For me, one of the best parts about having a friend who is expecting (besides, you know, the human being soon to come) is having an opportunity to talk baby gear and to see what’s new since I invested. (A LOT changes even over the course of two short years!)
My absolute favorite gear to talk about? Cloth diapers.
No, but seriously. Cloth diapers absolutely rock my world.
I know if you’re not familiar with the modern world of cloth diapering, the first thing you think of are diaper pins and rubber pants– or worse, big, sloppy pails of soaking poopie diapers.
Think again, my friends! Cloth diapering has never been easier. And actually, it takes me less time to cloth diaper than it does to use dishes instead of paper plates. A LOT less. Like, probably an average of less than 5 minutes per day. Total.
The Down and (really not so) Dirty:
We use the pre-fold/ cover system most of the time. It’s cheaper, and usually works most reliably (Those new-born blowouts are practically non-existent). It does, however, lack some of the convenience of the all-in-one (AIO) systems for being out-and-about, and their similarity to disposables that so many child-care providers crave. Still, it’s pretty easy– fold the pre-fold into thirds, set it in the cover, velcro or snap it into place– 1,2,3.
So, Naya goes about her day, I change her soiled diapers, and if it’s a #1 situation, it goes right into my diaper pail, which is lined with a “wet bag” (basically a bag made of laminated cloth that holds the diapers until you’re ready to wash). If it’s #2 I dump it in the toilet (Naya shouts, “Bye bye, Poopie!”), then throw it in the wet bag.
And now you’re thinking, “What about the messy ones? Do you really have to rinse them in the toilet?”
Well, yes– but that happens about once every two weeks in our house– and, if you’re really squeemish, they make things called diaper sprayers that hook up (quite easily, I’m told) to the water supply of your toilet. But, even the rinsing takes, say, 20 seconds. And, when they’re really small, if you’re breast feeding, you don’t have to rinse the poop at all. For some reason, it just magically disappears in the wash. Breast milk is magic, but that’s a story for another post.
Since we’re going to be washing anyway, we even use cloth wipes–basically tiny washcloths we spray with water, use, and toss right into the bag. And before you get all, “You only clean her off with WATER?!” on me, remember that you probably don’t even use that when you do your business. So there. But, if you’re going to be like that, some people add a drop of baby wash to their water bottle, or buy special spray for it, or even prepare their own formula that involves some kind of cooking (I know, right?). I don’t personally think it needs to be that complicated. Water works fine.
So anyway, you get a bunch of dirty diapers– for us, this happens about once every 3-4 days now (when she was younger, it used to happen about every-other day). You take the bag out of the diaper pail, turn it inside out into the washer (so you don’t even have to touch the diapers), throw the bag in with it, and VOILA! You’re washing your diapers!
Cold rinse. Double wash with the teeniest bit of detergent. Cold rinse.
Line dry the covers. Machine or line dry the pre-folds.
I think it’s probably at least as pleasant as emptying one of those magic-hide-the-diaper contraptions.
And, yes, it helps that I’m a stay-at-home-mom, but anyone who knows me knows I’m no Donna Reed when it comes to matters of the home.
And, yes, it helps that my laundry room is right next to the kitchen, but in our old house, when I had to truck downstairs to use our traditional washer/dryer combo (now we have the HE models I coveted for so long– consolation prize for moving away from my friends and family), I often set Naya on top of the basket of fluffy, clean diapers and towed us all back upstairs. I think she liked it.
And no, we aren’t fanatical about it (which is probably why I love it so much). Sometimes, if we’re out and about, or we have a sitter who’s not comfortable with them, or we’re on vacation, we use disposable.
All in all, it’s probably saved us about a thousand dollars– more, if you count the fact that one of my Besties borrowed Naya’s first set of diapers for her son. (We have two sets– one for the first 6 months, and one that will take her to potty training.)
And it’s one of the parenting decisions that both my husband and I feel really, really good about.
What are some of the parenting decisions that you’re really proud of?