Thursday, June 16, 2011


Ahh, diapering.

Who would've thought that a topic so seemingly simple (into what receptacle shall my child take a crap?) could arouse so much passion?

Cloth diapering folks are indeed, so passionate, it's a little hard to wrap my head around it. They love cloth diapering. And I'm not against it, not by a long shot... it's more of a "huh???" reaction that I have about anyone getting that excited about bathroom business.

Given my attitude, it's surprising to me how much thought I've given this topic. I reckon I've got three four five issues to deal with here, at least:

  1. cost
  2. convenience
  3. impact on the environment aka guilt 
  4. efficacy 
  5. impact on baby's tush
(Isn't "tush" a funny word? Never mind "tushy!" I'm assuming it's Yiddish? All you folks in non-Jew land... do you use the word "tush" too?)

So cost is a big one for me. I've started to think about my unpaid leave, and it makes me awfully anxious. Then I remind myself that this is what I've been saving for all these years... this is going to be an incredibly special time in my life, one that can't be replaced. It's worth it. For sure. 

But even when I go back to work, because of needing to pay for childcare, money is going to be very tight, indeed. So cloth diapering services, at $35 a week, are out of the question for me. 

Whatever my solution is, it can't be too expensive.  

Convenience is key, too. If I was a stay at home mom, I would just wash my own diapers, and save lots of money, I am sure. But given that I don't have a washing machine in my apartment (I do have one in the basement of my building -- that was a non-negotiable with my latest move, since I knew I was planning to get pregnant... and even if I wasn't, I had come to the place where laundromats were pretty much the bane of my existence). Convenience is also a factor for daycare: that is, I am assuming they won't agree with a diapering solution that isn't easy for them. 

I assume that impact on the environment aka guilt is fairly self explanatory. 

Efficacy is probably self explanatory also, but just in case it's not... a diaper that constantly leaks is no good to me. 

Impact on baby's tush is pretty easy to comprehend, too. But beyond my desire to avoid painful diaper rash, I also worry about the longer term impact of having all sorts of chemicals against her skin. 

So today... drumroll please... I brought home 280 disposable inserts for the G diaper system (purchased at a steep discount via the local parents' listserve... this particular mom's baby grew out of them much more quickly than she expected). I also bought, via the glory of PayPal, six "Little G" diaper covers. Used. 'Cause I'm not squeamish like that. 

So the diaper covers and diaper liners (they go on the inside and create, I think, a moisture barrier between baby and diaper insert) get reused, and diaper inserts get disposed of. What's cool is that the diaper inserts can be flushed or even, if they have urine only, composted. (Whether or not my local community garden is down with composting my diapers is another question, one I have not yet addressed.) So there's no bad petroleum or other man-made items in there. A side benefit of flushing the poopy ones is that there's no smell lingering around the house! A potential negative to flushing is that you apparently have to poke or peel the layers apart to make sure it flushes easily. They sell a kind of stick for this purpose (of COURSE they do!).

The cost is a bit steep, to be sure... Twenty-six cents per liner if I buy them from Amazon via Subscribe and Save, versus sixteen cents a diaper if I bought Pampers Swaddlers from Amazon via the same. Of course, if I buy cast-offs from another parent, it could be even cheaper. Today's purchase worked out to 4.6 cents each!  

That doesn't, of course, include the cost of the covers. But I'm pretty sure I can get those used from the G diapers Yahoo group. 

So I'm excited to give this all a try and see how it works. I know it works great for some families, and not so well for others. Hopefully I haven't just thrown away a hundred bucks. But they certainly are cute, aren't they???

gDiapers Flushable Refills (Pack of 4)

(This is not my baby. I don't have a baby. Yet. Soon, I fervently hope!)

I also have three packs of NatureCare disposable diapers to use for the first couple of weeks, also bought from a local parent whose newborn stash was too big.

And finally, I'm hoping to keep my costs down somewhat by doing Elimination Communication. My friend Emily did this with her now three year old, and had unexpected success with it, starting at three weeks of age. She never meant to start this early, but she said that it was just obvious a lot of the time when her baby needed to go. And it was the cutest thing to see -- when she would put her tiny baby on the potty (stationed on top of the dresser), this little baby would grin. There was no doubt about it: she definitely preferred the potty. And the communication between them -- it was amazing to see.

Emily certainly wasn't trying to potty train at a world record age, it was more, as she pointed out, that why would she make her daughter crap in her pants instead of on the toilet, if Emily knew her daughter needed to go? And so I think little A was mostly diaper free at home, not including nighttime, by a few months of age. And Emily didn't need to use diaper wipes on the potty, just toilet paper, so all told, she saved a lot of money.
Of course, she used a nanny (certainly not a savings over daycare) who, while uncertain about EC at the start, was on board within a day or two -- A's signals quickly became obvious to her as well. I'm pretty sure my daycare will not be so amenable.

If anyone's interested, this is the book that explains how to do it.. and not to worry, it doesn't have to be an all or nothing thing. You can definitely do it part time. And you don't have to be a believer to try it out!

The Diaper-Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative


  1. Do you follow Billy's blog? Her daughter is a year old and they do EC.

  2. Another thought... Wipes.

    My sister bought about 50 cheap wash clothes at Tar.get and wets them to use as wipes. Then she just throws them in the laundry. It is better for the environment and doesn't have harsh chemicals of wipes.

    She bought Elsie about 40 clothes (or butt wipes as she calls them) and they are waiting at home for us. Interesting note... The hospital has a similar system of disposable towels you wet to clean the babies with. And here I just thought she was crazy at first!! :)

  3. I thought I'd use cloth more than I actually did. Now I just need the convenience of disposables. Plus, daycares here CANNOT do cloth diapering due to health dept regulations - something to check with your perspective daycares. I bought soft flannel baby blankets from thrift stores, and cut them into little squares, and used them as re-usable wipes with just warm water. Fiona's bottom was extremely snesitive and she couldn't handle any kind of scented diapers/wipes as an infant. The homemade wipes were ridiculously cheap, easy, and good for her bum.

  4. PS for inexpensive disposables look into ordering from and amazon mom. I am just now making the switch from Costco brand disposables (which have worked great for Fiona) to Pampers from Amazon Mom. With their various discounts, they end up being cheaper and are delivered to my doorstep!

  5. Jett and I do covers, flats and cloth wipes (along with some disposables that my mother insists on) and his tush has yet to rash. I'm sure you'll do well on that end. He pees so much but it still works. I never could do G Diapers. I was sad. His butt was too tiny for the inserts I bought but like most cloth mamas, I love me some cloth diapers.

  6. My Jewish family is very familiar with "tush" and "tushy" in reference to kiddos and pet butts. I firmly believe that a "fanny" can only be used to describe an elderly woman with a flat butt....glad to see you have used the proper terminology! Hahaha!