I wanted to use cloth diapers for my son because I’m cheap. There it is. Sure, I like saving the environment, I wanted things to be healthier for The Burrito, blah blah blah. Really, I’m cheap, and the prospect of spending a little upfront for all my kids instead of thousands of dollars for each kid just appealed to my thriftiness. Since most of our initial diaper stash was gifts, we had a pretty reasonable upfront investment. In terms of using the diapers, though, things kept standing in my way, though.
First, there was my husband, who thought it was a ridiculous idea. He would have been fine if we’d agree to use a diaper service, but he thought washing diapers was silly. I wouldn’t use a diaper service because it wasn’t any cheaper.
But I didn’t give up.
I took him to a demo day at a local supplier’s house, and, to my surprise, he agreed to go along with it. His reasoning? The diapers were cute, and looked like clothing. He just insisted we go with Velcro/hook-and-loops instead of snaps, because he thought the snaps looked too hard.
That was the second thing standing in my way. I had wanted to invest in FuzziBunz one-size, because they were supposed to be the best for using over multiple children. At the time there was no one-size pocket with replaceable elastic that had Velcro (now BumGenius makes one).
But I didn’t give up. To compromise, I went with the Thirsties two-size Duo diapers. I figured this met his needs for the Velcro, and mine for the diapers lasting longer, since they came in two sizes. This led to a more expensive initial investment, but still much cheaper than buying disposables long-term.
The next thing that stood in my way happened when I first started using the diapers, just as The Burrito outgrew the newborn disposables. Every single one leaked! It was ridiculous – we were already changing him so much and now we had to change all of his clothes, too, 8-10 times a day. I almost threw in the towel right then, but decided to give it a week. Of course by then, I had washed each diaper several times (something I hadn’t done at the beginning under the mistaken impression pockets came ready-to-go), and the leaks stopped.
Then there was staining. Dear God, there were stains. My beautiful breast-fed baby produced these amazingly green poops that didn’t come out and stained the covers and both hemp and microfiber inserts. I’m not crazy about cleanliness, but I couldn’t handle my bright white diapers turning into green messes. I was sunning all my covers and all my inserts each and every wash, and I knew when I went back to work and when winter came that would become impossible. But I didn’t give up – I turned to my friends who used cloth, who suggested I switch to Rockin’ Green detergent. After a few washes, my stain problems almost disappeared, no sunning required. I still get a few stains (thanks for warning me, makers of Colic Calm!), but it’s nothing like it was. I still sun the covers occasionally on a sunny day, but it’s every two-three weeks instead of every wash.
Then there was daycare. My daycare said they wouldn’t use them, because of “licensing.” I didn’t give up. I got a note from my doctor requesting their use (my doctor’s comment, “I can’t disagree with you when you’re so reasonable” – man, that felt good!). I talked to the infant care teachers instead of the director. They had no problem with it; they just requested I provide a step trash-can they could put his diapers in, rather than a wet bag. I brought that to the director, who reluctantly agreed. We tried it and never looked back. One of the other mothers at daycare even started asking how she could get them, too! Now that we’ve switched daycares, it was easy to get the second daycare to agree, since the first had no issues.
I think the next frustration is going to be the Velcro disintegrating. I haven’t been happy with how it’s held up in so many washes, and this is only the size one, which lasts until nine months. He’ll be in size twos until potty training, and I can’t imagine how well these are going to last (or what’s going to happen when he starts trying to remove it!). I’m dealing with it by investing in a few snap diapers. I’ll show my husband how easy they are and maybe for the next kid, he’ll agree we can move in that direction. That will be more cost, but overall we’ve still saved a lot of money.
Although it didn’t turn out to be as inexpensive as I thought it would be, I know we’re still going to save lots over our entire family. I think part of the reason I didn’t give up was because I am so cheap, and after that initial couple hundred-dollar investment, I was going to give it my all.
So if you’re considering giving up because cloth seems so much harder – hang in there! Like breastfeeding, baby care, and going back to work, it will get easier before you know it.