Friday, March 2, 2007

Cloth Diaper Madness

I never considered cloth diapers before I had my son because some very environmentally-minded friends of mine told me about the study showing that the environmental impacts of washing cloth diapers (waste water treatment, electricity, etc.) were about the same or worse than disposables. That couple opted for a "greener" disposable, the kind that can be found at Whole Foods Market. Lately, however, I seem to be hearing more and more about cloth diapering as it seems to go hand-in-hand with breastfeeding, babywearing, and attachment parenting. The advocates of cloth diapering claim that the frequently cited study was funded by Proctor & Gamble and contained a mathematical error. I suppose there are lots of factors that come into play when getting to the true impact, but there is one thing for sure, disposables make a lot of trash.

If you want the old burp rag style prefolds with pins and plastic pants, you can get those in Big Box stores, but there have been many improvements in cloth diappering including some that are almost like using disposables. Many are made by Work-At-Home-Mothers who sell solely on the web. The choices are mind-boggling. I checked out The Diaper Pin, an information and retailer web site. It overwhelmed me with information, but it was still hard to make a choice. Also, the new diapers are expensive. It is hard to compare the costs because with cloth the expense it up front and with disposables, the cost is steady so it isn't really noticed.

Why am I choosing to try cloth?

1. Reduce trash output.
2. I am a stay-at-home mom of one. Laundry is one of the few chores I actually enjoy, so I DO have time to do extra laundry.

There are lots of reasons to use cloth like relieving diaper rash (but
Ian doesn't have diaper rash), saving money (hopefully these work for us or I will have wasted money)and more, but the main reason I am giving cloth a try is for the environment and because I can.

After several days of reading product reviews, going to sellers' websites and reading gushing testimonials, I have made a purchase. I bought 6 Fuzzi Bunz Pocket Diapers and 6 Bum Genius One-Size 2.0 Pocket Diapers from Angel Bunz. I haven't received them, yet, so I can't review them, but here is why I made this choice:

1. I thought about pre-folds because they are cheap, but you have to master folding them, pinning or using a Snappi and then pay for a cover. Unless you go with the plastic pants of yesteryear, the covers are pretty expensive and you need to buy them in multiple sizes.
2. I thought about All-in-Ones, but they are expensive, harder to care for with longer drying times than most other types.
3. I thought about fitted diapers, but they are pricey, require a pricey cover and that seemed like it would be very bulky.
4. I thought about contour diapers. They are more expensive than pre-folds and usually less expensive than fitteds, but I thought they would have some of the same disadvantages of both.
5. I thought about a variety pack, but I couldn't find one that had what I wanted and it just became another layer of overwhelm-atude.

So, I decided to go with pockets. I went with Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius because:

1.Both styles were (overall) highly reviewed by a lot of people and I just couldn't look at anymore websites.
2. Both styles, Fuzzi Bunz size medium (15-30 lbs) and Bum Genius One-Size 2.0, should fit him for a long time. He is almost 6 months old and weighs about 17 lbs.
3. Pocket diapers and their liners are separated for washing and drying, decreasing the amount of time for drying.

I purchased from Angel Bunz because:

1. They had both types I wanted to try.
2. They offered free shipping.
3. All diapers come with an insert.

From reading, I will probably have to buy more inserts and pay attention to manufacturer instructions for washing both the diapers and the inserts, but I think it will work. I am hoping I like them since I am having them shipped to my mother-in-law and won't see them until April. I am not shipping them here, because I don't want them to come here while I am gone.

I spent $200 for 12 diapers, so even if they work only moderately well, I need to use them to get my money's worth.

I learned that many women are obsessed with cloth diapers and even collect cute patterns and limited editions. Other women have tried many different kinds and either resell or collect. For me, though, these past three days have been enough. I do not want to think about cloth diapers much more than that. i do not want to spend time trying to resell diapers that don't work. I don't want to get involved in collecting. i do appreciate cute colors and patterns, but I don't want to spend any more money than I have to. If these work out and I find I need more, I may buy more, but otherwise, I will just wash them everyday or mix with disposables. In other words, we'll see how it goes.


ltrajman said...

Hi! I found your blog through the Lactivist and have enjoyed reading about your life in Egypt! As the mom of a son born about the same time as Ian, I wanted to weigh in on cloth diapers.

