Mar 30, 2011

Cloth diapers are more expensive than disposables, right?

I came across an article online - High Cost of Diapers Forces Some Parents Into Risky Practices - the basic premise being that a lot of low income parents are unable to meet the costs of buying disposables for their children, so are doing certain things to 'extend' the life of the disposable - including washing the diaper out & reusing it.

It's a very sad truth - the statistics in the article say that 1/3 parents are doing this, and I would believe it.  Here in New Zealand for a regular sized packet of disposable diapers you are looking at paying $5.10NZD/3.86USD for the cheapest packet, and for the more expensive brands you're paying around $16NZD/$12USD - and that is for a pack of 15-20.  If I was to buy disposables for a week, I would need basically 2 packs for a week - so at the most approximately $64.00 a month - that doesn't sound like a lot really, but when you are barely making enough money to make ends meet each week, that is a lot. 

On my worst weeks by the time I have got groceries, gas & paid all the bills - I might have $40.00 left over, to buy things for myself & the girls & cover any unexpected costs that come up.  If I was buying disposable diapers, that would mean I'd have around $100 to live on each month, by the time the diapers had been purchased.  THEN you can take into consideration the fact there are women out there who DON'T breastfeed for whatever reason - and they have to purchase formula too - it all adds up VERY quickly.

It's fairly obvious that for me my main motivation to use cloth diapers was for financial reasons.  My initial stash was 20 OSFA pockets which cost $11.00 each - so $220.00, I also purchased extra inserts which came to $30.00 - so all up I spent $250.00 on my initial stash... which I paid for by layby - paying $10.00 a week over 25 weeks.  Yes, it was a long way to go about it, but I paid for the diapers at a rate that I could comfortably afford, and it wasn't as if I needed them straight away - they were paid off in May & Emersyn was born in mid June. 

When I look at the actual numbers, my total cost of $250.00 is the equivalent of
15 packs of 20 diapers - or 300 disposable diapers all up,
which I would have gone through in basically 7 weeks, if I was using an average of 7 diapers a day. 
7 weeks & the cloth diapers had paid for themselves.

Lets pretend I go through an average of about 25 diapers a week across the 3-ish years that Emersyn is in diapers, that'd be a total of  3900 diapers, and if those were disposables purchased at $16 for a pack of 20, that would be a total cost of $3120 for diapers alone (if my math is right!)... not taking into consideration the fact she could be in diapers for longer than 3 years - the total cost could easily be more like $4000.00.

Now lets pretend I didn't buy any extra cloth diapers & stuck with my original $250.00 worth - that would mean I would be saving $2870.00!

Obviously my cloth diapering addiction kicked in at some point & I've now spent a LOT more money on cloth diapers than I had originally, BUT each of those cloth diapers - which can be used hundreds (probably thousands) of times cost less (in most cases) than the price of one packet of disposables, and then when I am done with the cloth diapers I can sell them & make a little money back.  That isn't to mention that if I had another child I could reuse those same cloth diapers - potentially saving myself close to $6000 by the time that child was potty trained.  The average number of diapers is just an estimate - but I think that whether or not it's accurate it is easy to see that cloth diapering is by far the more financially viable option.

What's the whole point of this blog post?  I'm basically saying that there needs to be more of an awareness of cloth diapering, of the costs associated - and the comparison with the cost of disposables.  It's very true that you can spend upward of $40.00 PER diaper for some brands, however it is also true that you can be very thrifty with your diaper buying - and like me if you purchase pre-loved diapers you can pay well under half the normal retail price.  Here are a few examples of the bargains I've had...

3x barely used Snazzipants fitted diapers.. RRP - $84.00 / I paid:  $17.00
3x used, but in great condition Bummis Super Brites - RRP - $72.00 / I paid:  $17.00
5x used, but in great condition Bitti D'Lish - RRP $135.60 / I paid:  $76.00
8x used, still in good condition FuzziBunz pockets - RRP $263.60 / I paid: $40.00
3x used, still in good condition Ecobubs woolen pockets - RRP $119.85 / I paid: $30.00

GRAND RRP TOTAL:  $675.05 (average of $30.68 per diaper)
I PAID:  $180 (average of $8.20 per diaper)

I COULD of course sum this whole long winded post by saying:
NO, cloth diapers are NOT more expensive than disposables!

Mar 28, 2011

What's the Deal With Bamboo??

Since I began cloth diapering, I have heard a lot of mention of bamboo diapers & bamboo inserts - and didn't really know what the big deal was... I knew it was a natural fiber - and that it's what Panda's eat, but that was about it!  A few weeks back I purchased a PeaPods pocket diaper, and when it arrived it turned out the insert was actually bamboo - although bamboo wasn't something I was terribly fussed on trying, I figured it was a good chance to see what the big deal was!

Well - the big deal turned out to be that it is extremely absorbent!  the 6 layers of bamboo were a lot thinner than my regular 6 layers of microfiber, and I was sure that the diaper would end up leaking in a big way - so you can imagine my surprise when I took it off her after a particularly big sleep, to find that it was nowhere near as wet as my usual microfiber inserts would be.  It was a very nice surprise, but again not something I was terribly fussed with.

