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Going Green With Diapers

This month has just not been it for me. Now we’ve added two emergency room visits in a few days and a scary eye problem. We’ve had the eye issue going on in my right eye for a while now, but this is the first time its gotten so bad that I just couldn’t function at all.  So where the ENT, Allergiest, Optomitrist, and GP have failed to come up with an answer….the doc in the ER visit (a hospital that is generally known as a worthless bandaid station….but only place I could get a ride to) may have come up with an answer….cluster headaches/migraines in or around my eye. I’ll be going to a Neurologist on the 3rd of Aug and hopefully we’ll get a confirmation and a method of treatment that doesn’t make me feel high and trippy as all get out (like I feel today after all the meds my GP put me on to make it to that appointment).

So if you’lre following me or reading for the first time, please send me all the positive energy/prayers you can muster.  I’m hoping to kick this and finally be out of the woods with all the problems we’ve had this month.

Also, I apologize in advance if thinks are a little messy. I’m still not seeing very well…so please forgive a comma for a period or silly things like that. I did my best to catch them all, but I’m not making any promises.

Anyway lets get to it.

So, today I want to talk with you about diapering. Now there are two options. First there are disposables and then there are cloth. Granted there are a ton of options in each camp, but first let’s compare and contrast.

Disposable diapers

With  disposable diapers, first, they aren’t biodegradable. Aka they are bad for the environment. So that is a negative. Second, they really aren’t as absorbent as most cloth diapers (provided you choose your best choices and get the right inserts). There’s a second negative. Third, they cost around $120 per month if you’re in size one or two….and from the jump in price between size one and two….it only gets more expensive as you go.  A third negative. Finally, they are convenient and don’t require washing. So two positives veres three negatives. Not too bad in terms of a pros and cons list.

Now lets look at the other side.

Cloth diapers

First, you only need thirty of them total for a child from birth to potty training and a kid can go further between changes the older they get. So you’re looking at a base investment of somewhere between $150 and $300 (depending on where you get your diapers) for thirty. That’s about two months of buying disposables. Note here that with a smaller baby…a lot of time the one size adjustables won’t fit till month three or four so you may have to buy some disposables. But the one size adjustables are the way to go if you want to save money. They will grow with your child.

I would call that a big positive over $100-$150 in disposables per month. I would call those savings a definite positive.

There is the cost of water and detergent, but I really can’t call that a negative….because we’re still saving more paying that (even in a private community where we pay twice as much for water as anyone else in the county) than we were when we bought disposables those first two or three months.

You have to scoop the poop out of a diaper into the toilet. Yes, it’s a negative, but honestly, it’s not a big deal. Not to mention the fact that technically you’re supposed to do this before you throw away a disposable anyway. You can get a diaper sprayer or liners (if you want to lose a bit of your savings here) to avoid this.  But, if you have kids, you’re going to be dealing with far worse than a poopy in their lives. I can barely count this as a negative.

The only downfalls I see on this side of the fence are start up costs and having to wash the diapers every two or three days. I personally think that cloth diapers are still better than wasting all that money and the environmental damage done by non-degradable diapers.

There is a visual at http://www.chetramos.com/how-to-start-cloth-diapering/ that really puts it into perspective.  Now they say that they spent $500 on cloth diapers, but if you look around you can find the one size adjustable ones online (and in cute prints) for around $6 each. I’m betting these people bought the first ones that they found or had to buy the ones that cost $20 a pop. We ordered ours online and only spent around 150 dollars including shipping and handling.  And others have found them used for less…but that’s easier to do in a larger area….and we don’t live in a metro area anymore.  Also look for swaps and such for cloth diapers online. You’ll save and get some name brands if that is your thing.

They show the average number of diapers used in a year with disposables (3800) and they have it costing around $1000. Now I did the math on my end based on what I spent for 144 diapers (so 3800 divided by 144 times $30 a pop per box of diapers) and it came out to around $750….so it apparently does vary greatly depending on brand and where you live I would guess, but I bought the cheapest thing worth buying and that’s what it would have cost me (provided I stayed at size one the whole year).  Still, we’ve only spent around $300-$400 with all the home supplies I DIY’d.

So what do you need?

1. You need around 30 diapers to keep up with a newborn washing every two days. Right now at. nearly a year we probably wash ours every three days on average still.

2. A pad for each diaper (usually included with diaper). The only way this will cost you more is if your diaper comes with a cheap pad. If it says its microfiber though….it should be fine especially if it’s a pocket diaper. That’s what we use.

3. POWDER detergent: the liquid can build up and make your diapers less absorbent and then you have to strip them, which equals more money lost.

4. Oxyclean powder: We use this to combat stains. So technically this is optional, but I find it really good for fighting stains. Just DO NOT get anything with baking soda because that can cause build up as well.

5. Diaper sprayer: This is another optional. If you don’t want to pull out poopies with a wipe then you want a sprayer. If you don’t want to have to rinse them out in your sink or tub…you want a sprayer. Now you can buy a diaper sprayer, but they are overpriced. you can build one yourself….but I can tell you it’s far simpler to just buy a bidet sprayer and set it up in your house. I honestly wish at this point that we had done this instead of making our own (which only works in the one correctly plumbed toilet in the house…another issue with making your own if you live in a trailer.)

6. Wet bags: You need at least one big one for the house and one smaller one with a zipper for travel. We have four (one big three small). I figure I can use them later when we go swimming or what have you.  You can make these on your own for cheaper than you can buy them. Babyville fabric at JoAnn’s (or bought online there) runs around $15 per yard on a regular basis. You need a yard or two to make the ones we have. And if you just look up quick zip wet bag tutorial you’ll find all the video and blog tutorial options that you could ever want. Pick the one that best suits your family. And as a final note here…we actually carry two bags with us sometimes when we travel….one for poopie and one for wet…so we don’t have to worry about messing up a public bathroom.

I think that’s about it.  Anything else is really just extra. If you really do your research and look for the best buys you’re looking at $150-$200 for 30 cloth diapers, $40 for a bidet sprayer (optional), and around $30-$50 for the supplies to make the wet bags. That’s around $300 if you DIY and trust me the wet bag is easy to make (and otherwise costs $20-$30 per bag).

If you add incidentals per year I think I’ve spent (on estimate) around $200-$300 on water and cleaning supplies for the diapers. So total around $600 maybe $700…which would still be cheaper than my cost for one year of cloth diapers. If you look at the fact that next year (already having the start up supplies) you’ll only spend up to $400 or so on water and cleaning supplies (and that’s an overestimate still). You’re saving even more that next year provided you aren’t doing your laundry at a laundromat.

A final thought

I’m adding this here so I can put in my personal experience. Yes, you can make cloth diapers as well…but let me give you a warning. I spent $120 and that only made me six diapers. Also….if you struggle with elastic….don’t make your own. There really aren’t any good patterns without spending yet another $20-$30. I can do the sewing, but it wasn’t as economical as buying the cloth diapers I bought. Not to mention that they were huge on Freya. I doubt that they would fit her even now at one year.  So, unless you can modify patterns. I suggest not doing it and if you insist….do a test run with cheap fabric first.

So that’s my intro to cloth diapers. If any of you have other relevant experience please share. I’m going to continue this topic Wednesday with more tips and tricks on Cloth Diapers.

I’ll be back tomorrow with a second post for the week.

Blessed Be.

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