We’ve covered cloth diapers before (read Mónika Markotán’s article here). We’re revisiting the topic to show that it’s not just a single person claiming that cloth diapers are simple and cost efficient to use. Our new mom, Ágnes saw the appeal of this environmentally conscious solution from almost the very beginning. Introducing the usage of cloth diapers into everyday life, like novelties in general, wasn’t smooth, of course. Ágnes Szabó tells how it worked out for them. (Read previous parts here: 1; 2; 3; 4; 5; 6 and 7.)
I’m not even sure how the idea popped up. It might have been an image on the facebook page of one of my former students (OK, I’m not that old, I’ve been teaching her when I was a university student and she was an eleventh-grader). The image showed her baby boy posing wearing a cloth diaper. Then, during pregnancy, I read more and more about cloth diapers: it’s good for the baby’s skin, it’s environmentally friendly and it’s pretty, too. What more could you wish for? Many say that they’re expensive, but this has been refuted multiple times. Counting with just one child, disposable diapers cost around three times more until potty training. And since cloth diapers can be worn by multiple children, they’re even more economical in the long run.
Since there are may types available, as a beginner it’s easy to get confused or even be discouraged by your „ignorance”. Several acquaintances of mine ended up not using cloth diapers because they found them too toilsome (after trying out one or two types one or two times). I checked out multiple related articles and facebook groups, I requested study material vie email (it’s free of charge), and within a few days it became clear that this is what I want.
I wasn’t a member of any cloth diaper club when I was pregnant (even though these offer great support), but I had a feeling that it will work. I didn’t want new diapers, since buying a starter kit can really be a strain on one’s pocket. Therefore, I started checking out ads on different facebook pages, I compared the prices of new ones with the average price of used ones and waited for the right seller. Quite soon I managed to find a mom living not very far from my workplace, so I visited her to see what she had to offer. For the price of maybe three pocket cloth diapers (made in China) I could buy twenty used diapers (pockets, fitteds and one-size covers) and roughly the same number of matching liners. I was really happy because it was an excellent starter kit, and even if I hadn’t liked them, I could have sold them without losing a single cent.
I brought disposable diapers to the hospital (these were size one diapers I’d bought myself), since it was my first child, everything was new to me and I didn’t want to complicate things with the washies. Then, at home, we tried one of the cute polka dot diapers already on the first day. It was a total failure. Pee everywhere. I suspect that the baby peed double the usual amount on purpose; she was practically covered up to her chest. OK, it’s fine, I reassured my husband, I probably put the diaper on incorrectly. I tried another one with similar success. What could the problem be? Surely not the diaper, something else must be at fault. It turned out that even though that particular pocket was one-size, it can indeed happen that it’s too big for the baby. OK, she’ll grow into it. But what to do till then? I don’t want to use disposables for months before she can really wear these.
Once again I turned to the Internet for help and I discovered newborn cloth diaper covers, and I found a lady who’s been selling her inventory. That’s how I obtained six cute little newborn covers with twelve matching liners and twelve size S prefolds for 14,000 HUF ($45). They were shipped two days later, and after a wash, it was time to try them out… and to fail yet again. Soaked through again. I didn’t really understand the use purpose of prefolds for such a small baby, so I put a single liner inside the cover. That’s why she soaked through, there wasn’t enough absorbent material, and what wasn’t absorbed was released, of course. By this time, my husband was starting to let go of this cloth diaper thing (though he fully supported it before); I had doubts too, but I didn’t give up.
More research, this time about prefolds. I found a great website that presented different folds. Out of these I tried Bikini Twist. This time I put the cover – with an additional liner just to be sure – over the prefold. Finally, success! She didn’t soak through for at least three hours. In just a few days we became 100% washies. Trials lasted two and a half weeks, during which we used up one and a half packs of size 3 disposable diapers (we got these as a gift, and even though they were huge, I didn’t want to buy smaller ones, since I didn’t want to spend on diapers at all).
We still used disposables at night, but I had a plan for a complete changeover. We got a wool diaper cover as a gift, but it got lost during delivery, so we had to wait for it for weeks. Unfortunately, in the meantime, we used up both packs of disposable diapers, so I had to buy another pack for the nights. I tried to choose the most environmentally conscious solution. Luckily we didn’t need to use up this pack as the wool cover arrived soon afterwards. At this point, the only thing before complete success was that this type of cover needs to be lanolized, which prevented us from using it for a few more days.
Then, by the time she was two months old, our baby girl became 100% washie. We used the newborn cover during daytime and the wool cover at night. We used a tie-on diaper (also a gift) under the wool cover, inside which I put a prefold and a stay dry liner. She never soaked through, day or night. By this time, her dad liked cloth diapers as well. So much so that he even boasted about it to our friends.
Around the age of three months, the newborn covers started to look small on her. Fortunately, along with the one-sizes, the starter pack had sized ones as well, so I tried these for daytime. It worked much better than the previous one. It was enough to put a single prefold into it, and it lasted three hours without soaking through. I got another overnight wool cover so she has something to wear during lanolizing time. This one was new, because wool is quite easy to ruin, and used ones aren’t considerably cheaper. Since she slept through the night, she had the wool one on for 12-13 hours without soaking though. To really prevent any accidents, when she was around three months old, I also put a small folded towel into her overnight diaper.
I could have managed with the inventory I had for some time, but one day I came across an offer I couldn’t refuse. I got a huge set practically for free, as the child of a mom got potty-trained and she didn’t want to sell her stock piece by piece. So I checked my diapers, sorted out what I got from her, and I sold the ones we didn’t need. I had time so I could afford selling them one at a time (slightly below the average price of used diapers). Now I have a great set; before potty training I only need to buy a few wool covers (these are sized), and after my daughter, the set will likely serve other babies as well. And how’s it financially? Since I sold the remainder of the very cheap big set at triple price (once again, I still sold them at a depressed price), even if I buy another 4-5 wool covers I’ll break even. So for the time being I even earned by using cloth diapers.
Right, but what about all the washing? Water, softener, detergent… I didn’t calculate how much these cost, but since I wash once every 3-4 days (diapers and baby clothes together) using a short program, I don’t think I’m spending more than those who only wash baby clothes. I soak liners and prefolds until the next wash, for which I use the baby’s bath water and the water collected by the tumble dryer.
OK, but it takes so much time… I don’t think so. In the evening, I collect the diapers for the next day, which takes about five minutes. After use, if there’s pee, I just rinse it a bit, if there’s poop, it takes some scrubbing. Most of the breastfeeding poop I just rinsed off using cold water and scrubbed the diaper a bit with a brush and ox gall soap. Ever since her poop became harder, it’s even simpler to clean: the end product goes into the toilet, a bit of scrubbing and that’s it. Going to the store and taking out the trash would take just as much time.
All in all, I’m really glad I discovered cloth diapers. I’ve met many new people, I’m doing good for my baby and my environment. As in case of any novelty, don’t give up after the first failure!
Source of featured image: flickr.com
Translation by Ádám Hittaller