Saturday, May 26, 2012

Why we chose cloth diapers

A few years ago I would not have thought twice about using disposable nappies.  A few years ago I was rather ignorant regarding the cost of disposables.... A few years ago we did not decide to have a baby AND buy a house all at the same time (my husband says we're hardcore like that!)

Okay, so we've been trying to fall pregnant for a long time, and in that very loooooooong time, somewhere along the line I realised that cloth diapering sounded like a very valid option to me.  I mostly attributed it to first reading about it here where Ashley spoke about her reasons for cloth diapering.  Also, it turns out I'm a closet-greenie, and in order to save the planet for our child, and living frugally as well as living by the philosophy of recycle-reuse-reduce, the decision was easy.

As for my husband?  It took him some getting used to...he was not so keen on the laundry-aspect, nor travelling long distances or going on holiday with cloth diapers.  Agreed, it would be rather difficult to travel and then be on vacation at a place where there are no laundry facilities, so I still have to consider that aspect, but eh, we can overcome that problem!  I recently showed my husband a youtube video on folding flat nappies.  He actually joined in on the fun, and tried out some of the folds!

Here is our current stash:

 Now, at first I only wanted all-in-one (AIO) cloth diapers!  That was just convenience talking...but with convenience comes a hefty price tag which I was not willing to pay.  Thus I did some further research into this vast universe of cloth diapering, and discovered something called prefolds.  But finding prefolds in South Africa at local baby stores?  Nearly impossible or ridiculously expensive when you DO find them!  We're talking R1300.00 for 3 covers and 6 prefolds when looking at BambinoMio which you can buy at Baby City!  For only R250.00 more I can buy 10 Bam+Boo Nappies (hybrid cloth diapers, if I am not mistaken?)!  That destroyed the idea of prefolds *sad face* and forced me to start considering the cheapest option of them all - flat cloth diapers.  Yes, those that our mothers used before they had disposable nappies, the predecessor of all cloth diapers out there.  So, it calls for some extra effort (folding them, putting on a Snappi, and covering it all with a waterproof cover), but that I can handle. 
When I was only 10 years old, I used to change my nephew's diapers - yes, we're once again talking about flat cloth diapers).  I was a real pro at folding them, putting on a liner, and getting him to lie still whilst putting on the Snappi.  I can't remember it ever being gross or weird.  To me it was just another normal part of raising a baby.  (My brother and his wife changed over to disposables after a year following them doing some calculations and finding that they paid the same per disposable as per wash+detergent+electricity+liner for the cloth diapers.  Here is the thing that they did not consider, though, they had filled quite a few landfills by now!  They are 5 children down the line - can you imagine the amount of waste? 

I know a lot of people will use the above argument for NOT using cloth diapers, but in reality I always have water and electricity and detergent, but I don't have to go out and buy cloth diapers each month, I get to use them over and over again.  To me that is a bonus!  PLUS I get to use them with Jellybaby, then with our next baby, and if we're so lucky, even with our third baby! When I run out of money at the end of a month (or rather, when there's too much month left at the end of money), I can still switch on my washing machine and do the diaper drill without immediately spending money from my purse.  That provides me with a huge sense of relief, since we'll soon be moving into our own house and will have to cover other costs (our water usage is worked into our monthly levy - HEAVEN!).  Thus, our expense for the diapers are really covered beforehand, and not so much for the duration of the diaper-drill, except for the liners.  Oh, and I also sewed some reusable wet wipes from toweling fabric and with a cute bias binding border.  I find it rather awesome that I can use a lukewarm cloth rather than an ice cold wet wipe to clean my baby's bottom with!

I am excited about this new adventure in our lives, and since my husband has come on board (he is not at all grossed-out by the fact that he'll have to change cloth diapers, and has even offered to do the diaper laundry) I cannot contain my enthusiasm over the direction or lives have taken.  He did buy some disposables at the beginning of this pregnancy - according to him it was to make the pregnancy more real for himself.  I can handle that - it's one packet.  But last weekend he was quite willing to fork out the money for buying some Econobum prefold and cover stash (R520) at our Baby Show, as well as one all-in-one Fancypants cloth diaper (R165), and 6 Miosquares Muslin cloths (R200).  We have come a loooong way!

Today I finally got around to washing all of my diapers (you have to prewash them to improve their absorbency), and I just LOVED the sight of the prefolds and muslin squares hanging on the line outside to dry:
Isn't this just such a beautiful sight to behold? (The cloth diapers, not the surroundings.)

Our decision is based on a lot of reasons, but mostly for frugal, ecological and emotional reasons.

PS: Have I mentioned that babies on cloth diapers appears to potty train earlier than babies on disposable nappies from numerous websites that I've read?  BONUS!