GREAT! I know it’s hard to imagine that your little one could be any more adorable, but it’s possible; just imagine your baby wrapped up in these super cute cloth diapers! It’s a win—win for your pocket book, for your little one’s bum, and for your diaper-changing experience.
I know what you’re thinking…
Cloth diapers, are you kidding me? The flat white rectangles that you have to fold and then those pins that you stick yourself with who knows how many times, and to top it off those awkward fitting and noisy plastic pants? No way; that’s why they invented disposables.
This is the same thought I had three years ago, sitting across the table from a friend as she excitedly told me about cloth diapers. Then she took one out of her purse and my entire perception changed. So give me a chance, check out these pictures (remember as much as $900/year is at stake here) and you will see that cloth diapers have come a LONG way from folding diapers and diaper pins.
The above picture is a Bum Genius 4.0 with Velcro, it’s a complete diaper with Velcro tabs (just like the disposables); the only difference is that instead of throwing it in the trash can you throw it in a wet bag. YES, it is that simple.
So now you are thinking, Ok, I think I could manage that, but what about the poop? This is a question I frequently get and I respond with, “If your husband was playing soccer and slipped in a pile of dog poop how would you wash his pants?” The reply 99% of the time is, “I would put them in the washing machine,” and the other 1% of the time it is, “I would hose them off outside.” This is EXACTLY what you do with a baby’s poopy diaper. Before solids you simply toss the diaper in the wet bag, and then you dump the entire contents and the wet bag into your washing machine and let your washing machine do the work. Once your baby starts eating solids and their poop turns solid (or as we say around here, ploppable) you simply ‘plop’ the poop into the toilet, flush, and put the diaper in the wet bag. And for the 1% of you who would hose your husband’s pants off before putting them in the washing machine, you are in luck because you can buy a diaper sprayer that does the same thing, just into the toilet!
This diaper looks super-sized because it is. This is a night diaper which around here means a regular insert with a loopy-do.
The Bottom Line: just how much CAN you save and what does going cloth really cost?
1) Pick the type of cloth diaper that fits your lifestyle best
a. Pre-fold and Cover (Econobum) – This is very similar to the flat diapers your parents generation used, but they now come pre-folded and the covers are made of Polyurethane laminate (PUL) which is very similar to the plastic pants except you get a great fit and none of the “plastic” noise. And those pesky diaper pins have been replaced with snappi’s – no chance of sticking yourself!
b. Pocket Diaper (Bum Genius 4.0) – This is a diaper that functions exactly like a disposable diaper; the only difference is you place a microfiber insert between the cover and the fleece lining (the pocket). We call this “stuffing the diapers,” and this is easily done in a few minutes while watching the evening news. Once they are stuffed, they are ready to go and just as easy as a disposable diaper. I bet you could stuff all your diapers faster than you could load up the kids and drive to the super market parking lot to purchase your disposables.
c. Pocket Diaper Hybrid (Flip) – My friend who introduced me to cloth diapers started out with Bum Genius, but the stuffing just wasn’t for her, so Cotton Babies came out with the Flip to fit her needs. This diaper functions in the same way as the Bum Genius except the fleece lining is attached to the insert instead of to the cover so you simply lay the insert into the water proof cover (PUL) and voila, no stuffing. And as an added bonus, if you are traveling and won’t have access to a washing machine, no problem. You don’t have to use disposable diapers, you can simply purchase disposable liners, toss the soiled liners and keep the shells, still saving precious dollars!
d. All-In-One – (Bum Genius AIO) – This diaper is the same as the Bum Genius 4.0 except it is all sewn together. No stuffing, no laying inserts in; this diaper is all in one, always ready to go. It’s the “green” twin of the disposable. Simply wear, wash, dry, and re-wear!
2) Purchase the recommended 24 diapers – infants on average go through 12 diapers a day so it is recommended to have 24 so you wash every other day.
I went to Amazon.com and found the best deal I could on name-brand diapers and wipes. I found $.0347 was the cheapest I could buy one wipe for and $.19 was the cheapest I could buy a diaper for; bringing the total cost assuming one wipe per diaper change to $.2247 per change. I multiplied that cost by 12 diapers a day times 30 days a month to come up with a cost of $80.892 per month for disposable diapers. The diapers that you see listed above can all be purchased at http://www.cottonbabies.com and they always give FREE shipping.
[Wipes = .0347 Diapers = .19 Total per change= .2247 12*.2247*30 = 80.892]
I think this comparison chart is important for everyone who is thinking about cloth diapering because the thought of fronting anywhere from $100-$400 on diapers in one lump sum can seem overwhelming, but when you break it down like this and see how fast you pay off those diapers (as soon as 1.2 months) and how much money you save in one year (remember that most cloth diapers last not only for multiple years, but multiple children), you can see the initial investment is worthwhile. Some of you may be in a situation where you only have $81 a month to spend on diapers; no problem, choose one of the cheaper options at first and gradually build your stash. You could purchase just 12 and wash every day for one month and then have enough to purchase the rest of your diapers the following month.
