The last few days here have been sunny, a little warm, and uplifting to my soul. I’ve lived here in one way or another my whole life, and I’ll never cease being awestruck by the beauty of creation, and the creation that The Creator chose to have me be born to. I’m forever thankful for that. It is truly a gift. As I look on the blue sky and the budding daffodils, the risen creek and our ten year old dog darting across the yard like a spry pup, I think of things that make my days sunny even when the weather is cloudy. Things like teaching my girls, cooking for my family, writing, and taking hikes. Recently, I have discovered that I take pleasure in something that might sound strange to most. I thoroughly enjoy cloth diapering my baby girl. I hadn’t noticed how much satisfaction I glean from it until lately.
When I first looked into cloth diapering, I saw it as a challenge. Deladis was 15 months old, we didn’t have a large lump sum to buy cloth diapers with, and I definitely didn’t want to feel like I was playing in poop. I was intimidated by the talk on diapering forums I visited. I saw mothers paying $30 for one diaper, describing their washing regimen, and discussing the cutest high dollar diapers. The impact of using disposables on the environment was obvious to me, and I am always looking for ways to reduce the exposure to chemicals for our family. I just didn’t know how I would afford to buy enough diapers to make it through a day of cloth diapering.
I began to look at what I could find locally and purchased some Gerber birdseye flats from Wal-Mart and some diaper pins. I found some used diaper covers on ebay, and a generous mother on the forums of http://www.mothering.com donated me some of her stash that she was finished with. I began cloth diapering my toddler. I fumbled through that adventure, and wasn’t sure about whether I had made the best choice. But, in preparing to cloth diaper Ivy from birth, I tweaked some things, and have felt very successful.
John and I live off of self-employment. He is an artist and musician and I am a writer. We also work on cultural preservation and do a little workshop type teaching. We may be able to come up with $8 for diapers at a time, but not $500. I had always known that there had to be a cheap way to do cloth. I have found it. So, far I have spent $230 out of pocket and not all at once on diapering both of my girls.
Here is what I have:
- 12 Gerber Birdseye Flats (used as doublers for extra padding)
- 6 Organic Gerber Birdseye Prefolds – no poly lining (gift from my baby sister)
- 3 Bella Bottoms Snapped One-Size Fitteds for nighttime and outings (bought on ebay $27)
- 1 Tiny Tush Elite One-Size Fitted with doubler for nighttime and outings (bought in Louisville $10)
- 10 Green Mountain Diapers Prefolds (Ivy just is growing into these. They were part of the donated stash.)
- 2 Dappi Velcro Diaper Covers (very cheap, but do the job. http://www.babybestbuy.com I don’t recommend their fitted diapers. They don’t absorb.)
- 2 Proraps covers Velcro (I bought used from a mother on a message board $10)
- 1 Motherease Cover Velcro (donated used)
- 1 diaper sprayer for sticky poopy (www.everythingbirth.com for $40?) Great for spraying out a potty too!
- pins and one snappi clasp (www.everythingbirth.com $4)
- 1 wet bag (www.everythingbirth.com $10)
You will hear mothers talk of Gerber diapers being worthless and to use them only for dust rags, but they have worked for us and are very affordable. I think I have just found a way to make them work. When you need something to work because you don’t have much of a choice about it, you’ll find a way.
I also want to mention http://www.myuseddiapers.com where you can buy and sell used diapers. I have bought and sold as I needed from there with good experience. This way I am only reusing my money on diapers and not having to come up with new money to spend.
As far as laundering goes, it can be a trial and error process. I’ve found that in sticking with it, you’ll eventually find the best method for your water situation and laundry habits. I’m using All Free and Clear, currently, with vinegar in the rinse, as we have untreated well water with iron. Take a look at http://www.diaperjungle.com for a list of detergents and cloth diapering recommendations.
So, when I change a diaper, spray it out, and throw it in the wet bag, I’m happy. I’m not wasting anything. My baby doesn’t smell like some perfumed diaper that is supposed to smell like baby, nor does she stink. She wasn’t exposed to harmful phalates. I’m not filling landfills with human waste and diapers that are not readily bio-degradable. It is pretty awesome that I’m saving our family thousands of dollars in the long run. I feel good. I should even say that cloth diapering is a peaceful thing – a happy thing.