Friday, May 30, 2008

Going Green, part 6: Cloth Diapers

To see the first "Going Green" post and links to subsequent ones, click here.
This post is dedicated to my friend Lynn who first gave me the inspiration to try cloth diapering! Thank you, Lynn!

We use cloth diapers and love them! In case you've never considered them, let me offer some reasons.

1. Cheaper! We use some of the more expensive kinds, but still we are saving so much money!!! Even with buying an extra stash to have enough for twins, we will still be saving money. This is assuming the fewest diaper changes, potty training by 2 1/2, cheapest disposables we can find (Sam's brand): we will still be saving a minimum of $1300 over the course of diapering our twins. We have a high efficiency washer/dryer, so that helps keep our laundering costs down. (Note: even Sam's brand diapers have gone up in price since I first wrote this draft, so now, we'd be saving even more!)

2. Healthier. For all three of our kids, we've found that cloth diapers have all but eradicated diaper rash. We have never bought a tube of diaper rash cream. We still use the same tube of Butt Paste that was a baby shower gift for our first child, now 2 1/2 years old. When we switch back to disposables for a trip or other temporary use, frequently diaper rash begins to crop up. But a no-fail cure for that is to put that baby back in a Fuzzi Bunz with a little Huggies Liquid Powder... no more diaper rash almost immediately! There is also some research that suggests that baby boys are benefited in particular since disposables may raise the temperature enough next to the scrotum that sperm count is affected later in life. Haven't read a lot on this issue, but it's come up on some diapering websites occasionally.

3. Less Waste. This is a no-brainer and the number one reason for most cloth diaper advocates. However, if those first two reasons weren't so dramatic for us, I have to say that this would be a hard sell. It's a great side benefit, though, to our use of cloth diapers. We have very little trash to take out when you consider how many diapers we use a day. (And, the "word on the street" is that one baby contributes 1 ton of landfill waste during his/her first couple of years--the majority of it being diapers.)

We're not so hardcore that we don't ever use disposables. We often use them for church, overnight trips, and other temporary needs.

Our System

If we hadn't discovered such an easy cloth-diapering system, I don't think we'd have made the commitment. We use Fuzzi Bunz and Mommy's Touch pocket style diapers. Fuzzi Bunz are the best in my opinion. Both of these diapers are lined on the inside with fleece, so the baby's skin stays dry. The outside is a PUL fabric that is waterproof but breathable. There's a pocket between these two layers that we stuff with the liner of our choice (all kinds of absorbency levels here depending on whether the diaper needs to go for all night or just an hour or two during the day; we use Green Acres Designs one-size inserts and Happy Heiny's Hemp Stuffins). We shake off solid waste into the toilet (you can even buy flushable liners so there's hardly ever a need to scrape/rinse your diapers), throw all diapers into a "wet bag" (looks like a big waterproof duffel bag), and then throw the bag and the diapers into the wash at night. No soaking, rinsing in the toilet, or anything. The diapers are snapped on, so there are no pins. Very, very easy to use and care for. Right now, our boys are leaking out of some disposables at night, but no leaks with our Fuzzi Bunz! And they're so soft!!! Check out these websites if you're curious:

Cutie Tooties (where I bought my latest stash from--she's even placed special orders for me for products she's been temporarily out of--great customer service!)
Cotton Babies (where I first bought Fuzzi Bunz, but they no longer carry them; they do have an interesting diaper grant program for missionaries and other needy groups)
Sunshine Diapers (free shipping on Charlie's Soap--a natural detergent; great introductory diaper packages)
Kelly's Closet (great money-back offers on some popular diapers if they don't work for you)
Mother-Ease Diapers (more like the old-style cloth, but with snaps and such; my friends Lynn and Megan swear by them but they're a touch more work to care for then the lazy ones I use)
Real Diaper Association (reviews of every product related to cloth diapering--check it out before you buy!)

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