cloth diapersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I am new to the board but have been reading Countryside for about three years and I love it. But I need some help. I am having my first baby in July. I am looking for opinions on cloth diapers. Should I use them? After washing and drying them are they still cheaper than disposables? My family says I am crazy, but all that racing to Wal-Mart twice a week to buy disposables makes me cringe. (I go once a month now) Also does anyone have a place where I can buy them cheap? I really don't want to make them myself. Also any tips on how many I should buy and how many covers I will need would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
-- Beth (email@example.com), April 25, 2000
I don't know if it's the cheapest place to buy them, or not, but Mary Pride has a homeschool magazine (Practical Homeschooling, I think) and a catalog of a few items she sells for large families and homeschoolers, and one of the things she sells is cloth diapers. She does have a web site -- if you look up homeschooling and follow their links long enough you'll find it, or you can do a search on her name - - that's how I found it. I would say go for it -- have you priced diapers? I haven't needed diapers for a long time (my youngest is twenty) but I figured out with the first one that a years washing cloth diapers would have paid for my washer and dryer!
-- Kathleen Sanderson (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000.
Beth, if you can find The Tightwad Gazette by Amy D?????, she compared cloth and disposables. Cloth came out ahead even allowing for washing and drying. There are lots of places on the internet that sell them. Try searching the frugal sites and also under child birth and cloth diapers to find some of them. There was also a discussion of how to deal with day care providers that only allowed disposables. Sorry I can't remember which of the Gazettes it was in.
One good thing about cloth is that they are supposed to be a big help against diaper rash. Gerbil
-- Gerbil (email@example.com), April 25, 2000.
First congratulations! Wishing you all the best. We used cloth diapers (called nappies in England) and I would say go for it! In England the diapers are made of terry cloth (big square diapers) and I did prefer them to the American ones. What we did was use cloth diapers but have disposable ones on and for traveling etc. I don't know what prices are like in your area but Gohn Bros. (who sell to the Amish) sell a dozen of 36X20 cotton gause for $12.98. Their phone is 1-800-595-0031. They also have pinless diapers (which are expensive but really easy!!!!).
Again congratulations. Kim
-- kim (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000.
I raised two girls on cloth diapers and they are FAR cheaper than disposables. In fact with each we used a diaper service for the first few months and even that was cheaper than disposables.
Gerber plastic pants are the best! Don't bother with the "pinless" unless you've got a diaper rash issue (they breathe better). Don't worry about poking the baby - just stick a finger inside. You will poke yourself now and then - be sure and disinfect real good (little alcohol or hydrogen peroxide).
Soak in bleach, prewash, then wash in soap. They feel real soft then.
-- Deborah (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), April 25, 2000.
One more thing - when you're all done, you've got great towels and rags.
-- Deborah (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), April 25, 2000.
Go for it! I have one left in diapers, and had to make my own to use for my boy, when he out grew the disposable. By which I mean he was into the pull up training pants sizes before he was old enough to be trained. The money I saved by using cloth at home more than made up for the inconvienece of washing them. The one thing I would recomend is to get a clothes line, or to boil the diapers. This will sterialize the diapers which really cuts down on the diaper rash. What I do now is to have baby sleep in disposables (which my mom usually buys) and have her wear cloth during the day. As for how many you'll need, it is about 25 per child, depending upon how often you want to wash them. (everyday, every other day, etc) If you boil the diapers, you don't have to use bleach, and that will extend the life of the diaper considerably. Plastic pants are also boiled and line dried to extend their life. If you don't they won't last more than one child's turn in that size. As to where you can get them, If you can't get them in the stores, you can make them from diaper flannel from any good fabric store. You can also line the diapers with batting, use cotton as it washes the best. How to do this is easy, take a diposable, spread it out and trace around it. This is your pattern. Take two pieces of flannel cut into this shape and attach the lining to one. Then sew the two pieces wrong side out to each other. Turn the diaper right side out, and then sew up the last side. All done! This diaper should last you through all the kids you want to have. The ones I made for my son have lasted through all three of my kids without doing more than popping a seam here and there. My church group also used this type of pattern to make diapers for groups in disaster areas where clothing has to stand up to a lot of abuse. While this is more expensive in the short term, it is the cheepest in the long run. I can spend 60.00 a month on one child, instead I spent about 150.00 and those diapers are still in use four years later. annette
-- annette (email@example.com), April 25, 2000.
I have four babies, and when I could (sometimes the water situation was a bit on the skimpy side) I used cloth diapers. One of mine couldn't tolerate anything else; if she wore plastic pants or disposibles for longer than overnight, she broke out in the AWFULLEST rash. You can get them at any store with a baby department; I found a bunch at yard sales last summer, for my neice's new little one. And I echo the opinion about GERBER plastic pants; they are the only ones that hold up! And when you are done with babies, diapers make the best dust rags!
-- Leann Banta (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000.
The catalog "born to love" has tons of cloth diaper choices. It is a Canadian company. The email address is email@example.com phone number is (416)499-8309. she has all the latest covers and diapers. Mary
-- Mary Fraley (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000.
Well, even though I'm going to say the opposite of the rest of the posts, here goes. I tried cloth diapers on my first kids, twins. It did not save me any money. I eventually switched to disposables after I figured out there wasn't a difference. I had to buy the diapers, buy plastic pants & pins, buy detergent, buy water to wash them in, & you also have to change them much more frequently than disposables. The disposables are very absorbant & your kid is not sitting around with a wet diaper stuck to their butt which also causes diaper rash. There is no reason you would have to run to the store twice a week for diapers. I buy the mega packs, which are cheaper in the long run & get a couple at a time. They do last a long time. That is just my two cents. I have 4 kids altogether & am expecting my 5th in December this year. I plan on using disposables again. If you have plenty of water, then you may save money with cloth. We have to haul in water every week & it's not cheap. Good luck with whatever you decide!
-- Wendy (email@example.com), April 25, 2000.
Sorry to dispel a myth, but there are WAY fewer diaper rashes with disposables.That was not the case 20 years ago, but it sure is now.Having said that, I will also say that if you have an ample water supply, and lots of time on your hands, cloth diapers are great.There's just something wonderful about hanging them out on the line(except in February in the Northeast)...We had five kids an eleven foster children..With my first two, I used cloth diapers due to the tremendous cost of those new-fangled Pampers (28 years ago)...I switched when I had three kids under four years of age and felt as if I were married to the washing machine.I called it self- defense.I can make a case for both sides, but ditto the idea of using disposables at bedtime..cuts down on some rather evil rashes, not to mention a soaked crib sheet.
-- Lesley Chasko (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 25, 2000.
When we had our first child I decided to breastfeed, which we figured would save enough money on formula to be able to afford disposables. Disposables have dropped in price since then so the same should be the case for you. Stock up on the large packages. One large package should take care of a newborn for a week. But unfortunately as they get bigger the diapers per package get smaller. Never figured that one out. Probably a man's idea (he-he). The convience is GREAT. Personally wouldn't do it any other way.
-- Mrs. Vaughn (email@example.com), April 25, 2000.
Hello Beth, You have so many answers. I loved cloth diapers for 3 reasons, 1. they made the baby feel sooooo cuddly, I never heard all the paper sound. 2. all my babies potty trained at 2 years old, and they were all boys, I never pressured them, they just felt the wetness and wanted it off. 3.and last of all it made me feel that I was really committed to being the best mama I could be. hanging them and washing them. I used just about every kind of diaper over the years. (6) Finally I went to JCPenny's and purchased their huge bath sheet. I cut it up and used that and I still have those diapers in my rag bag. They are the only ones that held up. I hope you have good luck, I would encourage anyone to use cloth just for the emotional reasons. Karole
-- Karole (Biz3boymom@aol.com), April 26, 2000.
Every time -- cloth!!! We did use disposable for long trips, etc., when I wasn't able to wash frequently, but that's always when my kids ended up with diaper rashes! Then there is the whole landfill issue.
A suggestion on where to find them -- used kids clothing stores. If you're looking for them, tell the owner/manager of the shop. Sometimes they come in and are refused because not everyone wants to use secondhand diapers, but if she knows you want them, she'll find them for you. Sears also sells them, too, but they're pinless kind.
I've got to mention here, maybe it's different because I'm in Canada, but the few times I did buy disposables, I was SHOCKED at the price. I figured it out, and we would have been spending upwards of $60 a month on diapers alone. I was happy to do an extra load of laundry a day for the difference!!
-- Tracy (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 26, 2000.
After raising 5 kids on cloth diapers, I vote for cloth. Yes keep disposables on hand for those times that you will be out, etc. I tried disposables a few times, but due to the cost I could not afford to keep the babies in them and at one time I had 3 in diapers. Like some of the others mentioned, disposables gave my kids terrible diaper rashes and it wasn't until they were over a year old that disposables didn't cause as much of a problem. I still have 3 dozen cloth diapers from the last child that I hang onto "just in case". My daughter tried them when she started having kids, but felt it was too "inconvenient". If you have enough diapers and baby stuff, you should have to wash every other day not every day and then you can do full loads as well.
I preferred to line dry the diapers - even in the winter (strung a line across a room that we closed off for the winter), so the cost of drying was minimal.
