Wednesday, June 29, 2011


Are these not the cutest prints??

Rumparooz Lux Print

The Itti Bitti Tutto that I received free with purchase from Kelly's Closet :-)
I think I've done a fairly reasonable job of buying mostly gender neutral diapers (so we can re-use them if/when we decide to have a second child), but lately I have not been able to resist buying a few adorable girlie diapers!!

I can't wait to see these cute prints on our baby girl's fluffy bottom! 

Speaking of...

Only 10 more weeks to go! 

Monday I had my 30 week appointment (just a few days early). Baby girl sounded amazing...and momma is doing well. Doc said I had a "perfect 30 week belly" - whatever that means! 

I seriously cannot believe that I only have 10 more weeks to go. It is going to be here so soon! I was just thinking through the next few weekends and I realized that time is absolutely about to start flying by. Here's why:
  • this weekend = July 4 (lake, family, etc.)
  • July 10 = baby shower (for a friend who is due Sept 4)
  • July 16 = baby shower (for me, just close friends)
  • July 24 = baby shower (for me, in-laws side of the family)
  • July 30 = wedding (brother-in-law)
  • Aug 7 = baby shower (for me, my side of the family)
  • Aug 13 = baby shower (for a friend, who is due Oct 9)
Then it's just a few more weeks until baby girl arrives! And technically she can come any time after August 19th, since 36 weeks is considered full-term. Wow. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

A Quick Update...

Well, I am 29 weeks along today. I am absolutely starting to get huge - I know this because I can no longer reach my feet (which is a problem when it comes to putting on shoes with laces) and my husband has to give me a "boost" to get up off of our couch. Only 11 more weeks to go, right?

The good news is that overall, I actually feel pretty great....and I'm trying to enjoy that while I can because I know it won't last much longer!!

Tomorrow is our first day of "baby school" - a 7 hour childbirth class offered by a local hospital. I am definitely excited - but also a bit nervous...going to baby school makes it all so much more real!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Thirsties Giveaway from Thirsties Baby

Those of you who follow my blog know that I've mentioned Thirsties a couple of times so far. If you follow their blog at, you know they have weekly giveaways. This week is, of course, no exception. There are only a couple of days left to enter this week, so hurry over there! (link:

This week's prize is a Thirsties Duo Wrap and a couple of hemp prefolds (super absorbent!) - I am definitely entered, and you should be too!! 

I promise to talk more about why I am so excited about these Thirsties giveaways in the near future! In the meantime, good luck to you!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

A Little of This, a Little of That...

I feel badly that it’s been a whole week since I updated my blog with anything, but the past week has been quite busy! Here’s a brief run-down of what I’ve been up to:

As part of my dissertation research, I am hoping to use 3D laser scans to analyze shape variation in the human temporal bone (nerdy, I know). So, for part of last week (Wednesday-Friday), I spent a large portion of my days with a NextEngine scanner figuring out how the machinery and software operate so that I can better plan my research protocol and timeline. There’s a fairly steep learning curve, but by the last day, I seemed to be getting the hang of it.

Broken Hill Cranium (Kabwe)

My 28 week OB appointment was also last week (Thursday). Since I have an Rh- blood type and my husband is Rh+, our baby is at risk for Rh disease or Hemolytic disease of the newborn (caused by Rh incompatibility), from a build-up of antibodies in the mother’s bloodstream which fight against an Rh+ fetus. This only happens if some of the baby’s blood crosses the placenta into my blood stream (usually due to some kind of abdominal injury during pregnancy, but it can also happen during birth), and it is usually not an issue with first babies (though it can cause problems with subsequent pregnancies if not monitored and managed due to the blood transfer during birth). 

If some Rh+ blood from the baby crosses over into my Rh- blood, then my body will build antibodies against it and can try to attack the baby, because it recognizes the Rh+ entity as something foreign that should be destroyed. So yeah, needless to say, it CAN be a big deal. We don’t know yet whether our baby is Rh+ or Rh- (theoretically, she could be either), but just to be safe, I have to get tested several times during the pregnancy (once at the beginning, once at 28 weeks, and again after birth) to see if my body is building antibodies.

So, as part of our 28 week visit, I got to have my blood drawn to test it for antibodies. It was still negative, which is great news. I also got to have my first shot of Rhogam – which is a preventative medication that is given at 28 weeks and usually after birth to keep an Rh- mother’s body from potentially building those antibodies against Rh+ blood. Let me just tell you, that shot burns going in…and it will make your shoulder sore for a few days…but, I suppose it is worth it to make sure our baby girl is born healthy!

