Waste Not

attempting to waste less and live more deliberately

Waste Not Baby: Cloth Diaper Update

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Several months back, our friend Amanda shared her excitement for parenthood, baby, and cloth diapering! Check that out here: Waste Not Baby Since then, we have had many wonderful visits, fallen in love with baby Jasper, and watched our friends grow into wonderful parents and cloth diapering pros!

ImageJohnston Family – Jess Cadena Photography

You have been parents for a few months now, how is it going?

Being a parent is the most amazing job in the world. I love getting to watch my son experience the world. My husband and I agree that if we can get our son to just smile once each day it makes the entire world stop spinning for that time.  I think that means it’s going pretty well for us.

What do you know now that you didn’t know 6 months ago?

As a new parent, you learn to live off little sleep and lots of coffee.  I knew there would be a learning curve to figuring out what would work best for us as parents, but one of the biggest lessons we’ve learned as parents is to trust ourselves and ignore the noise.  Of course some of this “noise” comes from loving people trying to give you their “expert opinions”.

I have learned how patience is non-negotiable when starting a family. Patience with myself, patience with my husband, patience with our son, patience with our pets, patience with the drivers behind me who don’t realize that I NEED to drive 25 mph in the 45 mph zone because I have precious cargo (yes I’m one of those people).

I never realized how much my heart would break whenever my son was in pain and I can’t do anything to fix it except to kiss him and hug him, it is a totally different love.

I have also learned that each moment is incredibly special and to not worry so much about keeping my house spic-and-span and enjoy my time with my sweet family. Deep, right?

 On to diaper talk. You have had a few months of practice now, what have you learned? Any tips?

The process of diapering your baby with cloth versus disposable is no different.  Prior to switching to cloth diapering, I started to feel apprehensive.  How much more work was I getting myself into? Did I spend all this money on diapers that I wasn’t sure I could handle? Do I really want to put poop in my washing machine? Are they actually going to work or would there be more messy blow-outs? Was I doing this to spite my mother and all other nay-sayers? My brain was filled with self-doubt, I had done all the research and had asked questions of all sorts of people and still I was scared….of diapers? My husband reminded me that we had spent all this money on these diapers and I agreed that we needed to commit.  I didn’t want to be that person that quit something before I ever actually tried it.

Now that we have been exclusively cloth diapering for about 3-1/2 months, I can’t even think of diapering any other way. We’ve already almost broken even on our diapering costs. In your first Waste Not Baby Post, I quoted that we had spent $415 on cloth diapers.  If I was using disposable diapers, I would have spent approximately $370 thus far and thrown away approximately 1,220 disposable diapers (not including baby wipes). I think that is great news! If we continue cloth diapering past this point, we are just saving money!

We used disposables for the first month we were at home with our son.  We were taking out the trash every day, and filling up our curbside dumpster at the end of each week.  Since switching to cloth diapering, we only take out our trash once to twice a week.  We estimate, from these last 3-1/2 months of cloth diapering, that our curbside dumpster only gets half full after two weeks or more.  That’s a huge reduction in waste from our household, and that waste was just diapers and disposable wipes!

We switched to cloth wipes within a week of cloth diapering.  Using disposable wipes expended extra energy on our part. We’d use three to four wipes during diaper change, throw them in a separate trash can and put our cloth diaper in the wash.  I don’t know about most people, but I prefer to be efficient about the things I do. I don’t want to have to walk to point Z to throw away a wipe and then walk to point B to put diaper in diaper pail and go back to point A to play with baby.  So out of our efficiency (laziness) we started to using cloth wipes.  We can put the used, dirty wipe into the diaper pail after a diaper change and bada-bing!  bada-boom! All done! We also end up using only one wipe per diaper change as they seem to work much better.  I keep my cloth wipes (which consist of cut up old t-shirts, nice wipes from amazon, and wash cloths) in a wipe warmer we received at our baby shower.  I hated using this wipe warmer for disposable wipes, as it dried them out and the wipes were always cold when they got to baby.  This wipe warmer is THE BEST when it comes to using cloth wipes.  I stack my wipes in the warmer, and add my wipe solution and my wipes are ready to go!

If I was to give any parent considering cloth diapers tips:

  1. Find a local resource through the Real Diaper Association, friend, or local cloth diaper store. If you have any questions, they have answers or they can help you find answers! I have a friend from grad school that runs a cloth diaper store in Washington and she is always helping someone trouble shoot.
  2. Don’t be afraid of putting the diapers in your washing machine. I promise that your washing machine will not turn into a poopy mess! Your cloth diaper washing routine is as easy as your regular clothes!
  3. The extra five minutes of folding your cloth diapers after they are done is not a huge commitment. I like folding my son’s diapers (maybe I’m a little weird), but it’s something I get to do for him, plus the prints and designs on the cloth diapers are pretty dang cute.
  4. Spread out your cloth diaper purchases if you need to. Don’t feel the obligation to buy everything you need right that second, because that will be a deterrent from starting. Don’t be militant with yourself when starting out, you can always supplement with disposable diapers, as needed. You can cloth diaper on any budget, really!
  5. Do not buy just one brand or type of cloth diaper thinking you’ll love it. I bought several different kinds and brands of diapers; prefolds with diaper pins or “snappis”, all-in-one diapers, pockets, and fitted. You’ll find out which you like, and then you can buy more from there.
  6. If it doesn’t gross you out, BUY USED! Our used diapers work just as well as our brand spanking new diapers, and they were about 25% of the cost!
  7. Be patient with yourself, find a routine that fits you and your baby and go with it.

Do you have a favorite brand or style of cloth diapers?

We love our pocket diapers! No pinning, no folding on baby, and they work just as easy as a disposable.  We have several brands we like including Rumparooz, BumGenius!, and Just Simply Baby.  We prefer diapers with the double gussets, as they seem to hold in those messy number two’s that our son has waiting for us.


What other gear should parents who plan on cloth diapering consider purchasing?

I love my wipe warmer (like I gushed about earlier), and if they want some really nice wipes, they are a great addition to a cloth routine. I make my own wipe solution using a couple different products, but you can also use just water.  I use a diaper sprayer attached to my toilet to rinse off diapers, no dunk and swirl necessary.  A waterproof diaper bag and waterproof wipe pouch is worth its weight in gold when running errands to contain dirty diapers and the smells that come with them, I love mine! We keep a trash can in our laundry room that we use as our diaper pail.  We line our diaper pail with a great water proof diaper pail liner that gets thrown in the wash with our dirty diapers.

Are there any other low-waste parenting practices you have adopted? 

We have been lucky enough to be successful at breastfeeding with my son. This has cut down on a lot of waste that comes with using formula. We have been given a lot of toys, clothes, and various baby contraptions from neighbors and friends that were previously loved.  This has not only saved us money but has prevented something used from going into the garbage.  Our son has been growing so fast, and to keep up we have started buying some clothes from local thrift stores.  The price is right for something he may only wear a handful of times.

What is the funniest thing your little babe has done to date?

He loves to laugh at our pets.  Our dog will roll around on the ground and Jasper just lights up. It is hilarious, and then Patrick and I start laughing and it’s like a circus in here, with everyone laughing.


Baby Jasper! – Jess Cadena Photography

Big thank you to Amanda for sharing her cloth diaper wisdom! So blessed to have this awesome family in our life!

♥ ali.


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