Friday, January 13, 2012

"Cloth" is not a four letter word (as in diapers), part 1

Journey to Cloth Diapering:

It may be nerdy, but I'm the kind of person who perks up and my eyes widen and I may start to salivate when someone mentions a method of truly saving money on necessities! However, when I was pregnant with my first and someone would mention saving money, my interest only peeked until they said those yucky words: cloth diapers!  Eww, I don't want to wash poop! I would think.  Turns out even mothers of disposable diapered babies wash a fair amount of poop out of their babies' clothes and of the mommy's clothes, babies just explode sometimes!  My siblings and I were all cloth diapered and we all survived to adulthood, but the thought of folding and pinning and touching the wet stuff and finagling the plastic pants just did not sound fun to me in any way shape, or form.

Fast forward a few years: my husband had been laid off from a job that provided us with housing, so we moved in with my parents.  My husband got another job for a few months and then was laid off from that job too.  We had two kids in diapers, we had long since exhausted any emergency fund, and it was almost a month before my husband found work again, then two more weeks before he got paid.  So during this time we came to a crossroad, we needed diapers for two kids, for and indeterminate amount of time, and only had $10 to put towards it.  So we knew we had to cloth diaper for a while.  We had lots of flats that we'd received when my oldest was born to use and burp clothes, and my mom had some extra flats that she hadn't used that she had gotten for the moulage class she teaches, and she donated that to the cause.
A flat cloth diaper, just a square of fabric that you fold and fasten to the baby and then cover with something waterproof.

We just needed pins, diaper covers and something to wash them.  It's amazing how hard it is to find cloth diapers sometimes!  We found borax, which is what my mom had used when we were babies, though I cringed at spending $3 of our $10 budget! At one store my dad noticed and pointed out that there was a cloth diaper that was just like a disposable, you just wash it.  Wow, cool concept, but one diaper was well over our budget.  We went for the vinyl pants and diaper pins at babies R us, and I think my parents even had to help us with that.  My mom had an old bucket with a lit that she said we could use as a diaper pail and we were ready to go.  Diaper changes took a lot longer when we were folding and trying to get it just right, and my little baby boy....something about too much fresh air made a lot of little fountains.
After about a month it really didn't seem that bad to be using cloth, and the whole time my husband helped out and changed cloth diapers, complete with pins, what a trooper.  I made sure I did the laundry though, and stayed on top of it.  It was still a lot more work to be using cloth and both kids were getting diaper rash.  I had been told long before my oldest was born that babies in cloth get more diaper rash.  I later learned that sometimes this is due to the moisture against their skin, or soap build up on the diapers.
So when we had steady income for a while we went back to full time disposables.  To my surprise, my husband had some hesitation, because he liked not having to fork over an arm and a leg for diapers every week!  I saved the cloth diapers when we moved, hoping we would never have to go back to using them.  We went through many hard times, but no longer had access to a washer and dryer, and were often doing what laundry we could with our bare hands, and neither my husband nor I wanted to wash cloth diapers by hand.  By then we only had one in diapers and were getting a good amount of people donating diapers to us, so we didn't go back to cloth, even after our third baby was born and we were diapering two again.  While we were living in our last apartment (with no washer of dryer) I started researching more modern cloth diapers.  I needed to find something more convenient and still cost effective.  I inwardly told myself that once we had a washer and dryer I would use cloth diapers again to save money.  Well I forgot about that when we moved, until a few months later I started researching it again.  I had briefly mentioned it to my husband, but for whatever reason, he didn't like the idea. As time went on I would research pocket diapers and leave the info and diagram up when he got on the computer, to which he said "That'd be cool, then it'd be just like a disposable." So I knew that I was on the right track.  When I found some pockets on sale I asked him what he thought about buying them and he didn't like the idea of spending over  $150 in one big chunk, and didn't think it made much sense to get just one.  I asked him what he thought if I could get them for free or almost free, with swagbucks, and he gave a non-commital head nod/bob.  So I started my money-saving mission to get free or almost free diapers.  I researched and read and did all I could to use swagbucks, and eventually talked him into trying it, as long as we started small and didn't spend much more than $20 right out the gate.
I got a best bottom cover and three inserts and one bum genius pocket diaper with swagbucks and started using those during and day and doing a load every day after the baby had gone through those.

By the way, remember those rashed my kids had been getting? I "stripped" the flat diapers, meaning I did a hot wash without adding any soap, and even after two years there were suds from detergent residue like you wouldn't believe!  Oops.

part 1 journey into cloth diapers
part 2 choosing a style and brand
part 3 frugally building up a stash
part 4 daily use and care

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