Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Cloth Diapering

Interested in giving cloth diapering? Read this guest post from Claire, a FuzziBunz distributor.

Getting started using cloth diapers can be a bit daunting — there is definitely a learning curve! Here is some glossary-style info that will hopefully clue you in to the new world of cloth — no pins and plastic pants. These are not our mother's cloth diapers!

Cost: I don't know the cost if you have to use a laundromat to wash, but if you have your own washer and dryer, the cost is WAY less than disposables. The difference is in the thousands of dollars, so even using a laundromat you would save lots and lots of money using cloth. It is completely ridiculous how much money we throw away on disposables. Literally. They are about 25 cents a piece!

Here's how the yearly cost breaks down, using the new "perfect size" FuzziBunz as an example:

Cloth 0-6 months: $359 (20 @ $17.95/each)

Disposable 0-6 months: ~$250

Cloth 6 mth - 2 1/2 years: $287 (16 @ $17.95/each)

Disposable 6 mth - 2 1/2 years: ~$813


Cloth: $646 (20 @ $18.95/each)

Disposable: $1,063

Cloth x 3 kids: $646

Disposable x 3 kids: $3,189 (assuming prices don't go up)

Another great way to go is one-size, again, using FuzziBunz as the example:

Cloth 0-3 years: $379 (for 20 at $18.95 each)

Disposable 0-2 1/2 years: $1,063

Even factoring in washing and drying, you are still coming out way ahead. The initial upfront cost is the part that can be a little daunting, but save up — it is worth it! Or get fewer at the beginning, and as you would like more, or budget for more, get them then. I sell FuzziBunz, and can get a good deal for you.

Accessories: You'll need a diaper pail with a liner. I put baking soda in the bottom of my pail, a lovely citrus-colored circle at the top and use a mesh bag to hold the diapers/inserts. This is the diaper pail that I have. I just got it at Target (or for a baby shower gift ... hmm ... I should remember). I also had this one for a little while, but it was for my disposables (yes, I had two diaper pails). FuzziBunz has a great diaper bag that you can hang wherever, and soon I'll be replacing my pail with it!

When I first started I used prefold diapers, but now I only use them for changing pads. They are perfect. For poopy diapers, I take the diaper in the prefold to the toilet, swish a little and put it back in the prefold to take to the pail.

Changing: Depending on the type of diaper you use, you'll be need to change a diaper about every 2 to 4 hours — very similar to a disposable. The hemp/microfiber inserts can hold a lot.

Diaper Rashes: You can use cloth with diaper rashes, but you have to use a liner because you don't want to stain the diapers or inhibit the diapers absorbency. When my babies got bad rashes I used disposables ...or nothing at all. I'd just sit them on a soft cotton prefold with their bums covered in all sorts of stuff, because I could care less if my prefolds aren't absorbent!

Laundry: Do you have your own washer and dryer? If not, CDing could be kind of a pain. Again, depending on how many you get determines how often you do laundry. 24 is a good number for newborns, and that puts you doing laundry every 2nd or 3rd day. 18 is good for mediums, again, doing laundry every 3rd day.

Newborns: I wouldn't start using cloth until your baby is a couple of weeks old. The meconium just isn't fun with any diaper! And give yourself time to adjust to a new baby in the house!

Nighttime Diapering: If your kids are anything like mine, they are super-pee-ers at night time! Even double-stuffing the diapers didn't hold everything, which meant that the moisture-wicking advantage of micro-fleece didn't work and there would be red bums in the morning. Disposables can hold SO much liquid! Have you ever forgotten a swim diaper and left them in a normal one in the pool? Crazy.

Also, I use disposables on trips. It's just not so fun toting the diaper pail around, or doing laundry at your in-law's house.

The Poop: I swish dirty diapers a little in the toilet before putting them in the pail. It really isn't bad. :o) Prefolds are handy to have so you don't drip on the way from the toilet to the pail. Eew! Blowouts are no more common in good cloth diapers than in disposables.

And now, some types of diapers and their accessories for you to choose from:

All-in-one (AIO) Diapers: These are just what they sound like — it's all there. No stuffing or anything. But they are more apt to hold smells and take longer to dry. {BumGenius, Swaddlebees}

Contour & fitted diapers: Shaped diapers made to fit under a cover. Contours don't have leg elastic or snaps, fitteds do. A less expensive option. {Kissaluvs}

One-size: A diaper meant to last from birth to potty training. {BumGenius, FuzziBunz, Happy Heinys}

Pocket diaper: You put an insert into a shell - usually with PUL (waterproof material) on the outside and microfleece that touches baby's skin. They clean very well and dry fast. {FuzziBunz, Swaddlebees, Happy Heinys}

Prefolds with covers: Definitely the least expensive, but the cotton against the baby's skin has to be changed as soon as it gets wet to avoid irritation and rashes. Ouch. This is what our mom's used — only no pins this time around. There are great little contraptions called Snappis that hold the prefold in place.

Sized diapers: Specifically sized for weight/height/etc. {FuzziBunz, Swaddlebees}

Covers: Necessary for contoured, fitted and prefold diapers. {Bummis, Swaddlebees}

Diaper Doubler: Basically another insert that you put in your diaper when you want some extra absorbency. Usually a little smaller than a regular insert.

Inserts: What you put into a pocket diaper. Made of microfiber, hemp or cotton. The first two are the least bulky, and are super absorbent. Most come with a microfiber insert.

Liners: These go between the baby's bum and the diaper. They can be made of anything, but the best ones are made of microfleece because of the wicking capability. They make for easy poop changes. They also have flushable liners so there is never any swishing. I've tried them though, and they tend to just give wedgies because they don't stay in place very well.

Microfleece: A super-thin fleece that causes the moisture to wick away from baby's skin, so when you change your baby their little bum is dry.

I hope that answers some questions ... and probably brings up more — so feel free to email me!



  1. I've always been curious....anybody have a good idea what cloth diapering does to energy bills (additional cost of water and heat)? I have a friend who cloth diapered, and she told me she would wash everything 4-5 times before re-use. That seems excessive to me, but I have no idea for myself. Anyone help me out on this one?


  2. Good question. Here is a web site you can look at that breaks it down:
    not sure how accurate it is or anything, but it's a start!

  3. Thanks for this post! There's so much information out there, but it's all overwhelming. I'm determined to give it a try...we'll see how it goes!

  4. My husband figured out the cost of washing and drying once, and it turns out to be a little less than $2/month, for washing and drying 3 times a week. That was for a non-high efficiency washer & dryer...

  5. I've seen other places that say their utilities went higher, I think it's depends. Also, I don't know ANYONE yet who's used the SAME cloth diapers for 3 kids. I think the savings on multiple kids is huge but most people I know who cloth diaper are constantly updating their supply. I got some used ones (the covers) and they weren't one-sized, so they weren't used a TON but they are obviously worn. I'm still giving them a try cause I just need the inserts and other than that it'll be free, hoping to share my experience! Hoping I like it!

  6. I bought my current FuzziBunz diapers used, and am on my 3rd child with them! Before I found them I went through a bunch of different kinds...I resold all of them and finally found something I love! Even if you only use cloth with one child it saves money--especially since you can re-sell them!


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