When I first made the decision to use cloth diapers, my friends and family thought I was crazy. The first image that comes to the minds of most people is that of the prefold diapers our parents used to diaper us and then to later dry and buff the family station wagon. However, diapers have come a long way in the last decade. After researching brands and doing my own trial and error with used diapers I purchased off of craigslist, I found the bumGenius diapers to be reliable and well made. Not only are they as easy to use as disposable diapers, but I have actually had fewer leaks with my bumGenius diapers than I have had with the disposable diapers I have tried.
Cloth diapering has been making a comeback in recent years as consumers turn their attention toward more earth-friendly products. According to the Clean Air Council, the average child will use 8,000 – 10,000 diapers before being potty trained. That is a cost of approximately $2,000 per child. In the US alone, disposable diapers account for 100,000 tons of plastic and 800,000 tons of tree pulp waste per year. Each diaper takes 300 years to decompose and 49 million diapers are disposed of every day in the US. The bumGenius 4.0 One-Size diapers cost $17.95 each on the Cotton Babies website. I recommend purchasing at least 20 – 30 diapers (depending on how frequently you want to do laundry), so that’s an initial cost of $359 – $538.50. When you consider that the One-Size diapers are designed to grow with your baby and can be used on future children, that is a significant savings over using disposable diapers.
The One-Size diapers feature two rows of snaps that allow the diapers to be adjustable from approximately 7 – 35+ pounds. This is a big reason I chose these diapers because it means extra savings in the long run. While I did use disposable diapers for the first couple weeks after my son was home from the hospital, these diapers have proven reliable from the time he was a few weeks old until now when he is almost 5 months old. The diapers are also packaged with two different sized waterproof inserts, Newborn and One-Size. The “Newborn” insert is a shorter insert designed for use when the diaper is on its smallest size. It is also a little thinner than the One-Size insert. The “One-Size” insert is longer and thicker than the Newborn with two rows of snaps to adjust the length as the baby and his diaper grows. As my son has grown into the One-Size inserts, I now use the Newborn inserts in addition to the One-Size inserts at night to help absorb and keep my son’s bottom dry as he sleeps.
BumGenius recently released their new 4.0 design which offers the option of plastic snap closures. I love this option and have bought several of the snap diapers since their release. With the snap closures, you no longer have to worry about fraying hook-and-loop closures or closures that won’t stay fastened because they have accumulated too much fuzz. The new snap closures feature two rows of snaps in place of the hook-and-loop fastener and two snaps on each of the butterfly flaps. There are plenty of snaps to ensure a secure fit. The snaps are tight enough that I don’t have to worry about the closure popping open as my son moves or sleeps.
Aside from the economical and ecological benefits of cloth diapers, I have also noticed less diaper rash on my son and less smell in his room than with the use of disposable diapers. Cloth diapers don’t contain the chemicals and perfumes that most disposable diapers have in them, so I have less risk of my son having sensitivity or an allergic reaction. I wash my diapers in Tide Free & Clear without any fabric softener, so I don’t have to buy any special diaper soaps. I only use half of the recommended amount of Tide because too much detergent can actually cause diapers to leak and retain more smell. Dirty diapers are stored in a waterproof bag and are washed every one or two days, so I have less smell than when disposable diapers are kept in a trashcan. I also line dry all of my clothes on a clothesline outside (when the weather permits) and then fluff them in the dryer on low heat. This not only saves on electricity, but helps my clothes last longer.
Now, I’m not saying that I never use disposable diapers. When my son first came home from the hospital, I used disposable diapers because the cloth diapers were rubbing and irritating his umbilical cord. It was easier for me to fold over the disposable diapers to avoid any irritation and help speed the healing process. I have also run into times before I built up my cloth diaper stash when I would run out of diapers between laundry loads and needed to use disposables. I have since built up my stash, but I still keep a few on hand just in case. For instance, when my husband and I took our son to Disney for the day, it was much easier to pack a dozen disposable diapers in the diaper bag and throw away the dirty diapers than to pack a dozen cloth diapers and have to carry the dirty diapers around all day. When we fly, we also choose to take a few disposable diapers with us, then buy a pack of disposables when we reach our destination rather than pack a separate suitcase just for diapers and have to do laundry while we are on vacation. I also recommend keeping a few disposables in the diaper bag just in case you underestimate the number of cloth diapers needed when you go out for the day or leave your baby with the sitter.