Saturday, June 29, 2013

Plastic Solutions Checkpoint: Diaper Duty

Back in December we were blessed to welcome a new member to our family.  He's an absolutely adorable, giggly, ray of sunshine (so we're probably a little biased on that one) but man oh man, the diapers. Now everyone knows it's probably one of the most challenging parts of having little ones at home - they make a lot of messes and there's no doubt about it that between the diapers, the wipes, their packaging, and the trash bags - it's a lot of plastic. We were filling up a medium size trash bag pretty much every week with just diapers.

Well, back with our second child we tried to go for cloth diapers - I can't remember how long I kept it up for but it really didn't work out or last long. Still, after a few months of watching the diapers fly into that trash bag faster than I could imagine we decided that we'd go ahead and try it again. This time I really wanted to research it out so I knew what I was doing.

There really are a ton of different options out there. They all have pro's and con's. Honestly it can be kind of intimidating trying to figure it all out. Thankfully I still had the diapers from last time as a starting base. Ultimately after going through all the rounds of pre-fold, all-in-ones, etc. I decided that we would just get a few covers for the diapers that we already have. We also got some all-in-ones that would hopefully make things a little easier when other people were changing him. Our current diaper stash includes 12 Kissaluvs fitted size 2 diapers, 2 Blueberry One Size Coveralls, and 3 Swaddlebees (now Blueberry) Simplex All-in-One Diapers.

When I was selecting which diapers to get I had one major requirement. I wanted them to last until we were done with diapering. Since I was starting with a 4.5 month old this was a little easier. The diapers we got all had multiple adjustments for as the baby grows and will fit up from about 12 to 35 lbs. They were also all rated for long-lasting quality. I didn't want to have to buy two or three sets of diapers as he grew out of them or as they wore out. What you get depends on what is most important to you and how much money you can set aside to start out but I would advise thinking about the long term costs etc.

In addition to the diapers I also wanted to know how to take care of them. Part of this for me involved getting some wet bags. We got two from Planet Wise - 1 large that I could use for the bulk of the diapers and 1 small that I could bring along with me when we go out. Honestly this is something that is pretty straightforward but does have an ick factor. Maybe because baby is number 3 and the ick doesn't bother me as much but overall it's really not bad. Before the diapers are used they need to be washed at least three times before they get to be absorbent enough to be worn (they'll continue to get more so over the next few washes as well). After that whenever they're wet I just take them off and put them in the wet bag. I wipe the cover and reuse it with the next diaper unless it's gotten soiled. When there's more than wet in the diaper I just take it to the toilet and wipe it off with toilet paper and flush it. When the bag is full I throw them all into the washer, run it through with unscented laundry soap on a quick cold cycle. Then I run them through on a hot cycle that has an extra cold rinse at the end. About once a week I throw the wet bag in with them. Then I throw the diapers in the dryer until they're done (now that's summer I'm looking forward to being able to hang them out on a line). We end up washing diapers about every day or two (you really shouldn't leave them any longer than that) So far seems to do it pretty well.

Now I'll admit that as of yet I haven't tried them at night time. Mostly because I just can't deal with trying to wake up enough to change him during the night. So he usually uses 1-2 disposable diapers a day. One thing I didn't realize until we began using these is just how much babies usually wet. The disposable ones make it hard to tell sometimes. Although you can leave the disposable on even when they're wet I really think that knowing that he's wet and getting to change it without worrying about running out of diapers has been a great part of the whole experience. It does mean that I usually change diapers about every 1.5-2 hours though, we have gone about 4 before when we were out and trying to get back home. Honestly I've never had a leak or mess that the diapers haven't been able to take care of. (Part of this is probably due to having a decent diaper cover this time around - it was definitely one of the headaches from last time when we just had the super cheap ones)

So for cost - we ended up spending about $125 on what we purchased new. Still if we were to be using disposables at a minimum of 5 a day (that would be definitely more than one time wetting) we would be spending about $40.00 a month on diapers. So all in all it works out pretty well cost wise.

Now, our covers and bags do all have plastic. Still, I figure it's using a lot less of it over all. If you have the means of doing so there are all natural fiber options that some people seem to love. They do run more expensive though so for us they weren't a good fit.

Overall There was a little bit of an upfront cost, but there are options that run much less expensive than what we got. Some require more work (having to fold and pin them), some wear out sooner but might get you through a year or two. It does make for extra loads of laundry. If you don't have a laundry machine, having to go to a laundry mat would make it much more expensive and time consuming. Other than that, it really has been worth it! Plus they're incredibly super cute!

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