Friday, October 21, 2011

Ask the Host Q11: Cloth Newbie

Hi! I'm expecting my first baby in about 12 weeks. I'd really like to cloth diaper, but I feel completely overwhelmed. I know it will be more cost effective in the long run, but the up-front investment makes me cringe a bit. You have mentioned that you used cloth diapers and I'm wondering if you could help me out. What kind of diapers do you use?

I bought a few Fuzzi Bunz several months ago, but I would love to find an AIO or pocket diaper with snaps, that are one-size. Do fitted diapers like Good Mamas need a cover over for leaks? They are so cute, it seems a shame to cover them up! :) Also, the price ($35 each) made me swallow hard, but is the fact that they are one-size make it worth the expense? TBH, I would love to fill my stash with Fuzzi Bunz, but I feel like I will go broke buying so many diapers in each size. What's a clueless newbie to do?

First of all, congrats on your new addition! It's such an exciting time. Yes, I did cloth diaper The Parasite 99% of the time. I used disposables when we travelled because I am many things but a martyr is not one of them. I used cloth because I'm cheap, not because I'm green. And might I just say you don't sound like a cloth diaper newbie, you've got the lingo DOWN, Mama! Good job. It took me months to learn WTF those cloth diaperers in the forums were talking about.

Not that you asked for care instructions, but Dr. Maureen wrote an excellent cloth diapering manifesto lo many years ago. Some may point out, correctly, that the link is over four years old. And to them I say humans have been around for thousands of years, and the asses of our babies have been covered in SOMETHING for most of those years, so they can STFU.

Anyway. Yes, fitted diapers do require a cover even though they're very cute. I didn't use fitteds or prefolds because like you I was a little overwhelmed and cloth diapers were already a tough sell. However, I was assured by friends who used them it was pretty darn easy once you got the hang of it. Before you go out and buy a GIANT stash of any kind of diaper, you might want to wait until your baby arrives. By all means, have few on hand to get you started, but prepare for the unexpected. For example, The Parasite is freakishly tall even though The Husband is slightly taller than average and I'm practically a pygmy. We were just lucky that the diapers we went with could accommodate a baby with a really long rise because I had a whole stash of them.

I found pocket diapers a nice compromise between the very expensive all-in-ones and the cheap as chips prefolds. FWIW, I used the same Bum Genius diapers from the time The Parasite was six weeks old until she potty trained. When dealing with the sheer volume toddler pee the pockets really came into their own. I had to use extra-absorbent stuffing layers for overnight until she night trained a couple of months ago and that was easy to do with pockets. Though I do imagine there's similar options for prefolds and there are overnight options for fitteds as far as I know. So hm, right back where we started. I'm not being very helpful here, am I?

If you do go with the Fuzzi Buns that aren't one size, yes it may be more expensive than going with a one size diaper. However, you have a better chance of getting the exact right fit for your little one. Also, there's no guarantee that your one size diapers will hold up for the whole time your baby is in diapers. I had to have the elastics replaced on a bunch of my BGs at the 18 month mark because they were loose and gappy. If I use them for another kid, I'll probably have to replace it on the rest of them. Don't forget about buying used. If you're squicked by that you may want to reconsider cloth diapering. Wash them before you use them with a little bleach and you're good to go.

You still have a few months left. If you start socking away money for your diaper stash right now, it won't be such a big hit to your pocket book when the baby arrives. Good luck with your new tiny person! Remember, whatever cloth option you go with, it's sure to be a hell of a lot cheaper than disposables, and that includes allowances for hydro, water AND your time spent washing and prepping them. 

This post is part of a weekly series, Ask the Host, allowing you to ask any question you want as long as you're prepared for a brutally honest answer. Got a question? Send me an email with "I have a question" in the subject line.


Catch My Words said...

A new baby--how exciting! Best of luck to you.


revelations said...

Ah memories..mine are all ugly and grownup now...:) but I do remember the diaper stage..I would say fondly but I would be fibbing

Unknown said...

I have to admit I used disposables for both of my kids. I applaud you for your courage to use cloth. Wow, I just couldn't go THERE. LOL I think you rock, which is why I have given you an award! Stop by and pick it up.


The Host said...

Joyce, new babies and their fuzzy heads are awesome.

Robert, it's true there's not much to love about the diaper phase. Though compared to the surly tween/teen phase, I'm pretty sure it's easier.

Kathy, it wasn't that bad. If I have another baby I'll do it again, mostly because buying the fancy pocket diapers was such an investment!