Happy Homemaker, Ph.D.

A novice homemaker's attempts to use her engineering Ph.D. to serve her family

Cloth Diapering – My First Purchases – Part 1

Let me begin by saying that I am still tentatively trying cloth diapering.  I didn’t think it wise to put all my eggs in one basket (Sorry for the cliché, but we do have chickens.) without more understanding of the products and processes involved.  Let me also say that cloth diapering is much easier than I imagined, and I’m finding it quite fun!

Those of you who know me or have followed my blog know I’m an engineer by training and a former college professor of operations and quality management.  With that analytical background, I thought about doing a break-even analysis to evaluate the potential savings.  I started using factor rating to compare various cloth diapering approaches and to compare them to disposables.  (This method lets you include qualitative factors such as “ICK!” or easy-for-others-to-change rather than just the costs.)  But, I finally decided if I continued to deliberate, our coming child would likely be going on 2 years old before I made up my mind.

My thought process – without my quantitative analysis – included these considerations:

  • I wanted to buy enough cloth diapering supplies to make it feel that doing a load of diaper laundry was worth it.  (e.g. I didn’t want to buy just 2 diapers and be washing them as a load of laundry alone every day or two.
  • I didn’t want to commit to one diapering system since, despite my research and questions, I still didn’t know what might work well for me/us.
  • I wanted to try the night-time solution Coleen (from Sweet Little Blessings) recommended (a fitted diaper with a wool cover).
  • I wanted to make sure I had everything I needed to make a go of at least part-time cloth diapering.
  • I wasn’t sure on sizing for my toddler, and I wanted to have gender-neutral items since we don’t know Baby’s gender and since our toddler is starting to use the potty.
  • Our toddler goes through an average of 6 disposable diapers a day now at 21 months.  I wanted to purchase enough diapers to be able to diaper most of 2 days and then wash.
  • I wanted to try the “easy” cloth diapers, such as FuzziBunz or BumGenius, that my friends have had success with.
  • I also wanted to keep costs down, so I wanted to see if pre-folds may be a feasible option as well.

My order ended up being something like this:

  • 4 FuzzyBunz One-Size Elites (This may not be what you have pictured for a cloth diaper.)
  • 6 organic cotton pre-folds (Bummis)
  • 1 Whisper Wrap cover
  • 1 Thirsties cover
  • 1 fitted diaper (Bamboozle)
  • 1 wool cover

Within a day or two, I thought I had overlooked a few things.  Regular diaper creams can impact the absorbency of cloth diapers (from what I read), so I would need an alternative.  Also, an online video and friend’s testimony interested me in liners rather than a more expensive sprayer that attaches to the toilet.  I also figured I’d need a wet bag (place to put used diapers) for my diaper bag if I was using the cloth diapers on the go as well as a place to put the wet/soiled diapers at home.

My additional order included:

  • GroVia Magic Stick for a diaper cream
  • Flushable liners (toddler-sized)
  • A fabric diaper “pail” that hangs on the doorknob and unzips at the bottom (FuzziBunz)
  • A wet bag for the diaper bag that has a zipper to help contain odors
I also knew I needed some different laundry detergent and some lanolin for the wool.  I was able to find these supplies at a local grocery store easily.

In the next post, I’ll share a little about the process I’m using and how it is working for us as well as an evaluation of the products I’m trying (though remember, I’ve only been doing this a couple of weeks).



Cloth Diapering – A Beginner’s Journey

I began thinking about cloth diapering before my first child was born.  My best friend had decided to use cloth diapers with her firstborn who was born a few months before my daughter, and she told me a little about it.  I decided that I didn’t want to try to take on too much at once, so I planned to focus on getting a strong start with nursing and then could explore changes to our system.

Nursing went well, but I was still working at the time and had to go back to teaching about 10 weeks after my daughter was born, so I put the cloth diaper research on hold.

I continued to think about the possibility, though.  I read other blogs about moms’ experiences and recommendations.  I bought an e-book that promised to pay for itself in saving the reader from mistakes in purchasing or care.  I heard from other mothers at church about what motivated them to use cloth and what was required.

Still, I felt overwhelmed by the many options and powerless to make a decision.  Cotton, bamboo, hemp, wool, and more.  What material is best?  All-in-ones, all-in-twos, pocket diapers, prefolds, flats…  What were each of those exactly?  I read and reread, trying to figure out the terminology, requirements, and estimated costs.  Would it really be worth it for us?  I wanted to try, but I also wanted to be smart about the needed investment.  Chad and I had visited a local store that sold cloth diapers before our daughter was born, but the store had since gone out of business.

I reached a point of desperation earlier this year, though, that pushed me back to the cloth diapering question again.  My toddler is a heavy wetter at night, often requiring either a change in the night or a change of everything (sheets, blankets, pajamas, etc.) that is soaked through in the morning with disposable diapers.  Besides the extra laundry, she would wake up and cry from the discomfort of the wetness.  While this is not a huge problem right now, I didn’t know if I’d have the capacity and patience to deal with these additional tasks after Baby #2 was born. I wondered if cloth diapers could somehow provide a solution.

Also, as I recalled the diaper changes of the first few months for my first child, I remembered an aggravating number of “blowouts” that created additional laundry hassles that I was interested in possibly avoiding.  I’d heard that cloth could at least potentially “contain” these messes better.  Yep, with Baby #2 soon on the way, I was interested.

I e-mailed Coleen, the owner of Sweet Little Blessings since she was referred by one of my long-time friends (Amy at Raising Arrows).  She gave me a recommendation for night time, and, to my delight, Raising Arrows began a series on cloth diapering within days of my inquiry!  (You can see the first post here with links to the posts that followed.)  The timing was also great for me because Coleen offered a 10% discount at that time!  What a bonus!

I debated and re-read through the many options, and finally, after two years of thinking about it, I took the leap to place an order.  I started the adventure two weeks ago.  The next few posts will share what I’ve learned in that time and how I foresee this approach to diapering working for us in the future.