When you say the words "cloth diapering" you most likely get only one of these two types of responses: the "why yes, of course! Help save God's green earth" or the "WHY?! Whyyyy on God's green earth?!" I am completely sold on the idea of cloth diapering, yet when real life gets in the way it can truly seem like the dumbest idea. Therefore, I have invented what I'm calling the lazy parent's guide to cloth diapering. Someone surely has already come up with something similar, but I'm just gonna pretend like I'm unique for one second!
The first part of this idea I credit to myself (haha!), because I have been known to be somewhat of an obsessive recycler/waste-hater. The second part I credit to my mom, because she is all about doing what you need to do to keep things clean and organized (even if it means using some paper plates so your party clean-up is more efficient -- or something like that.) Then the third part I credit to Zack, because he has helped me to become more of a "baby steps" type of person rather than the all-or-nothing perfectionist that I used to be. OKAY OKAY, I'll get to the point already...
Since being a new parent comes with a giant learning curve. You seriously have to learn/research 1,000 new topics all at the exact same time, all while having your whole life perspective rocked to the very core! Overwhelming. If you were great at managing finances, you become a parent and that issue is no big deal... but if you weren't so great, you become a parent and think OH CRAP I HAVE TO GET ALL THIS TOGETHER RIGHT NOW OR WE ARE GONNA STARVE! That second one has been us, but instead of finances, it has been housekeeping/organization. We were already just getting by, THEN we got a cat who became handicapped and caused extra maintenance, and THEN we had a real baby. All of that is the extra-long way to say... We are always doing laundry. Cloth diapering is something I wanted to do, but nearly gave up on the idea... until I had the thought to just PARTIALLY cloth diaper! EUREKA! I can stand like a diapering Libertarian, unbound by diapering party lines!
So let's get down to the nitty gritty.
Phase 1 - I skipped the whole newborn cloth rental thing... SORRY. I just have to recover from having a baby, while having my whole life flipped upside-down for a second. I'd prefer to toss these meconium diapers in the trash, K-THANKS! Plus NB diapers are the size of pocket tissue anyway... so tiny.
Phase 2 - Rowan hit that chunky phrase, and grew out of the newborn and size 1 diapers in a flash. I took the unused boxes of those tiny sizes back to the store and traded them in for two cloth diapers to use as a test. You know I got those all-in-ones. Since we only received disposable items at baby showers, I also didn't have a sprayer... which --translation-- means I was really scared of poop. I started to use a cloth diaper only when he had already had a #2 in a disposable. ha!
Phase 3 - At 6 months we started solid food, and I got really brave to use the cloth diapers a lot more often and even remembered that flushable diaper liners exist. HuzZAH! So I bought two more of those cute AIOs (all-in-ones) to add into the rotation!
Phase 4 - Now we constantly rotate our cloth diapers during the day at home, and I want to slowly add in some more... especially for Lindsey Baby #2 one day (ONE DAY... I'M NOT PREGNANT. No one freak out.)
So here is how I LAZY PARENT cloth diaper.
1 - FIRST, I ask myself these questions...
Am I about to leave the house? No.
Am I behind on 15 loads of laundry? No.
Are the diapers dry from yesterday? Yes.
Okay let's DO THIS!
2 - Next, I am all about these liners, people! Yes, it is something to throw away... but you can FLUSH it! So if you fellow tree-huggers have a problem with that, then definitely let me know when you've started using reusable towels for toilet paper.
3 - So I open these liners and fold them lengthwise (hot-dog style, not hamburger style -- for you fellow teachers), and they work a lot better that way. Sometimes I even use two! Also, make sure the liner is up to the edge of the back (if ya know what I mean!) Also you should note that I've never seen a blow=out in a cloth diaper! BONUS.
4 - If you are really having some leisure-time while folding clothes, you can also go ahead and have your liner in the diaper ready to go! But let's be real, I've only done that one time ever.
5 - After the diaper has been used, I spray it with Bac-out, and either put it straight in the washing machine so it's ready for rinsing, or I zip it in a wet bag inside my laundry basket.
6 - Once I've used however many diapers I'm going to use in the day, I set them on a short rinse cycle. Then I wash them again with a full cycle + detergent. This is when I also will throw in miscellaneous laundry, diaper wet bag, towels or whatnot. I told you this was a lazy method, so don't act so surprised that it's halfway haphazard.
7 - I then put them on a drying rack, which I have hanging on the back of a door -- out of sight! I really should figure out a way to dry them in the sun on sunny days, but I don't have a line and would need to finagle something... Maybe that's phase 5.
8 - Finally, admire your super adorable baby and bask in the glory of being green while saving some green. These diapers, even a "pricey" all-in-one will pay for itself in just a few weeks!
9 - So speaking of being green... even if you don't count the newborn months or even if your kid is a potty-training prodigy, you are still looking at a bare-booty minimum of around 5,000+ diapers (250 per month/8 per day). Even just using 2 cloth diapers a day or using 4 every other day cuts that number down to 3,600 (180 per month). So if a thousand people having babies adopted this right now, we could cut the 5 million trash-diapers a year nearly in half! According to the Environmental Protection Agency, that's about 20 billion disposable diapers being dumped in landfills each year... 3.5 million tons of waste. Ew.
10 - You may be thinking that it's just hard to care about the accumulation of trash... so one last thought! For natural diapers, you will spend $2000+ (and for chemical diapers its still $1200+). Doesn't cutting that number in half sound pretty good? Also BONUS... you never end up having to make a mad dash to the store when you're low on diapers since they are always on hand to buy you a little extra time. Please note that I'm lazy at math too and majorly underestimated these numbers... in reality they are definitely higher!
So that's that. Clearly, all of you mamas who cloth diaper all the way are the real earth-saving rockstars, and if you're reading this while laughing at me you should probably comment some tips! One thing that bothered me was the thought of dirty diapers just hangin' around my house waiting to be washed and stinkin' up everything like a gerbil cage. I will say to the naysayers that the wet bag does hide all the smells, but these diapers do stink when you have to get them out... it's just a fact. They can't just live in that bag! So that's why the instant-washing method works for me.
Hit me with your thoughts and advice if you have it!