Wednesday, February 3, 2010

The Great Diaper Debate

I need your experience and wisdom...

Cloth vs. Disposable diapers

When Jon and I were thinking that we would be matched with one toddler boy,  we had decided that we would try using cloth diapers.  I know, I know, maybe I don't know what we are getting into, but here are the advantages/reasons why cloth diapers would be a good fit for us:
1) Huge Savings. 
2) Investment already made: My sis-in-law has scads of "Bumgenius" and "Happy Hiney" diapers that we could use.
3) Better for environment (although I have heard the amount of water used to constantly be washing diapers is just as bad for the environment?)

Now that we know we have two girls coming, is it crazy to consider cloth diapers?  Maybe if I would use disposable at night and cloth during the day? What do you think? Janel sent me a link the other day on a great price on diapers and formula and I started doing the math for two!  Whoa.  This baby stuff adds up!

Dilemma #2: The Diaper Genie:
If we decide to use disposable diapers (in at least some capacity), what do you think of the "Diaper Genie" concept? Is an off-brand okay?  Is this a necessity for the nursery?

Please, pour out your wisdom!  :)


2Dimples4Me said...

Amy, I dont know that I have any wisdom to share but I can say that we have had this same debate in our house. Should we ever have a child (or children) we hope to use cloth diapers because they are better for the child and also better for the environment. I get really discouraged and irritated by those who tell us we will change our minds after a few weeks. Its as if they figure you wont love your child enough to make the extra effort! Anyhow, I will be interested in what you decide since its a hot button topic in the Donovan house too! Its so hard to know, isn't it?!

Amber said...

Hmmmm - I'm not quite sure what all to say. Being that you're getting the girls a little older, I don't have the instant, "WOW, that'd be crazy and exhausting hard" reaction I would if you were talking bringing them home newborn. : ) I think early on with the girls, I counted how many diapers we went through a day (you're talking 2 babies, eating 2 - 3 hours apart, changed every time) - and with multiple messy diapers and stuff we went through as much as 25 - 30 diapers a day for the first few weeks.

I totally agree it's not great for the environment. But when you're the one operating on that level of sleep, changing diapers that often and any and all housework has gone out the door, I could never have fathomed doing cloth diapers.

However, at the ages the girls are at now, I could. For better or for worse, we still aren't : ). But it doesn't seem as over the top exhausting to me to think of you choosing to do it.

I actually have a friend who adopted twins (got them newborn) and switched to cloth diapers around 2 months, I think it was, because of the cost (before then, they primarily got diapers for gifts that they had used). I'd be glad to connect you with her if you wanted her take on it.

Your girls will still be little when you get them. So maybe what I would suggest is trying doing "both" for a while. Have the disposables for being out and about and during the nights and use cloth during the days at home. I think it just sounds nice for you to have some flexibility to your schedule until you know what kind of sleepers they are and what your days/nights look like. As the girls get older and you're changing them less (and sleeping more), I could definately see you making a go of it with all cloth. Especially if you're passionate about it.

The diapers and formula are crazy expensive (if you have a Sam's - that's what saved us . .. formula and diapers worked out much cheaper there (esp. formula). There's no way around it. Twins definately come with sticker shock. : ) But we were completely humbled at how we saw God provide over and over and over. I'm confident you will know that same faithfulness.

Good luck deciding!

Laura L. said...

As far as question 1 goes, given that you can use some from your sister-in-law and don't have to make the investment have no harm in trying it. I like Amber's thoughts that you really can do a bit of both. I'm a 100% disposable diaper user...but I have friends who love their cloth diapers. If you were needing to make the large upfront investment, I'd be less sure (I did the math that if you buy the good ones --bumgenius etc you'd have to use that diaper 96 times before equalling the cost of the dispoables, and that is not figuring the energy costs for washing them and so on, I'm assuming these things like anything else wear out after so many washes)...but try it out. What do you have to lose?

I think that is one thing I've learned from being a mom, it's all a bit of try it out and see. Each baby is different, each mommy is different, so that adds up to a lot of people doing it different ways for different reasons, all of them turn out just fine.

I'd also support the Sam's Club, for diapers etc... If you don't have one close by also works great for diapers and cases of forumula. With Free Super Saver Shipping it's pretty reasonable. It says 5-8 days for arrival but it's always been there in 2-3 for me.

Question 2: I do think you need sometype of diaper disposal/storage. We like our diaper genie elite a lot. I have to lysol it off and on but other than that it does keep the smell pretty well contained. I have some friends who use diaper champ which if I remember right doesn't require the special liners which equal less expense. So I'd say you need something that is designed to keep in the diaper smell...but what that is, probably debatable.

You'll be a great mom and you'll enjoy the adventure.

C-LSchafer said...


FIRST off CONGRATULATIONS! We are so thrilled for ya'll! I am currently using Gdiapers on Liliana and love them! I use cloth during the day... and the disposable insert at night... love it! I made sure I had enough to be able to do the washing every other day and soak them over night to remove stains. I look at it as a investment in my (Lordwilling) future kiddos. If you want disposable diapers I'd look at getting a Sam's club or Costco membership. Also, when Caleb and I were in our adoption process our agency highly recommended breastfeeding. I know... I didn't know that was possible either. Contact your local La Leche League to get info on it... it'd be pretty easy if you started the process right now. (you can email me too:-) We are so excited for the way God has blessed you with these precious baby girls! Godspeed on the rest of your journey... we'll be praying for you!


