Cloth Diaper Week!
Or at least that's what it'll be here on Notes From A Very Red Kitchen. I just decided that as I was typing it. And if you feel so inclined you can even join me by writing on your own blog about your own cloth diapering experiences. Then feel free to put a link up in the comments if you want so other people can read what you have to say about it. Sound fun? Sound like a lot of talk about poop? Heh heh. Okay well, let's get going then!
We'll kick off today with a look at the Bum Genius diapers we have. The product pictures I've seen online aren't super great for showing you what the inside looks like and if you're new to cloth diapering like me, reading product descriptions that use terminology you don't understand can get a little frustrating. So I'll show you the diapers we have, tell you where we bought them, and how you how to put the pieces together.
But first, let's start with where to buy (the little that I know about that) and talk about the cost difference between cloth and disposable. Because we're poor little college students and, as much as we love the environment, we made this switch to save money.
Where we bought ours:
We looked in our local online classifieds and found someone selling 11 Bum Genius diapers (and a ton of inserts) for $100, so that's where we bought them. The person selling them lived about an hour and a half away from us, so we went and picked up the diapers on Friday. Woot woot! The diapers and some of the inserts were used for about a year (some of the inserts were brand new), but everything is in great condition. The only place on the diapers that even shows any wear is in the velcro, but it's still in great condition and I'm not worried about it.
Once you look around at the different cloth diaper brands on their actual websites and read reviews and talk to a million people and finally know what kind you'd like to buy, I definitely recommend looking in your local online classifieds (usually you can access them by going to your local news station's or newspaper's website) or your local Craigslist to see if there's anyone in your area selling some used diapers in good condition. Of course, you'll want to ask why they're selling them. In our case, the person selling them had a son who was getting older and could undo the Velcro on his own. I assume they were switching to a cloth diaper brand with just snaps or trying to potty train him. I didn't ask, but it didn't seem to be a problem that bothered me. If she was selling them because they leaked all the time or because something about the diapers were faulty, that would have been a different story.
Cost of cloth vs. disposable:
Before we found this awesome deal through our local online classifieds, we were looking to buy 12 diapers (at about $18 a piece) and 12 inserts (at about $18 for a pack of six) from Diapers.com. All together, it would have cost us about $250. Still not a bad deal, considering that we've been spending about $70 every two months on disposable diapers and wipes (we usually buy the Kirkland brand wipes from Costco and the Huggies or Kirkland brand diapers from Costco--whichever is cheapest that day). So switching to cloth wipes (I had the materials for those on hand, so those were free to us) and cloth diapers (at about $250 on Diapers.com), the cloth diapers would have paid for themselves (in comparison to buying disposable diapers and wipes) in about 10 months, give or take. If you ask me, that's still a pretty good deal. However, since we got lucky and bought 11 diapers and all the inserts we need for $100, our cloth diapers will pay for themselves in about four months (well, less than that, actually, but I was rounding up).
Also, if you're thinking about switching to cloth diapers, keep in mind that there we be a few more items you may buy for start-up costs, such as a trash can with a lid for storing dirty diapers, bags for storage of dirty diapers, rubber gloves, etc., etc. I'll get into more of these things later in the week, but I just wanted to mention that, in addition to the $100 we've spent on the actual diapers, we've also spent about $40 on other start-up costs. Some of these things we'll need to replace someday (like laundry detergent), but most of these things were a one-time cost.
In addition to these start-up costs, we've estimated that if we wash the diapers twice a week in our apartment complex's laundry facility, we'll also spend about $15 each month on laundry. That would include two full wash cycles and one full drying cycle. I imagine this cost would be exponentially less if you had the luxury of being able to wash them in your own washer and dryer. Also, this cost will be somewhat less when we hang our diapers to dry instead of using the dryer. But we'll save laundry talk for another day.
In summary, once the start-up cost of using cloth diapers has paid for itself (by not having to buy disposable diapers and wipes), we'll be spending about $30 every two months on diapers as opposed to the $70 we were spending every two months on disposables. This cost will go down considerably when we move somewhere with our own washer and dryer and all of my dreams come true.
Alright, now let's have a look at those diapers!
Our Bum Genius Diapers:
To give you a frame of reference, Olivia was wearing size 3 in disposables and we have our cloth diapers on the medium setting when she wears them right now.
Next up, let's look at the velcro. Mine is a little tattered, but it of course wouldn't look like this if they were brand new. :)
Many people recommend getting a different style of Bum Genius or a different brand all together (I keep hearing lots of good things about FuzziBunz) that has snaps in place of velcro. I agree that snaps would be better. But we got ours for a lot cheaper, so velcro is okay by me. :)
If you are looking into buying cloth diapers with velcro (They call it "hook and loop" because "Veclro" is actually a brand name.) you may read something about laundry tabs. I'll show you what that is.
Okay, now let's have a closer look at those inserts.
Now, I'll show you how I get Olivia's diapers ready.
Whoo! This is tough work!
So, next, I take hold of the non-snapped side (I don't know if it even matters which side you grab, but that's the way I do it) and slip the insert inside the diaper cover like so:
I haven't timed myself or anything, but I'd say it probably takes 30 seconds to 1 minute to do all that. It's easy peasy.
Also, I just wanted to add that I know some people worry about the bulk of cloth diapers compared to their streamlined disposable counterparts. Keep in mind that Olivia is a pretty skinny kid to begin with, but so far we haven't had any issues with bulk. Her little jeans fit just fine. :) From what I've read and heard from others, super bulky cloth diapers tend to be those diapers that have an outer part and a liner that just sort of sits inside. Our Bum Genius diapers basically fit her just the same as disposables. There is a little more bulk, but it's not a problem.
Well, that's it! I hope that helped you out a little in understanding how these Bum Genius 3.0's work. Feel free to ask questions if you have any. Although after ten million pictures of the exact same diaper I'm not really sure what else you might want to know. :) Still, feel free to ask if you feel so inclined.
All in all, we started using them on Saturday and I have to say--it is so not a big deal. And I mean that in the best way possible. As in, cleaning poop off isn't a big deal, washing them isn't a big deal, getting them ready isn't a big deal, etc. I'm certainly not about to turn into some cloth diapering fanatic that spits on people who prefer to use disposables (we can still be friends, I promise), but I really just keep thinking to myself that we should have been doing this all along!
Coming up next:
Later on in Cloth Diaper Week we'll cover how to make and use homemade cloth wipes (sans pictures of poop or pee, I promise), travel-size wet bags, a water-proof laundry bag/storage of soiled diapers before they're washed, and laundering (with tips and thoughts about doing this if you live in an apartment like I do and don't have your own washer and dryer).
See you tomorrow for more cloth diapering fun!