pregnancy and parenthood

I never wanted to, but I became a cloth mama

One of the most popular questions I get as a new mommy is how I like cloth diapering.  A year ago, I was putting my baby registry together not even considering reusable diapers. I was dead-set against the thought of having to wash any kind of poopy diaper. Now, I am typing this while listening to my dryer run with fresh fluff. Go figure.

After the eighth person asked me during my pregnancy if I planned on cloth diapering, I finally started asking questions. “Alright, what’s so good about this?” 

There are many reasons, but the one that attracted me was the ability to save money. It’s estimated that, on average, a new baby costs just over $10,000 in the first year. Diapering typically absorbs about  $1,000 – $2,000 of that. Some claim less, some claim more. It depends on how many wet diapers a day your baby produces and what brand you buy.

What really pushed me to try cloth – in all materialistic honesty – was the adorable patterns, colors and gentle materials that they are made of. Since being lured in, I’ve invested a grand total of $383.34 for cloth diapering, which was spent in spurts over the course of eight months.

This has given me a complete stash of 17 one-size diapers and more than 30 inserts/liners. I have tried all-in-ones, hybrids and pockets, and I love them all for different reasons. Still, I consider myself a “part time” cloth mama since we do use disposables for overnight sleeping, travel and lazy days.

Have we saved money? I added up some receipts:

Since our baby was born six months ago, we’ve spent about $325 on disposables and wipes. The bulk of this is from a subscription to Parasol Co.’s diapers at $7o every 5-6 weeks. This is one of the more expensive brands on the market, but it was a cost I was willing to pay in search of good coverage without all the harsh chemicals. By the time his first birthday rolls around, we will have spent about $675 on disposables. Adding in my upfront cloth investment, that’s a grand total of about $1,058 on diapering in our first year.

Meh – not that big of a savings as I had hoped for, but that’s our fault for not doing it full-time and choosing an expensive disposable. (Who would’ve thought we would care so much about what goes on our baby’s bum?) But, I do believe we will save in the long-term since we can use these same cloth diapers into his toddler years – and we can use them with subsequent babies since they are adjustable in size.

Money aside, is it worth it? I think so! My favorite part is that we don’t have blowouts in cloth. In this sense, cleanup is easier since it is always contained. If there is a downfall to cloth, it’s committing to laundry every couple of days, but I haven’t found it to be that big of a deal since I’m doing more laundry as a mom these days anyway.  And no, I have not noticed an increase in our water bill.

The hardest part was the learning curve that comes with modern cloth diapering. Unless you know other moms who do it, it’s hard to dive into. It’s a science with its own language, and it’s not like you see mainstream cloth diaper ads that you can just click on to start browsing at your own leisure. Knowing which brands to start with is largely word of mouth, as are the closed groups, pages and resources online. This was frustrating to me, but I’m glad I stuck with it and had other moms share their resources, wash routines and tips.

Once I gained some knowledge, it quickly became embedded into our normal routine without requiring much thought. And, it’s nice never having to run to the store for diapers!

With all this said, I cannot recommend it because what works for me may not work for others. But I do love being a cloth mama, and in reflection, everything I thought I would hate about cloth I ended up loving. I suppose I could say that about a lot of things when it comes to parenting!

*Disclaimer: ask me how I feel again after we have started solids ;)*

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