Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adventures in Cloth Diapering

I've always been intrigued by cloth diapers because of the monetary savings, but I thought they must be way too much work! If it wasn't for a couple of friends sharing their experiences, Michael and I would have never realized how surprisingly simple and rewarding cloth diapering is. I want to share our experience in hopes that another parent or soon-to-be parent is inspired to do the same.

**Side note: If you use disposable diapers, please, please, please don't feel guilt tripped by this post! There simply isn't the time to pursue everything good in the world, so we have to pick and choose. Michael and I have simply picked cloth diapering to be one of the good things that we do.

Why cloth diapers?

They're good for your wallet. Although the exact number varies from source to source, everyone agrees that a child will burn through thousands of diapers before becoming potty trained. Taking care of your kids poop and pee can easily cost you a couple thousand, dollars.

Cloth diapers are cheaper. We spent a little over $300 on our diapers, special laundry detergent, and reusable diaper pail liners. Instead of baby wipes, we also use dampened baby washcloths and throw them in with the dirty diapers for washing and reusing. We hope to eventually have at least two kids, so we will be doubling or tripling (or quadrupling?!) our savings over the years.

They're good for the planet. Every disposable diaper requires a cup of crude oil to make and ultimately takes 500 years to decompose. Multiply that by thousands of diapers per kid and you've got a lot of negative environmental impact. I'm sure cloth diapers also require a lot of energy to make and take a while to decompose, but since you need less than twenty, the environmental impact is not nearly the same.

They're cute. Cloth diapers come in all sorts of fun patterns and colors. They're way cuter than disposables!

How much work are they? When you're caring for a diapered little one, time is a precious commodity. If cloth diapers created hours of extra work, I wouldn't have taken the plunge, but they're really not bad at all. Changing Grace's diapers takes a few extra seconds every time. Negligible, right? Every two or three days I wash her diapers which means dumping them all in the washer to go for a cold cycle to get the yuckies out and a hot cycle to get them clean. That takes just minutes of work. Once the washing is done, I hang them out to dry. This takes about five minutes.

The one thing that takes any notable time is restuffing them, and that takes about fifteen minutes, and I do it about three times per week. All in all, we invest about an hour or so of our time per week to save lots of money and a little bit of the planet.

**Edit: In an effort not to exaggerate, I overestimated how much time these things take. Line drying takes about two minutes. Re-stuffing the diapers takes less than ten minutes. Not bad at all!

If you're intrigued, check out this website for tons more helpful info. Or if you live in the Los Angeles area, I can give you an in-person tutorial.

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