Cloth Diapering 101

I’ve been asked a lot of questions about cloth diapering lately (mainly why, in God’s name, would you ever?), so I decided to write a little bit and explain a few things.

First there’s the why question.  The original thing that made me consider cloth was the cost.  We were fortunate enough to receive a lot of diapers from friends and family when I was pregnant, so we were stocked with disposables for the first 2-3 months.  Then as we neared month 4, we started having to buy them ourselves, and I realized that at least $40 a month would need to be budgeted for diapers.  The price goes up, by the way, as the diaper sizes do, so we’re looking at a good $1,500 or more before Jude is potty-trained.  Multiply that by an eventual baby #2 and it’s money that could certainly be put to better use.  Cloth diapers are a bigger expense up front, but $300 could really get you from birth to potty training, and most reviews I read state that the same diapers can be used for another baby, so you’re really looking at $150!

Once I started doing research, however, I realized that cost was really only the beginning.

Did you know that disposable diapers are the third largest contributor to landfills and that the average baby goes through approximately 4,000 diapers? Furthermore, we have no idea how long they take to decompose, but it’s estimated to be around 500 years.  Over 300 pounds of wood, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to create the diapers for ONE baby for only ONE year.  Critics of cloth will say that it takes equal amounts of waste to launder and care for cloth diapers, but that’s not a logical argument.  Water is a sustainable resource, and many of us hang them on  clotheslines or drying racks to dry them.

Did you know that the EPA lists Dioxin as the most toxic of all cancer-causing chemicals, and there are traces of it in every disposable diaper?  There are numerous other chemicals in them as well, and a quick internet search can give you details on the environmental and health risks to using disposables.

Once I read all of this, I was leaning more toward going cloth all the time and not just sometimes as I first intended.  I was still unsure about the laundry element though.  I mean anyone with a new baby knows how much laundry you deal with.  I find myself staring at large piles every weekend feeling so overwhelmed, and I couldn’t imagine how I had time for more.  The thing I hate so much about laundry, though, is the sorting and the folding.  You have none of that with diapers.  You just dump them all in, run one cold wash, and then run a long hot wash and you’re good to go.  I dump them in the washer every other night when I get home from school and let the washing machine do the work for me.

If cloth diapers were as they used to be, I wouldn’t last a week, but the modern options for cloth diapering make the process so easy and so so cute!

Bumgenius pocket diapers are one of my current favorites.  They are adjustable, so Jude can use the same diaper from now till he’s potty-trained.  They are super absorbent and we’ve NEVER ONCE had a leak.  I can’t say that for disposables.

I also love Thirsties fitted diapers.  These require a waterproof cover over them, but they are so soft and so absorbent.  Jude can sleep comfortably and feel dry all night.

Lastly I love love love this diaper, but I’ve only got one.  It’s kinda pricey, but it’s one size so it’ll last for a while.At some point, I’ll probably get another for Jude as well.

Unfortunately, Atlanta doesn’t have a cloth diaper specialty store, so I do my shopping online.  Kelly’s Closet is my favorite to order from, but there are a million options offering so many different types of diapers for any mom’s preference.  There’s so much more I can say.  ( I LOVE cloth!) but that might be enough to get you started and answer any basic questions.  I’m still learning, but I love Jude’s little fluffy butt, and I love the feeling that I am making the best choice for Jude and the world we live in.

On the Bright Side

What a week it’s been.  In truth, there is much complaining I could do at the moment, but in an effort to be a bit more optimistic, I’m taking a look at the things that have brought a smile this week.

  • As of tomorrow at 4:00, it’s the last week before spring break!  I have (count ’em) FIVE days of school until we get a week off, and my only plans consist of playing with Jude, unwinding from an insane semester, and getting a much-needed pedicure and haircut.
  • Spring break approaching means it’s soon to be the end of the school year. This means I have (count ’em) THIRTY-FIVE school days until I am a full-time mama.  Words cannot express how excited I am or how blessed I feel about this opportunity to give more of myself to little Jude.
  • Wednesday brought a less-than-fun massive faculty meeting about the cuts in funding and “reductions in force” that are part of the plan for my school district and many others in the coming months.  That state of public education in this state is quite dismal, folks.  Politics of public education can drive a sane man crazy, and I left that meeting feeling so discouraged.  I did, however, find this little gem lovingly sketched on my dry-erase board the same afternoon.
In case you were wondering, this is me. (illustration by one of my ninth graders)

Moments like this are why teaching might be lots of things, but it’s never ever boring.  Even when we have to deal with the ridiculous and discouraging outside our classrooms, we can always shut the door to remember why we teach in the first place.   They might be crazy.  They might be annoying.  But kids are funny.  (And can I point out that I’m skinny and I’m obviously a very smart person who likes to read large books?  I’ll take it as a compliment, I guess.)

  • It was Free Pastry Day at Starbucks on Tuesday.  Woot woot!  Somehow the Cinnamon Chip Scone tastes even better when you didn’t pay for it.
  • Jude is finally rolling over! I mean if you had to lug that massive head and big belly around all day, you’d find it difficult too.  He’s been reaching and even sitting up unassisted for some time now, and my pediatrician assures me he’s just fine, but at almost 6 months, I was growing tired of the “is he rolling all over the place?’ questions and subsequent feelings of oh-my-god-i-think-my-baby-is-broken.
  • I received my FREE Bumgenius AIO this week in the mail!  I am a cloth diaper addict, and AIOs are pricey.  Free diaper in the mail = exciting.
  • Hang on for this one, there’s a spark of gratitude eventually.  I received the horrible news about the passing of a college friend’s husband this week. I grieve for her so much, and there really are no words to describe what it feels like to think of someone who is so kind and giving living a nightmare like this.  While her situation is tragic, it’s times like these that I’m grateful for my experience at a small college where classmates and community become family. Seeing the outpouring of love for Melissa from her former classmates, professors, university officials, and other alums makes me so grateful that I have this second family.  That said, the shock and grief right now is unimaginable.  She is in my every thought; please pray for her healing in this difficult time.  This is a reminder to love hard and live out loud.  Nothing is guaranteed.
  • I passed a church sign on the way to work this week that says, “You don’t have a soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” (C.S. Lewis)  Sometimes it’s the little things that can be a BIG reminder that you need.
  • Lastly, Atlanta has had some beautiful spring weather this week, and trees are in bloom.  Sunny barefoot porch times are on their way!