Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not Your Mama's Cloth Diapers

On top of all the remodeling bliss in the air at our house, I have been fiddling with fixed expenses in an attempt to get some numbers down just to give us more money to pay for things like, oh, an unexpected bathroom remodel! So I was figuring out exactly how much our darling son's diapers cost us per month, and, DANG!!! $37 per month just for his diapers, not including the wipes ($18 for a box from Costco). Ouch. Plus, his sensitive skin means that I can't buy just any diapers for him. Even Huggies will now cause rashes for him, so we are stuck with Costco brand. I could shop around for other generics, but we have an additional problem. Costco only makes up to a size 5. DS is regularly soaking through size 5's at nighttime. Good luck finding size 6's in generics.

I had to find an alternative. Our friends with the newborn are having amazing success with cloth diapers, so I figured I would take a look around. Goodness, there are a lot of styles to choose from out there! In my research on the subject, I decided that any style which snapped closed was not an option for us. DS is eighteen months old, highly mobile, and intelligent. Snaps are the type of clothing fastening which require perfect alignment, and they are a challenge for little fingers. Velcro closures, on the other hand, having been long ago mastered on shoes, are less interesting. This decision alone pretty much knocked out most of the mom-n-pop styles.

I was left with two choices, really: Bumgenius diapers, or Bummis diaper covers with prefold inserts. Our friends are using Bummis and love them thus far. They bought Chinese prefolds, as they are hoping to use the diapers for multiple children. I, on the other hand, am only looking to get 1 and 1/2 child's worth of use from any that we buy (anticipating DS potty training next year, probably), so I was more interested in the Indian prefolds. I learned all about the differences here...the Chinese prefolds last longer as they are better stitched, but they tend to pill more, whereas the Indian prefolds don't last as long but they don't pill and are softer.

Well, I wasn't sure about what would work best for us, so I ordered 2 Bummis covers, some Indian prefolds, 2 Bumgenius diapers (1 all-in-one, 1 pocket style), 2 "Bigger Weeds" hemp/cotton inserts, and 7 Cotton Babies microfiber inserts. I also ordered 12 flannel wipes, since it doesn't make a lot of sense to continue using disposable wipes with cloth diapers.

The acid test has been ongoing for nearly 24 hours. Last night I used the Bummis whisper wrap, size large, with a Bigger Weeds insert wrapped around a Cotton Babies microfiber insert. All I can say is, Wahoo! No leaks, and it still had spare capacity this morning, which is a superb thumbs-up as sometimes (like when he's sick or teething) he will nurse a lot at night and a leak is guaranteed by 3 AM. And the gussets at the leg were stretchy and soft enough that he had no marks from it. Two thumbs way up for that system for overnight. The downside was that it can be a bit squiffy removing an insert from the wrap, but I expect I could probably get the hang of it pretty quickly. And hey, let's face it--with a preschooler in the house, it's not like I am not touching urine soaked clothing of some type on a fairly frequent basis.

This afternoon I put DS into the Bumgenius all-in-one diaper before naptime. I have to say that for ease of use and utter convenience akin to a disposable diaper, this one wins hands-down. If I were expecting a newborn, I would totally buy this one as my entire stash. I found these priced at $15.95, and compared to the $12.95 for a Bummi Whisper Wrap sans insert, to be totally comparable. I absolutely LOVE the all-in-one. However, there are two drawbacks. First, the fit at the leg for DS is not the best. Granted, they do not make a "Big Baby" size, and he is nearly 34 lbs, so we are stretching it for their Large size (which is listed at max 30 lbs, but I have seen that nearly all cloth diapers sort of fudge their max weight limits). Still, I would agree with one website which describes the fit for babies with "large thighs" to not be the best. He had some red marks on one leg when I took it off three hours later, although I had not made sure it was exactly at the joint (where the legs actually move), so it was possibly at the wrong place. Secondly, I noticed that it took longer to dry the all-in-one diaper than it took to dry the wrap and inserts separately. Not unexpected, but a factor to consider in turnaround time for diaper loads.

Now I have DS in a Bumgenius pocket diaper (their vaunted 3.0 series). I am unimpressed by the shenanigans required to get the microfiber insert in the diaper and get it straight and wrinkle-free. I do not think I could fit in a Bigger Weeds insert and a microfiber insert at the same time--the opening is too narrow for this type of doubling. I am wary of what shenanigans would be required when the diaper is dirty, to remove the soiled insert from the diaper. I know all parts have to be washed, but logic says that you have to remove the insert. I am not thinking this would be a fun process. I will wait to see if he has any red marks on his legs. I did squish the diaper elastics up to his true hip joint, so we will see if that makes a difference.

Tonight I will be using a Bummis size XL wrap and an Indian prefold. I might hedge my bets by wrapping the Indian prefold around a Cotton Babies microfiber insert, I don't know. The whole point is that I want a leak free nighttime diaper, but I guess I won't know if the Indian prefold is good on its own unless I try it as such. However, I am pretty sure I have figured out what system will work best for us right now, and that is the Bummis wraps at nighttime with the Bigger Weeds. I am working out what size works best for DS, as it seems the L did fine last night and they offer a lot of cute fabrics in size L, whereas the XL is just plain white. I really, really, really want the Bumgenius AIO (all-in-one) to work out for daytime, because, DANG!, they are so convenient! When I changed him out of that one, it was one wet flannel wipe, and the whole thing went to the laundry room. Done. LOVE IT!! I just have to check and make sure that the leg fit is okay and doesn't give him marks, and then I will be ready to order a whole bunch.

So, let's do a budget check here. For eight Bumgenius AIOs, the cost runs $128. I will do some more shopping around online and see if I can find a package deal that has them cheaper. If the Indian prefolds work fine for nighttime, we have enough of those to go forward, and I just need to get some more Bummis wraps. I will want to buy some more flannel wipes, so total additional costs will probably be about $220. So for a total investment of $350, I will be disposable diaper free, and will have paid for the cost difference in diaper costs alone (not including wipes) in ten months. Yeah, I think we can do that! And with DS' eczema and sensitive skin, I won't have to try to find a generic non-scented size 6 diaper for nighttime. Skin friendly and reusable for kiddo #3, should God grant us one (hopefully). Yep, these aren't your mama's cloth diapers any more!


Gretchen said...

You always crack me up!

This is to let you know you've been tagged. You can view the rules on my blog!

Dana said...

Ok, I've had to come back and re read this post because I want to try it. So tell me, what are you doing now, and which do you reccommend?

Science PhD Mom said...

I gotcha on Facebook. HTH!