I'm having a dilemma. I'm really torn about cloth diapers, and I'd totally appreciate any feedback.
I grew up in cloth diapers, and I remember helping to change my brothers' cloth diapers (and since my youngest brother just turned 26, you know I'm not talking about the new fancy cloth diapers--oh no! These are the old school rectangular pieces that you have to fold and pin...and I vividly can remember learning how to rinse them out in the toilet...oh what fond memories). I think I want to use cloth diapers, and I did some research on them while I was pregnant (wow--they sure have evolved since my childhood!). At the time, I had a discussion with my husband about how I wanted to invest in cloth diapers. He didn't like my use of the word "invest"--arguing that he wouldn't be getting a return on something that his precious Baby Girl would be pooping in. Have I mentioned lately how much he freaks out about her poop? He gets really grossed out at any sort of mention about bodily functions, so the best that I could get from his was an agreement that I could register for a couple and try them out once she arrived.
Well, she's been here with us for 10 weeks now...but I admit that we haven't made the leap into cloth diapering quite yet. Although she is tall, Ella is pretty lean--and she just seemed so tiny when she was born (she was 7 lbs, 6 oz...so she wasn't that tiny...she just seemed so tiny to us!). We received two pairs of cloth diapers--two one-size-fits-all Bum Genius, and two medium-sized FuzziBunz. It's definitely not anywhere near the stash that we would need to make the move to exclusively using cloth diapers--it wouldn't even get us through one day! But it's a start to seeing what we think of them. A couple of weeks ago, I tried out one of the one-size-fits-all...but apparently Ella doesn't fit into the "all" population. We had a major blow-out, so I chalked it up to her little butt and hips being too small and put the diaper back up on the shelf in her closet (washed, of course) until she grew a little bit more. Since we're home all day today, I figured that I'd try it out again, so she's in it now...and so far, so good. (Update: By the time I finished this post, she had dirtied a diaper...but it was all contained, so perhaps she does finally fit them!).
I realize that the fitted might fit better...but that would mean multiple "investments" (to use the word against my husband's wishes) in multiple sizes. I admit that while I do want to be good to the environment, that's not my main motivation behind cloth diapers. I'm cheap, and I want to save money. A standard estimate is that parents would spend $2,000 on disposable diapers, but only $500 on cloth diapers (the new fancy ones, that is--not the old school rectangular pieces like my brothers and I wore). So I'm really only considering the one-size-fits-all styles (assuming that Ella can indeed finally fit into them now that she has a little more fat on her bones). So Question #1: What brands and styles do you like? And do you use the disposable liners as well?
Now let me add some more kinks to my dilemma. For starters, the day care center that I think I finally like won't accommodate cloth diapers--and I don't blame them! They are no where near as convenient as disposables; and when it comes down to it, I'd rather them be playing with Ella than cleaning up her dirty diapers. But that argument also could be made at home as well. I'd also rather be playing with Ella than cleaning up her dirty diapers (and it goes without saying that my husband is out of the equation when it comes to poopy diapers--it's enough of a challenge to get him to consider changing a dirty disposable one!). If it's true that "time is money", then I need to consider if it's really worth it--cost wise--to spend even those few extra minutes cleaning up the mess. Granted, I first started grappling with this question after that first attempt at the cloth diaper when she had a blow-out and was still rather "needy". In those weeks since she has physically grown into the one-size-fits-all, she has also developmentally grown and is now a pretty happy baby who can easily entertain herself...at least long enough for me to clean up after her. Perhaps I just need a "system". So Question #2: What is your "system" for cleaning cloth diapers? Do you do them one-by-one after each changing, or throw them in a pail and clean them all at once?
But the whole cleaning question brings up yet another issue. I live in the desert, where water usage is a big deal. To be environmentally conscious means not just considering the landfills, but considering the amount of water we use as well. When I brought this up to my husband previously (partly as my own internal excuse when I was trying to balance the "time is money" argument to myself), he tried to assure me that we're really good about recycling and composting almost everything else that we possibly can, as if to say we're being "good enough" to the environment while still using disposables (but then again, this is the man who is squeamish at just the mention of poop). Ultimately, I don't want to be wasteful by doing multiple laundry loads with just a handful of cloth diapers. I don't want to trade one environmental concern for another. So Question #3: How do I balance these conflicting concerns about the environment?
Given that she will be in disposables while at day care (let's say that's 10 hours--including the commute), do you think it's still worth it for me to use cloth diapers in the evenings and weekends when she is home with us? And like I just said, I want to be careful about water usage--I'd rather do one full load per week of dirty diapers, rather than multiple little loads. And like I said earlier, I want to maximize the amount of time that I have to spend with her. So, Question #4: Is it possible to efficiently wash cloth diapers once a week? If so, how many diapers would we need to get through a week of evenings and weekends (with using disposables during the work week hours)?
When I see friends posting on their blogs or facebook about using cloth diapers, I am oddly jealous and proud of them...and ashamed and disappointed in myself--all at the same time. I want to get there...I just don't know if it's going to be the right thing for us. So please--I would welcome any thoughts, reactions, or suggestions.
Yesterday's blessing was the chance to go for a nice walk with my husband and Ella and have a good chat. He had Army Reserve Drill last weekend, and will have it again this weekend to make up for the weekend that he missed when Ella was born. So it was really nice to have that quality time with him and Ella.