Friday, September 10, 2010

Cloth Diapers: Why We Use Them

We're a very frugal family, my husband and I. We love shopping clearance racks, thrift stores, and enjoy hand-me-downs. We ask ourselves from time to time, "What can we do without?" and cut it out of our lives to have some extra cash. I actually get very excited when I save money. So when I made the decision to cloth diaper my child, my first motivation was the cost. I contacted a local diapering service and asked if they sold their "seconds" at a discounted price. Seconds are cloth diapers that have been stained or are just a little worn and can't be used in their business anymore. I was able to purchase 40 diapers at $0.50 a piece!

I also bought a few Snappies. What are "snappies" you may ask? Everyone who cloth diapers should have one! These are awesome, inexpensive alternatives to pins! Its "T" shape fasteners have sharp claws that catch the material in the front of the diaper. They're easily adjustable and keep the diaper securely in place.

This is probably my favorite part of cloth diapering. Just be careful your little one doesn't grab it during a diaper change - the grippers are sharp!

Diaper covers are a bit more expensive. At first I just wanted to use those Gerber plastic/vinyl ones. For about $6.00, you can get a packet of three. What a great deal, I thought. Not! They are not very durable and eventually tear, thin out, and the elastic frays.

Instead, I've used and been very happy with the Thirsties covers. They come in four different sizes and many different colors. They're waterproof and super easy to use. However, they are pricey - though worth it. There have been no leaks or soaks whenever I use them.

I've also been attempting to make my own covers. This is fun but a lot more complicated than I thought! I hope to perfect a pattern and get my own tutorial up for anyone to follow. But for now, I'm still trying to figure it out.

Besides cost (as if that isn't motivation enough!), there is another great reason to use cloth. They're very environmental. Disposable diapers are full of chemicals and go straight into the garbage can after only a couple hours of use. Cloth can be used over and over until they become rags. They can be re-used by all the children in your family and even given away after being used.

"But what about washing them? That's going to cost you AND you have to buy more detergent."

Actually, having my baby in cloth diapers only gives me about two extra loads of laundry a week (sometimes three if she has a very poopy week). I let them soak in the diaper pail in a small amount of water mixed with Borax (just enough to keep a fresh smell). After washing them, they can be hung to dry out in the sun if you want to save on electricity/gas/energy. If you want to be really awesome, you can make your own laundry detergent. That's what I do - it's super easy and doesn't take long at all. I love this recipe and visual guide. I use Fels Naptha soap and Baking Soda for mine. Sometimes I'll do an extra rinse in the washer with vinegar...but you'll know when that's needed. My diapers are so white and smell fresh!

 If anyone would like to share their diapering tips or products, feel free!


elizabethfrances said...

Maggie, I do not enjoy making that detergent at all! Maybe we could do a trade. I could give you all the ingredients to make a batch for us and I could do something for you. I don't know what that would be yet but you could come up with something and we could swap services. Let me know if you would be interested. Elizabeth

Maggie said...

I would be interested! Haha, that is so funny. :) What don't you like about it?

CaperGrrl said...

Soap Nuts are evidently good for this too. I've heard Dr. Bronner's is a good soap for making detergent... there are several recipes on the web...

Modern cloth nappies Australia said...

Really it's so funny I love this :)