Perhaps you don’t know which diaper is best for your family; purchase one of each kind and experiment. Another great thing about cloth diapers is they hold their value very well so you can easily sell the ones you decide don’t work as well for you.
A couple of purchasing hints: until a month ago, the best deal you could get for the Bum Genius 4.0s was when they run the “buy 5 get 1 free” deal, but right now they have a “buy 2 get 1 free” deal on their artistry series and a few other colors that they are discontinuing; this is the BEST deal I have ever seen for Bum Genius 4.0s, and trust me, I have stalked the Internet for 3 years!
Did I mention that you also no longer need to purchase swim diapers? Simply take the liner out of the diaper and just use the shell if you are going to be in a pool, or leave the diaper in tact for a day at the beach!
3) Necessary Diaper accessories
a. Cloth Wipes – I initially thought I would use cloth diapers, but disposable wipes, but I quickly came to my senses. If you are already washing diapers why not wash a few flannel wipes, too, and it’s MUCH easier to put the entire diaper and clean-up supplies in the wet bag instead of making an extra trip to the trash can. You can purchase flannel baby wipes for a little less than $1 per wipe or you can go even cheaper (which I am a fan of) and make your own. Even if you have never sewn before you can make these, trust me. Go to your local fabric store and purchase ½ yard of flannel fabric – be sure to print off one of those 40% coupons that are always easy to find – and score ALL the wipes you need for $1 or less. Cut the flannel into 8x6 pieces, turn the sewing machine on to the zig zag stitch and zig zag around the perimeter of the wipes…DONE...at least $24 dollars saved, and hey, now you made something for your baby.
b. Wet Bags – I recommend two small wet bags (for the diaper bag) and two large wet bags (for the main wet bags at home). I say two of each because you assume one is in the washing machine or drying while the other is in use. The small wet bags are $12.25 each and the large are $22.25 each, on average. OR, again, you can go cheaper and make your own. These bags take a little more skill since you will be adding a zipper, but I will make a deal with you as I have with all my other friends whom I have converted; you purchase the supplies, max $5 per wet bag, and I will make them or help you make them. YES, I love cloth diapers and the more people I can convert the happier I am, so convert and let me help you get started!
Why Cotton Babies? Aren’t There Tons of Other Brands Out There?
When I did my research three years ago, I found bar none that Cotton Babies, specifically Bum Genius 4.0 (3.0s at the time) were not only the best quality, but the best bang for your buck. I compared Rumparooz, Happy Hines, Fuzzi Bunz, G Diapers, the works. Cotton Babies’ one size per diaper was the initial turn on for me – I didn’t like the idea of needing to purchase a full set of small, medium, large, and then possibly extra large diapers. I liked the idea of purchasing ONE set of 24 that would last from birth to potty trained. Yes, more of these brands are offering a similar one size fits all, but they don’t fit as well, and they don’t hold as much urine. I then redid my research about a year ago when I had a relative from Australia who wanted to convert to cloth diapers and I didn’t feel comfortable automatically saying, “BUM GENIUS by COTTON BABIES, hands down,” since my research was a little dated. I remember how daunting the whole cloth diaper world was when I was first getting into it and seeing things like CD and AIO and not having a clue what all that meant. (CD=cloth diaper AIO= all in one diaper.) So again I compared cost, reviews, personal experience, and experience of other friends and was led to the same conclusion – Bum Genius by Cotton Babies – BEST price, BEST quality, BEST diaper, hands down.
I made my initial investment of $372.90 for 24 Bum Genius 4.0 diapers and they have lasted me 39 months so far. That’s only $9.56 per month for diapers and that price keeps going down the longer we use them. How many people do you know who can say the price of diapering their baby decreases the longer their baby wears diapers and the more kids they have?
I will share with you an interesting, unplanned experiment that will help preserve the longevity of your diapers. There were three of us that all had babies within six weeks of each other and all chose Bum Genius, and it just so happened that our cloth diaper drying routine was a little different.
I was the die-hard gonna hang my diapers on the line come rain, shine, snow, or wind storm, because that is what I understood was the best way to take care of your diapers.
Friend A chose to hang just her inserts on the line because it makes for less hanging, and the shells dried so fast she just laid them on a dryer rack inside.
Friend B mainly dried her inserts and covers in the dryer.
After 20 months of wear whose diapers looked the best??
Friend A’s. Mine, by far, were the worst off, and by that I mean they are STILL completely functional and don’t leak, they just aren’t as pleasing cosmetically (my first baby wore them for 20 months, second baby has been in them for 17 months). I found that hanging the PUL covers in direct sunlight was really hard on them and caused them to start peeling at the edges – not affecting the function of the diaper, but not looking as cute. So once you convert, my suggestion is to hang your inserts in the sun – the sun is an awesome natural bleaching agent – or throw them in the dryer, and hang your covers inside.
I haven’t received any form of compensation for this content, but I am entering this blog post into a contest where I could win 12 Bum Genius 4.0 cloth diapers, but more importantly I can win YOU, a commenter on this post, 12 Bum Genius 4.0 cloth diapers! So ask me your questions, tell me why you are still skeptical, and share your experience with cloth diapers and which brands you love.