Cloth Diapers: Diaper Service vs. Launder Your Own

Stuff makes me claustrophobic. Moving houses, packing the car for camping, having to carry luggage literally causes a physical reaction in my body. I want to shove everything to the curb regardless of whether or not it’s useful. Who cares if I use it every day? It’s dragging me down!

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So when we found out we were pregnant a definite panic came over me. Babies come with endless stuff. I didn’t want to buy a lot of plastic toys or send garbage bags full of diapers to the landfill. But also, I was worried about money. Daycare costs alone are terrifying but then you thrown in diapers, wipes, clothes, toys and formula if you need it.

We’ve gotten incredibly lucky with most things. People have gifted us clothes and we’ve gotten quite a few hand-me-down toys to get Haines started in life. I try to mainly shop at second hand stores. We’ve got a long way to go with breastfeeding but so far I haven’t had to buy formula. All those things are just luck and the kindness of others. Diapers I knew would be another story.

Despite being the one who insisted on cloth diapering, I was really skeptical about our ability to do it. Tyler didn’t protest the idea but he also didn’t jump on board. I think he was hoping I would eventually just change my mind. Between going back to work, breastfeeding, and the plan to make our own baby food I had some doubts about how well this would go over. The idea of making a significant financial investment only to be left with a pile of diapers we weren’t going to use, would be devastating. Still we moved forward.

After getting a few recommendations we added Rumparoos to our Amazon registry. At the end of my pregnancy though we also discovered a diaper service in town that laundered traditional cloth diapers.  We’re currently using the service, Green Baby, at the generosity of my mother and eventually will switch to laundering our own.

Diaper Service:

Pros

  • We’ve been with Green Baby Diaper Service since Haines was about 4 weeks. We started with 6 diaper covers and 2 plastic Snappies which was fine initially. It really couldn’t be easier- after each diaper change you just toss the diaper into the pail with a liner bag.
  • Once a week I place the liner bag full of stinkiness out on the porch and a man comes and collects in the morning.  A bag full of fresh one is always waiting when I come home from work!

Cons

  • Our daycare treats each cover and cloth diaper as one. They take the whole thing off and throw it into a plastic bag. So a cover that we would use over and over again until soiled gets used once and then sits with a dirty diaper all day. Initially this really grossed me out but I got past it. I wipe out the covers each evening and hang them to dry overnight. Every second or third (it’s hard to make it to 3 days) I wash them all.
  • We did have to invest in a lot more covers though so they could do this. 11 has turned out to be our magic number.

We use Thirsties and Best Bottoms covers. Both are great but Best Bottoms definitely seems more durable. Whatever you pick I’m anti-velcro. The velcro deteriorates faster than the snaps (which look perfect) and also sometimes get shifted so it rubs Haines’ belly.

Wash Your Own:

Pros

  • They’re incredibly easy to use. We opted for Rumparoos and like them a lot. Slide in the insert and snap on to that baby bottom. To remove and wash you do need to take out the insert. Can be a wee bit on the gross side, but it’s manageable.

Cons

  • It’s hard to go more than one day without washing. We don’t have many of these so that plays a part but the longer you go between washings the harder it is to face the task. It’s kind of a bite the bullet situation.
  • It’s just more work. No way around it.

Overall:

Several friends have complained about the number of poop blowouts they deal with every day using disposable diapers. While we do encounter them, it’s pretty rare, regardless of the cloth diaper we use. HEB is much more likely to need an outfit change due to excessive spit up rather a diaper leak or explosion. We also always keep a few disposables on hand for babysitters. Most people aren’t familiar with cloth diapers, even our pediatrician.

One thing to keep in mind is cloth diapers make for big booties. HEB is not a big baby but he goes through some sizes more quickly just because of his big ol’ cloth covered bottom.

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Please note enormous booty area.

The expense of cloth diapering is undeniably more up front, although if you’re laundering your own the overall cost is definitely less. Cloth diapers are one size and intended to last until potty training. I don’t know if we’ll make it that long but it brings me some relief to know we won’t be impacting landfills as much as we could be!

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