Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Diaper Dilemmas

Sooooooo... I need advice.

I want to use cloth diapers* for the baby after he's born, but I'm torn on whether it makes more sense for us to buy diapers and do the dirty work ourselves or to use a diaper service.

Here's what I see as the pros and cons are for each type:

Buy cloth and wash ourselves


  • You have more options.  Seriously, there are so many cute baby diapers out there.
  • It's the cheapest option in the long run - especially if we do the super environmentally friendly/ frugal thing and buy used ones.
  • You can sell the diapers later and recoup some of the costs.
  • It's expensive upfront, and we may have to buy some extras as the baby grows (although most have 7 zillion snaps that allow them to grow, too).
  • We'd have to wash them.  One the one hand, we're going to be washing a lot of stuff anyway.  On the other hand, most diapers require a pre-soak cycle, and as much as I love my washing machine, it only has two cycles "On" and "Off", there's no pre-soak option as far as I know.
  • Even though I know parents get totally immune to this kind of thing, you have to wash the poop off before the diaper goes in the washing machine (for good and obvious reasons) by swirling the diaper in the toilet.  I cannot envision a world where I would not happily pay someone else to do any and all poop swirling for me.  
Diaper service

  • No poop swirling (and I'm led to believe that babies make a lot of poop... though breast milk poop doesn't smell too bad???).
  • No washing (so less stuff to wash overall).  The service can wash everything in super hot water with hypoallergenic detergent. 
  • The upfront investment is no more than doing disposable diapers.  
  • Supports a local business.
  • It's more expensive in the long term than doing the work yourself, but it's comparable to buying disposable diapers.
  • The service only picks up once a week so even with the special trash can and bags and deodorizers they provide, it might get smelly.
  • The service only provides prefold diapers (the old fashioned kind) paired with diaper covers (but this actually doesn't seem that much different from the more modern pad/cover combos I've seen).
  • You can "rent" a package of 4 diaper covers for $19 and trade them for a larger size at any time.  There's also an option to buy extra covers from the service at $8 a piece (they are normally about $16 a piece at our local diaper shop).  BUT 1.I'm guessing 4 covers is FAR from enough.  and 2.You have to wash the covers yourself.  If I'm already washing covers, might I just as well be washing diapers, too???  I probably need to call and talk to the service people more about this.

Right now I'm leaning toward using the service.  It's definitely easier/less expensive to switch from service to washing my own diapers than it is to decide I'm not going to use a bunch of cloth diapers I've already bought and use a service instead.  Plus, even though I'm sure my wonderful child will make wonderful poop, I'm also sure that I'm not going to want to have to deal with washing said wonderful poop out in the toilet after being at work all day.  As I said before,  I cannot envision a world where I would not happily pay someone else to do any and all poop swirling for me.    

What do you think?  Does this seem like a good decision?  Other factors...Our daycare is happy to do cloth diapers, and I can register at both the cloth diaper store and with the service so people can contribute (if they choose) for my baby shower.  Is there anything else I should consider?  Am I totally crazy to do cloth in the first place?  

*There are perks to disposables, too, and I plan to have some to use when were out/traveling away from home, but I want to save the whales, and using cloth diapers saves the whales ;).


  1. we used a diaper service and loved it. you will already be doing a lot more wash, and adding diapers to the list - will just be MORE laundry. The diaper bucket really never smelled.

  2. Good to hear about the smell. I was truly worried about that. I know babies are expensive, but I think that, if we're going to spend money on anything, it ought to be on things that can make our lives easier - especially in the early days.