Friday, April 11, 2008

Cloth diapers - making the switch

In a previous post, I mentioned how we were doing our small part to help the environment and go 'green' in whatever ways we could manage right now.... well, I finally made the decision, did all my homework and discussed with Michael and we have officially decided to switch to cloth diapers.

Let me start off by saying that if you think of cloth diapering as the way it was when we were babies (messy, stinky, leaky, plastic pants that had tight elastic bands, etc.) you are very wrong. Cloth diapering has come so far in the last probably 10 years, it's absolutely amazing to look at what's out there. Try doing a google search for cloth diapers and you'll be inundated with all kinds of options (I'll discuss those a little further down) and price ranges and maybe even a local diaper service in your area! I know when I first got my idea a few months ago, I didn't know where to begin when researching. So I just started by looking at the different kinds of diapers available and then from there started researching pricing options and from there finally decided what was right for us.

We were going to just wait until the baby arrives because we were hoping to have Eli potty trained by then, but we've encountered a diaper rash issue (since the virus) and I've also come to the realization - after putting Eli in cloth training pants for a whole day (to let his bum air out a bit) - that he is absolutely NOT interested in the toilet. He'll go every now and then (as in, maybe once a week), but mostly just sits there for ages and then goes as soon as you put his diaper back on! He also will tell you after he's gone in his diaper but refuses to go on the potty. It's not a big deal to us since each kid is different (Jacob was 100% potty trained just after his 2nd b-day...) and really you can't force them to do it until they decide they're ready. So, I decided I was tired of buying disposables and am ready to go ahead and make the switch. And since I'm going to go ahead and buy toddler size diapers and covers now, I won't have to buy them when the new one reaches that size.

To put it all into writing for everyone, here's what we're doing:

We will be using prefolds and water proof covers. This is by far the most cost effective cloth solution and seems like it will work best for us.

There are tons of options ranging from prefolds to All-In-Ones (AIO's) - with MANY different options in between (fitteds, pocket diapers, diaper services, and patterns available to make your own). All in ones would be ideal if you had the money to spend up front for 30 or so of the newborn size, then 30 or so of the medium and the same for large. All in ones can go for as much as $15 EACH. So that's a total of $450 just for enough diapers to get you to around 8 months of age.... and so on. That's not including liners, inserts/doublers (for extra nighttime protection). Let's just say, that's way too much for us (and cost wise would have more of an impact on us than disposables), though I would love to be able to use that option, it just doesn't seem worth it for us.

Here's how much we're spending on the toddler size prefolds and covers:

*24 prefolds @ $36/dozen = $72
* 5 Bummis Super Brite covers @ $11.50/each = $57.50
** Totalling $129.50 (which will get us thru until Eli is potty trained)

I also spent a while calculating the cost of disposables used to age 2 (I think Eli would have been in them longer than that - probably an extra 6 mo.). Here's what I came up with (for Eli - this would be different for each child):

* Ages birth-6mo. - an average of 12 diapers per day = 84 diapers/wk. = 2184 diapers
* Ages 6-12 mo. - an average of 8 diapers per day = 56 diapers/wk. = 1456 diapers
* Ages 12-18 mo. - an average of 5 diapers per day = 35 diapers/wk. = 910 diapers
* Ages 18-24 mo. - an average of 5 diapers per day = 35 diapers/wk. = 910 diapers
**Grand total of diapers for birth-24 mo. = 5460 diapers

I even took it a step further and calculated the cost of a diaper in each size - 1 thru 6 - of Huggies... I know I'm a little cooky, but I really wanted to see cost wise, exactly how cost-effective this would be for us.

I won't bore you on how I came up with these calculations, but here is the break down:

* Size 1-2 @ $.15 each
* Size 3 @ $.20 each
* Size 4 @ $.22 each
* Size 5 @ $.26 each
* Size 6 @ $.31 each

We would have used appx. 2112 size 1-2; 752 size 3; 752 size 4; 910 size 5; 934 size 6.
The total spent on these for Eli since birth is $1,151.38. Now, I know that doesn't seem like a lot broken down over the course of 2 years, but it really equals $47.97 per month on diapers alone.

So, if I take the total amount I will spend on cloth diapers and covers and add in $5 per month for the extra energy I'm using for 3 loads of laundry evey week it comes to $508.50.

* 1151.38 - total on disposables
* 508.50 - total on cloth
** $642.88 savings for 2 years of cloth diapering.
*** $26.79/month of savings

Oh yeah, that $508.50 is the TOTAL we will spend on cloth diapers - even if we have more children. Good quality cloth diapers last MANY years as long as they are taken care of properly. So, there's $642.88 in savings ahead for this baby (due in September), but then there would be an additional $1,151.38 in savings per additional child if we were to have any more.

~ Did you know that disposable diapers make up 30% of non-biodegradable material in landfills today? Hmmm, something to think about!!

I ordered my diapers and covers this morning (and they'll be in next Friday) so check back in a couple of weeks for an update on how it's going with the switchover and Eli!! Should be interesting. He has always hated diapers anyway!!

1 comment:

Sarah said...

Interesting post! I've been researching late-EC-ing and potty training for my guy and have been thinking about picking up about five pairs of a training pant style diaper (probably with the insertion of a pre-fold to make them last longer, but so that he can feel when he went) . . . what made you decide on the specific type of diaper you chose? And where did you find it for that price? Everything I have found seems to be around the $15/diaper range and up.

Thank you for your help!