A year in cloth diapers!

We’ve passed several amazing milestones this year, a dozen years of marriage, a decade in our house, and a year in cloth diapers!

A year after tentatively buying 2 JSB pocket diapers from, Buckwheat Bottoms, we’re still doing it!  I don’t have cold hard numbers for you on money we have saved.  I do know I’ve tried to stick to spending less than what we would have been spending on paper diapers each month as I update and expand my diaper library.

Little in a Rainbow Brite fitted diaperAlong the way I’ve made some discoveries.  My daughter is what’s known as a ‘heavy wetter’ in the cloth diaper world.  I love the simplicity of using a trifolded prefold in a cover.  I don’t love pockets as much as I thought I would.  I do love natural fibers, cotton and bamboo are my friends.  I put off trying wool, but wool is cool!  It’s so amazing, and washing it every 1-2 weeks or when it gets dirty is NBD.  Fitted diapers with a wool cover are awesome for night time.

Around December my big baby decided to grow.  When she was 1 she weighed 27 pounds and was 31.5″ tall.  At her 18 month check up in December she clocked in at 33 pounds and 34″ tall.  Many of our pocket diapers started to fit poorly, or were too small.  The snaps on my favorite Rumparooz covers sprang open.  I found myself floundering, searching for styles that fit my daughters body and her active nature.  Cotton Babies had large FuzziBunz Perfect Size Diapers and Bummis Super Snap covers on clearance so I ordered some to try.  Large FuzziBunz diapers are large.  They sort of fit, but not well, they were a little too big.  They came with 1 microfiber insert and they don’t absorb fast enough for my ‘heavy wetter’ daughter.  When I added an extra insert, it helped with the absorption, but then they became bulky.

Little in her Rainbow Brite dress and fitted diaperI broke down and tried some BumGenius 4.0 diapers.  For some reason I was trying to ‘buck the trend’ of the popular BG diapers.  Susan at Buckwheat Bottoms had some pre-owned options in her store so I bought a few to try out.  Where the JSB pocket diapers were too small, the BG gave her nice room above her thighs so she could still move freely.  The BG 4.0 diapers still fit my Little.

Around February I came to the realization that I needed more absorbent material than the average cloth diaper uses.  When I realized that I needed to ad an extra insert to everything that works for the average child I felt like I wasn’t floundering quite as much.  The covers stopped leaking and I didn’t have to change the bedding as much!    The type of absorption mattered too.  Microfiber didn’t absorb fast enough for us.  I started using cotton inserts and put my stack of flour sacks to use.  I could fold the flour sacks to fit into many different covers/pockets/styles.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to make the realization that we needed natural absorbent fibers and more of them, but there it is.

Little taking a nap in our loaner wool longiesOur diaper stash started shifting.  I acquired more GroVia shells.  We use their organic cotton snap in soaker pads inserts with their organic cotton boosters.  The boosters don’t seem like much but they make all the difference in the world for us!  I fold down the top a little and stick them inside the soaker pads.  They stay put and make diaper changes faster.  These trim diapers fit my daughter well.  They don’t get in the way of her active nature.  We are still using our GroVia diapers.  I also picked up 2 more Flip trainers.  They work for us if I have two inserts in them.

Little showing off her big jumps in her BottomBumperI bought my first ‘fancy’ fitted.  I had a few plain ones.  A couple workhorse terry Popolini ones I’d bought preowned, and some Bumboos I bought on the baby steals site.  I was ready to try what everyone in the cloth diaper group was talking about; Wool and Fitted diapers!  I had some wool.  A friend is lending us her awesome longies but I was chicken to use them over night.  I bought a wool wrap, but it was too small to use over our night time configuration.  It wasn’t until I found the XL Loveybums at Buckwheat bottoms that I had some big enough for our night time solution.  When I started using wool covers at night it was amazing.  My girl’s night time diapers are something else.  I often sing that Sir Mix-a-Lot song when I see her in her night time diaper.  A prefold wrapped around a cotton insert laid in a popolini fitted wrapped in wool.  That lasts about 4 hours or so.  Neither one of my kiddos likes being wet at night.  Doesn’t matter if it is a paper diaper or cloth.  They get angry and start kicking, and nobody sleeps once they start kicking!   I put her in one night time configuration when she goes to sleep, change her when I get in bed around 10/11 and that lasts through the night, most of the time.  In the last month she’s started holding her pee better at night.

