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Our cloth diapering game plan

by Karen on September 13, 2010

Since we’ll be using cloth diapers, and cloth diapers aren’t particularly easy to add to a registry, I’ve already started to stock up.

Here’s what I’ve collected so far:

I’ve spent about $100 on diapers so far. All of them are brand new.

I think I’m done buying covers and fancy diapers. I may get a couple of Thirsties covers since they’re highly recommended and I’d like to try them, but we’ll see.

Since the Flips, Econobums, and Bummis are all waterproof and easy to wipe clean, they don’t need to be washed after every change. I’ll be able to reuse them a few times a day and just change the prefold diaper. I got the pockets and all-in-one to try them out, but I’m hesitant to stock up since they’re more complicated to wash and take longer to dry. I may buy more later if I really like them, but I’m hoping to mostly use the covers and prefolds method since it’s more economical, and they’re easier to wash and more durable.

Here’s what I still need to buy:

I’m estimating that it will cost another $200 for me to complete my stash. That puts our cloth diapering supplies total at about $300. Not too bad considering these should last us until our baby is potty-trained and perhaps even last until baby #2.

My mom is very skilled with a sewing machine, and when she visited a couple weeks ago, we looked at some patterns for cloth diaper covers together. I know how to sew, but I’m terrible at following the diagrams in patterns. She promised to make me a few diaper covers and diapers and then show me how to do it. I’m excited at the possibility of making cloth diapers for myself at a fraction of the cost, so we’ll see how that goes.

You may have noticed that all of my diapers are “one-size.” According to the manufacturers, all of these diapers should fit babies that weigh 8 pounds and up. If you’re experienced with cloth diapers, though, you probably know that long, skinny babies usually don’t fit into standard one-size diapers until they’re 10-12 pounds. And what if my newborn is only 6 or 7 pounds?

Tony and I both have a family history of big babies, and since we’re having a boy, I’m pretty confident that our little guy will be at least 8 pounds at birth. But who knows? I could go into labor a couple weeks before my “due date” and end up with a tiny 6-pounder.

My point is, we won’t be using cloth diapers from day one. There are “newborn-sized” cloth diapers on the market. However, these diapers are just as expensive as the one-size diapers, and depending on how big my baby is at birth, he may only fit in them for a few weeks. Not a good deal compared to the one-size diapers that will presumably fit him for 2-3 years.

Instead of investing in newborn-sized cloth diapers, I’ll be using newborn and size 1 disposable diapers for the first few weeks until our baby is big enough for his one-size diapers. This will give me a chance to get used to caring for a newborn before I need to learn to care for his cloth diapers.

I want to bargain shop for a few packs of disposable diapers, but it’s so hard to know how many and what size to buy. If he’s at least 8 pounds at birth as I suspect he will be, then he’ll skip the newborn size entirely and immediately fit into size 1s. And he’ll only wear size 1s for about 2-4 weeks. If we end up having a small newborn, he might need a few packs of newborns and more packs of size 1s.

Rather than stressing about it, I’ve decided to keep an eye out for really great diaper deals. If I can get them for cheap, I will, and I’ll save the receipt so I can exchange sizes or return them if necessary. If I don’t have enough disposables to last until he fits into cloth, I’ll suck it up and pay a higher price for a few packs. No biggie. He’ll be in cloth for 2-3 years. Buying a few packs of disposables at regular price won’t kill me.

Do you use cloth diapers? What’s your stash like? Did you use them right away with your newborn?

Photo by vincentmartinez

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Finally done shopping for baby
October 18, 2010 at 6:52 pm

{ 8 comments }

1 Verna Stephenson September 13, 2010 at 7:01 pm

The newborn diapers and size 1 go up to about the same weight. My son was 8 lbs 1 oz when he was born and lasted in them for a couple months. My husband’s work threw us a diaper shower so we had a TON of newborn diapers and didn’t even get through all of them before my son outgrew them. When we switched to size 1, it wasn’t really much bigger. I would just get a couple packs of newborns (I really like the cutouts for the belly button) and get maybe 1 pack of size 1 and see how long that lasts before you buy too many. We have a whole tote full of newborn and size 1 diapers for the next baby! ; p

I also make my own laundry detergent for my cloth diapers. It’s super easy (and cheap!) to make and works well. There are a bunch of recipes online. If you get smell problems use oxyclean, it helps a lot! I also use white vinegar in the rinse, and that helps with smells too.

2 Karen September 13, 2010 at 7:58 pm

Thanks for the tips, Verna! I’ll do some research and see what I can find out about homemade detergent. Seems a lot more eco-friendly and cost-effective than buying it!

My only concern with that is I’ve read that you should only use cloth-diaper-friendly detergent in your washer if you’ll be washing cloth diapers in it, because the diapers can pick up residue from other detergents if they’re being used in the washer. Do you wash ALL your clothes in your homemade detergent?

3 Kacie September 13, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I wash all my laundry in Country Save, which is a diaper-friendly detergent. It’s cheap and I’m too lazy to have multiple types of detergent anyway.

And we already talked about dipes so I won’t recomment unless you have other questions!

4 ericka September 13, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Hey…how are the cravings? Anyway…why don’t you put the newborn diapers and size 1’s on your wishlist for the shower. You can say how many you would like so you don’t get a bunch and then you only have to worry about buying the cloth. Good luck!

5 Karen September 13, 2010 at 9:27 pm

@Kacie – How often do you have to strip your dipes using the Country Save? Do you have any stink issues with them? I’m assuming you’re happy with the Country Save or you wouldn’t keep using it, but I’m just curious how often you’re getting ammonia stink.

@Ericka – Oh, the cravings. LOL. I’ve been drinking a lot of unsweetened iced tea, and I’m getting random cravings all the time. The other day I sent Tony out for Little Debbie Nutty Bars. What? I never used to eat junk like that. I try to keep it to a minimum, but sometimes it’s so hard! As for the diapers, I will likely add some to my registry. I’m just nervous about it, because I don’t want people to think I’m going all disposable and bring me a TON. I appreciate any gift at all, but I don’t want to end up with a bunch of diapers I can’t use, you know? And people aren’t likely to bring a gift receipt for diapers. Sooo I’m hesitant to register for any disposables just because I want people to know we’re doing cloth.

6 Verna Stephenson September 14, 2010 at 8:50 am

Karen, I do make my own detergent for regular clothes but I don’t use the cloth diaper detergent for regular clothes, and we’ve never had a problem.
Verna Stephenson´s last blog post ..Weekend Update

7 toni September 14, 2010 at 11:32 am

A friend of mine did quite a bit of testing and research on cloth diapering which included different detergents and what worked best. She posted all of her results on her blog: http://www.houseofgjertsen.info/?cat=16 I hope this is helpful. :)

8 Jessica October 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm

I know this is late…I’m just catching up on all the blogs I follow. I’m due in a couple of weeks and also plan on cloth diapering. I wanted to mention to you that I bought all my cloth diapers off the diaper swap board on babycenter.com. I’ve gotten brand new diapers on there and the ladies on the cloth diaper board are really supportive and informative. I just wanted to mention it since you’re not opposed to buying used.

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