they brought in a separate disposal container for the soiled diapers.

      Also, did you know that you are supposed to flush the poop from disposable diapers before throwing them away (it’s right there on the box), and yet many people don’t do it.

      There are no other safety concerns with storing these diapers versus disposables.

      And, there are plenty of states and daycares that do allow for them. I’ve never contacted the state of Georgia to see what the licensing board actually says, After reading here (http://decal.ga.gov/documents/attachments/FDCHRulesAndRegulations.pdf): Georgia – 290-2-3-.11 Health, Safety, and Discipline, (g) & (h) it doesn’t seem to differentiate between cloth and disposables. And, this was all I could find on licensing: “Supplies. The following items shall also be provided at the diapering area: soap, individually dispensed, single-use hand towels, single-use wash cloths, and covered storage container for soiled items.”

      I’d love to know where it specifically says you can’t use them if you have a link, etc.

    2. My licensed daycare center allows it (in MO). Every morning we bring in a wetbag with an XL ziploc bag inside of it so the center meets the “double bagged” requirement. Also, I go two to three days between washings and no one ever smells a thing at my house – 8 hours at a daycare is nothing.

      1. I’m starting to think that states don’t have a ruling on it, but it’s up to the center’s discretion…and that the centers use the state licensing as an excuse so that it doesn’t become and issue.

        I also agree that 2-3 days would be perfectly fine…and certainly wouldn’t smell more than a disposable diaper for the same amount of time (especially if you dump the poo from the cloth…most people don’t dump the poo for disposables, I know I didn’t!)

    3. Usually the regulations come down to storage guidelines, but there are few statesthat really exclude them. This is just an excuse used by daycare centers. When parents really persist they can often turn the provider’s minds around by showing them proper storage methods and the ease of the modern cloth diaper.

      1. I wish I would have known more and gone in educated on it. It’s a shame it has to be up to parents to educate the providers. But, really, I’m wondering what’s the difference between a cloth diaper sitting in a wetbag and a disposable diaper sitting in the trash. I’m thinking none.

  6. Sarah Dzwik says:

    Krystyn,
    I have considered using cloth diapers with JD (6 months) now that he seems to be on a bit of a schedule. I have a few friends who use them exclusively and say that they really are pretty easy to use but recommend that you have a washing machine with a “sterilize” setting. I was concerned that daycare would not use them but apparently you just provide several sets for them and they toss them in a wet dry bag as you mentioned to send home when they get soiled. I also have a friend who has a very scheduled baby who poops around the same time every day. She uses disposable diapers during this time and then cloth diapers the rest of the time to cut down on the “icky” effect of cleaning poop out of a diaper.

    1. Sarah- I don’t have a sterilize setting, but if the poop thing (now that he’s eating food) icks you out, you can buy these liners that go on top of the cloth, and when your little one poops, you take the liner out with the poop and flush it. Or you can buy a diaper sprayer. Honestly, the poop part doesn’t even scare me:) Oh, and if you don’t have “sterilize” and you want to, I bet you could crank up your hot water heater. But, I’ve talked to a couple friends that haven’t been concerned or had issues with not having a sterilize option. (However, I’m voting for the liners…). And, that’s what I would think, too, just provide enough diapers and a wet/dry bag and pick them up at the end of the day…not really different from disposables in that regard!

  7. Licia Oligmueller says:

    Krystyn…you and your readers might have just convinced me to give it a try for baby #3 when the time comes. We do licensed in-home daycare in MN and I know that our providers would be more than willing to try it…maybe I need to start investing in the diapers now. They are pretty darn cute. Thanks for the post!

    1. @Licia….seriously, so much easier and cheaper…even for just the third (and likely) last. I’m sure the in-home people will be more likely to try it then our “establishment” daycare (which will be ending this summer anyways for us)….I think it would be good to start doing your research and buy some…but don’t forget about Craigslist and ebay…you can buy used ones at a great deal (to try out different types and see what you like the best!)

      And, yeah, they are adorable!

  8. We started using cloth with my first when she was 7 months old (all because I read blogs and learned to not be afraid/grossed out by them!). We’ll use them with baby #2 as soon as the umbilical cord falls off and the poop is no longer meconium!

    Our parents continued to be grossed out that we use them, even though we’ve demonstrated how they are SO much more awesome than the cloth diapers of 1980!
    One thing we’ll do different this time: get a diaper sprayer!

    1. I think I’m going to try before the stump (and just fold down or snap) falls off, but I’m not sure about the meconium. From what I hear, it’s not really harder to get it out/off the diapers..it’s just their bums.

      Oh, and I totally have a diaper sprayer on my list..glad to hear that comes recommended.