Fast forward to about 10 days ago - and Emersyn suddenly starts wetting through her diapers overnight, seems that she suddenly became a heavy wetter, and my faithful old microfiber inserts just weren't doing the trick.  I use pockets overnight & the thought of having to use THREE microfiber inserts didn't appeal - because it would make for one heck of a bulky combination, however my usual 2 microfiber + 1 microfiber or cotton booster combination was no longer doing the trick.  What to do, what to do.  It was then that I suddenly remembered how impressive that bamboo insert had been, and wondered if perhaps switching my microfiber or cotton booster, for one of the bamboo trifold inserts would be a possible solution to the problem.

So that night before bed, I stuffed Emersyn's usual pocket diaper with 2 microfiber inserts and 1 bamboo insert - I put her to bed & then had to just wait and see.

The next morning when I picked her up I wasn't met by the familiar feeling of a wet sleeper - it was completely dry!  On further inspection it turned out that the nappy it self was still relatively dry!  The microfiber inserts were of course wet through, however the bamboo insert was still dry toward the back of it.  Miraculous.  I did wonder if it was just a fluke, so that night I did the same thing - and the following morning was met by the same result!

So what issssss so great about bamboo??  Obviously after my success with it, I did some research to find out a bit more about bamboo (beyond the fact Panda Bears eat it!), and I found out that...
  • bamboo is hypoallergenic, meaning it's great for babies with sensitive skin
  • it's softer than cotton, lightweight & durable
  • it's naturally organic, antimicrobal & antibacterial
  • it's able to absorb three times its weight in water & absorbs 70% more moisture than cotton
  • bamboo is breathable 
  • it's also good for the environment - grows without the need for pesticides etc, it's 100% biodegradable & sustainable, it generates up to 30% more oxygen than trees, it enriches soil & can be harvested every year.

It is more expensive than microfiber, but I think it is worth it - particularly if you have a heavy wetter, or prefer havnig something a little more natural as part of your diaper system.  You can purchase bamboo inserts, but most brands also have a bamboo option for their diapers - again, they may be a little more expensive, but in my (limited!) experience with bamboo, I think the extra price is worth it!

Mar 27, 2011

Favourite Brands... part 1!

While Emersyn has her bottle, I thought I'd share some photos of Emersyn in some of my favourite brands of cloth diaper - I'll also go into more detail about these brands in the not too distant future!

This is one of Bummis new 'Super Whisper Wrap' prints - Ladybug
Another of their new prints - this one is called 'Bloom' & is my favourite print!
I just really like the colours they use in this print, particularly the pink & brown combo

This is a pink Itti D'Lish AIO - the first AIO's that I've really purchased & loved
The back of a lilac Itti D'Lish SIO (snap in one, which I believe is essentially an AI2)
The Fuschia AIO
And the yellow AIO

Wearing a size 1 Snazzipants fitted.. these were the first fitteds I tried & I love them (they are also a NZ brand)

My Clothaholic World

I never imagined that just over a year ago when I decided to exclusively cloth diaper my daughter Emersyn (who was still tucked safely inside at that stage), that it would turn into such an obsession for me - and yes, I think obsession is a fairly apt word to describe my love for cloth!  I started out with 20 OSFA pocket diapers, all the same brand - and thought that would be all I would need - or want.  However after spending some time on the cloth diapering board at JustMommies, it didn't take long for me to realise what was on offer out there in the world of cloth - OR that I wanted to try it alllllllll!

Emersyn arrived on June 16 2010 & I began cloth diapering her when she was 2 weeks & 3 days old (yes, very exact - I know!), her little but looked so big & bulky in her OSFA diapers, but at the same time they were too cute to NOT use.  For a couple of weeks I was more than happy with the OSFA diapers, but after a little searching on TradeMe one day, I realised that I too could have all the cute cloth the American ladies on my forum had - there was a mass of diapers for sale on TradeMe - some new, some used... considering money was tight, I decided to purchase a couple of preloved diapers, I don't remember right now what they were - but it was certainly the beginning of this clothaholism.

Fast forward 9 (beautiful!) months & my stash (that's a technical term in the cloth diapering world) is huge, and full of various brands of diapers, and various types of diapers.

Types? of diapers - I here you ask yourself.  Yes.  There isn't just one type of cloth diaper - they are split into 4 main categories
  1. pockets
  2. AIO's (all in ones) / AI2's (all in twos)
  3. fitteds
  4. prefolds
each of course having their own list of pros and cons, which I assure you I will go into in the not too distant future.  I can understand why cloth diapering can be overwhelming to those starting out - there is SO much out there that it can be hard to know where to start!  I personally started out as a huge fan of pockets (because they were all I had), I then bought some prefolds & covers - and fell in love with THOSE... a couple of months later I purchased my first fitteds, and again it was love at first sight/use.... Very recently I have started purchasing a few AIO's - and again....... LOVE.

If I had to sum it up, cloth diapering for me is LOVE... it's love for your little one, love for the environment & love for the adorable fluffiness that IS the modern cloth diaper ('MCD')....

My little clothbutt has just woken up, so I do need to sign off now to go and put another cute diaper on her little booty - but with that mention of 'clothbutt' - why not check out my 365 day photo challenge blog - CLOTH-BUTT CUTENESS 365 - with the focus being on - you guessed it, cloth diapers!  365 days in a row of cloth diaper photos to be precies!