Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Cloth Diapers

I'm not a tree hugger, I'm not an environmentalist, but I am interested in saving money. Many people choose cloth diapers for many different reasons. All in all, most people will argue that you aren't saving the environment by using cloth diapers. I might save physical landfill space by not throwing away diapers, but I'm creating a different waste by the extra water I'm using to wash them. 

I chose to do cloth diapers for a few reasons - cost savings, reduction of waste (mostly at home, not too concerned about the landfill at the moment), and chemical/allergy/diaper rash reasons. 

Here is a great blog about all the "dangers" of disposable diapers. I agree with most of the points brought up - I don't know the validity of the numbers they came up with, so take those as a grain of salt. 

Cost Savings
It is estimated that it costs around $80 a month to diaper. If you manage to get your child potty trained by age 2.5 years/30 months, it totals $2,400 spent on disposable diapers. It's a lot of money to throw away. Cloth diapers require a large upfront cost while the cost of disposables is spread out over the span of the child being in diapers. 

My mom purchased 2 boxes of Huggies Newborn Diapers from Sam's Club, and then we purchased 1 box - 108 diapers each box for around $30 each box. We knew we wanted to use disposables diapers during the first weeks of adjusting to parenthood. 

My mom also helped buy cloth diapers. Total purchased was 24 BumGenius 4.0s and 5 BG Elementals from Cotton Babies while they were onsale this past summer. The 4.0s were Buy 6 for $86.90, and the 5 elementals cost $95. In total, mom and I spent $442.60 on the 31 diapers. 

We also purchased cloth diaper wipes - 5 packages of 12 for $12 each - so $60 on cloth wipes. 

Half my newborn stash
I wanted to switch to cloth diapers this week. However, our 4.0s are still too big. Liam has skinny legs and the diapers are super bulky. Jason and I decided to bite the bullet and purchase the BumGenius Newborn diapers. Cotton Babies sells them in a 24 pack for $280. I got them all washed today and dried and we've made the switch. Liam is now over 9 pounds and the NB diapers are good up to 12 pounds. 

Newborn diapers are a big splurge and I wish I would have done it two weeks ago. However, they are worth the price, especially if used for two children and if properly cared for, have excellent resale potential.

Along with the cloth diapers comes the purchase of cloth diaper wet bags. BumGenius only just started making them. The best bags (rated best by random internet people at least...) are Planet Wise bags. They have a variety of sizes and patterns. I purchased 2 pail liners ($15 each), 2 large hanging dry/wet bags ($30/each), and 2 medium sized bags ($17 each). So $124 on bags. Wet bags are the most expensive part of cloth diapering.

So in total:
$60 Wipes
$125 Wet Bags
$443 BG 4.0s Diapers
$280 BG Newborn Diapers

Grand total of $908 to cloth diaper my child. At least this is savings of over $1,500 from using disposables. And if we decide to have another child, it's even more savings. And hopefully I can resell everything when I am done having kids.

Reduction of Waste
In general I think about landfills and wonder where in 100 years people will be putting their trash, but I know I can't reduce the landfill waste being created. A lot of Americans are wasteful and won't try to reduce the waste they send to the landfills. I am more concerned about the trash I create at home. I make sure to recycle and want to limit what trash I throw away. At least with cloth diapers I can reduce my trash footprint a little more.  

Also, the production of disposable diapers and the chemicals used during the manufacturing process create waste - chemical waste - which also must be disposed of. 

Chemical/Allergy/Diaper Rash
My brother, sister, and I were all cloth diaper babies because we were allergic to disposable. Sensitive little bums. 

Using disposable wipes and diapers introduces a lot of unnecessary chemicals to an infant that can harm them. The absorbency of cloth diapers isn't just cotton - it's a chemical in the cotton that aids with the absorbency. This chemical also produces a reaction with urine that can cause a rash. 

Cloth diapers mom will tell you they very rarely have diaper rash. When a child has diaper rash, there are a lot of creams (more chemicals) you can put on that rash to help heal it. At some point, I'll post about the natural diaper rash remedies.


Anonymous said...

With the liners that you bought now, how much does that add onto your $908 estimate?

Meghan Guilford said...

I haven't added in the cost of liners. I do get 100 liners for $9.

In sept and oct I changed about 250 diapers each month. In no and dec I changed 185 diapers each month....

So around $18/month