Minders said...

I agree with Amber on question #1 do a little of both and see what works best for you and the girls. I am 100% disposable because Michael and I both have quesy stomaches and I think we'd about puke if we had to wash out a cloth diaper. We've been close to puking when Noah had accidents when we were potty training him. :) So it's just not for us.

Also I whole heartily agree that with twins you NEED a Sam's membership! I used it a TON with my boys and loved the large quantity of diapers and formula you could buy. Just for a frame of reference the Members Mark formula is $20 for a DOUBLE can compared to Enfamil or Similac that is usually $20-$25 for a SINGLE can. I think you can quickly see the savings adding up. :)

For question #2 we use a Diaper Champ and I love it. I have yet to find a diaper pail of any sort that contains smell perfectly. My sister had a Diaper Genie in her daughters closet and the entire room reaked. Which was why I went with the Diaper Champ - to try something different. The great thing about it is it uses normal trash bags which cuts down on cost quite a bit. What we have done is put pee diapers in our Diaper Champ in the room and poop diapers in our kitchen trash because it gets changed every day or two. This way the baby's room wasn't stinky. So all in all, I would say that if the girls' room is close to the kitchen then I don't think it is necessary to have anything in their room.

Peggy said...

Well, I'll add my $.02. First of all, try to not go into this thing with something "set" in your mind. I did that with Josie and it didn't work out at all. If you want to try cloth, and the initial investment has already been made, go for it, but don't be down on yourself if you do change your mind down the road. If you decide on disposable diapers, there are many lesser expensive brands out there that work really well. Some children have allergies to disposable diapers and you may have that problem and have to switch to cloth. So there are variables on either front that can pop up. The more flexible you stay, the happier that you AND the babies will be :)
On the diaper thing....I have the diaper champ and I do like it however, I learned with Hallie that it didn't hold back all of the odor. So, with Josie, I consistantly throw messy diapers in the big trash barrel in the garage and only allow wet ones in the diaper champ. That has worked out REALLY well!
I hope you don't mind my thoughts on formula too....I know you didn't ask for that, but I have had lots of experience in that area and I think I can be of some help. When I had Hallie, the breast-feeding support people were saying that if I had to switch to formula that I should switch to Meijer Brand, Target Brand, Toys R' Us Brand or Walmart Brand. They said that those formulas were produced by the same company and it was an excellant company who had been bought out and no longer made formula under their own label. That said, I have been told that Target brand is different now, but that it is still an excellant formula. Don't think you have to get the greatest name-brand to be feeding your babies the very best. Also, you will probably be starting food when you get them so that will cut back on formula costs. Unfortunately for us, Josie needed highly specialized formula ($25/1lb can)! It was OUTRAGEOUS!!! I learned quickly that I could save TONS of money purchasing it on Ebay. I always looked for sellers who had excellant reputations, current expiration dates and no unsealed cans. I purchased from several different sellers and it worked out great. So, don't despair if you should need a specialty formula for can get it more cheaply than at the grocery store.

Janell said...

I don't think I know the two of you but I must know your family. :) Is Jake your brother? Mindy A. is my sis in law and told me about your blog. We just brought home our daugther, Jada!, from ET in Sept. She just turned one. It's been an amazing journey and I'm excited for you to be getting two! Stop by my blog and see another Jada if you like. :)

Jane said...

It has been awhile, but I used cloth diapers at home and disposable on the go. I agree with not having trash diapers in the room at all. I had a diaper pail with soaking water in the room for the cloth diapers. Bleach was my friend when it came to washing cloth diapers though, how do you feel about that? Some of my friends had diaper service, which of course is cloth diapers. I haven't heard of anyone using that lately, but that could be an option for the first month or two, while you are adjusting.

Justin & Sarah said...

I agree with the advice - flexibility is a wonderful approach! With Paige, we really had no choice as she was allergic to the off-brand diapers, and name-brand diapers were just too expensive. We do use a disposable at night because we haven't been able to prevent leaks with cloth. (Although I hear that there are special overnight cloth diapers with wool liners that work great.) Just try it and see. I would recommend setting a goal for yourself initially. Like, trying it for a month straight before you make a final decision. It gets easier, more comfortable, and less gross the more you do it. :) (Plus you learn a few tricks of the trade as you go! :)) As for what kind of diaper pail - I do not recommend the Diaper Genie. It is great for containing odors, but the inserts are very expensive, and with twins that will double your expense. It is also not meant for cloth diapers. I definitely recommend the diaper champ. If using disposables, I know moms that will buy a roll of scented plastic disposable diaper sacks, and put the poopy ones in those before inserting them into the pail. If you are using cloth, you don't have to worry about smell much because you will be washing them every other day. I use a regular old diaper pail which functions much like a waste basket with a spring-loaded lid. They make washable liners, so that the stink doesn't get on the pail. You just throw the liner in the wash with the diapers. By the way, the diapers are yours for the taking whenever you are ready. I bought some larger All-In-One Bum Genius for Paige on Ebay. I love the AIO! Laundry is a cinch now that there are no liners to insert. I can pass these along to you as well once Paige is potty trained.