Since maternity leave is comprised mostly of changing diapers—over and over and over again—and since I’ve finally reached the point where I can manage to juggle baby and keyboard for brief 30-minute stints (kind of), I thought I would write my own post about cloth diapers (don’t worry, Cait will still be chiming in from time to time).
Lots of you guys have written hoping to know more about our diapering rigmarole, so I decided to break the post into sections according to the FAQs. Hope this helps (let me know if I’ve left anything out!):
1. Do you wash all of those yourself?
Since we don’t have a washer and a dryer in our building, taking on the task of shuttling dirty baby diapers to the laundromat was more than we were willing to take on. We use a diaper service which picks up dirty diapers and delivers a bag full of fresh clean ones once a week. Read more about how that works here.
2. What system do you use?
We use the most basic system out there. Our diaper service provides us with prefold organic cotton diapers (basically a thick cotton rectangle that we fold around the babe’s bottom). We hold the cloth diaper in place with nifty little fasteners that do the same work as diaper pins, just more easily. Over the cloth diaper, we stick a waterproof cover to keep everyone dry. (Because we’re gluttons for punishment, we chose the white covers. Thank goodness baby poop washes out easily.) In a classic little sister move, we chose to use the same covers that Cait and her husband settled on after trying out lots of different ones. When we’re out and about, we carry a waterproof wet bag that we can use to stash dirties without getting anything stinky.
Prefolds. (These ones are similar to the ones that the service provides.)
Diaper Fasteners. (We eventually switched to Snappi Fasteners.)
Diaper Covers. (Our original covers are no longer for sale, but these Bummi Covers are great.)
Wet Bag. (The bag we found is no longer for sale, but Etsy is chock full of wet bag options.)
3. How much does that all cost?
Like buying thoughtfully raised food or responsibly made clothes, choosing to use a cloth diaper service is definitely a more expensive option than using conventional disposables. If we had a washer and dryer, we would no doubt opt to wash our own because the cost savings is huge and means that cloth diapering is less expensive than using even the cheapest disposables. Without that option, we’ve decided that the extra cost is worth taking on to limit the number of diapers we’d otherwise be adding the landfill. Bonus: cloth diapered kids typically potty train at 1.5 to 2 years, which helps balance out the overall cost. For the curious, a little breakdown of the cost and environmental impact of different diapers, here.
4. Isn’t that a lot of work?
5. The diapers get washed once a week? Doesn’t that stink?
We’ve been using the diaper pail sold through our diaper service and so far, so good. On these very warm days the moment of removing the lid can unmask a smell that’s just a touch ripe, but when it’s closed we don’t smell anything at all. Plus, it’s nothing that a sprinkle of baking soda can’t fix.
PS. The links in this post were updated after the birth of Erin’s second child (January 2017).