Warning: In case you didn’t figure it out from the title, I’ll be discussing baby poop at some point in this post. Maybe it’ll be TMI for you, maybe it won’t. In any case, you have been warned.
We started cloth diapering about 5 months ago. I had thought about it when I was first pregnant, but I never took initiative to actually get started. The start up cost seemed too prohibitive at the time, and frankly, I felt confused by all the information out there. For the record, cloth diapering really is simpler than they make it sound.
We’re cloth diapering because it’s cheaper. It’s a nice side benefit that it helps the environment, but that didn’t really factor into our decision making. Disposables and wipes cost around $1000 dollars a year. Maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on the brand you use and how often your kid needs to be changed. You figure most kids are in diapers for about two years. Cloth diaper start up packages are usually around 300-500 dollars. And you’re done. You don’t need to buy more. I’m not sure how much extra you’re spending in water and detergent, but we do a load of cloth diapers about once every three days, so it’s not very much extra laundry. So far, I’ve been able to start cloth diapering for quite a bit less than the average. I started with a pack of six pre-folds and two covers for $35. I didn’t go for a big start up package because a) I don’t just have several hundred dollars lying around that I can spare, and b) I didn’t want to spend all that money just to change my mind after spending it. This was a safe way to try it out, and see if I liked it. I did, so I picked up more pre-folds with covers, and a few pocket diapers with inserts. I got them used at a local consignment shop. So far I’ve spent about $200 total. This is partially because I’m buying a lot of things used, and partially because that local consignment shop needed a little extra help in store and is letting me work for store credit now. I’ve even been able to use that credit to buy new stuff, which is nice.
Now for the poop. The good thing about poop and cloth is that cloth diapers and wipes get the poop off the baby really well. I mean I have to use 1-2 cloth wipes where it would’ve taken me 5-6 regular ones. Cloth diapers don’t smell as bad. We’ve also had a lot less of a problem with diaper rashes. The bad thing about poop and cloth is that now you have to get the poop off the diapers. I’ve had plenty of moms tell me that it’s not a big deal, and it’s not much more difficult than disposables. Well sorry, I disagree. It’s more time consuming than disposables, and it’s dirtier. But it’s still easily worth the savings. Hear are the options.
Some moms just throw the diaper in the wash, poop and all. I don’t like doing this for two reasons a)You’re putting poop in the wash. That can not possibly be good for the washer. Plus, sometimes toddlers don’t completely digest what they eat. Corn for example. Moving on. b) That means that I’m leaving a poopy diaper in the diaper pail until wash day. Is that sanitary?
You can use a diaper sprayer to spray it into the toilet. I do not have a diaper sprayer, although I may pick one up next time I have the spare cash, just to try it. I tried using our shower sprayer, but the angle was all wrong to get the poop into the toilet, and I’m not ok with spraying it down the shower drain.
Finally, dunking the diaper in the toilet. This is usually peoples least favorite option, but it’s actually my favorite. It’s a lot less messy than I thought it would be. If you’re lucky, you have a child with sorta solid poo that you can just shake into the toilet and you’re done. My kids poo is more peanut butter consistency(I warned you), and no amount of shaking is getting it off. So dunking it is. You can use rubber gloves if you want to, but after doing it a few dozen times, I realized I didn’t need them.
Bottom line is, when it comes to poop, disposables are easier. You just toss the diaper and forget about it. However, dealing with the poop is not as bad as you probably think it is, and you only get better at it with practice. Also, in addition to the initial cost savings, once you are done with the diapers you can consign them if they’re not too badly stained from years of use. So you get a small portion of your investment back in the long run.
And that’s my experience so far with cloth diapers. If anyone has found a better/easier way to deal with the poop, please let me know.