Well, it’s time for a final cloth diaper post! I’ve written a few other posts on the subject here if you’d like to check them out:
- Cloth Diapering 101 (written 2 weeks after starting to use them on our newborn)
- A New Kind of Photo OP (…or, a CD update) (written 4 months into using cloth)
- Cloth Diapering – 8 Months In
When I was pregnant with Stella, I registered for (15) Bum Genius Elemental AIOs (package deal for $340 / sold for $24.95 ea). They are:
- Natural fiber (meaning organic cotton [this category also includes hemp, wool, & bamboo inserts] instead of a synthetic blend made with polyester like microfiber or fleece)
- One-size (meaning they should fit from 8# to 35#, basically from birth until potty training)
- All-In-Ones (meaning no stuffing of inserts because the inserts are attached – this was critical with a reluctant husband and daycare provider going into it – they both have no problem with them now)
- Snap closure (they sell snaps & Velcro closures – everything I’ve read says that snaps hold up better, we have had ZERO issues with snaps)
They are on the higher end of cost when it comes to cloth diapers, but that is because they are all-in-ones (meaning no additional inserts or covers to buy) and one-size.
We started using them when Stella was four weeks old (9.5#), and in retrospect, we easily could have started them as soon as the disgusting meconium poop was out of the way! The other option is to buy sized fitted diapers / newborn diapers, which I might get a few of for this new baby.
When Stella was 10 months old, CottonBabies.com had a “seconds” sale, which is when they sell diapers that have cosmetic imperfections for a discounted rate. I picked up (4) Bum Genius Freetime All-In-One One-Size Cloth Diapers with snaps for $50 ($12.50/ea) at that point, simply because I wanted some “girly” colors and to be able to extend my wash schedule a bit.
The Freetimes are “semi-attached,” which means they’re still AIOs, but you can add more inserts under the semi-attached flaps for extra absorbency if needed (we did this at night sometimes). I also bought 4 inserts – 2 bamboo & 2 hemp – that we use to “stuff” the Freetimes with at night.
Those are the only cloth diapers I have ever bought for Stella! This is due in large part to not living in an area with a brick and mortar cloth diaper store to tempt me, but it’s worked out because it kept my purchasing to a minimum. 🙂
In the early days, Stella would go through up to 10 diapers a day, so I washed diapers every 1.5 days. By my four month post and on, it was more like 6 diapers per day, so laundry every 2+ days. After adding 4 extra diapers to my stash at 10 months, I could get away with laundry every 3 days (and honestly, you wouldn’t ever want to go more than 3 days without washing dirty diapers!).
Elementals: Roughly 250 uses each over 18.5 months
Freetimes: Roughly 90 uses each over 9.5 months
Both were washed only with Charlie’s Soap or Rockin’ Green, which are both cloth diaper friendly detergents. A couple of my cloth diapering mama friends switched to Tide original powder with good results as well. I’ve used Funk Rock about once a month for the past six months to help with the ammonia issues that cropped up around one year of use, and they have all been line dried outside about 70% of the time. I used to use bleach about once a month to try to help with the ammonia, but quit that once I started with Funk Rock once every few weeks. Line drying outside has kept them nice and white too since the sun bleaches any stains out – bonus!
My Elementals have nearly three times as much wear on them as my Freetimes, and unfortunately they are showing it. I’ve done some research, and it looks like this is a common problem with natural fiber diapers (as opposed to synthetic blends). The Elementals are made with organic cotton insides, and around 18 months we started to see some holes on the edges along the leg holes. The outside shells still look perfect, and the cotton is still soft and absorbent, but there are definitely holes. We also have had a few issues with leaking out the sides in the last couple weeks of use, and I don’t know if it was coincidence or related somehow, but it was definitely frustrating after having only a handful of leaks EVER with the cloth diapers over their lifetime of use.
At this point we are using mostly disposables at night, just for absorbency reasons. Even with a hemp liner in the Freetime, she was really wet by morning and her tush was a little red (this just started happening the last couple of months). We have bought a box of disposables here and there over the past 20 months, but not often by any means since we used cloth almost exclusively both at home and at daycare. 12 of our 15 original cloth diapers were gifted to us at my baby shower, and even including the detergent we have bought ($50 worth – and I use that for my laundry too!), the diaper sprayer ($50), and the wet bags, we’re spent a pretty minimal amount to diaper our kid. Our water bill never went up (we must have some fixed minimum rate allowed that we’ve never exceeded?), and we haven’t noticed our electric bill changing, so really, for a couple hundred dollars, we have escaped diapers fairly unscathed financially!
If you have any other questions on cloth diapers, feel free to leave a question in the comments and I’ll try to answer. I’m by no means an expert since we never tried different styles/brands, but I sure loved my BG AIOs! Even with the hole issues that we’re now having with the natural fiber diapers, I still love how soft they are, I love that they’re organic cotton against my child’s bum all day, and I love that for a minimal cost, we were able to get through the diapering phase of babyhood. If I had realized we would have more than one child, I’d have probably bought a larger supply of diapers up front just to cut down on the amount of wear & tear (use) on each diaper to get us through both kids with one set. Still, even if I have to buy a whole 2nd set of diapers, we will still be saving money and be doing something good for the environment. Win/Win!
**Here is a great video and chart that highlights the differences between the 3 main types of Bum Genius Diapers if you’re interested.