For the last two weeks David and I have been testing out cloth diapers on a part time basis, using cloth diapers every other day. One thing is for sure, they are prettier for Eliza's photo shoots!
Overall, cloth diapering has been easier than I expected. No, not as easy as disposable diapers, but close enough. We settled on bum genius diapers. I read a lot of good reviews on them and I also really liked that they are adjustable (check their website for more information on this) and will fit Eliza until she is 35 pounds. We bought twelve diapers to start with, figuring even if we decided it would be too challenging to use cloth full time, we could at least do cloth diapers part of the time, which would still reduce our amount of diaper waste headed for the landfill. I think we could definitely do cloth diapers full time, but I am going to let David make the call after we continue testing them out part time for a while longer. I did a considerable amount of research before deciding to try cloth diapers, but nothing beats experience. Here are some highlights from our trial so far:
:: If you aren't sure if you want to commit to cloth, buy a few at a time. Once we decided we wanted to commit to cloth diapering part time, we started buying them gradually throughout my pregnancy. It is a considerable up front investment --the diapers are $17.95 each. Buying three at a time made it much more manageable.
:: The amount of washing involved in cloth diapering is its biggest drawback. Bum genius diapers need washed twice, once on cold and once on hot. They also need washed in an additive free detergent. I ended up switching to Charlie's Soap for all of our laundry since I needed to buy a different detergent just for the diapers, plus it is biodegradable and I read numerous positive reviews online. You can buy it online or locally at Sprout Soup. I think it is actually cheaper than Tide or an equivalent.
:: I made two 18" x 18 " zipper bags for the dirty diapers. They are made from PUL, a water-proof fabric from which cloth diapers are often made. I have one at each changing station in the house and each time we change a diaper, we place it in the bags and zip it closed. When it is time to wash the diapers, I just dump the bags into the washing machine and then toss the bag in the wash too. This keeps you from having to touch dirty diapers at laundry time. This was definitely the best tip I found online.
:: I am seriously impressed with the lining on the bum genius diapers. I was worried the cloth diapers would mean Eliza would feel wet, but the lining really pulls the moisture away. Eliza's skin seems much smoother on her cloth diaper days. Bum genius diapers are pocket diapers which means an insert (two are included with each diaper) is stuffed into a pocket on the diaper which absorbs the moisture. The insert is often soaked while the liner feels just a little wet. You do have to remove the insert before placing the diaper in the wet bag, but the contact is minimal.
:: So far, no leaks...and we have had a couple leaks with disposables already.
:: I love the different colors, especially the bright ones. I really think the fun colors have some sort of positive psychological effect making me want to commit to cloth diapering.
I asked David if he had any thoughts to add for my cloth diaper review and he immediately replied, "I like them," which floored me. He was really suspicious at first, so the fact that he likes them says a lot. Then he mentioned washing them, which as I said before, is the biggest challenge with cloth diapers. Even doing them part time and being on maternity leave I have had trouble keeping up. We will definitely have to develop some sort of routine if we do them full time.
Cloth diapering has been very doable for us so far and it really feels good to notice our trash is not quite as massive or that we are not tearing through nearly as many disposable diapers every week. I'm definitely glad we braved testing them...the investment is already paying off.