Posts tagged ‘diaper systems’

What are the advantages of laundering my own diapers instead of using a diaper service?

Many people wonder why they should hassle with laundering their own diapers when in many areas, diaper services are readily available.

Diaper services do provide a measure of convenience, since you are not responsible for laundering your own diapers.  In addition, some people find a recurring monthly expense easier to budget for than the larger initial expense of purchasing and laundering your own diapers.  However, diaper services significantly reduce your options (most only offer the option of prefold diapers), and the monthly cost certainly adds up (most cost between $60 and $80 per month)… and this cost doesn’t include the cost of diaper cover, which you have to provide and launder on your own.  It only covers the cost of the prefolds themselves.

And with a diaper service, when your baby is potty-trained, you are left with nothing!  If you choose to buy and launder your own diapers, you can choose any diaper combination you wish, you are not bound to any repeating monthly expense, and at the end of your baby’s diapering, you have a stash of diapers to reuse for another child, or you can pass them along to another baby or recoup some of your investment by reselling them.

The exact same diapers that a diaper service uses can be purchased by the dozen for between $16 and 22… at this rate, you could buy four dozen diapers for the same cost as ONE month of diaper service.  And by trading your monthly service cost for just the cost of water and electricity, you’d end up saving at least $500 a year.

I think diaper services can make sense if you have unreliable/unavailable laundering facilities, or for families that are committed to the ecological and health benefits of cloth but just cannot stomach or have time for the laundering.  But for most people, I think the financial benefits of laundering your own just make it an easy decision.


February 4, 2010 at 8:36 pm 8 comments

Question: What are your personal favorites for your little one?


As the owner of a cloth diaper business, I get asked a lot what my personal favorites are.  Now, mind you, I firmly believe that what works for one person may not work for someone else, and there are plenty of people out there who swear by diapers that we didn’t have success with, for whatever reason.  I have tried a lot of diapers, though, so I am speaking with some experience.  Off the top of my head, I know I’ve tried every make of Thirsties; BumGenius AIOs, organic AIOs, 3.0s; Rumparooz; Evolution; GroBaby; Tiny Tush one-size fitteds and pockets; Fishnoodles; Blueberry; Mommy’s Touch; Bummis wraps;  as well as every diaper carried in my own store (and I’m sure I’m forgetting a few).

I do make a commitment to myself and to my customers that I won’t carry any diapers that I can’t stand behind and so I do think there is something worthwhile in all the brands I carry, but I do have my favorites.

These favorites have definitely transitioned as I’ve tried a lot of diapers, and as Grace has grown.

For newborn diapering, I was fortunate to score a huge lot of used Kissaluvs 0 fitteds on diaperswappers and these remain my favorites.  While prefolds are also an affordable, smart option for newborn diapering, it is a lovely luxury to not have to hassle with folding or snappi-ing the diapers (and I wasn’t always so great at getting a tight fit with prefolds around the legs, and with runny newborn poop that’s sort of a bummer).  I used a combination of Bummis Super Whisper Wraps and Thirsties XS covers over the Kissaluvs and prefolds.

Once Grace hit 12 pounds or so, though, we were ready to progress to the rest of our diaper stash.  Like many expectant moms, I took a blind leap of faith and purchased a bunch of BumGenius 3.0 one-size diapers for our stash.  I didn’t really know anyone that had much experience with modern cloth diapers, and so I went with a brand I recognized.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t quite as pleased with those as I hoped I’d be… I was disappointed by the bulk of the one-size diaper even on my 12-lber. and I quickly found that the velcro curled and didn’t seem very sticky, rendering the laundry tabs useless.  (Side note: I have used other BumGenius products and do find them superior to the 3.0, so I am not trying to slam the brand.)

I proceeded to try nearly every one-size diaper on the market, and to be honest, the luster of the one-size diaper soon faded.  I do understand the economic appeal of a one-size diaper, but unfortunately I find that they just do not fit as well as sized diapers.  I have tried to stock what I found to be some of the more adjustable and good-fitting one-size diapers in the store, but for me, I tend to find myself drawn toward at least a two-size diaper instead.

Our current favorite diapers include a mix of nearly every type of diaper out there…

overnight: we use two trifolded prefolds in a Thirsties cover (I do not recommend trifolding in the Thirsties cover until your baby is past the runny poop stage, or it can get messy.  Since Grace never poops at night, we don’t have to worry about icky covers.)

alternate overnight: a Thirsties duo diaper with a doubler. I’m not even sure we’d need the doubler, but I haven’t wanted to chance it without.  The Thirsties duo diaper comes with a fabulous double-layered hemp & microfiber insert, and it’s so absorbent. A great option for heavy wetters in my opinion.

overnight for smaller babies: before Grace hit about 11 months, we were able to use just a fitted diaper with doubler and a Thirsties cover.  But at about 22 pounds, she started overflowing with that and leaking.  Still, I think the combo is very workable for smaller babies.

diaper bag favorites: AppleCheeks.  I really love the AppleCheeks and SoftBums for the diaper bag because both can be used as an AI2 diaper.  This means you can reuse the shell until soiled, changing only the inserts at each diaper change. This saves room in the diaper bag. AppleCheeks are my particular diaper bag favorite, because you can also use them as a pocket diaper… so if you are leaving the baby with grandma for a couple hours you can prestuff them to avoid any confusion.

at-home use: Thirsties fab fitteds with a Thirsties cover. I ended up quite a few of these purchased affordably on diaperswappers, and I still remain quite happy with them. A great leakproof, easy solution.

