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The Cloth Diaper Switch: And I thought AIO was a type of gun

The other day my husband asked me if we were hippies,”We moved up to the mountains, try to grow our own food, eat mostly organic, you gave birth without pain relief, and now we cloth diaper?”

Well, maybe we are.

Don’t let me fool you. I think taking care of our earth is very important and there are several times I went out in public without shaving my legs (I assure you the hairy leg days were accidental and a bit embarrassing.) but the truth is I like to save money.

I was standing in front of the cashier with credit card in hand while hushing my 6 month old. The cashier rang up my month supply of disposable diapers and wipes, the amount finally hit me as a brick across the face would for the first time since buying diapers. I spend $100 a month. A MONTH! I spend $100 a month on things my children poop in and I toss in the trash. It wouldn’t be so bad if they were in diapers for ONLY ONE MONTH but they will be in diapers for years. Sometimes I think they will be in diapers until they are 16. I couldn’t handle it. Do you know the things I could buy if I threw $100 a month at it for three years if not more? I could have a MEAN shoe collection, the outfits I see on magazine covers, my dark roots wouldn’t show as often, maybe a vacation! Once we got home I yelled (because I can also be dramatic), “WE ARE DONE!!! If you are on board with me, we are finished with disposables and going the cloth diaper route!”

My husband agreed.

Diapering has not been the same since. I LOVE cloth diapers. I read once that if you start going cloth you should be prepared to be obsessed. I’m obsessed.

But getting to the obsessed point took a little work and some mentoring. I thought I would just pick out a diaper online based on how cute the fabric looked but I was wrong. I had no idea there was a cloth diaper language. I learned pocket diapers don’t have pockets to warm your hands rather they have pockets to hold the pad that will soak up your child’s, well, you know. I read that people liked AIO’s and thought I accidentally clicked on a fire arms website. AIO is NOT a gun but rather an all-in-one diaper, kind of like the all-inclusive vacations without the frozen cocktails and comfortable beach chairs. Oh the decisions! Snaps versus Velcro, this detergent versus that one, microfiber versus hemp? There are MANY choices and we moms are vocal aren’t we?! One mom agrees that this diaper is the best ever while another wouldn’t gift it to her worst enemy.

All the different diapers out there can make the decision making process difficult but on the flip side, you can really customize your diapers based on YOUR BABY. I recently discovered Eco-POLITAN in Lakewood and though I’ve been cloth diapering for a few months, they gave me some incredibly helpful information and opened my eyes to diapers I never gave a second thought to. I realized while in Eco-POLITAN that cloth diapering is a bit like algebra. Every baby is different and each can present a unique problem when it comes to diapers. Leak issues can be solved in various ways based on the position your baby sleeps and the circumference of her thighs. Rash issues can be solved in various ways with the right detergents and washing techniques.

If disposable diapers are not working for you and you are willing to plug in the the right numbers and work through the equation even the pickiest of babies with the most challenging of diaper problems can be solved with cloth diapers. I LOVE that but it does take some work and there are so many people that are willing to help and make the process a lot easier.

Cloth diapering to me is no different than washing our clothes or dishes and reusing them, it just MAKES SENSE to reuse whatever we can. We are saving money and the diapers are just so dang cute!

Thanks to cloth, perhaps we hippies could squeeze in a vacation soon. I promise to shave my legs!

What would be the deciding factor in your family to switch from disposables to cloth or vice-versa? Is there anything that is preventing you from trying cloth diapers? Last but not least, where should we all go on vacation?!?!

Past city slicker and beach bum now mommy of two living in the middle of the mountains, Holly finds it hard to tame passion. Mostly her day consists of taking photoshoots of her children, keeping dangerous things out of her baby’s mouth, pretending she’s a broadway star, blogging at What Was I Saying Again and working on a new non-profit for at-risk teens… all in the middle of her living room.

Mile High Mamas
Author: Mile High Mamas

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  1. You are too funny! We used some ghetto cloth diapers for Milo and this time around we’ve upgraded and Wyatt has a much sleeker bum. We reuse our clothes and underwear, why not diapers too?!

  2. I’m showing my ignorance here but I had no idea there were so many different choices in styles. I honestly envisioned the stark white cloths and safety pins. 🙂

    My kiddos are out of diapers but who knows if I’d seen a post like this, I may have made the switch. My only reluctance would be with poopy diapers. I was glad to dump those in the trash pronto and can’t imagine having to clean them out!

  3. We made the switch to cloth after I found out I was pregnant with our 3rd child…this 3rd child meant we would have 3 under the age of 3 and all 3 in diapers and I just couldn’t see spending that money on things we threw away. I am so happy we made the switch and wish I would have done it earlier with my first 2 children. We have yet to have a “blow out” with our youngest which my children are infamous for 🙂

  4. I’ve cloth diapered on and off during my parenting career. When I do use sposies, I’ve never spent anywhere NEAR $100 a month on them. I get them at Costco and it’s around $45 for a month’s worth. The biggest reason I don’t cloth diaper all the time is the time factor. With 2 kids, there’s other things I’d rather be doing that washing poopy diapers. Even though I have my wash cycle down to a t (and I use Rockin’ Green Hard rock – best soap EVER for diapers), some days I just don’t feel like washing diapers and having to wait 3 hours to be able to do another load of laundry.

    Oh – and my husband tallied it up the other day. So far, I’ve spent a LOT on cloth diapers and we haven’t reaped any cost savings (and weren’t even when I was using them exclusively).

    Just my thoughts.

  5. I did for awhile and still use them occasionally. For me, there’s just too much time and work involved with my 2 kids. I’m also not convinced of the cost savings either. My husband totaled up everything I’d bought for cloth diapers and it was the same as what 2 years of disposables would have cost us.

