Thursday, April 28, 2011

Rising Prices - Time for Cloth Diapers?

Parents who use Pampers and Huggies diapers are about to see a sharp price increase. Kimberley Clark Corporation has announced plans to hike their prices by 3-7% just as Proctor and Gamble announced a 7% price hike on its diapers and a 3% increase on wipes. For parents already feeling the squeeze from rising food and apparel prices, the news is not welcome. The companies say that the rising costs of materials are to blame, but are also aware that parents will spend more money for baby products. For parents who haven't started diapering yet, or are thinking of trying something new, cloth diapers could be a cheaper alternative.

The average child goes through 5000-8000 diaper changes before potty training, adding up to about $1500-$2000 in disposable diapers. When using cloth, you can manage to spend less than $500.

What you’ll need: (Newborns need 10-12 changes a day, toddlers 8-10)
  • 24-36 cloth diapers 
  • 4-6 diaper covers 
  • 12-24 doublers or liners (more if a heavy wetter) 
  • 1 diaper pail. The diaper pail is just a covered container, like a garbage can. 
  • 1 diaper pail liner (waterproof and odor-proof bag). 
  • 2-3 dozen cloth wipes. Wipes can be made from cheap washcloths or cut up pieces of fabric, just add warm water. 
  • 2-3 bags for traveling. These can be large zipper plastic bags. 
  • Flushable liners. 
  • If you forego the covers and just use pre-folds you will need 4-6 fasteners. 
  • Optional: 0-3 all-in-ones, 0-2 wool or fleece covers for nighttime, and a wool wash with lanolin.
There are a lot of choices to make when deciding to cloth diaper.

Diaper Type:
  • Prefold diapers are the classic cloth diaper and can double as burp cloths or as a clean surface to put the baby on. They are often called DSQ’s for “diaper service quality.” These no longer require pins, although you can still use pins or plastic fasteners but most will stay in place when you put the cover on. 
  • Contoured and fitted diapers don’t require folding they just fit right into the covers. Adjustable contoured diapers grow with the child. Fitted ones have elastic near the openings to reduce the chance of blowouts, but be sure to try these before committing to make sure they fit correctly. Fitted diapers come equipped with a velcro, snap or tie latch on them. 
  • All-in-one and pocket diapers are the closest to disposables. They have a waterproof cover over layers of absorbent material. A cotton prefold or insert of some type is put into the pocket between the layers and the inner layer keeps the baby dry. The all-in-ones are great if you are going out or leaving the baby with a sitter but they take longer to dry and are expensive, plus the fitting isn’t as versatile and they don’t last as long.
Diaper Covers: If you don’t get all-in-one or pocket diapers with waterproofing built in, you will need to choose diaper covers. They come in pull-ups, wrap-arounds or with side-snaps.
  • Pull-ups are great when transitioning to potty training although removal can be tricky when the child has really soiled themselves. Typically pull-ups are used with fitted diapers because prefolds won’t be held snugly and will require fasteners. 
  • Wrap-arounds need to fit snugly to avoid leaks so take measurements carefully. 
  • Side-snaps also need to be fitted well to avoid leaks; note that these are not as snug as wrap-arounds.
Did you know it’s illegal to put human feces in the garbage? Even poop from disposables is supposed to be dumped in the toilet.

If cloth diapering seems like too much time and energy, diaper services are handy and you don’t even have to flush the solids - just throw the dirty diapers in a bag and place outside your door where the diaper service will leave a package of fresh diapers. A service may seem expensive but some are still cheaper than buying disposables.

Do you intend to cloth diaper?

Whoa Baby, Prices Are Jumping for Diapers, Other Family Basics [Wall Street Journal]
Crazy For Cloth: The Benefits Of Cloth Diapers [Mothering]
Diaper Facts [Real Diaper Association]
Quick Start Cloth Diapering [Natural Birth and Babycare]
How to Cloth Diaper [WallyPop]