Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Diapers Diapers everywhere!

One of the main reasons to avoid disposable diapers is the environmental benefit.  As detailed on the Real Diaper Association as well as a variety of other places, disposable diapers take forever to decompose, they make up 1/3 of landfill material, and are made of awful awful things such as oils and plastics.

However, one month into my attempts at green parenting, I'm fully convinced that diapering will be the most expensive part of raising baby O for a while.  We don't think we need a million toys (and what we do want we can get used), we've found great sources for cheap and free clothing, I'm nursing (so food is "free").  But diapers... they're gonna cost some money.

Various sites out there suggest that disposable diapers for the average baby will cost at least $1500 and maybe as much as $4000 between birth and age 2 and a half or 3 when a child is potty trained.  Where as, dependent on which brand you use, they argue that cloth diapering can cost as little as $200 to $300 for the same amount of time.

Unfortunately, these calculations don't take into account laundering costs.  Folks that do cloth diapering typically do laundry every 3 days or so.  And given that I live in an apartment where laundry costs $1.50 for each wash and $2.00 for each dry... for that 3 years, we're talking about increasing the cost of cloth diapering from a few hundred back up to a few thousand.

Hmm... that's a lot of math to think about.  To make the math even more complex, Ben and I started out our cloth diapering life by choosing the brand gdiapers.  I really like they're company's environmental view point.  And they sell one of the most popular/commonly known brands of hybrid diapers.  Hybrid diapers have a cloth outer layer but a disposable inner layer.  And in this instance, the disposable inner layer can be disposed of either by putting it in the trash, flushing, or composting it.  And to top it off, little Baby O looks so darn cute wearing the little things.  The picture on the right is her, just a few days old, in her first tiny gdiaper.

Now that she's a little bigger, she wears size small.  Which comes with a bit more variety on color.  But the cost of the disposable inserts is quite high.  They're more expensive than a disposable diaper... which makes sense to me since they're a specialty item-- most organic and environmentally healthy choices are more expensive than the opposite option.  However, what I'm beginning to realize is that if I did an extra load of laundry every 3 days for the next 3 years, that's only $1277 in quarters.  And the cost of inserts for gdiapers will probably be closer to $2000 for that three years, even if I buy them on sale (hello Amazon Moms!)

So my question now is... am I really ready to commit to cloth diapering not only for the environmental reasons that I knew, but now also for the financial reasons?  Do I really want to be washing diapers every 3 days for the next 3 years?  What types of gear do I need for the house and the diaper bag to make cloth diapering 100% of the time successful?  And can I figure out the answers to these questions before my current case of gdiaper disposable liners is all used up?

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