Sunday, October 10, 2010

If Christopher Columbus wore disposable diapers ...

If Christopher Columbus wore disposable diapers,
they would still be here today …

In honor of Columbus Day weekend, and that inspiring quote from the gDiapers website, I thought I'd finally spill the beans on our latest venture - cloth diapering.

I know, I know.  Who would've thought Lady Diaper Deals would go to such great lengths.  But Jude doesn't seem to mind and I rather enjoy getting in touch with my "green" side.  You see, I've been thinking about cloth diapers ever since Jack was a wee little babe.  For a while, it seemed like "everyone was doing it."  All my favorite frugal bloggers and a number of my Facebook friends were dropping terms like "BumGenius" and "FuzziBunz."  It got me curious.  So I did a little research, well a lot of research.  And ended up thoroughly overwhelmed. 

Anyone who has explored cloth diaper blogs, forums or message boards knows what I mean.  The terms, the lingo, the diagrams.  I saw spreadsheets that outlined cost savings over a lifetime.  I saw charts that use star ratings to show which detergents are better for cloth.  I saw bunches and bunches of colorful baby bums.  I found online stores, and stay-at-home-mom made diapers.  I learned the difference between a "wet pail" and a "dry pail."  Someone even did an entire pictorial outline of the anatomy of their cloth diaper changing and laundry system.  And then the "information overload" sign would start flashing in my brain and I'd have to walk away from the computer to try and sort it all out.  I just wanted something simple and straightforward.
And I also saw some hefty price tags.  There's no doubt about it that cloth diapers will save you money in the long run, but it's the inital investment that's a kick to the pants.  And I wasn't too thrilled about shelling out cold, hard cash for something I didn't even know would pan out. 
To top it all off, Jon was totally opposed, grossed out, not interested, don't ever mention it again.

But of course I still did.  Ever few months I'd bring it up, and every few months he'd shoot me down.  Finally, I put my foot down.  Now, I try to be a fairly submissive wife.  My hubby's smart.  He's the head of the house, and he works pretty hard for our income.  So I'm not about to throw it away on something he wants nothing to do with.  But I was tired of dancing around.  I wanted to know, once and for all, if cloth diapering was something I could do.  So I fed him a delicious dinner, looked into his eyes, and said, "I'm going to buy a cloth diaper.  I'm going to try this out.  I'm going to spend X amount from my own allowance.  And if it doesn't work then I'll sell them on Craigslist for 70-80% of their original value and never bring it up again."
His response:  "Sounds like a pretty expensive beta test."
So Jon-like.  His quote has now reached joke-status in our household.  I like to throw it around in casual conversation because, let me tell ya, we've had quite a few pricey beta tests around here ... and they weren't by me!

But he was good enough to let me use family funds for my purchase and after an evening of research I settled on gDiapers.  Let me tell you why:  First, I was attracted to their hybrid model.  You can use either cloth or a flushable/biodegradable insert in them.  I've only bought and used cloth, but the idea is appealing.  Second, from my limited knowledge of cloth diaper brands, this seemed to be the way to get the most bang for my buck.  Instead of having to wash the entire diaper after each use, you only have to wash the insert.  The outer diaper can be re-used, unless it's poopy.  At the time, Jude was only pooping once a week.  So instead of 2 diapers = 2 changes, I bought 2 diapers (+ 6 cloth inserts) = 6 changes.  Third, I saw the quote about Christopher Columbus wearing disposable diapers and, even though I'm not the most environmentally conscious person I know, even I was grossed out by 600 year old dirty diapers in the landfill. 
I made my purchase from (using a coupon code of course) and was practically giddy with excitement waiting for them to arrive.  In the meantime I read and re-read the entire gDiaper website, taking copious notes on use and care so I would be a pro by the time they arrived.  I didn't have to wait long thanks to free 2-day shipping.  I pulled them out of the box and they were just the cutests little panties I've ever seen.  In order to prep the gCloth (inserts) you have to wash them in hot water 6 times.  I didn't think much of it at first, but 6 washings, followed by 6 dryings, took a very long time.  Jude had fallen asleep long before I was done, so I went to bed eager to great the morning with my new fuzzy-bottomed babe.

Now, in all my research, I have never read a blog or article from someone saying, "Hey I gave cloth-diapering a shot and it wasn't for me."  Maybe they're out there, but I haven't seen them.  So I promised myself, whatever the outcome - savings success or frugal flop - I'd write all about it.  The first diaper change went great!  And as to be expected, my one-bowel-movement-a-week baby poo'd in his spankin' new diaper.  And ever since then he's been doing so every other day.  So much for that theory.  The second and third diaper leaked.  So I read through my notes again and figured out I wasn't pulling the legs up high enough.  After that we were home-free.  Well, most of the time.  There's a bit of a learning curve to gDiapering and sometimes I miss the turn.  But I think I've finally got the hang of it.
It's been two months now, I've bought one more pair of diapers and 6 more inserts for even less than I paid the first time.  My total investment so far is $82.  I have enough diapers to get through 3 days of diapering (I haven't worked up the courage to do cloth at night yet since my kiddos do 12 hours between changes) before having to do laundry.  Based on my calculations it would take me around 100 days of exclusive use (not including nights) to break even.  But this is based on a sale price of about $.20/per disposable.  I've been getting diapers for as little as $.10/each or even free lately, so it will take me a bit longer to break even.  But still, they will have paid for themselves during Jude's diaper days, and I'll still be able to use them with the next kid.
Yes, there is an "ick factor" as one person put it.  You do get a bit more up close and personal with what goes into a diaper.  Especially when you have to take it apart to wash it.  It hasn't been that bad so far, but Jude is also still exclusively breastfed.  I'm sure things will get more interesting after we start solids.  Once you get past the "ickiness" of it all, washing them is really quite easy.  I also made my own cloth wipes and wipe solution this past week, because wipes and dipes kinda go together.  Sure it's a bit more "work" than disposable wipes, but it beats the inconvenience of trying to figure out where to put the messy wipe since you can't just wrap it up in the diaper like usual.

I do have one complaint regarding gDiapers, and that is the fact that they are "breathable" which I'm sure is better for baby's bottom but causes the outside of the diaper, and sometimes Jude's pants, to feel damp.  It's not leakage, just moist air. 

And I'm not going to lie, it's definitely a lot easier to pull out a "'sposie" (as they say online) and stick it on a baby's bottom.  Or to pull it off, roll it up and dump it in the bin and be done with it.  I don't care how other people spin it, cloth diapering is defnitely more work.  But I still think it's worth it.  If I didn't I wouldn't have written this long-winded post and instead would have linked you to my Craigslist listing for a pack of hardly-used cloth diapers.  Instead, chalk me up as another one of those moms who gave cloth diapering a try and is now sold for life ... or at least, for the rest of my babymaking days!

gDiapers gCloth Inserts, Medium/Large, 13 to 36 Pounds, 6-Count

1 comment:

jewels said...

maybe i'll try it if we have another :)

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