Mae arrived and her first two months were exclusively in disposable diapers and then friends of mine started to transition into cloth diapering and so dialog began regarding the cost effectiveness of them. For me it's not an enviromental thing. There is a debate whether it truly is enviromentally conscious. Seriously. I mean with the amount of water and energy I am using every other day to launder these diapers... vs the non-breakdown of disposables over time... it's questionable. See I can debate anything. ;-) I digress... In addition to the cost factor, I also appreciate that she isn't in a disposable all the time which occasionally have questionable issues regarding the methods and chemicals they use to make them. Again, I'm not so hard core that I don't put her in them - but it is nice for her little body to have a break from them.
So after discussing in my mom's online group and with my friend Carrie as she embarked on her CD journey, I decided to give it a go with part time CDing. I never had or have any desire for full time CDing. I knew that I wasn't interested in prefolds, wrappers, etc. I wanted something that was basically identical to a diaper... but cloth. I learned those are called All-in-ones (AIO) and I found some BumGenius 3.0s that were clearanced for $10 a diaper, and sadly are no longer available. I ordered 4 small-sized AIOs and a wetbag from Planet Wise. It was a good first trial. Mae liked her diaper - she was very smiley on the changing table.
After our first experience with those and liking those a little while later... after her stay in the hospital, where we of course stuck to disposables only... I ordered 2 more of the BG 3.0s and 1 of the BG 4.0 O/S pocket diaper The 4.0 OS pocket diaper is a diaper that is one size and can be fitted to fit a small baby or a skinny toddler. It has a snap system to adjust the size and then it's a pocket diaper because you stuff the liner into it. Whereas the AIO it is sewn into the diaper. Since Mae is tiny I still prefer the 3.0s the best because the are actually sized from 8-16lbs. So they are more trim on her. Now having 7 diapers in my stash I had almost enough for one day. Then someone told me about NuBunz and their pocket diapers that were only $4.50 each. I bought 5. Although they didn't come until after we had stopped using our washing machine and were back to disposables only before we moved.
Upon our arrival to Mississippi, I was so excited (about diapers?!) to be able to break out the cloth diapers. Mae now has a 'stash' of 18 cloth diapers. I have added a couple of random ones when I ordered a 'mystery bag' at a discount. Those are only just ok, but work! And additionally I have ordered a larger wet bag. All in all for under $200 Mae is in cloth diapers now 80% of the day. At night she's in a disposable - they just can hold more liquid (for sure) and so I don't want to deal with double stuffing inserts in a cloth diaper so that it can have extra absorbency etc..
Laundry is every other day and involves a 30 minute cold double rinse, followed by a 2 hour sanitizing wash with an extra rinse using very little All free & clear HE detergent and a half a cup of vinegar every other time I wash them. Then 60-80 minutes on high heat in the dryer. After that even the AIOs are dry (since I'm drying a product that is intended to lock in moisture... it takes a little effort to get them dry.) Until laundry day everything is tossed into the wet bag which locks in any smell, just as well as a diaper genie does. We still use disposable wipes and those just get tossed into the diaper genie when we're done with those. All in all it's a good system. Mae looks cute in her little cloth bootie and now even if I run out of Ace's diapers, we have an alternative for him as well! Although not for much longer because Ace is potty training!
Now since this is a cost issue for me (sorta) I like to see how long Mae needs to wear these diapers to really make them less expensive than disposables. My most expensive diaper to date is my BG 4.0 at $17... which is less cost 'effective' than the others I have bought but since Ace can fit in this diaper (seriously, see picture above) ... then I think we'll easily make up the cost. Breakdown: $17 for one diaper vs $0.20 a diaper = wearing this one diaper 3x a week for 7 months to equal (roughly) the cost of this cloth diaper to the amount spent in disposables. Tack on another month or two for the electric and water we're spending that obviously isn't spent on disposable and that puts Mae around 13 months before my BG 4.0 is 'paid off' - doesn't seem worth it? That's the worst case scenario. My NuBunz cost $4.50 each ... Mae only needs to wear those for 3x a week for 7 weeks to have those be saving us money. So in fact at this point every time she wears a NuBunz we are saving money ($0.16-0.20 cents at a time! oh boy!), because she's already worn them enough to "pay for them" (especially since we're not paying for water or electricity right now!) I already notice that she goes through her disposable diapers far less. In fact thanks to everyone who gave us disposables before she was born - we have only bought two boxes of disposables and one of those was because we needed them in newborn size.
So while I previously thought anyone that would attempt cloth diapering was utterly insane. I now see the benefits and even the excitement in it. Finding the best deals, the cutests designs, the best laundry techniques, the best fit, etc. It's a unique challenge and certainly something that you can talk about with other cloth diapering mamas for a long time. I know who would have thought cloth diapers would ever be a subject I wanted to chat about? Don't worry, I won't talk your ear off. I don't care THAT much.