  6. Hmmm… I dunno. I remember when Girl and Boy Shoes were that size… at first, it was cute… small little turdlets… but at some point, they really started filling those things up!

    We stayed with cloth diapers, but WOW was that an experience…

    I tell my son today, that his pay back will be here one day when he is having to change MY diapers!



  7. Will cloth diaper when we have the butts that need it!!

  8. Well, we don’t do diapers any longer…maybe a good idea rather than the pull-ups at night!

  9. Great blog! Cloth diapers have saved us a ton of money (we spent just over $1000 using the “fancy” cloth diapers and washable wipes, have diapered two kids and re-couped about $450 from selling our used diapers on Craigs list after we were through. I wish more mamas were open to trying it. We’ve traveled three continents, a dozen states, camped and been in daycare using 100% cloth. From what I’ve read, we’ve personally prevented about 10,000 or more plastic diapers from entering landfills and saved about $3500 in 3 years. (So we vacation annually at the beach with our savings!)

  10. When we had our daughter almost 6 years ago, I knew we wouldn’t be cloth diaper people. My mom used cloth diapers on all four of us, and the mere thought of that “diaper pail” makes me shudder (even if they don’t use something like that now, I’m scarred.).

    As it worked out for us, we didn’t spend a ton of money on disposable diapers (you were spending $100 a month!? Dude! I’m glad the cheapies worked well for my daughter!), and when we looked at the cost of a service (not to mention the cost of resources: water, electricity, etc.), we just opted to do disposable. With only one kid, our math was different than if we had oodles. Maybe. Maybe not. Have I mentioned that we’ve been diaper-free for so long that I can’t even remember the details!? Yay!

    Anyway, I have a funny story about diapers. My mother-in-law told me the story of when she had her first son (my husband’s older brother) in California where they were stationed in Air Force in the 1960s. They used disposable diapers. That’s just what they all did. She didn’t think anything of this.

    Then, she planned a trip back to the Midwest with her baby and took enough diapers to get them through the train ride thinking that it would be easy to just get some more after they got there. Little did she know that “disposable diapers” didn’t really exist outside of California and she had been part of some “testing” phase!! She said it was a horrible shock. Can you imagine??

    It’s been 40+ years and she can finally laugh about it. Ha.

  11. The deciding factor for us was money. It was so much cheaper than disposable.

    Then again it was the 90s and the options you all have now are amazing and I am so, so jealous. I am not kidding when I say that we used regular, white cloth diapers, safety [diaper] pins and plastic pants to go over them to avoid leaks [yeah, like that worked.]

    This market has come a long way and it would be nice to see it overtake the disposable diaper market, but that isn’t happening.

  12. JoAnn, your poor mom, that is pretty funny!

    Thank you everyone for your input and keep it coming!!!

    The only disposables that ever worked for us were Pampers and YES we really spent $100 a month on them NOT including gas to get to the store… and we live 45 minutes away from the nearest store. If you have cloth diapers but they aren’t working for you, I recommend going to the local cloth diaper store and talking to the people that work there. Eco-POLITAN has been AMAZING and taught me sooo much! If you want to cloth diaper on the cheap, I recommend signing up for all the baby discount sites and waiting until you find the diapers you want at least 1/2 off. It happens. I will say, even if you get cloth diapers cheap, make sure they will work for you and worked for other families in your position before buying. Not every diaper will work for us but the experts helped me figure out which diapers and detergent will give me the best experience and so far they were dead on! I also love that I can sell my diaper back at 30-60% of what we bought them for. AMAZING!

    Love you all!

  13. Great post! I had a rough start with cloth diapering, despite my best intentions. I’ve since given it a second chance and have grown to love it! I blogged about my own experiences here:

    The deciding factor for me was cost. Disposables were just way too much of a monthly expense, so I was willing to grin and bear a little grossness to switch to cloth. Now that I’m past the cloth diaper learning curve, I don’t find them to be that gross anymore. I am able to laugh most of the grossness off!

    The one drawback for me is that my husband won’t touch them. My sister-in-law’s husband won’t touch them, either. If I leave the baby home with him, he uses disposables and I find any cloth diaper that she was wearing unceremoniously deposited on my bathroom counter!

  14. I cloth diapered my son, spent $600 on them upfront and re-sold them for $280. Now we are thinking of having another kid and I feel a little silly about selling the first round. However, if I did it again I would use the old fashioned pre-folds, with snappis and waterproof covers. I always had a handful of those and over the few years I got pretty good with them. And, a good friend has diapered both her kids that way for about $200 in diapers. The same friend made us cloth wipes, which we also used and have recycled into kleenex/snot rags for my son (after a few good washes of course).

    SO…if you want cute or fancy or whatever cloth diapers you can spend a lot on them, but between washable water proof covers and snappis, old school diapers have been given a second life and work pretty darn good! I also never had a problem with the laundry part…We’d wash about ever 3rd day and usually tag team them in the evening and they’d be done before bed.

  15. WE wear cloth diapers but yet we put our kids in plastic like menstrual pads. Yeah, somethings wrong with that. If you promise to shave your legs I’ll go on vacation with you someday:)

  16. I can respect that. I do crazy things to save money as well. Like shred my own cheese. If I had read this at the “preparing for baby stage,” I may have reconsidered using disposables. But now we are preparing for SERIOUS potty training and I am so close to not having to buy anything but underwear!!! Yay!

  17. I just wanted to let you know how wonderful this post is! We just started cloth diapers this week. I have a couple different ones and trying things out. The decision to use baby cloth diapers is an easy one. The daunting task is deciding what kind to buy and how much! Your post was very well written. thanks

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