Friday, December 10, 2010

Semi-Routine & Less Garbage

So it's been a few weeks now & I have gotten myself into a bit of a routine with everything. We currently only have 7 diapers, which is enough to get through most of one full day in cloth. Usually what ends up happening since I don't want to do laundry EVERY day, is I will do laundry in the morning on Day 1. By the afternoon I get around to taking everything out of the dryer. We use cloth for the remainder of that day and do a disposable diaper overnight. Then the next morning after our shower/bath time, we go back to cloth until whenever it runs out on Day 2. Then laundry again the next day. So we are able to cloth about half of the time right now and I am washing every other day. Some days I admit that we are just too busy for me to get laundry done and we go an extra day with disposables or I wash at night & we have clean cloth the next morning. But those have been the exceptions.

Ideally I want to build up our stash so that I can wash every 3 days and still have a few extra diapers, but that's all going to take time because this can be incredibly expensive - The cheap(er) diapers are at least $17 each which adds up quickly. Not to mention all of the extras that you have to account for - Detergent, pail liners, wetbags, wipes, diaper sprayer, special diaper rash cream...and I am sure there will be more to come! Not that I am saying it's more expensive than disposables; quite the opposite. When we get where we need to be, ultimately we will spend A LOT less than we would on disposables. But to get started can be quite overwhelming financially. Which is part of the reason we are slowly adding to our collection & not buying everything all at once.

An interesting side note: With the switch that we have made already (I'd say cloth about half of the time, maybe even a little less if I'm lazy), our trash output has been reduced almost in half! We were going through almost a full bag every other day if not more frequently. And now a bag will last almost 4 days (as long as no food is left rotting in it - I will change it if it stinks too much!). So I am interested to see what happens to our trash when we make the switch full time!


  1. Hey Belinda - First off, let me just tell you I think it's great that you're doing this! I have my first on the way :) And I'm just starting to think about diapers, and this is certainly great information. The only thing I'm torn about is the energy output. I'd be curious to know how many times per week you had been running your washer/dryer before switching to cloth. And how many more times per week you think you'll run them once you switch full time? Less garbage is great....but at the expense of more electricity & water usage. I wonder if anyone has ever done a study comparing the energy usage of the two? In my research I have found a diaper made of corn & cotton products that biodegrades in 50-100 years, as opposed to plastics which take literally forever. Had you looked into those at all?

  2. Wild Orchid - Congrats on welcoming your first little one :) Whatever decision you make about diapering will be the right one. Everyone has different concerns for themselves, their baby & the environment. There have been several studies done on the cost of caring for cloth vs. cost of disposables & the cloth always wins out. Probably unless you're using a washer/dryer that is decades old. And if you are, good for you for keeping it running that long! We have received one utility bill so far & it was slightly higher than it normally is - nothing earth-shattering, and definitely not the equivalent to purchasing disposables & wipes for 1 month. When we are fully stocked, I will be washing the diapers less than I am right now, so it will still end up being cheaper for us. I had not considered a more earth-friendly disposable diaper because those are even more expensive than the commercial brands like Pampers & cost is a HUGE factor for us. Plus I had multiple reasons for switching to cloth other than just the environmental factors (constant poop leaking in the earlier days & cost). The less trash is a pleasant side-effect for me :) Good luck with your decision!

  3. Hi to you both! Wild Orchid Baking Company: I don't know if you'll be checking back here again, but just in case...yes, there have been studies done comparing just about every possible scenario between cloth & disposable diapers, and as stated on the Real Diaper Association's website, "The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth."

    That information was gleaned from the following source: Armstrong, Liz and Adrienne Scott's Whitewash: Exposing the Health and Environmental Dangers of Women's Sanitary Products and Disposable Diapers, What You Can Do About It. 1993. HarperCollins.

    I believe you are talking about Nature Babycare diapers, and yes, they are a better disposable option, though definitely more expensive than others. We did use them on a vacation one week, and I found them to be pretty awful. Every poop was a complete blowout with a full clothing change...and this was at 4 months of age, past the point of newborn poop! It could be my son's body is not built for those dipes, and you might have much better luck than I did, but for us they didn't work & weren't worth the cost.

    If you are concerned about adding more laundry to your already busy life, then it is understandable. I have been cloth diapering my two year old since his second week of life, and with a stash of about 40 diapers I wash every three days. It doesn't really add much to my routine or energy bill, as I try to hang the diapers dry as much as I can. All of this becomes routine, although some time for learning must be added into the equation!

    All the best with your decision, and please check out the Real Diaper Association's website for more info!

  4. Just as a side note....we used Pampers on K from the day she was born and those ended up being our brand of preference after we also tried Luvs & Huggies. We had massive poop leakage with every single poop until she started solid foods, which was at 5 and a half months! Pretty sure it's just a disposable diaper thing, specific to breastfed baby poop. My friends that used formula never had this problem, but those that breastfed & used disposables did too. One of the reasons I want cloth for baby 2 also!!