The idea of cloth diapers first entered my head a few years ago, when Crystal of Biblical Womanhood mentioned that they used Fuzzi Bunz on their baby. I went to the Fuzzi Bunz website and really liked what I saw - those are not the cloth diapers of yesteryear! The thought of saving a lot of money over the long run, by purchasing reusable diapers instead of disposables, appealed to me.
We bought some diapers for a baby shower a few years ago; I couldn't believe the price, and they were ON SALE! Thinking about how many packages you would have to buy for just ONE baby made me choke! :) Since I'm hoping to have many babies in the future, you would have to multiply that price per child. Wow. Time to research more seriously about cloth!
Post continued on another page to spare those who don't want to read the details. :)
I started reading up on different types of diapers...flats, prefolds, fitteds, all-in-ones, pockets...so many new terms to learn about. I definitely liked the sound of pocket diapers, which was the style of the Fuzzi Bunz brand. They have a waterproof outer layer, a soft stay-dry layer which would be next to the baby, and a pocket in between those two layers. You stuff that pocket with an absorbent insert...microfiber being popular. If more absorbency is needed, simply add another insert.
Dad thinks the whole idea is disgusting! :) But really, you're already dealing with a dirty diaper...one or two more easy steps isn't going to make much difference, in my opinion. No soaking or dunking is required, unlike what people used to do. Suedecloth or microfleece helps messes to come off easily - you dump any big messes in the toilet (which, by the way, the Pampers website says you should do with disposable diapers too), toss the diaper in your diaper pail, and wash a load every 2-3 days.
So I started considering whether to invest in Fuzzi Bunz. They are VERY expensive though, $19.95 for a single diaper. With needing a good sized stash of diapers to last between washes, and all the different sizes you would need, that was just too expensive. I looked on E-bay, but they are so popular that the bidding gets up to almost retail price! So much for that idea. During this time, Jonathan often referred to me as a "Fuzzi Bunz fanatic." :)
The solution? Make my own pocket diapers! Soon after that decision, Susan had a post all about homemade cloth diapers on her blog - yay! I had some questions about all the different options, fabrics, etc. so I emailed her, and she sent me a very informative answering email. Thank you, Susan!
That was back in September, and I didn't do much after that, with Aunt Bunny here, the holidays coming up, and I AM still working on my wedding ring quilt! But now, just in the past week, I went ahead and joined several fabric co-ops that Susan told me about. The waterproofed fabric used in diapers is called PUL (polyurethane laminate), and its retail price can be rather high. However, the co-op can get it much cheaper. One of them is having a sale for the month of January, so this past week has been packed with more research and decisions on what and where I need to order before the end of the sale on Saturday.
I bought the Darling Diapers pattern, as it seemed to have many different options and be understandable for a newbie to diaper sewing. At the moment, I am planning on making around 50 diapers, although I'll probably need more later on in the larger sizes. I've had diaper terms swirling in my head all week...FOE, polybraid, 1 mil vs 2 mil, wicking, gussets, caps and sockets and studs, snap press vs snap pliers...it can be overwhelming.
After laying out the diaper pattern on some fabric, I think I need about 8 yards of the PUL. I'm planning on buying half white and half butter yellow, plus 1.5 yards extra of neon green to make diaper pail liners and wet bags. With the elastic around the normal diaper, plus adding in gussets, I'm ordering 53 yards of polybraid elastic to be on the safe side. My plastic snap parts - 1000 caps, 1000 sockets, and 1000 studs - were ordered last night. I'm getting very excited!
In addition to the diapers themselves, I've been making some easy cloth wipes to go along with them. There were some scraps left over from my flannel baby blanket that came in handy, and I also bought some cute baby flannel that was on a great sale last week. The leftover bits and pieces made 9 wipes when sewed together, and the new flannel should make about 25 more. You can make wipes by cutting up old t-shirts and sewing 2-layer squares, but I couldn't resist the cuteness + cheapness of the flannel. Homemade wipe solution recipes abound on the Internet and sound very simple to mix up.
Through all this, I've kept a list of all the costs of the materials. For 50+ cloth diapers, adding up the pattern, suedecloth, fleece, microfiber, PUL, snaps and snap pliers, elastic, and thread come to approximately $180. Divide that out, and each diaper only costs $3.60! Much better than $19.95...
Two diaper pail liners, two zippered wet bags, and a changing mat come in at around $18. The almost three dozen cloth wipes are about $14. All in all, a very good investment in my opinion.
I know my obsession must seem strange, as I don't have any babies yet, nor am I married. But I figure that I should get it done now while I have the time and energy!
Did you make it through that whole post? :)