Saturday, June 23, 2012

I've spent $300 diapering my baby. What about you?

So. It's been two months since I blogged. I had totally intended to post photos and the birth story, blog about our daily stuff... Yeah. Nice plan. Poorly executed. Anyhow. 

Some (ok, probably everyone) knows that after about 2 weeks we chose to cloth diaper (with some prompting from Pat's mom, but it was something I had briefly considered before he was born). Sullivan was having some pretty ugly reactions on his little bum to the chemicals used in disposables to make them absorbent.  Something had to be done.

I had a lot of misconceptions about cloth diapering at first.  I really was hesitant because I thought cloth was gross, and a huge pain. The biggest thing is making sure you don't screw up the diapers with waxy detergents, and stripping the stank out of them. I thought they were messy, and expensive. Pretty much everything I thought about cloth was wrong! 

I thought they were gross. I thought ew... touching the poop. Washing the poop. SMELLING the poop. But you know what? You do all of that anyway! There's no way to avoid smelling crap when you have an infant around. It's going to happen. And, unless you make a daily trip to your dumpster, you're going to have a poopy diaper sitting somewhere. Because disposables (a.k.a. "sposies" in the CD community. "CD" meaning "Cloth Diapers") were intended for us to use them just like cloth-- rinse out the toxic shit and then toss in the garbage in stead of washing them.

I didn't KNOW that. 

I don't know of ANYONE who does that. 
Do you? 
No, I didn't think so. 

I thought they were expensive. WRONG. They are SO not. If you take into consideration how many diapers an infant uses per week-- Newborns use between 80-100 on average, sometimes more. That costs about $25 per week. Expensive.

Firstly, if you're too lazy to wash you cloth/don't have your own machines, in the Salem area, Tidee Didee will bring you 100 diapers for 20 bucks a week (plus gas, but that's not too much). So, that right there ends up being about the same as disposables. But wait! If you purchase your own diapers (we waited until he could fit into "regular" sized cloth-- which typically start at 10 or 12lbs and run to toddler size) it's even less. Yeah, you have to pay up front. But depending on how often you're willing to wash, that dictates how many you'd need to buy. 

We have around 7 dozen prefolds, I think. That's a lot. We don't have our own washer/drier-- so we go twice a week to wash at grammy's. Most people do NOT need this many. At $32 a dozen from Little Bums & More, you'll spend a little over $200 if you buy that many. I think most people can probably get by with 2-3 dozen. You'll need covers(otherwise the poop goes everywhere, thus defeating the purpose)-- which again is dictated by how often you wash. We have 5 printed fancy covers, and 2 plain ones for back up, we only wash twice per week, though. Most people can get by with many less! The covers can be anywhere between 12 and 30... let's say you buy 6 (the recommended amount for starting) at about $18 each.  
That's $224 for the prefolds.

Plus $108 for the covers.

So, we've spent approximately (Grammy included. Thanks Grammy! <3) $332 on cloth diapers. Ever.  These will last until we have our second (theoretically 3 years or so from now). Like I said, not everyone is going to need that many. So you'll probably spend less.

Now, that sounds like a lot. But, think about this. Cloth diapers get reused. You'll maybe have to replace the covers. Maybe have to buy some new diapers now and then. That's still less than what you spend on disposables.

But cloth diapered babies on average potty train a year ahead of disposable diapered kids. Truth. 
So, factor in that $25 per week on average (because even though kids use fewer diapers, they also sell fewer diapers for the same price as they grow.) and that's approximately $1300 per year. PER. YEAR. On diapers. You're literally throwing your money in the garbage. 

And, multiply by 3 years (that extra year) if your kid isn't stubborn on potty training or a heavy wetter-- You're spending $3900 PER CHILD. Ridiculous.

I'd also like to add that disposables take over 500 years to decompose. When exposed to the elements. Most diapers are in landfills, so we don't really know how long it's going to take them. If they ever do. Fucking disgusting. If disposables had existed when Christopher Columbus was an infant, his shit would be sitting in a landfill somewhere in Europe.

I won't go into how disgusting the chemicals are on our children, or on the environment. Instead, here's an article. How Disgusting Disposables Are. 

Plus, cloth diapers can be really cute. And addicting. I mean, just look at how cute these little cloth diaper bums are? Freaking ADORABLE.

I'd like to add, if you're handy with a sewing machine, you can totally make your own covers, or even All In One diapers. Which is even less expensive still. Even if you get addicted to the "fluff" (CD term for cute cloth diapers and accessories), you will still save THOUSANDS of dollars over disposable. That alone is worth not using disposables. 

And if you're feeling extra creative (or extra frugal) you can make your own wipes as well, and just wash them along with the diapers. Easy Peasy. You'll save an extra few bucks, that way!
Anyway. Let me step off of my soapbox now. I really do love our cloth. Sullivan was in disposables until his cord fell off, and constantly had a rash. It was so heartbreaking. Once we got him in the cloth. Gone. 

I really think everyone should give cloth a try. It's better for baby. Better for your wallet. Better for the planet. I'm not an expert, but I do know some! So if you ever have any questions about this-- or other ways to be Eco-friendly and save a ton of money, please don't hesitate to ask me. I'll be glad to help out! We also have a group for this- Green Team: Salem! Please feel free to join for more money and planet saving ideas :)


  1. I read about half but I get the gist.... NOW>>> what you should do is, seriously do a video on it! Take us through the whole thing and get rid of the stigma (Like the one you had when you first thought of it). Cool blog- SVJ

  2. I don't think I'd be very good at that! But maybe...