We also got to have a second ultrasound of the baby to check her growth since the 20 week mark. She is still a girl (good news, since I don’t want to have to take back all the stuff we’ve already bought) and is growing just perfectly. The sonographer estimates that she was around 2lbs 6oz on the day of the scan. We didn't get a lot of great pictures because baby girl was sleeping...with her arm over her face...and refused to move (despite poking and prodding) for most of the ultrasound, but she finally brought her arm down and we got a view of her pretty face.

nestled in, snug as a bug!

a profile shot

Monday, June 13, 2011

Adventures in Diaper Washing

Since I finally “completed” my cloth diaper stash, I’ve been working on prepping the diapers for the past few days. In order for the diapers and inserts to have maximum absorbency, they have to be washed several times before using them for the first time. 

The vast majority of my inserts of made of microfiber or microchamois, which only need to be washed once or twice to get them ready to wear. Some brands offer inserts made of hemp, which are generally more absorbent that microfiber (though they are heavier and don’t absorb as quickly), and many moms suggest using these overnight – with or without your regular microfiber insert – if you have a heavy wetter. I’ve already bought a couple of hemp inserts for the best bottoms, and plan to get a few for my other diapers as well, but since I won’t need them right away (newborns are not “heavy wetters”), they aren’t super high on my priority list. Hemp requires special preparation and can’t be washed with my regular inserts until after they have been fully “prepped” – so I just set these to the side for now to deal with later. My weekend mission was to conquer prepping the diapers and microfiber/chamois inserts.

The Laundry Routine
Ask a dozen cloth diapering moms (or rather, visit their blogs), and you’ll get a dozen diaper washing routines. Check the manufacturers websites and you’ll also find conflicting information on how to wash and what detergent to use. Frustrating? Absolutely.

It seems that every cloth diaper manufacturer and cloth diapering mommy has a slightly different recommendation on what type of detergent is best, what temperature the water needs to be, should you add any other stuff to the wash, and can your diapers be dried in the dryer without the world coming to an end…and no, none of them overlap. Apparently what works for one mom may not work for another and the success (or failure) of any laundering routine depends on the type of detergent used, the amount, the composition of your water (hard, soft, in-between), your washing machine, your baby’s particular Ph (exactly how acidic IS junior’s pee?)…and way you hold your tongue while pressing the “start” button.

So, I did a little research and found that many mom’s had great success using free and clear detergents for their diaper laundry – such as ALL free and clear or Tide free. But, others found that their diapers continued to leak. Leakage in cloth diapers is usually due to one of three things: a) you didn’t “prep” your diapers before using them; b) you have inadequate absorbency in the diaper – i.e., your kid pees A LOT and you need a hemp insert but you’re using microfiber; or c) you  have build-up –either from using too much soap and/or not rinsing adequately OR, your detergent is leaving additives and residues behind (and yes, even “free” and “clear” detergents can have additives). If you know your problem is not A or B, then your best bet is to “strip” your diapers – there are a variety of ways to do this and it’s fairly simple from what I’ve heard – and start “fresh.” (I’ll try to make a future post on how to strip your diapers).

Using a standard free and clear detergent appealed to me for two reasons: a) it is less expensive than most of the “specialty” cloth diaper detergents on the market, and b) I can buy these detergents at the store without needing to order online and pay/wait for shipping. But, I was worried that we might fall on the “unlucky” side of the coin and end up soaking wet (literally) because our diapers didn’t have proper absorbency once the baby arrives in September. I thought that perhaps finding a relatively inexpensive specialty detergent might be worthwhile if it meant that our diapers would work 100% of the time without having to spend time stripping them and trouble-shooting our laundry routine.

Enter: Rockin’ Green Detergent.

The thing that appealed to me about Rockin’ Green (besides all of the rave reviews) was that it comes in a variety of formulations depending on the type of water you have (no other detergent does this), so I was able to get a soft water formula (to match the water type where we live).