I recommend at least 3 dozen if not 4 dozen diapers and 3-6 covers.
-- beckie (email@example.com), April 26, 2000.
I would vote for the cloth, too, and made most of mine for my twins 30 years ago (sheesh, has it been that long?)I got remnants of terrycloth and flannel, sewed them in squares while I was expecting, and had a nice assortment by delivery day. On another note, if you do opt for disposables, I would definitely keep a supply of cloth diapers, covers and pins for an emergency. We lived in Spokane, Washington when Mt St. Helens erupted. For several days afterward, all the stores were closed, and guess what? My neighbors using disposable diapers and milk for their babies ran out. We made diapers out of everyone's old towels, dish towels, and other absorbent cloth and fabric for those who didn't prepare for such an event, and fortunately, I had a freezer full of milk, so could share that with those who really needed it. You just never know! Jan
-- Jan B (Janice12@aol.com), April 26, 2000.
I vote for cloth too, with a few disposables for emergency and convenience. Washing the diapers is not as much a chore as lots of folks thing. You can throw the wet-only ones is with other laundry and add 1/2-1 cup of vinegar. If this grosses folks out, think of the baby blanket/sheet/clothing laundry you are doing because it is soiled or wet. Keep the poopy diapers soaking in a covered bucket of soapy water, after rinsing them out in the toilet, or shaking them out in the outhouse, whichever the case may be. Pour off the soapy soaking water when the bucket (or two buckets, if you want to wait for a full load) dump them into the washer, wash on hot or warm, using some borax to help sanitize and whiten. Use some chlorine bleach every few washes to remove stains, but bleach wears out the fabric of diapers. Vinegar in the rinse, and drying them in the sun will sanitize them. My kids each had one bout of diaper rash, and I made a salve out of chickweed, calendula, comfrey heated in sunflower oil for 2 hours on the lowest oven setting, adding about 1 oz. beeswax per cup of oil, and using about 1/4 cup of each herb. Strain the green oil, add about 20 drops of tea tree oil, let cool, and hopefully the ointment will be just solid at room temperature. Goes on easily, washes off easily on a sore butt, and worked quickly. Back to diapers, I loved the diaper wraps, with the velcro, instead of plastic pants. I bought some at Wal-mart, but later I found some plastic backed cloth(off the bolt, it might have been intended for tablecloth) and I cut my own patterns and made some. The wraps are expensive, but I loved them, until the kids as toddlers learned to take them off. Oh well, it was time to potty train anyway. I also took old terry cloth towels, cut them in strips about 4"x8" or so, covered them with old flannel nightgown material, zig-zagged around them and made diaper doublers. These helped overnight and on car trips. The Natural Baby catalog has tons of info about diapers etc, but they are pricey. Order one and take info from them. You don't need to change the wraps every time you change the baby, but you do need enough for poopy accidents or to last between washdays. I often hand washed the wet ones and hung them to drip dry in the shower and I never ran out. I probably had 5 or 6 of any given size at any given time. Check out yard sales and second hand stores--lots of folks think they want to use cloth diapers and later change their minds. I bought lots of diapers that were the expensive contoured ones, made of flannel for a song. I bought lots of wraps at the thrift store. Ask the owners of the thrift stores to watch for them for you. Our local hospital even sold the diaper wraps in their gift shop, and they gave a free one to all new mothers. If you have to buy the diapers new, get the prefolds--they are great.
-- Denyelle Stroup (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 27, 2000.
I guess that I will put my vote in also for cloth, with a disclaimer. I have used cloth with three kids, but after the first started to use disposables at night. I also use them when we travel. I like the prefolded ones, last time I bought a package at Walmart they were about $10 for a dozen. I really liked the diaper wraps when they were babies and not moving around much. They are very easy to change, they are pricey to buy new. I bought about 4 dozen at a garage sale and sold them at a resale shop when I was done with them. Jcpenney also used to sell a nylon diaper cover that I really liked much better than the rubber. If you wash and hang them on the clothes line on a nice breezy day they will be sooo soft! My kids may have only had rash one or two times with the cloth diapers. Good luck.
-- Tami Bowser (email@example.com), April 28, 2000.
I just remembered another thing - best advice I ever got from my pediatrician. To help prevent diaper rash, slather on Eucerin Cream at every diaper change. It's better than Desitin because you don't ever need to wash it off. It sets up a moisture barrier and works great! Gotta use Eucerin because it's the only lotion thick enough.
-- Deborah (ActuaryMom@hotmail.com), May 01, 2000.
