Thursday, October 22, 2009

Cloth Diapers

A few weeks ago, I was very excited about saving $26 on four packs of diapers. But here's the big money saver of diapers (so new moms especially, listen up!): I primarily use cloth diapers. Yep, I'm one of those crazy types who love saving money and the environment so much that I'm a card carrying cloth diaper momma. Ok, we don't really carry cards, but if we did, I'd pass them out with pride. And I'm here to tell you: it's not that big a deal, it is worth it, and if you're at all intrigued, you should give it a try.

My cloth diaper adventure began when we lived in California (ok, get it over with--figures!). What was great about the San Francisco Bay Area is that they have a diaper service. You don't have do a thing but put a sack of dirty diapers once a week on your front porch and the diaper man magically brings you clean ones at 3am. Very little effort, no more exposure to "the yucky stuff" than regular diapers, and the cost was about the same as buying disposables. If you live in the area, check out Tiny Tots.

When we moved to Knoxville, TN, there was no such diaper service and I had to decide if I was going to carry on. We bought a great new front loader washer with a sanitary cycle and I invested in my favorite styles of diapers, FuzziBunz. Then I hit what I thought would be our quick potty training period. I decided to use disposables instead and a year later, I regretted my decision.

Then my second child came along and I was ready to cloth diaper again. He, however, threw me for a loop at 5 weeks and stopped nursing. Since I was determined to breastfeed (it doesn't surprise you, does it?), I pumped every ounce of milk for him til he was nearly a year. That was such a draining part of my life that I didn't have the energy to do cloth diapers too. So, I went back to disposables. Thankfully, he potty trained shortly after turning two.

Finally, our baby girl joined us in February '09, nursed like a champ, and gave me no reason not to return to my roots of cloth diapering. I invested in a few more diapers and I've been a faithful environmentalist so far. With a few exceptions: I use disposables at night, on trips, at the pediatrician, and under certain outfits. Designers do not have the bulkier diapers in mind when creating some of those ensembles! I've also just bought some larger diapers to try with the boys at night; we'll see. I do laundry about twice a week; if you want more details of "my system," email me.

If you're looking to get started, there are loads of resources online. One of my favorite suppliers, Zannadu, is unfortunately closing her doors at the end of the year. This could be a good time to pick up some great deals! If you live in the Knoxville area, I recommend checking out Cutie Tooties. I hear you can buy a trial pack of a variety of styles to see what works for you and you can meet with her in person to learn everything you need to know.

If you're still reading, you might actually give this a shot! Need more motivation? How about that it takes 20 trees to diaper one baby in disposables for 2 years. Or that single-use diapers represent the third largest consumer item in the waste stream. Or here's my favorite: each diaper needs 500 years to decompose! What do they put in those things?!

I admit I'm not a purist when it comes to cloth diapers, but every bit helps. Weigh in your opinion in the comment section below.


  1. Thanks for posting this! I will admit my main goal is purely from a cost stand point. I never, ever thought I would use cloth. But after Sunny from CT came to our church and explained it all and I was able to use the trial pack, I was a lot more convinced. I am now using them about 75% of the time and actually like them!

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