So, my wash routine (which looks like so many others), goes something like this:
  1. Place diaper laundry in the wash. Since I was “prepping” the diapers, I just shoved all the inserts in one load and all the diapers in a second load…when you are actually washing “used” diapers, you’ll want to limit the number of diapers in the machine to 12-15 (diapers and inserts) at one time.
  2. Do a cold water rinse – this helps to reduce staining in “used” diapers and gets everything good and wet so that, particularly in front loading machines, the load is heavier and more water will be used. My front load machine doesn’t allow me to choose my water level, and it doesn’t have just a “rinse” option – rather it has “rinse and spin.” With washing cloth diapers, water is your friend (more is better), so I made sure the spin setting was as low as possible (so the diapers/inserts would remain wetter and therefore weigh more for the next step) – another way to “trick” the machine into using more water in step 3 is to chunk in a large towel with your diapers.
  3. Do a hot water wash with 1 Tbsp of detergent (this is half the recommended amount because I am using a front load machine), followed by a cold water rinse. My machine has a hot/cold option – so I used this, and added on a second rinse for good measure (to make sure all of the detergent is rinsed out). For this wash, I keep the spin at the highest setting so that the diapers/inserts are as dry as possible coming out of the wash. NOTE: do NOT use liquid fabric softener when washing your diapers – it will leave residue on them and affect their absorbency. (Same goes for dryer sheets – they are a “no-no”)
  4. Dry. You can tumble dry on low, or tumble for 10-15 minutes and then air dry, or just line dry your diaper laundry. Diapers and inserts will last longest when line dried – but many moms find that tumbling for a few minutes then line drying the rest of the way is a good balance as far as the amount of time it takes to dry everything.  I had planned on doing this, but when I felt the diapers after the wash was over, they were already mostly dry – so I just put them straight on the drying rack and they were completely dry within a couple of hours!!

Granted. I won't know if this routine actually works until I get a little munchkin to test-drive these diapers. But, it's definitely a solid starting point.

Diapers and inserts drying after round 3 of "prepping"

For the purposes of “prepping” the diapers, I washed them only once, but I washed the inserts twice (without drying in-between). Once they were all dry, I "tested" their absorbency. Initially, I opted for pouring water directly onto the insert - and then I immediately panicked with the water beaded up and poured right off!! I just knew that somehow I had "ruined" by inserts and that I would have to strip them and figure out what I did wrong. No, seriously. I frantically shoved all my inserts back in the wash (not that it would help them if I actually did need to strip them), and while they washed a third time, I did a bit more reading. Actually, I did a lot of asking...twitter and facebook can be amazing resources...and I follow a lot of cloth diaper blogs on both sites, so I sent my concern out into cyber-space. And, the response I got was that my "test" was faulty. Apparently you can do that type of experiment with hemp or cotton inserts, but it won't work with microfiber. Interesting. It was recommended to me that I try a different test that involved filling a bowl with 1/2 cup or so of water and dropping the insert in to see if it soaked up the water and how quickly. So, once my inserts were dry again, I tried it with one fuzzibunz and one of my best bottoms liners...and lo and behold, success! The water disappeared almost instantly! Apparently that is exactly what you want to happen.

So, I set those inserts out to dry and set about "stuffing" the dry microfiber liners into my pocket diapers and stashing them away for some day in the (seemingly distant) future when we have a beautiful baby girl to use them on!

Neatly folded and ready to go :-)

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hello Third Trimester!

So, today marks the 27 week point and my official entry into the third trimester!

27 week belly pic :-)

The good news is: only 13 more weeks until we get to meet our baby girl.

The bad news: those 13 weeks are going to be filled with 100+ degree days!

I was watching the weather this morning and our meteorologist made a point to let us know that we’ve already topped 100 degrees 5 times since May, that it will be 99-100+ degrees every day for the next 7 days, and that usually our first day above 100 doesn’t happen until after July 5th – so we should gear ourselves up for a hot, hot summer. Fun. I guess I won’t be leaving the house for the next 13 weeks! 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

How Many Diapers Do You Need? And How Much Does it Really Cost?

Figuring out how many diapers to buy has been one of the more difficult parts of the process. Basically, it comes down to how often you want to do laundry and how much your baby actually needs changing (the second part of this can be hard to guesstimate)!

If the average newborn needs to be changed 12-18 times a day, and you want to do laundry every 1-1.5 days, then you really only need 18-24 diapers (or the equivalent thereof).But, if you’d like to extend your time between washes to every other day, then you’ll need at least 30-36 diapers.

Older babies don’t need as many diaper changes…so, if you aren’t starting at newborn stage, you shouldn’t need as many diapers.

Because no one really likes doing laundry – myself included – we have been building our stash up to a minimum of 36 diapers, which should be two full days worth of diapers.

