Monday, April 2, 2012

Cloth Diapering for the Frugal Mama

Since moving out to my country home, hanging the laundry on the line, trying to grow and raise my own food, I also made another big change in my day to day routine.

I switched to cloth diapers.

I had attempted it SHORTLY with my older children.  I didn't understand the 'how to'.  I didn't appreciate the "why'.  And I failed.  They leaked, they didn't stay on, they didn't clean up well, and my husband flushed one down the toilet.

But moving onto my farm, and the knowledge that families used cloth diapers for FOREVER before pampers came along.... encouraged me to try again.

Somehow, the calmer, quieter, farm lifestyle made it MUCH easier!

And there is nothing so sweet as a clothes line of cleaned diapers blowing in the wind.

Of course.... cloth diapers, generally, are HORRIBLY expensive.  If you go to buy premade, fitted diapers, you can expect to pay $15-40 EACH.  Prefold diapers are cheaper but you can still expect to pay $3-6 EACH.  And I found out the hard way, they don't hold up to washing very well.  The last batch I purchased was much thinner than previous purchases (don't think I didn't notice) and after a few washings literally tore into bits of useless rag.  And the plastic diaper covers didn't last long either.  Don't EVER accidentally wash or dry them.  Even handwashing them seems hard on them.  And let's face it, they neeeeeeed to be washed!

So I used my little brain and came up with some solutions that work for me and my frugal, rough living, farm life with muddy, wild children.

I now use bar mops, or bar towels and bulk washclothes.

I can buy the bar mops about $1 each, at my local walmart, or online in bulk, and my washclothes came in an 18 pack for $4.  They are thick, absorbant, made to be used and used ALOT.  I haven't had ONE rip on me.

I layer them to cover the 'trouble' areas.  Laying one bar mop flat, I fold another up as shown.  I then fold a washcloth in thirds and then in half to cover just the penis area.  I would assume, with a little variation, this would work just as well for girls as well.

And I use snappis to close the diaper.  They do cost a little more than diaper pins, but they do not bend out of shape, and there is little danger of me stabbing my squirming child with such a sharp object.

When I change my child, I try to determine whether or not they are wet or poopy before beginning.  I get one of the many washcloths in my 'diaper cabinet'.  I wet it with warm water in my sink.  This may take a moment, as I have to grab the cloth and wait for the warm water.  But I rarely have diapering emergencies (poop-splosions) with my cloth diapers.  The small wait before the diaper change is of little consequence.

If the diaper is only wet, I can throw it in the general laundry and wash with my towels normally.

If the diaper is poopy, there are some special steps I must take.  If there are large clumps I rinse them off or drop them in the toilet.  I then place the poopy diaper and any wipes used into a lidded bucket that I have in my laundry room.  When this bucket is full I pour the load into my washing machine.  Since my bucket is only 4 gallons, this is a pretty small load.  So I change my washer settings - Small - Warm Water.  I add one normal scoop of my homemade laundry soap. This is the only laundry I use warm water on.  After it has ran through it's cycle.  I add a few more towels and change the settings back to 'normal' - Extra Large - Cold Water.  I add one normal scoop of my homemade laundry soap.  I then hang them to dry, or as it is winter, throw them in my dryer as usual.  Washing them this way, they come out completely stain free and smelling wonderful.  It took some experimentation to find out a system that worked for me.  I am well known for smelling EVERYTHING, and I can't stand stink.  YUCK!  So I think you can trust me when I say they smell great.  I know.  I bury my face in them and smellllllllll...... cleanness.  Love it.

Some great online places to purchase these items

Bar Towels

At first, the initial set up costs can seem daunting.  BUT!!!!
Consider how much you spend on disposable diapers.

I had a toddler and an infant in diapers for a while (and will again).  I went through about 1 sleeve of diapers for each child, each week.  And about 3 containers of wipes.  Even with my price hunting I was spending almost $40 every two weeks for diapers.

And I found even more incentive after making the switch.  My first two children suffered almost constant diaper rash and surface yeast infections in their diaper regions.  I tried many topical treatments and had to get prescription medicine a couple of times.  I finally resorted to drastic diet changes for my daughter before the age of two, because it was so persistent and refused to clear up regardless of any medications I applied.  Even with these drastic measures, it seemed barely contained.

These cleared up IMMEDIATELY with the cloth diapers and wipes.

And my youngest has NEVER had a rash, ever.

So it is cost effective.  It is environmentally friendly.  And it is healthy.  Go ahead!  Give it a try!

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