We've been using cloth since Gideon was born, and we've tried pretty much every style out there (thanks mostly to friends who gave us hand-me-downs to try out). We found the pre-folds and fitted diapers were a) a pain in the butt (you try putting a snappi on a writhing four week old in the middle of the night) and b) didn't wick away any moisture (G needed frequent changes to prevent diaper rash). My husband and I agree that pre-folds might be useful when toilet training (when feeling icky and wet is okay) but generally should be avoided for sensitive newborn bums. Also, as you said, prefolds and fitted diapers are bulky - for a newborn, this meant that diapers went down to Gideon's knees.

We also tried some all-in-ones (Magic-Alls by Wonderworks) - these worked well but were a pain to wash and dry.

We then bought a couple BumGenius v1.0 to try, and found they solved the wetness problem (but they're still fairly bulky...I think Gideon has problems sitting up just because he can't bend his legs with his diaper on!). BumGenius 2.0 is even better, and that's the diaper we use exclusively now.

The reason we went with BumGenius over all the other pocket diapers out there is the velcro closure. We discovered when using the Magic-Alls that snaps are not the best way to close diapers for two reasons. First, they're difficult to line up, especially at the four am changing. Second and most importantly, we found that the diapers that closed with snaps only fit Gideon sporadically - usually one setting was too loose and the next setting was too tight. Gideon is pretty much built like a tank, though, so if Ian is skinnier through the torso then that might not be a problem.

And finally, I want to recommend the diaper site I use - Their website is not the easiest to navigate, but the prices seem to be good (and the shipping is free over $100). Joanne, the woman who runs the site, is very good about responding to email inquiries too.

Sorry for this long comment from someone you've never heard of...feel free to email if you want more info about washing diapers or using liners or doublers.

Cairo Mama said...

Thanks for taking the time to share your experiences. It is really encouraging that BumGenius 2.0 worked for you. It gives me hope that I made a good decision! I won't have the diapers until April, but I'm sure I will need help then. Have you tried Happy Heinys? I thought about those, but the sizing seemed better on the Fuzzi Bunz and Bum Genius as far as Ian's current weight.

ltrajman said...

We've only tried BumGenius as far as pocket diapers go - we liked that they fit a wide range of weights ($20 is too much to pay for a diaper that will only fit for a few months!).

And sorry to come across as one of the cloth diaper obsessed...not much else to do at 4:30am when my son is up with the poops.

Cairo Mama said...

No, you don't come off as obsessed, you are very helpful. I really do appreciate the comments. You are making me feel good about my purchase. I will post again about how they work for me when I get them in April. I'm having them shipped to the States because we will be back for a few months. Do you have a blog?

ltrajman said...

My blog is at - though it doesn't get updated as frequently as my son's blog, at . You can log in to Gideon's site with album_guest and password 51534. Enjoy!

Also, I'm looking forward to hearing about your airline experiences in April...we have a May trip planned to England/Belgium/Israel and my mom keeps telling me I'm crazy to even consider it!

MamaBean said...

I told my parents months before my daughter was born that the only baby gift I wanted from them was a year's worth of Tidee Didee. I don't know if you've ever heard of them, or if they have anything like it in Cairo (hey! business opp!) but it's a diaper washing service.

Basically, I leave a bag of dirty used diapers on my front porch in the morning and in the afternoon there is a bag of fresh clean diapers waiting for me. They don't want you to rinse, dunk, or do anything to the diapers. You simply pull it off the child and deposit it in the bin. It's wonderful! Also, when you "purchase" diapers from the company they are yours throughout your "subscription" to the service. That is, you don't get just any old diapers that come out of their washing machine. You get your diapers every week. You can increase or decrease the amount at any time as your baby grows.

I have heard of some babies getting a skin rash from the detergent, but our little Bean seems to be doing just fine.

We did however start using disposables at night, because let's face it, waking up to feed is bad enough - waking up to change a diaper (and risking fully waking the baby) is downright horrific.

I just recently learned of Happy Heiny's though and would like to try them for sleeping.

I am fully 100% behind cloth diapers. There are so many advantages. Yes they may use water but technically it IS a renewable resource (if we are careful, and start to be a little more wise when it comes to use) whereas a landfill is just nasty and problematic.

MamaBean said...

Oops, I forgot to mention that the drop-off/pickup for Tidee Didee is once a week. Thankfully I don't have to remember to leave them out every day!

Cairo Mama said...

I don't they have diaper services in Cairo, but I need to do more investigation. I am going to ask around, but I haven't met anyone who uses cloth. It is so funny because I see "organic cotton diapers made in Egypt" but have not been able to find them here. Most of the good cotton is exported.

Fortunately, I have a washer and dryer so I will be able to do it myself. I'm so glad cloth is working out for you. I can't wait to try my diapers!