For the past two weeks we've taken the plunge. Peanut is now large enough to fit his one-size cloth diapers and we're giving this cloth diaper thing a whirl. We bought a variety of diapers before he was born and he's finally gained enough weight that he's not swimming in them.
What we've tried and learned so far:
The Wet factor:
We learned we have taken the super absorbency of disposables for granted. Peanut never cried to complain in his disposables when he was wet. He rarely complained if he was dirty. Not so with the cloth. In cloth, when he's wet he's unhappy and we all know it. Consequently, he gets changed much more frequently in cloth. Lately, he is now also fussier in a wet disposable diapers too. Still, we're thinking this might not be such a bad thing--especially later on for potty training. Besides, it is probably best if he's not sitting in that for longer than he has to.
After the first few nights, we decided that cloth was not for overnight for us. I'm sure we could super stuff his pocket diapers, but after a few leaks and restless nights, we're back to disposables. Also, the first week we tried, Peanut seemed so small and the cloth diapers seemed so bulky, I was convinced that more than 1 insert and doubler in there and he'd be miserable.
As an aside, I also didn't pre-wash my dipes, which may also have contributed to the leakage. We've had far fewer leaks since they've been through the laundry.
Snaps vs. velcro
Snaps can be a bit tedious, especially when he's squirming. We can get a much snugger fit with the velcro. However, even in just these first few weeks, the velcro is beginning to show a little wear and I'm curious how long it will last. The snaps will last forever, which is good since I hope to pass some of these down for the next little one.
I confess--I'm a cheapskate, which is why cloth diapers are so appealing.
There are many cost analysis of cloth diapers out there which will give a much more accurate assessment. We bought our dipes sporadically and on sale, so I couldn't give an accurate start up cost. I'd guestimate that we were in the $200-$300 price range. My husband still isn't sold on the cloth--especially while he's home alone with the peanut. There is a little more organizing and work and he's not comfortable leaving the baby unattended while he tends to the diaper mess. This means we only cloth in the evenings and weekends while I'm home. We're eliminating at least 4-5 diapers daily, maybe 10 or more on the weekends. At this rate, I don't think we're saving a boat load. However, the way I see it, we've already made the investment, we might as well use them. I'm hoping to at least recover the start-up cost.
The stink factor
Yes, collected wet diapers begin to smell ripe after a few days. We do laundry every other day. Wet diapers are gathered in a zippered wet bag. As previously noted, I'm cheap. I made my own hanging wet bag from PUL bought at Jo Ann's. I'd bet it's no where near as nice as a Planetwise or other professionally produced bag, but it gets the job done for far less. I'm not sure it will hold up, but for the $7 invested, I'm not out much if we don't keep up with cloth diapering.
As long as the bag stays closed, the stink really hasn't become an issue yet. We really need a second bag for laundry time, but with a tight budget that is not yet in the cards.
The dirt on dirty dipes
Peanut is formula fed, resulting in one large sticky mess daily. Oh how I want a diaper sprayer for Christmas! I shake the diaper in the toilet, flush and repeat several times to remove the bulk of the solids. I then head down to the utility sink and power wash the remnants. I do a brief soak to help reduce stains and plop the wet mess in my wet bag. So far so good, but a bit more labor intensive than I'd imagined. (I wish I could have stuck to breast feeding). I can understand why my husband would not want to handle this while he's on his own with the baby.
Pockets v. Hybrids: We have several Bum-Genius 3.0, a fuzzi-bunz a knicker-nappies and several pou-ponds (a deal we found on e-bay). We also have 2 flip shells, 3 gro baby shells and 1 econobum shell. We have only flip microfiber inserts. For most occasions, we love our hybrids. They take up so much less space for travel, or even storing wet diapers. Without a diaper sprayer, they are so much easier to shake out the solid messes than messes in pocket diapers. They also dry pretty quick (even line drying). As a negative, however, my husband has more to "think about" with the hybrids. Before he changes the Peanut, he usually asks which way is "the right way." This might also be a factor in why he doesn't cloth diaper during the day. Although we've only had leaks when we first started, I sometimes question their absorbency and if they'll be able to keep up with him as he grows.
For longer periods of time, we trust our pocket diapers. They are easiest for my husband and family to figure out. I'm not crazy about the excess bulk, but think this may diminish as he grows and is no longer on the smallest setting. They also take up tons of space in the small travel wet bag we have.