We used cloth diapers for all 3 of our children, even though we hand pumped our water and heated it on the stove for laundry. A secret is to use the thin paper diaper liners so the poop comes off into the outhouse or toilet, therefore less mess in the diaper pail where they soak until time to do laundry. The reason that disposables are able to keep the babies dry so long is due to using obnoxious chemicals to absorb the moisture. Also, disposable diapers really should be considered hazardous waste when they are used, not just something to through in the nearest trash. Having said that, I must admit that we did use disposables a couple of times on trips, but less than a package per child.
-- Jim (firstname.lastname@example.org), May 01, 2000.
When I had my son 17 years ago, I used cloth diapers. Back then they were very improved, but were still flat. I used the Curity Day/Night Diapers and they had a padded middle for absorbancy. I had about 3-4 dozen diapes, and laundered them about every 3-4 days. I didn't have any problems with rashes, and then I only just washed and rinsed in cold water. I soaked them in a WEAK bleach solution before washing
I just had another baby in January, and my mother had a hissy fit when I told her I was going to use the fitted diapes that were 10-13 bucks apiece! She bought me some diapers from Diapertopia.com that are regular prefolds. They were about $25 a dozen. They come in a couple sizes. I also found an ad for greenmountaindiapers.com and I ordered a dozen of the Snug-To-Fit diapers. These are great for overnights. The fitted diapes are very expensive, but I think they're worth it in the long run. I also found a site that explains how to make various diapers yourself. Type in "sew cloth diapers" into your search engine, I used Yahoo, and you'll find a lot of sites. sewdiapers.com is the site that has the instructions, I think.
Plan on using a dozen diapers a day. The more you have, the more you can put into the washer for a full load, and the longer between wash days you can go. I do a couple loads of laundry, then use the washer as a diaper soaking tub, then just wash them . Then I can do another load or 2 of regular wash .Very easy, very convient. After the long snowy winter we just had here in New Hampshire, I'm glad I didn'thave to worry and store all the disposables we would have been coerced into buying.
Disposables are a great because they're so handy, but we have to pay for rubbish removal by the bag, so I'd rather put the bucks into nice diapers for my baby. Besides, the comment that you can leave your baby in the disposables longer means that your baby is just wearing garbage longer. Cloth needs to be changed more often, but when you take it off, you've got baby underwear that you reuse, not rubbish.
I'm very happy using cloth, and we get so many comments because we're different, and the patterned diapers are so much prettier than the disposables.
That's my .02.
-- April Frazier (email@example.com), April 10, 2001.
I didn't post to this thread the first time through. Our choices 24, 18 and 16 years ago when mine were little, were disposables that CAUSED diaper rash and nice pretty bottoms with the use of cloth, so I used cloth! I am right now watching an infant, he is now almost 5 months and with the new disposable diapers I wouldn't use anything else. The new padding, whatever it is, draws the urine away from the baby, they simply are never wet feeling, though you can "feel" the urine held in the padding, away from the baby. It is truly remarkable, even simple things like the velcro rattles that stay on the babies wrists! He's not even mine, but I find myself picking him up little things at the store, because it is so neat! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh TX (firstname.lastname@example.org), April 10, 2001.
Hey it me Beth. Thanks for all the advice. Just thought that you all would like to know that I totally WIMPED OUT and used disposables. After I had my little girl last july, I could hardly think. I think I was in shock that I was a mother. So I took the easy way out. But hats off to all you who use cloth diapers, and I am sure you pocket book is much fatter than mine. Maybe I'll be calmer with the second one. Thanks Beth and Mattie Caroline.
-- Beth (email@example.com), June 13, 2001.
Beth, Happy soon to be 1st birthday for you little girl.
I just found this thread and wanted to add a little more to the cloth side of the argument.
I used disposables for trips to town and some overnight (especially with my son who must have had the bladder capacity of a horse!) The cloth ones worked out fine and were not really that much bother. Just follow the advice on cleaning them etc...above. You don't even have to fold them, just throw them in a basket out of the dryer or off the line and deposit the basket in the baby's room.
I used pre-folded for their bottoms and the large gauze type ones for clean ups and burp cloths, and even to dry them after a bath. Whatever a large, soft, absorbent piece of cloth is good for.
Later, after I could not have anymore children, I disovered another use for the prefolded diapers....menstrual pads! Just fold the long sides to the middle and then fold in half. The tummy controlling lycra panties hold them in place really well and when I'm crampy the firm hold of the lycra panty actually feels good.
I rinse them in the sink, wring them out, and put them in a small trash can with a flip top that I bought just for them. The diaper pads are used only at home. I use disposables when I go to town. When time to wash them, I do a prewash with a little bleach. After the prewash of just the pads, I throw in whatever other white laundry is on hand and wash it all together in a regular load and then line dry.
Hope this helps.
-- Heather in MD (firstname.lastname@example.org), June 15, 2001.