If I were to choose only ONE style of diaper to use all the time, I would have to say my choice would be either a Thirsties duo diaper or the AppleCheeks system.  Why? First, because both have the flexibility to be used as an overnight diaper, just by adding an extra insert or doubler.  Second, they are both easy diapers to use, and neither requires the unstuffing of pockets (a task I personally detest).  And third, as two-size diapers, they’re a happy medium between the one-size diaper or using 100% sized diapers.

January 28, 2010 at 10:37 pm 3 comments

What do I really need to buy to get started?

I realized my last post was getting a bit long-winded, so here’s my suggested list of what you need to purchase before you get started.

Absolute necessities:

diapers: at least 1 dozen (I suggest an average of 1 dozen for each day of laundry. So if you launder everyday, 1 dozen; every other day, 2 dozen, etc.)

If you opt for prefold diapers, then you also need covers.  Prefolds & fitteds aren’t waterproof on their own, so a cover is a necessity.  If you opt for pocket diapers or all-in-twos, make sure they either come with inserts or that you have some for your diaper shells.  The shell isn’t absorbent on its own.

That’s it!  Diapers!  Not too complicated there.

Extras that are very nice to have:

Now I don’t call any of the below accessories true necessities, because you can get by without them. (I have customers that just use old shopping bags for their dirty diapers when they’re out of the house, or they use old trash bags for their dirty diapers at home.)  But all of these are nice things to have.   They also make great gifts for people, if you know someone who is going to be cloth diapering.  Often the accessories get a bit overlooked, but they do make life easier.

wetbag: to store your dirty diapers in when you are on the go ($5-21)

pail liner: to store your dirty diapers in at home ($12-16)

cloth wipes: more economical and easier to use if you’re using cloth diapers. With cloth wipes, you don’t have to worry about separating out the wipes from the diapers; they just all go in the same laundry. You can save money by making these on your own.   Flannel works great! ($12-21/dozen)

diaper sprayer: if your baby is on solids, not really necessary until then. ($40)

January 21, 2010 at 2:25 pm 4 comments

How can I start cloth diapering without breaking the bank?


While most people understand that over time you can save a lot of money by using cloth instead of disposables, it still doesn’t change the fact that plopping down $400 for the perfect cloth system is daunting for most, and impossible for many.  So how can you get started without breaking the bank?  Here are some ideas…

First–and I know this sounds simplistic–but try not to focus on everything you’ll need from birth to potty training.  Start small.  I meet many people that get discouraged at the cost of diaper sprayers, bigger sizes, etc… but you don’t go out and buy a year’s worth of disposable diapers at once, right???  If you did, you’d be discouraged with disposables, too!  Don’t get too far ahead of yourself.  Hold off on the purchases you won’t need until later, and start with an essential stash.

There are a couple of ways you can start cloth diapering.  Some people are successful with just buying one or two diapers per paycheck and just cycling those in with their disposable diapers, and slowly building up their stash that way.  This is great for those who are very patient–but it can also lead to discouragement for others.  Trying to use both disposables and just a couple cloth diapers can get very frustrating.  For one thing, you still have all the hassles and expense of disposables, and then you don’t have enough of a stash of cloth to really “get going” and develop a routine.  And, since you are only using one or two cloth diapers a day, it can start to feel like the change to cloth isn’t making a difference, either budget-wise, environmentally, or for your baby.

Another option, and one that I encourage you to think about, is to set aside the money you usually spend in one month of disposable diapering, and build your “starter stash” with that money.  Most families are spending around $50/month on disposables (a bit less if you buy store brands and use coupons, a bit more if you don’t).  For $55 you could try our Cloth on the Cheap bundle, which will outfit you with one dozen prefolds, three covers, and one Snappi.  This system will allow you to get through a day of cloth diapering, so you would be washing daily, but at least you can see if cloth is something that will work for you and your family… and if you decide at the end of the month that it’s not for you, you aren’t really “out” anything, since you just spent the same amount as you would have on disposables anyway.  In fact, if you hate it, you can even sell them or give them away.  And if you like the system, you could opt to expand a bit by adding another bundle or rounding out your stash with selected items from the store, or you can just stay “as is,” washing daily.  You can design a similar system by buying from any store, though I do discount the items a bit if you buy them in the package, so you save some money (and we have free shipping, so why would you really want to shop elsewhere??? 🙂

Now I know some of you are thinking, but aren’t prefolds hard???  And the answer is, not really.  Sure, I admit they aren’t quite as convenient as pocket diapers and some of the fancier modern diapers, but they are still very workable.  I think a lot is just in the frame of mind people go into diapering.  The moms I’ve met that are really committed to diapering in the most economical fashion always seem to manage with prefolds, and then the ones that are sort of set against it going in often find reasons that confirm to them that prefolds aren’t for them.  So, maybe prefolds won’t be your choice…but they are the cheapest way to get into cloth.

