Home > Uncategorized > A Dad’s Review of Reusable Diapers

A Dad’s Review of Reusable Diapers

After using reusable diapers on Connor for over seven months, I now feel qualified to give them an honest, accurate review.  So here goes…

Next on the runway is Connor, sporting this red and white printed Bumgenius diaper that snaps easily and comfortably around his waist.

Our friend Karen introduced Jen to reusable diapers when her daughter was an infant about four years ago.  My eco-friendly sweetheart took to them immediately and has been set on using them ever since then.  According to Jen, they are stylish, easy, and way better than the cloth diapers from when we were babies, which is what I was envisioning.  I told Jen that I was willing to try it, and she dove into the research, gathering samples and making initial purchases.  By the middle of June, we were full-bore reusable diaper users.  For awhile, we tried out Softbums and Bumgenius diapers.  I had no idea that they would come in so many different variations.  Softbums diapers come with a colorful outer shell that velcros around Connor’s waist.  Inside the shell is a removeable cloth insert that snaps into the outer shell.  When it is time to change Connor’s diaper, the insert is simply snapped out of the shell, tossed into a laundry bag, and replaced with a clean one.  Unless there is a major blowout, the colorful shell can be reused for the rest of the day.  Bumgenius diapers are similar, but the cloth insert is stuffed into a pocket in the outershell, meaning that the entire diaper, shell and all, must be tossed into the laundry bag with each change. At first we preferred the Softbums diapers with the replaceable, snap insert, until we got tired of handling the urine-soaked inserts and realized that we wouldn’t have to do that if we used the Bumgenius type.  Thus, we eventually invested most of our money in collecting a stockpile of Bumgenius reusable diapers.

Before Connor was born, a friend confidently predicted that we would quickly desert our reusable diaper ambitions.  Dealing with poopy diapers would just be too disgusting to continue.  Granted, nothing is as easy as folding over a messy diaper and forever depositing it in a garbage can, but let me give you a number of reasons why we are still using them today.

  1. According to information cited on the Softbums and Bumgenius websites, users of cloth diapers will save between $800 and $1,200 per year.  That’s an average of $1,000 per year, per baby.  Let me say that again.  $1,000 per year!  I’m all about saving money, especially $1,000.
  2. They really are very easy to use.  Again, they come in different varieties.  Some velcro around the waist, while others use a snap system.  The velcro is obviously easier to use, but the snaps really aren’t a big deal either and they become easier once you get the hang of using them, plus they last longer.  Once it’s time to change the diaper, you pull it off just like you would a disposable, but instead of tossing it in the garbage can, you put it into a mostly odor-proof diaper bag.  When it’s time to wash the diapers, you just turn the bag upside down into the washing machine and start it up.  When the diapers are dry, you re-stuff all of the shells and they are ready to use.  All told, it probably takes us ten extra minutes to wash, dry, and re-stuff the diapers.  Additionally, Connor loves to “sort” and play with the clean diapers while we stuff them, so this part of the process actually becomes a game.
  3. They really aren’t any more disgusting than changing a normal diaper.  Assuming Connor goes #2, once he is fitted with a new diaper, I simply unend the poopy diaper over the toilet and flush.  Seldom is Connor’s poop so sticky that it will not immediately dislodge from the fabric.  On those rare occasions, I just wipe it out with a wad of toilet paper.  You might say that is gross, and it is, but considering that I just finished wiping Connor’s butt anyway, it’s really not a big deal. 
  4. You might argue that while we’re saving money in diapers, we are losing money in costs of detergent, water, and electricity.  Obviously, yes, these are additional costs.  However, we have a high-efficiency washer and drier, which means our costs in these categories are minimal.  Furthermore, in examining our water and sewage bills over the past two years, I see only a $10-20 increase per quarter and I must also account for a rate increase.
  5. Supposedly, cloth diapers prevent diaper rash.  From what I hear, diaper rash can be nasty.  We have yet to encounter a serious bout of it.  Whatever keeps Connor happy, keeps me happy too.

From the above five points alone, I don’t know why you wouldn’t use cloth diapers.  Yeah, they are a little more work, but I think the savings are well worth it.  Plus, as Jen reminds me, we are saving the environment (yeah, yeah, yeah).  For awhile, Jen was driving herself nuts trying to make sure that she only used reusable diapers.  That simply isn’t practical, and I reminded her to keep things in perspective.  Don’t drive yourself crazy doing round-the-clock laundry when you can slap a disposable diaper on the kid every once in awhile until you have time to take care of the dirty load. 

Early on, Jen pushed reuseable wipes, as well.  This product does not get my vote of approval, and thankfully it went by the wayside.  It makes me feel like I have to prep for surgery before every poopy diaper change, and God help you if you start a diaper change before realizing that there’s a surprise waiting for you inside and then you’re unprepared and the disposable wipes are not within reach.  That just gets messy.  She bought a special spray that we were supposed to use with the reusable wipes in place of water.  It doesn’t work and it smells funny, not to mention that using reuseable wipes increases the likelihood of getting your hand smeared with poop.  It’s just not worth it.  Case closed. 

All of the above is true.  Yet, the events of the last week beg that I leave you with a final warning.  Knowing the success with which we have had with reusable diapers, several expecting couples who we are friends with have asked us about reusable diapers,  We eagerly shared with them everything we knew and gave the diapers our full endorsement.  However, I feel obligated to tell you that in the past week, I have had to deal with two diapers that if I would have dealt with them early on in our cloth diaper experiment, I may be singing a different tune today.  For whatever reason, the consistency of Connor’s poop changed at the same time that his volume increased, making it impossible to shake out the diaper over a toilet, and every attempt I made to scrape it off with toilet paper just made the situation worse.  To be frank, it was pretty disgusting.  I say this not to gross you out, but to warn you that I guess circumstances can and will arise which may permanently or temporarily make you regret your decision to go green with your baby’s diapers.  However, both of those diapers happened within 48 hours of each other, and we have not had a similar situation since.  They have honestly been the only ones that have made me second-guess our decision. 

In conclusion, I give reusable diapers a nearly full endorsement.  They are easy to use and will save you a lot of money.  At the same time, users must be forewarned that occasions may arise during which a healthy perspective toward your baby, spouse, and life in general must be maintained.  If while swooshing a poopy diaper in a bowl of filth you are unable to calmly remind yourself, “I am saving $1,000 and planet Earth.  I am saving $1,000 and planet Earth,” then reusable diapers might not be for you.  At the same time, these instances, from my experience, are extremely rare, so my advice would be to suck it up, save up for something nice, and enjoy a beautiful sunset.

  1. Diane Killmon
    January 16, 2012 at 8:38 pm

    Love the ending, Mike. I have a similar mantra that I must repeat in my stage of life when I have no energy left after work: “It is cheaper and better to cook and eat at home”…It is cheaper and better…” you get the picture 🙂 Love to you, Jen and Conner!

  1. No trackbacks yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: