I hate the idea of waste. You can walk up to either of my older kids and say, “Wasting food is a what?” and both will reply, “a sin.” This is how strongly I feel about waste, but a big reason I hate waste isn’t that I hate throwing things out, even though I still hear my mother’s voice in my head every time I throw out something perfectly usable that no one will use. (I usually go through multiple people at home, church, in the family, in the neighborhood and other friends before I resort to donating it to Goodwill. If it’s food, I try to convince people to eat it for a few days before I give up and it goes into the compost.) My biggest pet peeve is wasting money. I hate disposable diapers because it’s basically just good money after bad, and both of my older kids used them, so I know what it is like to spend $40+ each month on disposable diapers. Disposable diapers are also decidedly no friend of the environment. Now you can argue that the waste water from washing cloth diapers is also less a friend of the environment, but honestly, if you have a septic system, it enriches the soil. If you have public sewer, it gets treated and used again. My conscience is clear with my decision to cloth diaper.
I’m also lazy and quite frankly, easily grossed out, so the idea of having to have a separate toilet just for my diapers really didn’t appeal to me. Honestly, the idea of a diaper bucket, complete with poop soup just sounded so nasty. I also don’t have the patience to deal with folding, not losing pins or plastic or rubber pants.
I started doing some research to figure out if there was a better way. Almost as if by magic, a friend of mine mentioned her cloth diapering choice in a conversation and told me about her experiences and her favorite of her diapers. I trust this friend, so for me it was as if the research was done. I looked up the brand she recommended, as well as several others online and decided to go with her choice, at least for my initial diapering investment. I have never looked back. I bought 18 Rainbow BB diapers from reallywoman2008 on ebay. They are diapers with a waterproof cover and fleece inside and absorbent inserts, rather than an all-in-one. They came with 36 of the inserts.
They have snaps to accommodate different sizes. They say they will accommodate babies from 7lbs to 30lbs. I was a little concerned from what people said that they wouldn’t fit a newborn, but then someone gave me a diaper cake with 72 disposable diapers on it. That took care of the first week and a half, and Bri was 9lbs 2oz when she was born, so those newborn diapers didn’t really fit her well, anyway. By week two, she was in these.
So I have a basket especially for my dirty diapers. It lives in the laundry room, next to the box of the clean diapers. The odor from the diapers is really pretty mild, much more so than I would have thought. I also keep an open box of baking soda in the laundry room, so I’m sure that helps.
18 diapers is enough to last about 3 days most of the time. If I time it right, I change her diaper just when she gets up in the morning and run the load, and the diapers are dry by mid-afternoon. I wash all of them (it’s a small load, obviously) using cold water and 2 tablespoons of my homemade laundry detergent. I dry them in the sun to take care of any stains. I love sun-bleaching.
The care instructions say specifically:
Usually no soaking is required, line drying in the sun will remove most stains
Cold water Wash
Do Not dry clean
Do Not Iron
No bleach,vinegar or Borax
Do Not heat tumble dried
(What do you want from the woman? She’s Chinese!)
Because of the cold water wash and the fact that I refuse to use the dryer, I have had no problems with the diapers starting to leak. I also never use bleach or vinegar to strip them. Borax does make up some of my homemade detergent, but only a fourth and I only use two tablespoons. I have never had any problems yet, and Bri is 6 months old. Even if I were to start having issues now, the diapers have paid for themselves about three times over at this point.
I have one tiny complaint, but only one. One of the waist snaps on one of the diapers broke the first time I used it. Since the other snap on that side is still intact, I can still use it, and it has never given me any issues. Since none of the other diapers have had a problem, my conclusion is that one snap was faulty. Not bad, percentage wise. It works out to about a 99.2% success rate: about the same number of disposable diapers I had to toss without using or tape to be able to use because a tab ripped while I was putting it on one of the kids.