The second most common Google search that gets people to my site involves all things diaper related (the first being the hating of the O p r a h.) Then I get a lot of well meaning curious people that want to go cloth but just can't seem to get their heads around which products to buy, how much, etc. If I have time, I write back to try to explain that it is a SYSTEM, not just one product and that your mileage may drastically vary. It depends a lot on your lifestyle. How often do you want to do laundry? Can you afford a diaper service and remember to leave your diapers out for them on the right day? What do your kids do all day? How grossed out do you get by touching piss and shit? How much money do you want to spend? Etc. Still, they write back and say, okay, but I just don't get it! So which diaper should I buy?
So, I thought I would produce a visual aid of what I use and just refer to this post. Even though it may not be what will work for other people. But then they might better understand the system aspect of this. It's not just one all encompassing product that will work everywhere for everybody. Two disclaimers: First, remember that I have twins, so obviously I have more stuff than you need for just one. Second, I bought this stuff from different sources, some was given to me either second hand or as a trial promotion, whatever. I don't remember how much I spent. I will give you price info from a few current sites to give you an idea of costs. Third, I don't really know how much I am saving with cloth over disposables. Do you honestly expect me to do that math? It hurts my head. If you want to figure it out, fine. I'll tell you what you need to know.
- My kids wore size one disposables for the first six months and averaged about 8 diaper changes a day for a total of 16 diapers a day.
- From six months to roundabouts 9 months they wore size 2 and had about 6 changes a day. 12 diapers total.
- 10-15 months, size 3, 4 changes a day.
- 15-2 years, size 4, 4 changes.
- 2 years - present, size 5, 4 changes.
Now, you just need to go get the unit price for all those sizes of diapers and multiply by how many I used per day per month. Then compare to the cloth products I'm about to show you and see how far you get, keeping in mind that I still use disposables about 20% of the time. Easy as pi? Yeah, get back to me on that when you figure all that out.
Okay, so here is the whole shebang of my stash of diapers and their accoutrement's:
Scary, huh? It probably isn't as bad as if you were to stack all the boxes of disposables that people use in two to three years.
From left to right:
Diaper Pail can be found here for $39.99, which includes the purple bag inside and some deodorizing disks. I'm not convinced I paid 40 dollars for a diaper pail and bag. That doesn't sound like me. But there is a wide variety of prices on different websites so I forget now. I don't put water in it, I just throw some detergent in the bottom of the bag, when its full, I pick the whole waterproof bag up and throw into the washer, bag and all. There is a slot in the lid that holds the deodorizing disks, which I forget to use half the time. Does it smell? Sure, but so does a trash bag full of disposables. It isn't too bad. Plus, I'm washing them more often than people are probably taking their garbage out.
Next is the whole gDiaper system: the bag of liners in front of the diaper bag, the stack of orange, green, red, blue covers in the back and the bunch of plastic liners in front of them. I got most of this stuff for free when gDiapers first went into business, (Its a local company that someone from my church was promoting). I only occasionally use this stuff. Mostly I use it when I am going to be gone all day with the kids and I don't want to carry around 6 dirty cloth diapers in my bag. I just throw the lining out. (BTW, I have a small version of the above washable purple diaper bag for toting soiled diapers in my bag. It works for one or two, but after that, I'm screwed. Thats when the g's are nice.) Sometimes I'll use the g covers with cloth diapers as well, but honestly they are getting kind of small for my kids, and I have the largest size.
Next to the gdiaper stuff are two stacks of diaper covers. The white stack in the back are bummis super whisper wraps. I swear I got them cheaper than this, but here they are going for $9.50 each. I think mine were only like 5 or 6 bucks each, but maybe I got them on sale or something. These are my everyday, tried and true diaper covers. You fold a diaper in thirds and shove the top edge in a little pocket and then you just Velcro them around the kid. I try to only use one per kid per day, though sometimes they get dirty and I have to use more. I think I have 12 of them.
The more colorful stack in the front of the white ones are Fuzzi Bunz. These are the BEST DIAPERS EVAH! But I only have six, because they are the most expensive diapers EVAH! and these were given to me as hand-me-downs. They cost about $15 per diaper which includes the pocket insert. These are made of a waterproof nylon on the outside and then fleece on the part that touches your baby. It is really soft. In the back, there is a slit and you shove an absorbent pocket insert inside. The fleece makes poop just fall off easily, so there is hardly any shaking--or cursing--involved. I use these with a doubler (which I'll get to in a sec) for overnight. Since I only have six, that is three nights in these guys, and then on the fourth night, it is usually disposables while I do laundry. These are the only diaper (besides disposables) that I have found that will work all night. They wash nicely, they snap shut, one size pretty much fits all. Most of the time you can shake out the insert over the diaper pail, drop in the cover, and hardly get your hands dirty. If you have the means, I highly recommend. But since you throw out the cover with the diaper each change, its more laundry and a lot of money to get a decent amount to live on full time.
