The Many Uses Of Cloth Diapers...Including Cloth Diapering

I thought about titling this post “Winnow the Poo”, but I thought better of it. Aren’t you so relieved?

So being…well… me, I have talked about (read: threatened) taking up cloth diapering for each of the three Us-es’ hineys. For a dizzying array of reasons I have never stepped out and actually done it. I know it seems to some more than a bit antiquated in these days of disposable-this-and-throwaway-that. Maybe it seems like an empirically unnecessary time-sucking chore. Or maybe it just seems “nehsty”.

Yeah, maybe, but not to me.

I’ll save us some time because to describe all the reasons cloth diapering is appealing to me would really require putting descriptors on entire parts of my psyche and bends of my personality. Who’s got time or energy for all of that? Let’s sum up instead: I want to cloth diaper. I think I would like it. I think I could do it. I’m going to try it.

So since I’ve determined I’m going to try it, I decided to do a little online research to see what I need to know or what I might not be anticipating in the world of cloth diapering. I’ll tell you right now what I was not anticipating: the outrageous amounts of money people are putting into this practice of cloth diapering.

Unbelievable. Really. Like, I don’t even believe it right NOW and I’ve done the research. Isn’t one of the reasons touted for cloth diapering so that you can save a fortune in fudge not buying disposable diapers? Well, then why does it cost so much to set a new mommy up with everything she needs to cloth diaper? Mind-boggling. My mind=boggled. Bogg.led. Seriously.

Now picture me, a woman determined to cloth diaper, in the midst of an unwavering personal campaign to winnow, doggedly resolute against spending superfluous funds to see my goals accomplished. So what’s a girl to do?

I’m so glad you asked . . . Take it on as a challenge and prove it doesn’t have to cost the equivalent of a country’s gross national product.

Fundamentally, to cloth diaper you need:
--cloth diapers (gasp…no?! Really?!)
--a way to fasten the diapers (diaper pins, Velcro, duct tape, etc.)
--some sort of non-plastic-most-likely-nylon diaper covers (unless you like being peed on…or worse)
--a pail or bin for wet/dirty diapers
--knowledge about the best way to wrap and fasten the diaper onto your baby (there are tutorials galore online, and practice makes perfect)

Really, truly, that’s it. In my mind everything else being sold for cloth diapering is a luxury and not an essential.

Here are my supplies and the price I paid for each –
-12 100% cotton prefolded cloth diapers (These are the basic ones you can buy at The Big Bullseye…or The Forbidden Place if you must.) This pack cost me $15.00.
-14 diaper pins (These were tricky to find, but I found them at We-B-Toys.) This is more than I probably need, but we Us-es lose stuff. I paid $3.00 (The pins “live” in a bar of soap which makes them easier to push into the cloth).
-4 pair of basic nylon diaper cover pant thingys (chocolate…candy…coated). Whatever they’re officially called, I paid $14.00.

Here is where I splurged. I purchased two pair of higher-tech diaper cover pant thingys, a) because they added a little convenience for whenever necessary, and b) how stinking cute are THESE?!

Here’s how they work –

(See how you fold the diaper towards the front and tuck it into the pouch for extra absorption? Cool, huh?)

And voila! It fastens like a disposable diaper. No pins needed.

Here’s the second of the two pair, modeled here by Pretty Baby.

Again, these two items were my splurge and cost $26.00 total.

So, all things considered, I spent $58.00 on all my supplies to set us up for cloth diapering. If you need something to compare that cost to, try this tidbit. While I was in the store that sells the nylon pant thingys one of the salespeople tried to sell me a “starter kit” (as well as trying to sell me special detergent, diaper liners, mechanical prosthesis that changes the diaper for you . . . okay, maybe not that last one). It came with one pair of pants similar to the two pair I splurged on, and six-100% cotton prefolded cloth diapers. And the cost? One.Hundred.Dollars. Yep. For less than half of the supplies I got, they would allow me the honor of paying almost twice as much.

Upon departure, Brilliant Beauty received her first lesson on retail sales and working on commission.