If you decide that prefolds aren’t an option, there are some ways to diaper cheaply.  First, check your local Craigslist or mom’s groups and see if anyone is willing to loan or sell their diapers.  Often people want to get rid of their older items, and cloth diapering moms are sort of a “community”–a lot of times people will give killer deals just because we like to see other moms succeed at cloth diapering, too!  There are also some online resources.  Diaperswappers is the premiere place for buying and selling cloth diapers.  (Note: I have not had good success on ebay. First, used diapers are technically prohibited from being sold there, and often the new diapers are no cheaper than buying from a store, but without warranties or any protections that you get from buying from someone reputable.)  On Diaperswappers, you can often find diapers in good used condition for around 50-75% of their new cost.

Also, keep in mind that all of Mothering Grace’s Busy Moms’ Bundles are discounted, and remember that we do price matching, free shipping, and we have a very liberal return policy, too!

Most of all, though, I encourage you to take advantage of resources around you before you set course on a diapering system.  While what works for your friend may not work for you, it is nice to get some opinions from people you know.  And I am always so disappointed that more people don’t contact me and really ply me with questions about diapering.  My favorite part of owning a diapering business, the reason why I got into this, is because it is a joy to help people make the diapering choices that will really work for their families, budget, and lifestyle.  Please take advantage of this if you are considering cloth and chat with me!  I feel confident that there are solutions that make sense for everyone, no matter the budget constraints.

January 21, 2010 at 2:04 pm 4 comments

Question: What kind & how many newborn diapers should I buy?


The question of what kind and how many newborn diapers comes up a lot, and it’s hard to say exactly what the right answer is for you and your baby.

Many people now opt for a “one-size” diaper as their primary system, thinking this will result in a lot of money savings.  Unfortunately, except for the SoftBums diapers that we carry at Mothering Grace, I really haven’t seen a one-size diaper that will truly fit a newborn.  In fact, most one-size diapers will be sort of ridiculously big on your little one until they hit 12 or 13 lbs.  This may be only 6 weeks or so if you have larger babies, but for others it could mean 3-4 months of oversized fluffiness.

This leaves most people wondering what the “perfect” diaper is to start off their diapering journey, and this is where it gets complicated. For economics, I think prefold diapers are definitely the way to go for this brief period of diapering.  These diapers won’t be getting a ton of use, so it makes sense to go with the cheapest method possible.  However, when one of the big selling points of modern cloth diapers is that they’re just as easy as disposables, it’s hard to tell people, “Oh, but you really should start with prefolds to save money.”  And realistically too, if people get a “bad taste in their mouth” with cloth diapering, then they aren’t as apt to stick with it.

Often people are looking for a more convenient option.  The undisputed “king of newborn cloth diapers” is the Kissaluvs fitted in size 0 (pictured above & coming soon to Mothering Grace!),  It features a handy snap-down that accommodates a newborns umbilical cord, and it fits well in that newborn period up until about 13 lbs.  At $12.95 each, these are substantially more expensive than prefolds, but also much more convenient.  Also, you can frequently find people selling their newborn stashes on diaperswappers or craigslist at steep discounts, so that might be a good way to outfit your newborn stash. (I bought 33 Kissaluv 0’s for $100, so I was happy.)  People often ask if it’s “worth it” to spring for a fancier, easier diaper like Kissaluvs instead of prefolds for newborn diapering, and I think it all just depends.  If you are already a bit nervous about cloth diapering and prefolds don’t sound like something you can handle, or if you anticipate having more children in the future who could use your newborn diapers, then I think you can totally make a case for the diapers being “worth it.”

This discussion wouldn’t be complete though without offering another option: the two-size diaper (like AppleCheeks or Thirsties Duo Diapers).  These diaper makers work from the idea that, if one-size diapers aren’t “really” one-size fits all and you need to buy a newborn diaper anyway, why not just make a two-size diaper?  So AppleCheeks and Thirsties have both stepped in and done just that.  Both will fit newborns from about 7 lbs. up until around 17, and then at that point you would bump up to the size 2 diapers, which fit until about 35-40 lbs.  I think these are a great option for the parent that wants to start with a convenient diaper, and the great thing about these is that they do get a bit more of a customized fit at all sizes than you usually get with a one-size diaper.  Both of these are fantastic diapers, so I encourage everyone to really check them out instead of breezing straight past them to the one-size diapers.

As for how many, I think to be safe with newborns you need at least 20, even if you are okay with laundering once everyday.  Sometimes newborns will be pooping practically right as you’re changing a diaper, and you don’t want to be stuck with not enough diapers.  So while older babies can get away with just 12 diapers per day of laundering, I like to have a few extra for newborns.

January 14, 2010 at 8:01 am 6 comments

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