I've been thinking about this post for a long time. When I tell people that we use cloth diapers, I get reactions ranging from "Cool! Tell me about it..." to "What!!? Why?". Most people are somewhat interested in how it's done and have no idea how far cloth diapers have come in the last 20+ years. A few friends have asked about my favorite cloth diapers, my washing routines, etc. recently, so I thought this was a good time to post.
We use cloth about 80% of the time. Lucy's diapers are mainly the same ones we used with Mollie, making it very economical. I prefer "pocket" style diapers. Basically these are a waterproof outler layer (PUL) and a fleece inner layer. There is an opening in the back where you put the soaker- a regular prefold cotton diaper or any other absorbent material.
Why do I like the pocket diapers?
1)Easy to use- you can put the parts together when you take them out of the laundry and they are as convenient to use as disposables
2)Adjustibility- you can stuff these things with just about anything, making them very trim or super absorbent depending on needs
A note on washing.... the new water-saving HE machines are definitely not as good for diapers as the older water hogs. You have to run extra rinses to get out the soap (using more electricity) because of the low water usage. But I am guessing it is still more economical and environmentally-friendly than disposables, especially when you consider the raw materials, transportation costs, and manufacturing waste/by-products associated with disposables. I certainly appreciate not spending $40+ per month on diapers.
Why do we use cloth? I decided to do it for environmental reasons and to reduce Mollie's exposure to the nasty chemicals in disposables. Have you ever used disposable diapers and seen the little crystal/gel-like things they can leave behind (pun intended) on baby's skin? There are some other added benefits.... earlier potty training in some kids, they are not as stinky as disposable diapers (some people are surprised by this one, but it's just that they don't have a chemical-y smell), and they are cute.
Next time... my cloth-diapering routine and recommendations