In back is a box of disposables. I need to be honest and say that I do use disposables part-time. I get whatever is on sale, these are costco brand. I use them overnight two or three times a week. I also use them when they go to daycare, because the daycare folks seem to be completely unable to figure out how to work a cloth diaper and keep all the parts to return to me. So that adds up to 2-4 diapers a week. Also, if a kid is really sick or has diarrhea or diaper rash, I will use them, because, I need to keep my sanity. My kids rarely ever get diaper rash. I don't think that using cloth has been a factor. Mostly they have gotten a day or so's worth of diaper rash when I have been unable to change a poopy diaper for a long period of time. Like at night or on a long car trip. One box lasts me quite a while, like a couple of months or so.
Below the box of disposables are a variety of little products I use. The brown box is diaper greens, a powdered detergent that also works sort of like baking soda to absorb odors so I throw a bit into the diaper pail. It is very gentle to the environment. I think it is just baking soda and soap flakes. It gets the job done, though very occasionally I will bleach the diapers as well. This stuff lasts forever. I'm only on my third box and its $12 a box.
The little blue bottles are cleansing greens. Same company. ($8, still on my first bottle.) You mix a tiny amount of this stuff into distilled water and it goes into a spray bottle that you can spray on your baby's butt. It smells nice and takes away that pee-y smell that they sometimes wake up with. It also lasts forever. I use these with cloth diaper wipes (in front of the bottles) for quick cleanups. I do use wet disposable wipes (the light blue package) for the big, nasty jobs. I get whatever is on sale, usually a huge box of costco brand.
Next to the cloth wipes are cloth diaper doublers. (The things that look like folded maxi pads). I use these in the Fuzzi Bunz pockets along with the fuzzi bunz inserts (To the right of the doublers, they are included in the fuzzi bunz price) for overnight. Both are hemp/fleece. The doublers cost about $14 for 6.
Finally, the big stack of actual diapers are organic cotton Chinese or Indian prefolds. These are what I fold into thirds and put in the bummi wrap diaper covers. The Indian ones ($1.00 ea) are super soft but not as absorbent as the Chinese ($1.50 ea). I have a mish mash of these, some are hand-me-downs. I think I have about 24. I never go through them all before laundry day. I use 3 per day, per kid. These do not last overnight very well. But are quick and easy during the day. The main advantage to these is that they are cheap, cheap, cheap. When you get them, they will be super thin, but after you wash them in hot water a few times, they get softer and quiltier.
Many people say that cloth diapers also help with earlier potty training. I have not pushed this at all with the kids, but Naim is pushing me. So.....
Yes, it is about that time. Aaron has little interest, but Naim "practices" and tells me whats on the agenda as far as his bowels and bladder are concerned. Sometimes giving me a running play by play of the action in his pants. In case I miss it, he also lets me know afterwords so that I may take the appropriate action. We are in preliminary talks. I'm trying to negotiate a deal where we hold out until the weather is a bit warmer and I can leave him in training pants for a few days during the 'boot camp' portion of the job. I probably won't use pull-ups. I'll probably get a couple of pairs of cloth training pants. He feels the wetness and gets what it means and I'm not going to screw it up with pull-ups that absorb everything. (And they are really a pain in the ass if you ask me. Kids cannot pull those things up by themselves without ripping them.) I'm hoping Naim might inspire Aaron to start thinking about it, but I don't have any sort of timetable. I don't really care when they get potty trained, we'll just see how it goes. My dad thinks that all will be wonderful when they get potty trained because then his worst fear, that he will have to change a diaper, will not come true. However, what he doesn't understand is how convenient and wonderful diapers are and how much of a bitch it is to deal with a newly potty trained kid. The hurrying to help and unbutton and pull down pants before its too late. The having to stop every where and find a bathroom because the kid can't plan ahead yet, the having to clean out the potty or bend down and help the kid clean up. Oh, I can't wait! I'm in no hurry for potty training. But I will just play it by ear and let them lead the way. For now, we are just enjoying helping Ernie, and Elmo and all the dolls and even the little people and the trucks can sit on the new little toilet and "potty."
Me: Just took Aaron out of his crib.
Aaron: Baby in bed.
Me: Looking around in his crib for whatever doll he wants. I don't see a baby in the crib.
Aaron: NO! Aaron baby. Aaron in bed. Aaron out of bed.
Me: Oh, you're the baby? Aaron is the baby?
Aaron: Aaron baby.
Me: Yeah, but pretty soon you'll be a big boy.
Aaron: No. No big boy. Aaron LITTLE Boy.