That is the question.
Making the decision to cloth isn’t an easy one. I’m sure you’re thinking that making a decision what your child soils shouldn’t be an earth shattering decision, but it can be.
Disposables are expensive over the diaper stage of a little one’s days. But it’s a sneaky expensive. I’m not gonna go all crazy math break down on you, but let’s say a single diaper is about a quarter. And I’m sure you’re thinking…a quarter? Big deal. But that’s just one diaper out of at least 10-12 diapers a day for a newborn, and probably 6-10 as they get a little older. So. Ten diapers a day at a quarter a piece, and that’s $2.50 a day. $17.50 a week. $910 a year.
Now, cloth diapering is a little more pricey at the start, but it can be done cheaply over all. You could build a whole stash with flour sack towels, which are a dollar a piece, and a few covers. Or prefolds, which could be closer to $2.00 a piece…but still spend, let’s say $100 dollars on your choice of stuffer and covers and you’re still way ahead of the diaper game.
Or you could go the route I inadvertently chose and just BUY ALL THE DIAPERS! Okay. Not all…but I’m addicted. Seriously. I love these fluffy little things.
Personally, the cost wasn’t my major impetus. I chose to cloth mainly because I didn’t want the chemicals in disposables against E’s skin. I think they have a weird smell when they’re clean, and an even weirder one when they’re dirty. Plus I don’t like the idea of them sitting in a landfill for ever and ever. I may as well just fill a landfill with all those spare quarters I have floating around.
There’s also the fact that they’re just so stinking adorable. But there’s more of that to come in future posts.
But, you have to wash them? Well. Yea. I also have to wash a few other loads of laundry a week. I think when I first started, it added two more loads a week. It really wasn’t that big of a deal. As for folding it…that part is kind of cathartic for me. It’s almost a form of meditation.
Doesn’t it bother you to have poop in your washer? Welcome to parenthood. You’re now destined to have poop in your washer. This way, it’s just more predictable. With cloth, in my experience anyway, I’ve had less (no) blow outs, compared to the two months she spent in sposies. EBF (Exclusively Breast Fed) poop is water soluble, so it rinses right out with no extra steps. The peanut butter poo stage can best be handled with a diaper sprayer. We are currently in a meat ball poo stage, which just roll right out of the diaper and into the toilet.
But don’t you have to buy expensive cloth only laundry detergent? Well, you can. It’s out there for sure, but I just use plain old regular Tide powder. I’ve had no stink build up, and no stains that couldn’t just be sunned out.
But there are so many different kinds…how did you choose? That’s really a story for another post, but the quick answer is I tried a few different things before I figured out what worked best for me and E. (I’ll break down my whole cloth diaper empire in a post in the near future)
Do you cloth diaper when you’re out? What do you do with the dirties? Yes. I do. Some people choose not to, but for me it’s just as easy to load a diaper bag with a few cloth diapers as it is to load disposables. One concession I make, for now anyway, is I do use disposable wipes when I’m out for short trips – as opposed to cloth wipes when I’m home, or away for longer periods of time. I just throw the dirty ones in a wet bag and dump them into the diaper pail when I get home. (I’ll do an accessory post soon!)
What about overnight? I also cloth over night…for some people this can lead to a lot of frustrating trial and error to find the best fit or combo. I got pretty lucky off the bat, and haven’t had a single leak.
If there are any other questions you have, please add them in the comments, and I’ll edit to answer in the main post.