  9. We are over a year into diapers on our second, and oh how I wish I had done cloth diapers too. I think we will have more kiddos, but am not sure if I should just keep going with disposables through kiddo #2 and start if/when we have another, or not. It’s just difficult to commit to the cost up front, even knowing the substantial savings in the long run. I would love to win free diapers to get me going!

    1. I mentioned I started with #2 and that’s only at night. I think you could definitely start now and do it gradually (I mean purchase more). But, check out craigslist, there are tons of them available in Houston for good prices, which would save you even more money. But, you can really start with an older kid with just a few. My friend had less than 10 and she started when her son was a year old.

      But, of course, winning free ones is always nice:)

    1. Just curious…what made you stop doing it..if I can be so nosey?

  10. i love everything about cding, except having to go up and down 3 floors to the laundry room in the basement of our apt building! we started cding dd when she was 9mo, i wish we had done it since birth! any future babes will be cd full time for sure! 🙂 as far as advice goes, dd is now 17 months and i have finally/just figured out the best washing routine for us. so if it doesnt click right away, keep trying, i swear i’ve tried every detergent and option out there!

    1. Wow…3 floors. I guess I shouldn’t complain about 2 (our laundry is on the first floor and all rooms are on the second…who thinks this is a good idea!).

      Thanks for the encouragement..I hear that the washing routine is one reason people give up…hoping I find something that works.

  11. Great write up! I kick myself all the time for things that I didn’t do with my first; babywearing, cloth wipes, baby led weaning, etc. Ah well. It’s all good!

    1. At least we learn, right? I don’t want to say from mistakes, because I don’t think it was a mistake, but we definitely learn!

      I got into babywearing with the second (she was colicy from like 4-8pm EVERY night).

      And, I’m considering the baby led weaning, too…need to get more information.

      But, I’m working on my cloth diaper stash and cloth wipes for #3…and quite excited.

  12. I am currently cloth diapering both my boys, ages 23 months and 7 months. I am blessed to be a stay at home mom so I haven’t had to fight with a daycare about it, that would be hard. I am also happy to say that my sister-in-law just had her 3rd baby (a suprise:) and she is using cloth on him after seeing how easy they are, her 2 older children were in disposables. She also has only one regret, that she didn’t use cloth on her first 2:). I think that if we can all show even a couple people how easy and nice cloth diapers are that maybe, just maybe we will change some minds about it and more babies will be cute and comfy in cloth.

    1. Glad that your SIL did the change and it’s working well for her. And, sad that we both didn’t know about them or didn’t fight for them (in my case) for our first two. I agree, just telling one person can make such a different..and maybe even educating a daycare worker (see comment way above by a daycare person), we can change some minds!

  13. We’re gearing up to start CDing our second son. He was a bit small for our stash of bumGenius 3.0 one-size diapers when he was born so we’ve been using disposables thus far but he’s now over 9 lbs (at 3 weeks old) so I’m prepping the stash! I’ve gotta say, I’m SO excited too. This kid has an amazing ability to pee out the side of his disposable diapers. I’ve never seen a kid actually pee PAST a dry diaper and all over his clothing (and me of course). I point him down at each diaper change but I guess his bits shift and they always seem to shift towards a leg gusset. He also pooped all over my mom yesterday – right up his own back and onto her pants. Why am I sharing all this? Well, our first son could also poop out any disposable diaper he was put in but he never once, NOT ONCE pooped out of a cloth diaper. I loved those things and I’m so excited to get our second son into them.

    For those who are just starting, if you get a good stash going and they don’t initially do a great job on your newborn, don’t lose hope. Try a different brand or (gasp) use disposables for a few weeks. Some brands and fits just don’t accommodate the spindly little legs of newborns as well as others. I’m sure this is partly why there’s now a newborn size bumGenius – they found a market for a tiny diaper and filled the need. I didn’t expect our second to be so tiny though so I didn’t buy him any extra small diapers.

    Finally – just in case you didn’t already know, if your baby is exclusively breastfed, you don’t have to pre-rinse the diapers before you wash them. That poop is water soluble (not the meconium tar stuff though) and will magically vanish in your washer. Once you introduce formula or solids I think you have to start shaking off the poop in the toilet.

    1. My first two could pee and poo out of their disposables like the best of them. I was cleaning at least an outfit a day when they were newborns. I sure am hoping that the CD help prevent this! (I remember the first day I was home alone with my oldest, I was nursing her and she pooped and it went all over both of us and I had no idea what to do…it was horrible!)

      I’ve heard that about different brands, so I’m starting out with a couple different “varieties”.