I bought a large RagaBabe All in One from a local woman in April.  Not counting wool, it’s the most expensive diaper I own and I love it.  It has hook and loop closure which sometimes irritates me, but I’m glad I bought the diaper.  It still fits my girl, and I know it will hold and not leak.  If we weren’t so close to potty learning, I’d buy more.

Little taking a break at the park in her Bottom BumperI also bought two Large snap Bottom Bumpers from Buckwheat Bottoms in April; they rock!  When I added the extra insert, they were perfect for us.  They have an amazingly narrow crotch area.  Their design is trim and they fit my big girl awesomely.  I thought I was a snap only girl but I bought some Large Aplix (hook and loop) diapers on clearance and they are awesome too.  I love the easy of putting on an Aplix diaper instead of fiddling with snaps.

In May I purchased a custom Rainbow Brite diaper from Happy Little Llama.  Such a sweet side snapping fitted that my little loves wearing with the Rainbow Brite dress we happily stumbled upon.  Another mama had bought the dress for her daughter, but it was too big.  It fits Little perfectly!  Paired with a Loveybum pull on cover it is a winning combination.

In June I snagged some XL side snapping Clover fitted diapers that someone had traded in at Buckwheat Bottoms.  Paired with a tri-folded prefold, they are our new go to night time solution.  Their design is unique, they have what looks like a pocket with snaps inside, but it’s not a pocket.  It’s a way to adjust the button hole elastic on the inside; sweet!  I was waffling about buying both of them.  So glad I was able to decide quickly to buy both of them.  Sadly, you can no longer buy them new.

My current quest is to find cute pull on wool for my girl.  If it’s not soft and brightly colored she has no interest in wearing it.  My Little is currently 34 pounds and nearly 37″ tall.  She has a 20″ waist and 12″ thighs.  It is a challenge to find trim fitted diapers to go with the cute wool.  I’m trying my hand at sewing some that will hopefully fit her perfectly under her new to us size 3 Sustainablebabyish underwoolies!

3 30 foot clothes lines!It’s been an adventure trying cloth diapers.  My husband was not on board when I started.  He used to frequently make negative comments about cloth and search for a paper diaper if he needed to change a diaper.  He hasn’t said anything, but little things tell me he’s coming around.  He no longer tells me how much the diapers stink when I put them in the washer to wash them.  One time we were traveling I only packed paper diapers and our daughter’s diaper leaked after her first pee that evening, thankfully I had put down one of those pads anticipating that.  He said “There’s a cloth diaper in the car, should I go get it?”  It was so sweet.  He even installed an amazing clothes line for me between our porch and garage.

Cloth isn’t for everyone, but I’m really glad I tried it out.  Sometimes it seems overwhelming with all the different options, but options are good.  No two babies are the same.  As my baby grew and changed different diapers fit her better.  It’s been a fun adventure figuring out what works best for us.  I’ve met a ton of amazing local mommas who cloth diaper.  I’ll bet there’s a local Facebook group for cloth diapering mommas in your neck of the woods too!  You should check it out.

Why I started cloth diapering

I can’t remember when I started thinking I would like to try cloth diapers.  I have a marvelous way of over thinking and never doing.  My friend added me to a cloth diaper group on Facebook in April.  In early June I was visiting my sister and we were hanging out one night.  I was doing a fantastic job talking about cloth diapers.  We covered prefolds, fitteds, all in ones, and why I thought pockets would work best for my baby who doesn’t lay still for diaper changes.  (I still hadn’t tried cloth yet.)  I started musing and crunching numbers while we were talking.  We go through 10 diapers a day.  My daughter is a pee machine, she likes to poop as soon as I change her, and I have an OCD like tendency to change her diapers as soon as they are wet.  Everyday I was taking a plastic grocery sack full of diapers out to the garbage can.  It is $0.25 for each size 5 Kirkland diaper.  That is $2.50 a day, $75 a month, $912.5 a year that we spend on diapers.

