When a friend recently asked me how on earth I arrived at washing my hair with baking soda and ACV it occurred to me that my crunchy ways all started with cloth diapers.
For my first baby (born in Buenos Aires, Argentina 14 years ago!) I used disposable diapers. I didn’t even know cloth diapers were an option! I knew cloth diapers were used on my brother and I but that was forever ago and pins? plastic pants? you MUST be joking…
Fast forward to my second baby, born in Los Angeles, California 4 years ago and again I started with disposables. Still didn’t really know cloth diapers were an option. It wasn’t until I was knocked up with baby number 3, nearly 3 years ago living in Abu Dhabi that I even thought to look into cloth diapers mostly to try to reduce the amount of money being flushed down the toilet, somewhat literally. Also, ever notice how disposables leak no matter how perfect you try to get that seal around the leg? Yuck!
I turned to my good friend, Google, and was amazed to see all the different cloth diaper options (and support groups for cloth diaper addicts- no really, there should be). I couldn’t believe how freaking cute they were and seemed so easy to use! Why hadn’t I heard of this sooner?!
At first I experienced sticker shock since the more popular brands are about $18 – $25 a pop but when you consider using them for 2 kids for at least a couple years each the price savings was astronomical. According to my friend Lisa Carey, owner of Green Diaper Store I was going to save $2000-$2500 for just 1 child! and by my calculations an additional $2800 for the second child assuming no additional diapers are purchased. Bring on the laundry! And although the green aspect was not my #1 motivating factor when starting this research, all that crap about the chemicals and landfills really sealed the deal.
Did you know that disposable diapers make up 50% of household waste? (Source)
So, I ordered a few different types and brands and had them smuggled to me in Abu Dhabi (incidentally, the least environmentally conscious country I have EVER been to, and I’ve been to quite a few).
For the newborn stage (those suckers stay pretty still) I really liked using oldschool prefolds, sometimes with a snappi and a cover. When they got a little more mobile I found the pocket diapers, like these Fuzzibunz one size really helped with the “wrestling diaper changes”. They were the ones Daddy preferred to use but I have to say the microfiber inserts are not as easy to get clean as a prefold.
When traveling I prefer going oldschool again since prefolds are more versatile that will take up less luggage space and weight. I love the organic Flip brand prefolds but I don’t love their covers as much as Thirsties duo.
If I had to do it again, I’d probably stick to Flip prefolds and Thirsties duo covers. Add a few wet bags and call it a day!
If you’re on a super tight budget, these Econobums, which I’ve also tried are actually pretty awesome and probably the cheapest option out there. They don’t have the gussets that I love in the Thirsties but they still work better than disposables in my opinion.
When I told people I was going to cloth diaper 2 babies, most people thought I was insane, others thought I was a tree hugger, the truth is I ended up a bit of both those things, but it all started to save a buck and become more responsible about the products we consume or choose not to consume in our home. It opened up a whole can of worms that eventually led me where I am today.
I always say for me cloth diapers was the gateway drug into a lot of the other crunchy things that slowly but surely followed suit. And I’m so glad to be going down this crunchy road! Who’s coming with me?!
I’ll admit though, that as much as I love my cloth diapers, I love that my 3rd and last baby is showing an interest in his potty even more! There’s a light at the end of the tunnel. 🙂 And as soon as he masters it some of the stash will be going to this great organization and some of it will be used for cleaning rags!