These are the plain nylon pant thingys . . .

Here is the pail I use for the wet/dirty diapers. It didn’t cost a thin, red cent since it’s one of seventy-four Easter baskets hanging around here. I sprinkle a little baking soda in the bottom of the pail for odor control, and then throw the diapers into the wash daily (and I keep the “24” DVDs nearby because who couldn’t use Jack Bauer’s help with dirty diapers?).

So I have now cloth diapered Pretty Baby for a little over a week and, as I knew I would, I love it. It just feels like it makes sense.

I was given an awesome diaper shower by KakiBlack and JenBen before Pretty Baby got here. I was so blessed by the friends who gave at the shower that I still have not had to purchase diapers or wipes, and Pretty Baby is almost four months old. Amazing. We still put her in a disposable diaper at bedtime because, well, we like sleep. Also, this is MY decision to cloth diaper and I don’t intend to impose it on grandparents, friends, or other family members by making them cloth diaper. We will continue to send disposable diapers with her when she goes a-visiting unless expressly asked to let them try the cloth diapers. I don’t anticipate that happening.

I realize I’m a latecomer to this cloth-diapering thing. I am, after all, just starting it on kid three. But I think the timing is perfect. We are in a routine -- a constant -- which allows me the room to experiment and learn and practice -- a variable. As a first-time mom to Brilliant Beauty, this might’ve felt overwhelming as I started learning her and myself as a mommy. After Little Big Man arrived, there was too much internal tumult to work on rising above, not within him but within me. Once Pretty Baby got here, we’ve started making our adjustments well, and we’ve seen no return of days like these. So now works. It works well. I’m loving it all.

Hence I have not actually winnowed the “poo”, but I am winnowing out our own personal contribution to Disposable Diaper Mountain. And I guess you could say, quoting from the modern-day classic, “I’m takin’ it back to da old school ‘cause I’ma old fool who’s so cool”.

Whoomp! There it is!


  1. Well , when YO LUFFIN MAN was a wee tot, there was no such thing as disposable diapers. I remember once when his beautiful mother left me in charge, he decided to make a rather large deposit. While rinsing the bulk of said deposit down the toilet , I lost my grip on said diaper and down she went. Cloth diapers actually flush better than disposable ones !
    Your a good Mommy

  2. I've heard people talk about all the money spent on cloth diapers! How encouraging to know that it can be done for cheaper and still work! Once again Jessi... I'm inspired... I'll file that inspiration away for later ;)

  3. You crack me up. We used cloth diapers too.....but just to wipe up vomit. I'm so ashamed.

  4. This is definitely something on my mind these days! :) Since we travel so much, I'm hoping to do a combo of cloth and flushable/biodegradable disposables. The biggest hurdle will be making sure our new apartment has a washer/dryer! Apartment living and on-the-road living is tricky in this area, but we're going to do our best to be cost- and environmentally-friendly.

    Thanks for these tips! xoxo

  5. Pawpaw, did you flush that nappy on purpose so you wouldn't be asked to change anymore diapers? Your secret's safe with me.

    Starrlight, you better be filling your file cabinet. You know what they say about a longing fulfilled . . .

    JenBen, you can dust, dry dishes, and pop somebody's hiney (like wierd guys do with towels in the locker room) with cloth diapers. The possibilities are ENDLESS.

    Pabor R. Plastique, in the newborn stage with all three Us-es I used 6 to 8 diapers a day. As she's gotten older I go through 4 to 6. I will say I do have to change her more often using the cloth diapers, but it still isn't a ton of diapers in a day (still only 4 to 6 changes). Worst case scenario, it would be really simple to hand-wash the cloth diapers and hang them to dry on a rack or even over the shower curtain or side of the tub. The only real requirements for washing the diapers is hot water, detergent (I use one without dyes or perfumes already because of Little Big Man's skin issues), maybe a dash of baking soda, and occasionally vinegar to keep stains from setting. Fabric softener is a no-no because it will get into the fibers of the diapers and cut down on their absorbency. I think you'd love it.


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