My first cloth diaper purchase, 2 Just Simply Baby Pocket diapers!Later that week, Buckwheat Bottoms, a local mom run cloth diaper store, ran a special on Just Simply Baby pocket diapers.  I bought two.  If I used one cloth diaper a day it would be paid for in 40 days.  And I figured if I only used one a day then I could avoid washing poopy diapers.  Even though I flush the solid poop from paper diapers, I don’t put any effort to scraping the smooshed stuff out.  I was confident I could do my experiment and pay for my two diapers.  I challenged myself to put Lil’ in at least one cloth diaper a day for a month.

Then something unexpected happened.  Well, not totally unexpected, but it caught me off guard.  After I changed my daughter into her first clean cloth diaper, she pooped; right away.  Remember what I said?  Yes, she prefers to poop in a clean diaper.  Figures!  As I cleaned that poopy diaper in the toilette, sometimes thinking ‘I am going to be sick’ and other times thinking ‘this isn’t so bad,’ it occurred to me that ‘I can do this.’

I went back to Buckwheat Bottoms and bought two more pocket diapers.  I was nervous about my long term commitment, but excited and confident that I would continue my month long challenge of using at least one cloth diaper a day.  I found something to wash everyday so I could clean my diapers and have them ready for the next day of use.

I started this crazy endeavor on June 18.  I passed my monthly challenge with flying colors.  I celebrated by purchasing 6 gently used Rumparooz and two Kissa Pocket Trainers.  I even splurged on a Flip Trainer.  A friend brought over some of her stash for me to use until her little grows into it which has given me a chance to try different pockets, covers, and fitteds.  At the beginning of this month, JSB ran an overstock special and I picked up 3 more diapers with inserts for a super deal.  August 5th Lil’ spent the whole day in cloth.  I used one paper diaper as her second night time diaper.  I’ve continued using cloth all day with one paper diaper at night.  Last night I put her in cloth as her second night time diaper.  It’s been over 24 hours since I put her in a paper diaper.  I wonder how long I can keep her going in cloth.

I have spent $200 on cloth diapers.  If I can go two and a half months without using paper, I’ll have paid for my current cloth diaper purchases.  My daughter will be in diapers for at least that much longer.  (I should have kept better track of how often I have used the diapers since I started.)  When Lil’ is potty trained, I can sell my diapers or donate them to a mom who cannot afford to buy diapers.

Why did I start cloth diapering?  It’s something I wanted to try.  They are super cute.  I feel good not throwing away a bag of diapers everyday.  I’m going to save money.  But most of all, I can do this!

Coupon confidence

huggies, coppertone, veetI had a great shopping trip at Rite Aid that made me giddy.  I bought a pack of Huggies, a Bottle of Water Babies, and some Veet for $3.08; $1.61 was tax!  I know this isn’t quite a golden scissor moment, but this is the type of transaction that keeps me motivated to use coupons.

This year I started tracking our expenses using “My Savings & Shopping Tracker” from Fistful of Coupons {now Happy Money Saver}.  Those cents and dollars off add up quick.  If I’ve been short of those amazing shopping trips and need motivation I glance at my summary page and gain encouragement.  I’ve saved $800 this year!  I’m getting better at keeping costs down.  I make a real effort to only buy the great deals if we need them or if I have a plan for what to do with the item.

Meal planning is essential for keeping costs down.  I’m on a meal planning roller coaster.  I haven’t hit my groove yet.  Some weeks we do great and others are no hitters.   I found a great free meal planning website which I tell everyone about; MealsMatter.org.  I’ve made a few schedules, uploaded our favorite recipes, but I haven’t made a habit of using it consistently yet; it could make a big difference for us if I did.  One of my goals is to create a monthly meal plan.  I’d love to look at the calendar and see what’s for dinner!

Updated 5*15*2011: Fistful of Coupons is now Happy Money Saver.  Fixed broken links.