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Monday, January 21, 2013

Switching to Reusable: Diapers

When I was younger, I remember hearing the story about how my dad washed my cloth diapers, only to discover that there were little raisins still stuck to them when they came out of the wash. He had forgotten to scrape the poop off. I thought it was hilarious then, but I'm starting to see how he could have made the mistake.

After my second baby came along, I decided to try out cloth diapers. In the beginning I was just working with the basics: three standard plastic covers and twelve large cotton prefolds from Gerber. I remembered my mom using these with my brothers and sisters - but not as diapers. They were originally my diapers, but she opted for the disposables later on, and all the diapers became burp rags. Because these were the only cloth diapers I could recall, these are the ones I bought, pins and all.

Not surprisingly, the cloth diaper scene has changed a lot since I was a girl, and I was rather pleased to find that there was a wide assortment of new and improved diaper covers, not to mention diaper inserts and liners that go along with them. Unfortunately, I didn't discover this until after I was frantically searching the internet at 3 am, trying to see why my baby kept waking up soaked and screaming (I had cloth sticking out the back of the elastic).

After I'd corrected my mistake, I stayed up for a while, browsing and browsing through the massive amounts of information on cloth diapers. I went into this knowing that there were others out there who used cloth diapers, but I figured they were making a huge sacrifice of time and laundry to save a few bucks. I had no idea that there was such a following (largely due to the fact that it's no longer a huge time-consuming laundry-creator).

I was a bit put-off by the pricing at first - one diaper cover with the insert & liner can cost around $25. That isn't a price I'm willing to pay. I figure I'd need about twelve of those, and for all I know I'd have to buy another set when the baby got a bit bigger. I wanted to invest in this, but I didn't want to invest that much!

So I headed to +eBay. I was a bit disappointed in those results since most of them were listings for brand new items that I still considered overpriced. In the end, I decided that my best bet would be to buy a diaper or two at a time from an assortment of places. I found that Craigslist had great prices for diapers, and I also found a lot of great diapers on +Etsy and a website called KerrBearKids.com. All of these diapers ran at around $8 a piece, and that's a price even a thrifty shopper like me can settle for, especially since a lot of those diapers were new.

However, just for the sake of getting a little old-fashioned - the pin & cover method with the old prefolds wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. All in all, the experience (aside from the three-in-a-row soakings from my mistake the first night) was a good one. The baby didn't even seem to notice that she was in a different type of diaper, and I stayed completely caught up on my laundry. Knowing that I could have been stuck with a poopy baby and no diapers was quite the motivator to keep the wash going.

If you've had experience with cloth diapers yourself, please let me know what it was. I'd love to get some feedback from others out there, and I'm curious which ones everyone has tried!

Disclosure: I received no compensation for this post, and as always, my opinions are purely my own.


  1. Hi! I found your website through my husband's cousin Rachel McCloughan. I did use cloth diapers for my twins who are now 5 and I'm currently using them for my 18 month old baby. One thing I took into consideration was the ultimate resale value of the diapers when I was done with them. Yes, you pay a bit more for bumgenius, but I have been very happy with the performance of the diapers, plus, I will be able to sell them hopefully for my investment. We do use flushsable diaper liners to ease cleanup and to protect our investment. The all in one style also allows my husband to still change a diaper.
    Have you heard of DiaperHQ? They offer a trial of many popular diapers to try, that could be helpful.
    Oh, and one last thing, if you do decide to use flat diapers with covers the Gerber ones are probably the lowest quality. Green mountain diapers has some very high quality flat diapers and Snappies to use instead of pins. I have a few dozen flat diapers to get rid of, maybe I should try Craigslist :)
    I signed up for your thermometer give away, I would give my right arm for something like that when one of my three are sick. (Katie Steinke Henderson on Facebook)

  2. Katie, thank you for your comment! So glad to hear you made it through having twins AND using cloth diapers on them! It seems like you've had a good experience since you're diapering a third baby that way :) How do you find the flushable liners versus the cloth ones? Are they worth the money you spend? I have not heard of DiaperHQ, but I will be looking it up tonight. And I am looking into some Snappies now, I've seen them used in several online tutorials and they look great!

  3. How big is your baby, I have some newborn/small sized green mountain flat diapers you can have to see the difference between those and Gerber. Are you in the E****** area?

  4. I was, but I moved to Florida a few years ago! Thank you for the offer though :)

  5. Hi,
    I just found your blog...I am a cloth diaper momma :) I love them! I did buy used as you were mentioning off craigslist however i have stocked up some more when a store near me had a sale...I love charlie bananas! I have fuzzibuns dont like as much..and some other off brands that are about the same...at night i use bumgenius...I was using disposible liners buying from target online but recently ran out so i am rinsing poop not the most fun but my daughter had to be on an antibotic last week for the first time and had major diah...i thought i would switch to disposables for a week...NO she broke out and had rash after 2 days so...def love her cloth!

  6. Miranda, So glad to hear that others are having positive experiences with cloth diapers! I haven't heard of Charlie Bananas, but I'll look it up tonight and possibly order something. Have you ever tried any of the handmade diapers from an individual seller? I'm looking for suggestions of who to try. There are so many out there, it's hard to decide who to go with!

    1. I havent bought from individual but have wanted to as well! I actually wanted to take classes and learn how to make them :) !

    2. Miranda - I might end up making a few myself. If I do, I'll be sure to post a how-to video online!

  7. I tried cloth but ended up not working for us (Husband works full-time and I work part-time). Really bummed but ended up using seventh generation and felt pretty good about it. Applaud you!
    tvollowitz at aol dot com

    1. Hey, it's better to try something new than to not try at all! And from what I hear, Seventh Generation does an excellent job of keeping their products eco-friendly.