      And, yes, when I found out that breastmilk doesn’t have to be rinsed, I was super excited. I thought I would need a diaper sprayer right away, but glad to know it can wait a bit!

  14. We’re expecting our first in July and are strongly considering cloth diapering. We’re still in the research phase – and we could certainly use 12 cloth diapers to kick off our stash!!

    1. There is so much information out there, it’s hard to figure it all out! If you haven’t, I recommend you try to find a class or a store near you where you can talk to an expert about the options and the language..that was really a hang up for me, but once I understood what it all was, it really helped.

  15. they are icky and I never considered them. I babysat for a family that did cloth diapers and I always had to look in the potty before I went in case they were soaking diapers in the potty. Never considered them just used as few as I could and potty trained Tuck early!

    1. Oh wow..in all of my research, I’ve never heard of people soaking the diapers on the potty. I’m heard of rinsing and flushing in the toilet, but never leaving them there…then again, I guess it is water to soak?

  16. Your first paragraph got me. I have a 6 year old and had no idea cloth even existed. Oh how I wish I knew. I may have tried it… I say may as we were so overwhelmed that adding one more thing may have put us over the edge. With my second, I still had no idea there was “modern” cloth. A coworker started cloth diapering her child, and I thought she was a total granola. Well, my cheapness set in as did my guilt of throwing away all of those disposables. I asked her about cloth, did a trial program, and was hooked. Now I need a 12 step cloth diaperers anonymous program. Cloth does something to you. Something good. It changes your life in more ways than you know. For me it was a gateway to a greener life. For that, I am grateful. I love my cloth and the changes it has brought to my family.

    1. With the first one, no idea!

      I love that people that do it talk about it and love to share the education and knowledge they have.

      And, I try to be a little crunchy and green, but I hope it brings more for me (and my family)!

      Here’s hoping I don’t get too addicted, or I won’t be saving any money:)

  17. Do you use cloth wipes? They are an excellent addition to your cloth routine, and they are easily packed in with diapers and just tossed in the machine! Good luck with baby #3 and have a great time staying at home with your little ones! Cloth is super easy, and it even smells LESS than disposables!

    1. I have some cloth wipes and I plan on using them. How do you travel with them? Throw them into a small wet bag wet or dry? Just have them hanging in the bag? I’m stuck on that part and what will work for us. Home should be easy, but I know I’ll have to have them in a diaper bag and wondering what the best way is to use them

      So glad it smells less…and hoping for a million times less leaks, too!

  18. We’ve been cloth diapering since my oldest son was born – 4 1/2 years ago. We’re expecting a baby girl this spring (it will be my 3rd child completely diapered in cloth) and I’m so excited to finally get some pink and purple diapers! There’s no way I would switch to disposable diapers now, I’m in love with my cloth diapers!!

    1. I wish I would have had somebody to talk to 5.5 years ago about it..I was working at the time and didn’t know about new cloth or where to even find the info. But, better late than never, right?

  19. i cloth diaper because i think it is more comfortable and it would be what i would want to wear if i were a baby (and it was what i wore as a baby). I have only found positives to cloth diapering and am so glad that i was able to give my son (and future children) and clean healthy start at life.

    1. I had no idea about cloth diapers with my first, but looking back, I do wonder how I could think it would be comfortable. And, I sure am glad I wear cotton underwear and not disposable underwear!

  20. I love cloth diapering. My bff stayed with us and showed me her process with her son’s diapers and I’m currently building my stash. Within the next two weeks I hope to be fully converted to cloth. I would have planned to do it before our daughter came but since it was a sudden adoption (I only had 24 hrs notice) I’ve been on disposables to start.

  21. I don’t know how I missed it with my first two, didn’t even think about it. I never even thought it was an option. When the household budget needed some serious trimming, we canceled cable and sold my lovely truck before considering it.

    Then we dove right in to it.. old school style. Prefolds, pins, covers and *gasp* dunking. Cloth diapering has changed my life, with 3 children we are saving $75 a month on diapers and wipes. It has sent us in search of other greener options, we sound like a bunch of hippies, but seriously, it’s the right thing to do, man. I love it and I have never owned one of those fancy AIO diapers or diaper sprayers. Now we just need to convince the rest of the world!

    1. So true. Where were the CD moms to help us out then? And, the savings…here’s hoping! We already don’t have cable (well, we have 1-14?) and no car payments, so there’s not that much wiggle room.

      We’ve been using them on our second at night and naptime, and I know I’m saving about $10/month on pullups, but they’ll get used again in a few short months/year. And, the only reason I have any “fancy” ones is because I bought them used on craigslist for good deals:)

      Off to convince the rest of the world!

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