I can't believe I'm saying this, but I LOVE cloth diapering!
When Burrito was born, I was so overwhelmed by the fact that I had never even changed a diaper and that I knew so little about caring for babies (I was still sure I would break one if I held him or her) that there was no way I was venturing into the confusing and messy unknown of cloth diapering. I also didn't know how much cloth diapering had changed over the years or how user-friendly it had become. I was aware how bad disposable diapers are for the planet: terribly difficult to break down and decompose, piling up in landfills, and such. But for a new mom, disposable diapers were a necessary evil. They are just so easy.
When Burrito was practically out of diapers, I went to visit a friend who had just had a new baby and she showed me how much cloth diapering had changed and how easy it was now. No more pail of soaking poopy diapers (gross...I mean, no matter how environmentally sound it would be, I don't think you could pay me to deal with that). No more slushing that diaper up and down in the toilet. No more pre-folds with diaper pins (unless you want to!). Now there were All-in-Ones (AIOs), pocket diapers, and covers with inserts. Now there was a sprayer you could install on your toilet to spray all that nasty diaper business down the drain without a single slush in the toilet bowl. I have to admit, my friend made me curious. Maybe I would be able to do cloth diapering if I ever had another child.
When I got pregnant with Mr. Bean, I began to toss the idea around more. Not only was there the environmental consideration but there was also the money we would save! We had two incomes when Burrito was born but now we just have one. I calculated the thousands of dollars we would end up spending on disposables versus the few hundred on cloth. There might be something to this!
I began to talk to lots of friends who had done cloth diapering and asked lots of questions. From the sound of it, getting a laundry routine down seemed to be the toughest part. The different brands and types of diapers were a bit dizzying and confusing as were the range of options for laundry soap. I found the most clarity when I visited my local natural baby store, Blooming Bellies, where I was able to inspect different types of diapers myself and ask questions. The store owner, Jessica, provides excellent customer service and is always willing to help with questions or concerns. She put up with my several reconnaissance visits to the store as I tried to decide whether I was really going to give cloth a go. She knows a lot about cloth diapers and shares that knowledge very generously. She steered us toward a more affordable powder laundry soap than even the ones she sells. She provided a discount when we finally took the plunge and bought a bunch of cloth diapering items. It's that spirit of service that brings me back to her store again and again.
After looking over some cloth diapers in person, I decided that the GroVia Hybrid diapers, which feature brightly colored diaper shells (covers) with snap-in soaker pads, would be the best choice for our family. What I love about these diapers is that you do not necessarily have to have a fresh diaper shell each time you change diapers. If only the soaker pad becomes soiled, you can re-use the shell on the next diaper change. Sometimes the shells do become soiled or wet, but this option helps reduce the cost of building up the diaper stash and extends the use of those shells a little further.
Nobody is paying me (yet) to endorse GroVia, but they really should because I will give you a whole-hearted vote of confidence. Not only are they the cutest diapers ever, but they are also incredibly user-friendly and functional. One of the best features of these diapers is that they come in one size. The diaper has a series of rise snaps that enable it to be adjusted to be used for newborns all the way up to a potty-trained child, if you also buy the side-flex panels that turn the diaper into a Pull-Up.
Washing the GroVia diapers is really easy too, especially now that Mr. Bean is just on Momma milk. I wash my diapers daily but hope to build up a big enough stash soon that I can do it every other day. I'm almost there. When I change diapers, I just deposit the used liners and shells in a trashcan lined with a Planet Wise pail liner. These liners are washable, so I have two: one to wash and one to use. I just dump my soiled diapers straight out of the liner into the washer and then throw the liner in. I wash on warm with an extra rinse cycle, using Country Save powder detergent. The shells are hung to dry and dry in a couple of hours. The soaker pads go in the dryer but I have never gotten them all the way dry there; they are too thick. Hubby installed a retractable clothes line in the bathroom and we hang the shells and half-dry soaker pads there. We are lucky to have a window right there too and when I get some pretty bad stains, I have been opening the window to let the UV rays hit the diapers. Even though it is only indirect sunshine, I have already gotten some amazing results on getting rid of stains. I can't wait to hang them outside when the weather is better; that will probably really knock out the stains. (You can't use bleach with these cloth diapers.)
We are only a few weeks into cloth diapering and I do remain humble before this new (to me) method of diapering. But I will say this: so far, so good. I am feeling more confident about it each day. As I've improved the fit of the diapers on Mr. Bean and as he grows, we are getting less blow-outs (which are a reality of life even with disposables). We will see how things go when we hit the yucky solid poops phase of diapering. But as of now, I am feeling great about the money we are saving, the cuteness of Mr. Bean's diapered bum, and the lower impact we are having on the environment.
Yep. I said it. I love cloth diapering.