Making the Switch to Cloth Diapering

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Before the Switch

Like most new moms, I spent hours researching safe and environmentally friendly products for my baby. I liked everything about the idea of cloth diapering – from the cost and limited effect on the environment to those seriously adorable patterns of the diaper covers. 

But, I was going back to work, so would the daycare facility be okay with cloth diapers? Plus, our parents probably wouldn’t be interested in learning how to cloth diaper. And doesn’t it use a lot of water to have to do diaper laundry so often?

We decided to use Honest diapers. They were claimed to be biodegradable, they could be delivered right to our door, and the prints – ah! I used Honest prenatals and DHA and was 100% happy with them. 

Once baby came and we started using disposable diapers and Honest wipes, I found a true appreciation for them. The wipes were strong – I never punctured the fabric. Using disposable diapers were easy to use for middle of the night diaper changes. 

Because we co-slept for the first 3 months, I changed her diaper on the bed. I tossed the wipe into the diaper, rolled it up, and put it next to the bed to toss in the morning. The straps were quiet and those Honest diapers held A LOT of pee. We only ever had one blow out, and that was due to a soy allergy – not the diaper. Baby only had two diaper rashes, and the absorbency of the Honest diapers wasn’t affected by our preferred diaper cream. 

I was content with our diaper routine, although the trash filled up very quickly. Why would I change now?

Rethinking Disposables

During one of the mom group meetups, someone finally brought up the big topic – cloth diapers. We had attended several other meetups and walks, and nobody mentioned diapering of any sort! We had steered clear of the topic altogether. 

They were talking about different types of diaper inserts and diapering at night. I sat there in silence and listened to everyone as they chimed in with their experiences.

“We use two inserts at night and change at every feeding.”
“Baby soaks her PJs and sheets if we don’t stuff the front of her diaper.”
“We use hemp and cotton at night for extra absorbency.”
“Baby can’t use that diaper cream because it stains our diapers.”
“We use disposables at night.”

Aha! I could finally relate. This mom uses cloth diapers during the day, but disposables at night. Yes! I still didn’t feel the need to offer my two cents. I didn’t care what kind of diapers they were or how many changes at night. I wasn’t ashamed anymore for using disposable diapers.

But, actually, I was.

I left that day feeling defeated. Why hadn’t we switched to cloth diapers? One of the main reasons we didn’t use them to begin with was because I wasn’t staying home with her, but I had decided to stay home with her 2 months ago.

I considered the cost. We were extremely financially restricted since I hadn’t gone back to work. I knew in the long run, it would save money, but I was sure that we didn’t have the money for the start-up cost. 

I decided not to mention it to my husband, but to ponder on it and come back to it after the holidays. We needed to buy gifts and there was no way we could afford the supplies on top of Airbnbs for the holidays and Christmas presents.

Our Friend Convinced Us

Two more months passed, and we were still in disposables. We were visiting a dear friend, Baby R’s closest friend, who wore cloth diapers. He wore prefolds with a waterproof cover. I was intimidated at the process, and after thinking about not being able to afford it, I hadn’t done much research. I knew my husband wouldn’t want to spend the money. 

Baby R needed a diaper change, so I pulled out her changing supplies. Out of nowhere I said, “We’re still haven’t made the change to cloth.” I didn’t need to say it, but when I heard it coming out of my mouth, I knew I was actually asking for help. I wanted to know more about it. I also wanted reassurance.

“It’s so easy,” our friend said.

When I rolled up Baby R’s diaper to toss it in the trash, I couldn’t help but feel like I was taking up space where I didn’t need to be. They didn’t have any other diapers in their bin. I shouldn’t be dumping my baby’s waste in their house. This was my responsibility on so many levels. 

I began to ask questions. Is it hard? Does it take a lot of time? How often do you do laundry?  What does it cost? Did you buy used? What about night time changes?

Our friend patiently answered all of my questions. She handed me a diaper cover with snaps and explained all the different parts. As I held it in my hand, examining the different components – the buttons, gusset, lining, coating, pattern – I was slowly convincing myself that it was time to make the switch. 

I left her house feeling confident. When I got home, I researched different brands, different styles, and different methods. There was still so much to learn, but after holding it in my hand, the intimidation factor was lifted. 

I bought four used diapers from Mercari and told my husband about it when he got home. He was skeptical at first, but when we received them and talked about them, he was more interested. Again, the intimidation factor was gone!

The Cost of Cloth Diapers and Supplies

We bought 12 more used and 7 new. Below is the breakdown of the startup cost of cloth diapering:

8 used diapers from Mercari: $45

6 used diapers and 1 wet bag from consignment: $60

7 new diapers and 1 wet/dry bag from Amazon: $60

10 additional diaper inserts: $25

24 cloth wipes: $17

1 large wet/dry bag: $34

Diaper laundry detergent: $20

Total: $261

We later learned that we didn’t need the additional inserts, although they are great to have just in case. We also don’t really need to use fancy laundry detergent, but it does a really good job at cleaning the diapers, so we continue to use it.  You also don’t need fancy wipes – any rags or cloths will do. So, you could make the switch to cloth diapering for just $199!

This may sound like a little more than you want to invest, but for us, it was the right decision. We were spending $80/month on diapers and wipes using Honest’s home delivery service. Since we hang the diapers to dry, they will last us for years to come. We will be able to use them on multiple babies.

The water bill has only increased by $8-$10/month, and that’s after doing diaper laundry every other day.

After five months of using cloth diapers, I am happy to say that I am 100% confident that we made the right decision to switch. We have a variety of brands, but I can fully recommend Nora’s Nursery, Alvababy, and Mama Koala. There are tons on the market. These are the diapers we originally purchased based on price and patterns.

How did you make the switch to cloth diapers? Comment below!

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