November 4, 2015

A Year of Cloth Diapering

So I know that this is kind of an "out of the norm" post, but I was just thinking about how Ryenne has been in cloth diapers for about a year now, and I thought that deserved its own post, however unique or abnormal that might be ;)
When I was single and would see parents who cloth diapered, I must admit that I was a little judgy. I thought that parents who cloth diapered their children must be hippie parents, because obviously the only reason in the world that someone would ever want to cloth diaper would be because they're all about saving the planet and being vegan and gluten-free this, GMO-free that, and yaddyadydayayadadaydyadya. So, based on a prejudice towards cloth diapering before I was even a parent, the thought never even crossed my mind to research cloth diapering by the time I actually WAS a parent. Cloth diapering was for hippies, and that was that.
Life was all rainbows and butterflies in the diapering world for the first two or three months of our little baby's life. We had been given loads of disposable diapers at baby showers, so we felt like we were all set. I still had no reason to think twice about cloth diapers.
Then October(ish) came. Ryenne was now about 3 months old, and suddenly we were out of disposable diapers. That meant for the first time ever, we were having to buy diapers for Ryenne. In just a few short weeks it became very clear to us that DIAPERS ARE SUPER EXPENSIVE!!! As newlyweds and new parents who were coasting through David's senior year on a financial tight rope, diaper costs were NOT very friendly to us. Not only were they very expensive to begin with, but as Ryenne grew older, suddenly we were paying more for LESS! This made no sense to us whatsoever, and so for the very first time in our lives, we considered cloth diapering.
I began researching cloth diapers one day after feeling very desperate about our financial situation and how big of a chunk of our income was having to go towards diapers! Not only were we having to buy diapers, but we also needed to buy wipes and sometimes even diaper genie refills. AND, on top of that, since we lived in Chicago, if we were ever in a pinch and needed more diapers NOW, that meant that we were walking down the street to the express Walmart and buying a teeny pack of Pampers for $25 rather than buying them in bulk at Costco for $30. We calculated that we were spending about $90 a month on diapers! YIKES!!!!!!!!! My research on cloth diapering eventually led me to this amazing "Cloth Diaper Savings Calculator" which answered all of our questions and solved our financial problem in a flash.
This was basically me (AND David) after researching cloth diapers:

Using that savings calculator, we were able to input the cost of disposables and price per diaper, and then input the cost of cloth diapers - including washing, detergent, cloth wipes, wet bags, etc. We leaned heavily toward the "generous" side of things, meaning that we erred on the cheaper side of EVERYTHING disposable and on the more expensive side of EVERYTHING cloth. The results were jaw-dropping. This is what it said:

By switching to cloth diapers (and paying a calculated upfront cost of about $600.00 for the diapers, the wet/dry bags, washing, detergent, laundry, etc.)
    You will break even in 30.95 weeks or 7.12 months.
    You will save $252.97 in 10 months.
    You will save $428.76 in 1 year.
    You will save $956.14 in 1 1/2 years.
That was what it calculated when we inputed the LEAST expensive diapers that we were using. But when we input the diapers that we were buying when we were stuck in a pinch (let's face it, as new parents, that happens a lot!), the switch to cloth meant:
    You will break even in 15.25 weeks or 3.51 months.
    You will save $444.18 in 6 months.
    You will save $1157.63 in 10 months.
    You will save $1514.36 in 1 year.
    You will save $2584.54 in 1 1/2 years.
Either way, switching over to cloth was going to save us a LOT of money over time! Here are some other things that were huge pros:
  • Cloth diapers grow WITH your child. You don't have to buy a size up. Ever.
  • Cloth diapers have a GREAT resale value. If you bought them for about $15ea, you can sell them for about $10ea! (Um, and yes! I'm talking about the diapers your baby has pooped and peed on!)
  • Cloth diapers can be reused from child to child. Meaning, if and when Ryenne has a brother or sister, that baby can use these same diapers too - so the savings of course pretty much explodes when you factor that in!
  • Cloth diapers ARE eco-friendly and therefore they ARE kind of hippie-mom-ish. But I'm learning that that's not necessarily a bad thing lol Hippie moms are actually onto something I think with all their natural-living, healthy-eating, chemical-freeing, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering ways! 
When we were hopping on the cloth-diapering train, it was just around Thanksgiving aka Black Friday, which meant that we were able to buy a lot of our diapers online on Black Friday and score some really great deals. We also were in Chicago at the time, and we bought most of our stash from Buy Buy Baby. They send out 20% off coupons every couple of weeks or so, and you are able to use those coupons on receipts over and over again for 3 months from the purchase date! That meant we got $5 off a diaper every time we brought in a coupon and our receipt!
So, basically there are tons of areas where you can save, save, save when you go the cloth diaper route.
I will say that the hardest thing for me to get used to when Ryenne started wearing cloth diapers.... was how big it made her butt. Which is a pretty minor thing lol! I just thought it looked really unnatural on my teeny petite girl, but I got used to it really quickly, and now that she is a toddler, she has grown into them more and they are a lot more fitted now :)
The biggest thing that people seem to have against cloth diapers in my experience, is "Ew, so you're washing your baby's poopy diapers in your washing machine?????" Okay, some people aren't quite that rude, but believe me I have come into contact with some people who aren't afraid to make a face and turn up their noses!! And ironically, they tend to be the ones who have no kids ;) Go figure! That was me just a few months ago!
Here are some facts about cloth diapering in the Graef home:
  • No, our washer does not smell like poop or pee. Ever.
  • No, there are never any "leftovers" in the washer.
  • No, our other clothes are not affected at ALL.
  • Yes, it's not very fun to have to throw the stinky diapers in the washer.
  • No, I don't mind hanging them up - it's a very satisfying process knowing I'm saving our family loads of money :)
  • No, they don't get stained because they are air-dried on our clothesline and the sun bleaches the heck out of them.
  • No, our house does not smell like poopy diapers waiting to be washed.
  • No, Ryenne does not walk abnormally because of the diapers.
  • Yes, David loves cloth diapers too (he talks about them to other people WAAAYYYY more than I do!).
  • We use bumGenius 4.0s (now they have 5.0s) and Freetimes and PlanetWise wet/dry bags. 
  • We use baby wash cloths as wipes and make our own baby wipe solution that's 100% all natural and chemical free.
  • Yes, we do use disposables from time to time! Especially on trips - they're lifesavers!
  • Yes, I would actually HIGHLY RECOMMEND using disposables for the first month of your baby's life because newborn poop is naaaaasty and when you're already feeling like crap, I would imagine that cloth diapering is the last thing you'd want to deal with!
Those are all the random cloth-diaper-related things that I can think of right now. I know that this is an odd sort of post, but I really felt like we had to write something about this because it has impacted our lives in such a huge way! After a year of cloth diapering, we have saved over $1,000.00!!!
And now, here are a few of our favorite shots of our cloth diapers in action over the past 12 months :)

1 comment:

  1. Pretty sure I had the same hesitations you did initially, but the savings! We did cloth diapers up to a certain point, where my little guy grew out of the sizes that we had because I only have one of the newer Bum Genius one-size (I want to say it was a 3.0). However, we were able to pass them along for my nephew's use once he was passed the newborn phase. Cloth diapers are SOOO much cuter than disposables, and we never had issues with a diaper rash when either of my boys were in cloth. Should we have a third, I will be stocking up on the one-sizes for sure! :) Cute post.