I have a confession to make (I do that a lot, don’t I?)
I did a LOT of babysitting as a teen. I’m the oldest of three. I’m the oldest cousin by a good 6 years on both sides of my family. Needless to say: I had changed a few diapers before Olivia was even a thought in my mind.
Yet when that first icky diaper came that first day after Olivia’s birth in the hospital, I had to call the nurse. I suddenly had No. Clue. Other kids and their dirty rears, no problem. But this tiny precious being who had been swimming and kicking inside of me for 9 months and to whom I was irrevocably linked by both genetics AND immense love?? I was at a loss.
Luckily, I’m a quick learner.
And not only have I learned a lot about diapers and baby’s bottoms, I have also learned quite a bit about the various ways to diaper and the various ways to keep costs at a minimum in diapering. Here is how:
Disposable Diapers: Necessity or Convenience?
Disposable diapers. When you think about babies, it’s pretty hard not to picture them swathed in these plastic staples. They are such a prolific part of baby culture in our country it’s easy to just assume that they what they are and there isn’t really any way around using them.
Did you know that disposable diapers cost roughly $0.25 each? And babies go through 6-10 (or more)? That’s a couple bucks a day. $30-$40 a month, not counting the cost of your disposable wipes. With a sale and with coupons I can get a pack of 30 that will last 4-5 days (maybe 6 if I’m lucky) for about $7. That adds up quickly- $500 or more a year, depending on what brands you choose and how diligent you are about watching sales and matching coupons.
All that is before taking into consideration the toxins that go into the production of diapers, and the fact that these diapers, multiplied across millions and millions of babies, pile up into landfills after their brief moments of glory strapped to our precious babes. The cost isn’t just to your personal pocketbook.
But honestly- disposables are convenient. They are so easy- peel them off and pitch them. They are made super absorbent so you dont’ have to worry about the kid who drinks too much right before bed. Aren’t they really really a baby necessity? Not really…
One Alternative: Cloth Diapers (and Wipes!)
I want to make the case that cloth diapers are a great alternative to the mainstream disposables. And these aren’t your mama’s cloth diapers I’m talking about, either. No pins. No flimsy pieces of cloth that easily soak through.
Have you seen the new cloth diapers?
Seriously. There is no reason to be intimidated by cloth diapering anymore. You can get them with snaps or with velcro tabs that act exactly like your disposable variety (so dad and the sitter won’t get freaked out). They are cinched around the leg so you don’t have leaks. They come with extra liners so you can stuff them for overnight and not worry about soaking through. And they look freaking adorable- we have a couple that are purple with big daises on them.
And the best part is: they last. If you buy the “all-in-ones” that adjust size as baby grows, and you follow the care instructions, these suckers can last all the way from birth to potty training, and still have plenty of juice left for baby #2!
The two biggest hindrances to people using reusable diapers, that I have identified anyway, though are these:
1.) People don’t want to deal with the “mess.”
2.) People don’t want to spend a fortune.
My response is this:
Dealing with the Mess
Cloth diapering really isn’t that much messier than disposable. You take the diaper off, you shake it out over the toilet if there are any loose “chunks” (sorry), and then you put it in a plastic sterilite and shut the lid. When the tub is full, you just dump the whole thing into the washer and *bam* there you go. It seriously is not that much more “hands on” than disposables.
And as far as going out and using cloth- they make cute little “wet bags” that you can find online (or make yourself!) so you can stash your diapers while you are out.
Oh, and if you REALLY want to cut down on the mess… tune in to tomorrow’s post to learn about how I could go for days at a time without having to wipe a single dirty bottom… in a very safe, natural, hygienic way (and no I didn’t just make Mike do diaper duty).
Is It REALLY Cheaper, Though?
If this is your conundrum, head over to Diaper Pin and check out their diaper saver calculator and wonder no more. Yes- cloth diapers cost $17+ each (unless you buy used). And yes- you are now paying for the energy and the water to wash the diapers. But I really do think that if you play it right you save.
First of all- you don’t need 5 billion diapers. We have a stash of ten “all-in-ones” that we paid $17 each for. That’s $170 upfront, and we have more than paid for that with the use we have gotten out of them. We launder them just about every other day and supplement them with disposables at night while they are in the wash.
We also use cloth wipes. You can buy cloth wipes, but I don’t suggest it. It’s just as easy to acquire a few old receiving blankets, cut them up into squares, get a little spray bottle and fill it with water, baby oil (or yummy smelling essential oil, and baby soap, and voila. D.I.Y. cloth wipes that you treat just the same as your diapers.
All this combined with some savvy stock-piling of disposables (for nights or trips) when they are on sale and I have coupons, and my diapering budget is under $10/month. Not too shabby.
The OTHER Alternative: Diaper Free Baby!
Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post detailing the non-diaper alternative to caring for baby’s rear end…
But in the meantime- if you want to know more about cloth diapers and how to wade through the options to find the best, send me a message or leave a comment. And let me know about YOUR experience with diapers, and the ways you have found to keep costs low!