Posted by: Ingrid | February 10, 2009

Cloth diapering questions


Even before I got pregnant I was toying with the idea of using cloth diapers when we had kids. That I even would consider it surprised me, as my mom used cloth diapers for my brother and sister and I remember the gigantic pins, and the fact that the pins would go missing just as you got the diaper off the baby, and they were big, bulky, and boring. When I grew up I was going to use disposables, which were small, and cute, and had little designs around the sides.

 Fast forward to age 29 when I realized that cloth diapers sounded better and better. Plus now they make cute cloth diapers like the Bum Genius 3.0, which is a one size fits all diaper. Cloth diapers have come a long way! It seems like there are lots of good reasons to use them (comfort, cost, better for the baby’s skin, better for the environment, etc.) and there are many websites that go into detail on everything so I won’t.

The savings factor especially amazes me. Most of the estimates I’ve run across say that you spend an average of $2,000 diapering one child. Even if you buy 30 Bum Genius 3.0 cloth diapers, you’re only looking at just over $500 (Unless you find them second hand, which means they’re even cheaper!). That may sound like a lot up front, but then you add in the next several kids (keep the colors gender neutral, I guess), who use the same diapers, and you’re saving… quite a lot! Maybe even enough for mom and dad to take that European vacation.

So it all sounds good, but I’m wondering how it is in reality. So for any of you who use or have used cloth diapers, maybe you have answers to some of my questions.

Do you start out with newborn disposables or did you cloth diaper all the way through?

How many cloth diapers do you really need?

Is it better to go with the more expensive diapers or the basic pre-folds?

Can you cloth diaper while living in an apartment where you don’t have your own washer and dryer?

Are the insert diapers hard to clean?

Thanks in advance for your help!



  1. Hey, we can talk about this on Thursday. Remind me! 🙂

  2. Do you start out with newborn disposables or did you cloth diaper all the way through?

    I didn’t start cloth diapers on Edmund until he was 3 months old, but that was because we didn’t have a washing machine till then.

    How many cloth diapers do you really need?

    I purchased the Bummis box off Amazon. Perfect amount.

    Is it better to go with the more expensive diapers or the basic pre-folds?

    Depends on your budget. If I had money, I’d do Bum geinus. However, the bummis are very easy. I am now doing flats while in England (like the good ol’ days). I despise those.

    Can you cloth diaper while living in an apartment where you don’t have your own washer and dryer?

    You can, but it will be more expensive. We used Target brand diapers in the laundry mat days. To buy their diapers cost the same as washing the diapers.

    Are the insert diapers hard to clean?

    I’ve not used insert diapers. Just flats and prefolds with bummis. Never had any problems with the prefolds.

  3. Hi! Stumbled on your blog after clicking on to Sea Legs Girl’s. I am running during my (2nd) pregnancy, although I’m more of a novice (think: training for an 8k) than you pros. Anyway, I’ve been cloth diapering for about a year and half now and love it, so I thought I should comment on this post.
    1) Started cloth diapering as soon as we got home from the hospital b/c I was excited to try it but afraid that I’d get “hooked” on disposables if I didn’t dive right in. Worked for me, although a friend of mine just switched to cloth at about 8 weeks and recommends that to others – it gave her time to get other “new baby” stuff (and her own post-partum recovery) worked out before starting in cloth.
    2) Lots for a newborn, b/c they’ll go through anywhere from say, 8 to 16 diapers per 24 hour period. Fewer as the child gets older and is “going” less often and sleeping through the night. Depends on how often you want to do wash, too.
    3) Personal choice, but I recommend trying a little of everything and seeing what you like and what fits your baby before investing in a bunch of diapers that are all of one brand. For cost reasons, prefolds are handy for newborns, because you can buy several cheaply. I prefer the ease of use of pocket diapers generally, though – especially for an older baby, say, 3 or 4 months and up.
    4) I’m sure it can be done in a laundromat, but I’ve luckily never faced this challenge. Another option would be to use a diaper service (if available where you live), although that would probably limit you to using prefolds and covers, rather than more “modern” systems of diapering.
    5) No, I don’t think pocket diapers with inserts are hard to clean at all. Although, I’ve made tweaks to my wash routine here and there over the last year and a half. I guess everyone has to figure out what detergent or routine works best for them.
    Email me if you are interested in seeing my so-called “treatise” on cloth diapering that I wrote up for a few friends who were interested in trying it, and I will send you a copy. Good luck with whatever you decide to do, and remember that it doesn’t ever have to be all or nothing — for me it has been all cloth, but some people do a little of each, or switch back and forth depending on their life circumstances at the time.

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