The Goods

Little babies seem to require a lot of equipment. Car seats and bedding and sleepers and diapers. And that's not even getting into the extras like pacifiers and bouncer chairs and monitors.

I finally got my diapers yesterday. Yes, we are crunchy enough to try cloth. Cloth diapers are much more complicated than I remember from my early babysitting years. You can get a lot of diapers than look and operate in much the same way as a disposable diaper. I became overwhelmed rather quickly at all of the choices...not to mention the cost - some of these diapers are like $20 each! In the end, I decided to go with unbleached, organic Indian prefolds and Mark's parents bought us a set that theoretically should last through potty training.

I liked the prefolds for a couple of reasons.

First of all, they are the most versatile in terms of fitting on babies of different sizes. Because they are a basic rectangle, you can fold them and pin them in all different ways to accommodate skinny or fat legs, tall or short babies, etc. You can double them up for night, and put different kinds of covers over them depending on how, er, productive your kid is.

Secondly, prefolds seem to be the easiest to wash and they dry pretty quickly. I know this is the step that turns most people off, but it really doesn't seem that bad to me. All you have to do is shake off the poo into the toilet and stick the diaper in a waterproof laundry bag. Every other day or so, I'll dump the laundry bag into the washer, run through a rinse cycle, wash them on hot and hang them up to dry.

And of course, third, there is the cost savings. Even when you consider the additional expense of gas and water for the extra laundry, we should save about $1,500 on diapering one baby from birth to potty training. My diaper set came with covers, which are not those sweaty vinyl pull on pants you may be thinking of...they have velcro and seem pretty adjustable and breathable and have nice gussets around the legs. The set also came with 30 flannel baby wipes and a bottle of solution you can spray on the baby's butt to clean her up. So we won't even have to buy disposable wipes.

Lastly, there is the environmental impact. Cloth diapering is not a no impact solution by any means...we should always consider the impact of our gray water usage with the laundry. But I like the idea of not throwing a lot of stuff into a landfill. It's kind of like taking your own bags to the grocery store...it's not something that in and of itself would change the world, but if we all pick and choose a couple of environmentally-friendly actions that we can personally live with, it adds up. This is something I can live with.

I do have a set of newborn sized disposable diapers for the first week or so, and I can imagine buying them occasionally for travel or when someone else is babysitting. Or maybe when we all get sick at once and the laundry gets backed up and we have no food and have to order takeout and nobody is getting any sleep. That's when I'll be glad we live next door to the Walgreen's!


Trisha R. Butler said...

Not to be too graphic, but cloth diapers scare would me during bouts of diarrhea. You have no idea what that beautiful, tiny thing will be able to produce. There are no words...

k said...

Ah, yes, I seem to remember a certain baby poop explosion occurring during my first meeting with your adorable son. M and I were very impressed with your calm handling of it, and I think we left saying, thank goodness we don't have children...the cat is gross enough to take care of.

And now it's your turn.

My mom swears it's not as bad when it's your own kid's poo, though.