Last year after the birth of our third child we made the decision to take the plunge into cloth diapers. We had toyed with the idea when our second baby was born I even purchased a few diapers to trail but we never really took any more steps and we got caught up with having two children sixteen months apart. I wish I could say that my reason for switching was noble and all for the planet or that it was to be a frual woman and save the family some money. Our inital reason for switching was that our second daughter, also still in diapers, was developing such bad diaper rash that it was painful. Looking back we wish we would have started out in cloth.
The first two things I learned were that you get what you pay for and detergent can make a big difference. Initally I went online and purchaced the most inexpensive onesize pocket diapers I could find. We got constant leaks and just could not get a good fit on our two year old or two month old. I had purchaced a off brand dye free, fragrance free detergent thinking that it would work. After about a week my diapers smelled like rotting meat. While this was going on I almost gave up. Who would want to have leaky and stinky diapers? I am very thankful that I plunged forward. Another friend who also used cloth told me I should try Planet detergent. I had initally rejected it because of the high cost for such a small bottle, but we use so little that I thought I would try it. I haven't needed to buy a new one since September and I wash two to three times a week. My next step was to purchace quality diapers. Even thought the inital investment was more I knew in the long run we would save money. I now use a mix of BumGenius AIO's and prefolds with covers. I have not had a leak or a blow out since.
After about a month into this new experience Gunar and I both commented the fact that we only filled one garbage can a week rather than THREE. I don't think we really ever realized just how much of our weekly disposal was filled with diapers. This lead us to take another step and we became much more consious about recycling. The impact has been a great step for my family. I desire to teach my children to be a good steward of the things given to them, the earth included.
I was happy to learn I had many misconceptions about cloth diapers. My house does not smell (and if it does someone please tell me). My kids diaper rash instances have dramtically reduced and our water bill has only increased by $1/month. All in all we are happy to have taken this step for our family. I still keep disposables on hand for babysitters, roadtrips, and those stomach bugs that can cause havoc but we are happy to have such cushy bums.