On the Path – Part 2 – the Paperless Nursery

A week ago I talked about how we’ve been converting to a Paperless Kitchen. But the kitchen isn’t the only place in the house that uses unnecessary paper.  Six months ago, we started using cloth diapers. 

 A little too far?  I thought so too, at first.  But, perhaps because of my frugal environmentalist slant, I found that I really prefer them.

There are a lot of different choices when cloth diapering, so I’m starting with Cloth Diapering: A Primer:

Terminology:
Prefold: A layered, absorbant square piece of cloth which is held around the baby’s body with pins or a Snappi.
Snappi: A T-shaped piece of elastic plastic with teeth in each end, made to hold a prefold rather than using diaper pins.  The teeth are placed into the cloth at either side of the baby’s waist as well as the crotch, holding the prefold firmly in place.
Fitted: A diaper-shaped wrap that serves the same purpose as a prefold, usually with less bulk.
Cover: A waterproof cover to put over a fitted or a prefold to prevent leaks.
Pocket: A waterproof cover with a fleece liner.  The liner is not attached to the cover in the back, forming a pocket to put inserts into.
All-in-one: A waterproof fitted, often with additional pieces of cloth, or inserts, attached inside to aid in absorbancy.  All-in-ones are generally understood to be less absorbant that other options, though it depends on the brand.  They are excellent for those people who hesitate to use cloth because it can become fussy.
Insert: A piece of cloth inserted into a diaper to add more absorbancy.
Wetbag:  A waterproof bag made to put dirty and wet diapers in.

There.  Now that you know all the “lingo” it will be easier to talk about them!

One of parents’ biggest concerns is the mess and the smell of cloth diapers.  Do they leak?  Do they stink?  Will I have to touch the…you know…poop?  But my answer is…probably not, or at least no more than disposables! When put on properly, I find I change my son with the same frequency as with disposables.  They stink, yes, but since I dump as much of the “dirtiness” into the toilet as I can, they don’t stink as badly as having three or four dirty diapers in the closed trashbin in our son’s room.  And I figure if the cloth needs to be swished, the washer can do it.  So I don’t touch anything nasty!  Most newer washers will have no problem with even toddler poop. (Forgive the wording.  I figured if it was good enough word for my two year old, hopefully it wouldn’t offend anybody here.)

Another concern is cost. Cloth diapers can seem cost-prohibitive.  Our personal favorites are the Blueberry Stuffable All-In-Ones, but at $18 each, who can afford them?  We buy good used diapers off of sites like DiaperSwappers for half the price.  And we wash them well when we get them.  Most of our Blueberrys were bought when the website was having a buy one get one sale and from one mother on Diaperswappers who tried them once or twice and didn’t like them.  At about $10 a diaper, we have two days worth for less than $150.  That’s $150 for diapers that have been worn for four months now, and will likely be worn until he potty-trains.  $150 will buy seven-and-a-half extra-large boxes of Pampers, with about 90 diapers inside.  For us, that would be about four months’ worth of disposables!  You can see how it adds up.

We didn’t choose the cheapest option.  We chose the diapers we did because they worked for us with as little fuss as possible.  Prefolds and covers are usually cheapest. (But don’t buy department store brands!  They aren’t thick enough.  Better to buy Diaper Service Quality prefolds.)

I’ve really only touched the surface of cloth diapering and its benefits.  This is definitely a subject that will require more time!