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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A lotta Cloth

So as many of you know, we use cloth diapers on the twins. There's a lot in baby books and websites about cloth diapering and there are definitely pros and cons to it. Overall, we think cloth works best for us and it's our plan to keep using them. For some people, it might not work out as well.

Some key points that make it easier for us to choose cloth...
  • we have 2 babies, which means twice the diapers, which means twice the diaper costs. Unlike some things where you're buying a little for one so buying a little more for the 2nd doesn't make that big of a difference, buying twice the diapers makes a HUGE difference. 
  • We don't pay for utilities! Woohoo! So no extra electric or water bills! If we're staying on base for awhile, and maybe even our next assignment if we get what Tom wants, for the next few years, we should be utility free so we don't have that added expense.
  • If you're washing for one, you might as well wash for 2. This is something where you're doing something for one, what's a little more for the 2nd definitely works out in our favor. I'd be doing the laundry almost as often for one because we wouldn't be buying more cloth diapers that I'd be able to go 3 or 4 days without washing them. The loads are just a little bit bigger, but one way or another I'd be doing laundry, folding laundry, stuffing diapers, what's a few extra?
Overall, it came down to costs for us. We counted how many diapers we use, how much they cost, and figure if they keep up that rate for about 4 months, we'd have paid off the expense of the cloth diapers.We were spending $100 or so on diapers in a month before I started using the cloth, so the cloth are already paid off and now in the 4 months we've been using them, so we're just banking the rest!

A lot of people are scared about the up front cost of cloth diapers, and it is a few hundred bucks (for 2 babies)...on tops of cribs, clothes, swings, car seats, strollers. The start up costs for a baby are a little ridiculous. We definitely cut back on cloth diapers costs because I've been buying them (a few at a time) since the spring when there would be a great sale on Baby Steals or Baby Half Off. I got all of our cloth diapers with some kind of sale, usually close to half off. Which means, if you go out and buy cloth diapers at regular price for 1 baby, I spent about the same to get enough diapers for my 2 babies. It was still a few hundred dollars, but did I mention we're done paying for diapers? Even if we have another baby, we are DONE buying diapers. Woohoo!

We have wet bags for cloth diapering on the road, cloth wipes to use at home, and so far, not having to worry about running out of diapers and wipes has been A-Mazing!

So what do you need to get started cloth diapering?
  • Enough cloth diapers for 2-3 days. We go through about 6 diapers on average a day per baby. Usually more, never less. So we started out with about 20 diapers and have since upped it to 32. I wash diapers Mon, Wed and Friday.
  • A diaper pail or bag for dirty diapers, preferably 2. Depending on how often you leave the house, 1-2 wet bags for traveling. We have Fuzzibunz hanging diaper bag and fuzzibunz wet bag and we're fans of both!
  • Cloth wipes, if you're going that route, which I highly recommend. About as many wipes as diapers, we can usually make it through even a big blowout with 1 cloth wipe. You can make your own or we have some Thirsties wipes which handle big messes really well! You will also need a wipe spray or a plan on making your own. The oils to make your own can be pricey, we just use Bumgenius spray.
That's it! Easy as pie!

You also need to decide on what kind of diaper you like. We didn't know what we'd like so we started just buying diapers on sale. What we have in our collection:
  • Swaddlebees Econappi-pocket diaper, we like them, but they're pricey if they're not on sale ($30! yikes! Don't pay full price!)
  • Thirsties Duowrap covers, prefolds and doublers-I LOVE this kind, mostly because we can make it through 2 or 3 prefolds before we need to change out the cover. We have twice as many prefolds as covers and I think it's great. Tom hates them though because you need to make sure all the cloth is tucked in well or else it leaks a lot. It's too much work for him. he likes to throw them on and move on with his life.
  • Fuzzibunz-Tom's favorite, I'm also a big fan. They don't leak, fit well, not too bulky on the kiddos. Only con is that the elastic is a pain to change sizes. If you plan on using this on a newborn and toddler, you won't be able to use the same diapers for both babies unless you feel like messing with the elastic every time. It gives them a great fit, but it is a pain. 
  • Bumgenius 4.0-My favorite. Easy to change out sizes, easy to stuff the soaker in the pocket, easy to use, dry super quick! If you are planning or have kids close in age and both in diapers, I'd recommend these. You can change out the sizes in about .2 seconds.
  • Happy Heiny's-We don't have a problem with these, they're easy to use, one-size pocket diapers. We find these on sale a lot so if you find them for cheap, go for it! Snap and velcro combo though and we're not velcro fans.
  • Kawaii-Pretty big and bulky, but good for overnight. Easy to stuff in a doubler if you need it for a long night. Not so great when the kids want to play around. We got this for free when we bought other diapers, so anything free is great! ;) They're pretty cheap too so might be worth having a couple for nights, but I definitely wouldn't have an entire stock of just these diapers.
Take the inserts out of the pocket diapers, toss them in a pail and your done. With bigger messes, they take some toilet cleaning but until your kids are on solids, you don't have to worry about that. Our washer has had no issues with messes, no stains on the diapers, and no issues at all with just tossing them in. When we start solids, we'll have to make sure we rinse them out before tossing them in the bag though.

Every other day or so, I unzip the bottom of the bag, toss is all in (bag and all) and wash! I do a cold wash, a hot wash with a little bit of tide (they make special detergents too if you're interested in those), an extra rinse on cold to make sure all the detergent is gone and I'm done washing! Toss the inserts in the dryer, hang up the diapers in the sun to keep them fresh and clean and you're ready for the next round. The diapers take a few hours to dry, not too long though. If I wash in the morning, I can usually use those diapers by the evening.
That's it! Any questions? haha

For us, we love cloth, it's worked out great, our kids have had no problems and it's been worth it to us in cost savings. I'd definitely recommend looking into it if you're not using them already. And I'd be happy to answer any questions. It's definitely a learn as you go process, everyone has a different way of doing things and you just have to find your own way to handle them. They are hardly any extra work though, look great, and save you money!

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