Friday, May 06, 2011

Cloth-diapering 101


When I decided to cloth diaper Xavier, the motivation was almost entirely economical. I bought the infant prefolds from Bumwear at just under S$100. Xavier would be able to use these till 3 months old, where I would switch him to the one-size pocket diapers (which are much easier to wear than these).

Well the first snag was the size.

The prefolds came in three sizes: newborn, infant and premium. The difference would be the size of the prefolds (as to have too much spare “cloth” makes it a little hard to handle). I went with the infant-size, but as Xavier was a little small as a newborn, it was tough to get the cloth diaper on. I also bought the Small-sized covers (just 2, as recommended by the assistant, would suffice as it wouldn’t get dirty that much). This was also too big for Xav.

Hence, I could really only get started on cloth diapering when Xav turned 2-3 weeks old. But as my confinement lady was still taking care of Xav and it was a bit too complicated for her, I decided to just continue with normal diapers while he was in her charge.

But now… the money saving starts. I got to get a return on my $100 investment, see? Haha! Currently, I would cloth diaper Xav in the morning but come evening time, I would switch to the regular disposable ones. Given that a baby goes through up to 10 to 12 diaper changes a day, it is money well-saved! Let me do the math for you:

I recently bought a pack of Mamy Poko S-sized diapers. 72 pieces for $23.80, or $0.33 per diaper. Pretty okay, you think? Well, if you consider that the baby would use up 10 diapers a day, that would mean $3.30 a day. Just on diapers. Over the entire month, that would be close to $100 already. Hence, the cost of the cloth diapers would be expensed off within a month.


Other advantages of cloth diapering include:

  • Environmentally friendly. Less waste is always good for mother earth!
  • Gentler on baby’s bottom.
  • The “old style” method of cloth diaper involved the diaper pin. Which I am totally horrified with. But most cloth diaper systems are now “pin-less” – Bumwear uses these Snappis to secure the diaper in place. Took me two tries to get my fat fingers to know how to use them, but after that it is a breeze!

But to be fair, the disadvantages are:

  • It takes longer to put on the cloth diapers. Even with the prefolds, you would also need to do a small amount of “origami work”. While nowhere as complicated as the “old-style” diapers, it also takes about twice as long to fit baby with. Not good when you can dealing with a grumpy, hungry, crying baby. And which is also why I don’t cloth diaper at night, cos at 3 a.m. my reflexes and mobility are severely compromised and every extra minute of sleep is greatly welcome needful!
  • Diaper washing. With conventional disposables, you just dump and get a new piece of diaper. With these, you would need to wash the diapers! Thank God for my domestic helper!
  • Prompt changes. This is probably a good thing, I guess. Haha! Prevents diaper rash (which may come from infrequent diaper changes). But with cloth diapers, you can be sure baby would “communicate” a dirty diaper more effectively than before! Haha!

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