Saturday, March 03, 2007

Why we use cloth diapers

I've been asked recently by a few people at church and even by my own sister why we use cloth diapers instead of disposables. The simple answer is money. I first started looking into the option of cloth diapers right after our second child, Marie, was born. The jump in diaper prices since then has gone up dramatically. I knew (you know those gut feelings) that I would have a lot of children and realized the cost of diapering would be great. So I got online and was relieved to find that cloth diapers have come a long way from pins and plastic pants. They now have snaps or velcro and really are like disposables except you 1. have to dump the poop in the toilet, 2. wash them, 3. size baby's clothing up a little to fit over them. Here's our chubby Ira modeling a cloth diaper.
I spent an initial investment of $500 to buy enough diapers, diaper covers, and washcloths to last about a week so my laundry load would only increase by one extra load per week. I bought these diapers from Mother-ease. Through a series of snaps you can adjust the size of the diapers to fit your child. They fit babies from 8 - 35 lbs. They are a great diaper and lasted for about 4 children. A few wore out by Abby's (our 4th child) first year so I spent another $200 dollars to buy more. This time I bought these diapers from theBabyMarketPlace. I changed from the Mother-ease diapers for two reasons: 1. they didn't take Discover, 2. The Snug-to-fit have elastic around the legs to help contain messes better. But there is one major flaw with the Snug-to-fit diapers - they wear out faster than the Mother-ease. So by the time Ira came along (our 7th child and 6th to use cloth diapers) I needed to buy a whole new set of diapers, another $400 investment. I went online again and researched more diapers and am extremely happy with these diapers (pictured below).
The BumGenius are made of a polyester and cotton blend and I can tell they will last for a long time (we all know how long-wearing polyester is). The Little Beetle diapers have a slim fit and are extremely soft as are the Happy Heiny's. I don't think the Happy Heiny's are going to last as long as the Little Beetles which probably won't last as long as the BumGenius just by the feel of the fabrics used. The company Wildflower Diapers has great customer service and I received the diapers in less than a week when I ordered them. I haven't had to replace any diaper covers but I have had to buy new washcloths once. That cost $10 from Wal-mart.

Now down to the nitty-gritty, boring details of costs and money saved. I've spent about $1,150 total on cloth diapers for six children. The cost of disposable diapers we used with Eve (our 1st child) was about $1,500. We used the cheapest store brand and she potty trained early at 16 months. That was back in 1996-97. So I'm guessing the average price of diapers now for a two year period is at least $2,000. So I've saved roughly $10,000 just by using cloth diapers with my last six children. ($2,000 x 6 = $12,000 $12,000 - $1,150 = $10, 850) Keep in mind I'm just using estimates - some children potty train later and I didn't try to average in cost of laundry or disposable wipes in all of this. I also did have to use disposables for several months with both Laura and Debbie. For some odd reason they both developed a weird rash when they were about 14 months old and it wouldn't go away unless I used disposables.

So there it is. My reason for using cloth diapers.

And what did we do with that extra money? We've put the majority of it into savings for orthodontic braces, bought several nice pieces of furniture, and Mom's treated herself several times because, hey,
I'm allowed too! I did the research and do the work of laundering them. :D


Calandria said...

I should think Mum DOES deserve a treat! In fact I think you deserve many treats. And hey, those cloth diapers are way cute.

Now here's what floored me: you had a child who potty trained at 16 months? Mind sharing how you managed THAT? I don't even want to admit how old a couple of mine were...

Jen said...

We buy Huggies and spend just under $40 a month on diapers...T is 28 months so that would be about $1120 so far. I've found that more expensive diapers cost the same as store brand in the end because I use less diapers and wash less wet pajamas and sheets from leaky diapers.

If T is not potty trained very soon, we will have other issues besides the cost of diapers!

We did try cloth when she was a newborn and it definately wasn't for us. T was sick and I needed to spend my time with her, not with the laundry. I was initially sold on the idea of earth friendly diapers. A stash of organic, unbleached cotton chinese prefolds cost me about $150, some of which I sold unused on ebay when we quit, and the rest are fabulous cleaning rags that are virtually indestructible.

I say if it works out so well for your family then hey, enjoy your new furniture!

Montserrat said...

After Eve I thought potty training would be a snap, she was that easy. Then Marie came along and changed my whole perception. She WOULD NOT potty train until she decided she wanted too, at 34 months, almost three years old! I now realize it cannot be forced on them. They'll do it on their own time frame.

I agree that cloth diapering, like home schooling, is just a preference. Thankfully it's worked for us and saved us some money. Farmers need all the help they can get in that area!

Julie said...

Good for you! I tried cloth diapers for a while with Jenna (to try and save money) and I HATED it. So disposable diapers is just something we have decided to spend money on. I guess it's just something you just have to decide on for yourself.

I'm with Calandria - I am amazed Eve potty trained so early! None of my children trained that early. I tried training Dallin at 18 months, but soon realized he wasn't quite ready. All our older kids were quite consistently trained at about 2 years old.

athena said...

i like reading what others do to save money. good for you for using cloth diapers too. the only ones i knew where the ones my mother used on us. if i knew there were cute ones like these i might have used them too. :)