Initially, half of those would have been Fuzzibunz (18 diapers) and the other half best bottoms (6 shells and 18 liners). But, since I’ve been utilizing the free diaper codes from Kelly’s Closet (and I’ve branched out and bought a few Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own), those numbers have changed a bit.

Our diaper breakdown currently looks like this:

Pocket Diapers (20 total)
8 Fuzzibunz from Kelly’s Closet (8 x $19.95 = $159.60)
2 Fuzzibunz from (2 for $24.99 plus $6.95 shipping = $31.94; retail $39.90)
5 Happy Heinys (5 x $18.95 = $94.75; but, I got 2 of these free, so I only paid $56.85)
5 Rump-a-Rooz (5 x 23.50 = $117.50, but I got 4 of these free, so I only paid $23.50)

Best Bottoms (equivalent of 18 small, 12 medium, and 9 large diapers)
6 Best Bottoms Shells (6 x $16.95 = $101.70)
18 small BB inserts + 2 small overnight inserts (18 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $85)
12 medium BB inserts + 2 medium overnight inserts (12 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $61.30)
9 large best bottom insert + 2 large overnight inserts (9 x $3.95 + 2 x $6.95 = $49.45)

So, in all, we will have spent $569.34 ($709.20 retail) on cloth diapers that will last from birth to potty training. (Note: this cost does not include the cost of wipes…we will be doing cloth wipes and I did spend $10.75 for some already. A friend of mine has offered to make the rest of my wipes for me, but even if she didn’t – I could complete my cloth wipes stash for $33 or less buying retail. Cost including retail wipes = $613.09)

Yes, I may have to spend a few dollars here or there if a diaper cover gets ruined or an insert gets lost…but all in all, we are coming out well ahead of what we would have spent in disposables (approx. $2611.80)! We have already saved around $2000 ($2611.80 - $613.09 = $1998.71)…and if we use these cloth diapers for a second child, our savings will more than double!

A Hard Pill to Swallow…
I will admit that it has been difficult to part with the money for all of these diapers and diapering accessories. The fact that almost all of the cost in cloth diapers is totally up-front makes it a hard pill to swallow. In some respects, it would be much easier to buy disposables…if only because you can literally buy them a pack or two at a time and not have to shell out so much money at once. But…whenever I see the savings over the long-run…I feel so much more confident in our decision!!

Why No Blog Post Yesterday??

Well, let's just say I was way too busy.

What was I doing you ask?
  • growing a baby
  • napping
  • watching Twilight (no, I've never seen it before...)
  • eating watermelon and chocolate rice krispies treats...and mozzarella sticks (I am seriously the picture of pregnancy health)

So, I'm sure you see now why I couldn't get around to posting :-)

The good news is, I have another blog post queued up for later today....just waiting on my latest fluffy delivery to arrive this afternoon!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

How Did We Decide Which Cloth Diapers to Use?

Ultimately, the cloth diaper style we chose was a balance between the amount of effort we were willing to put in to preparation (do I really want to deal with flats/prefolds and snappis?) and the amount of money we were willing to put in to cloth diapering (all-in-ones are convenient…but also very pricey). 

I wanted something that was convenient, but reasonably priced, was comfortable for baby to wear, and would contain all messes (I do not want poop and pee leaking out everywhere)!!

Getting started in the search for cloth diapers is absolutely overwhelming. There are SO MANY OPTIONS!

To get started, I read as much as I could on the topic. I found the New To Cloth Diapers section at Jillian's Drawers to be particularly helpful, as well as the Cloth Diaper Channel on youtube. I also read as many reviews on retail websites (like and as possible. 

By doing this, I was able to pick up on what some of the more commonly used brands were, and to make my life simpler, I decided to operate under the assumption that the more popular brands were also somewhat more reliable and more likely to give us a good experience – which may not be true, but it gave us a starting point and we were able to narrow the field from literally hundreds of options to only a few dozen or so. 

We also knew that we wanted to go with a one-sized diaper since it would cut down on the number of diapers we had to buy over the long-run…but what kind should we choose?

I liked the idea of a pocket diaper for a couple of reasons: 
  1. They aren’t as pricey as the all-in-ones and they are almost as convenient
  2. The pocket diapers use an absorbent liner stuffed between a waterproof outer layer and a soft, fleece inner layer – so whenever baby goes pee, the moisture is wicked away from baby’s skin and absorbed into the liner, which (supposedly) keeps baby’s skin a bit drier.

I ordered a pocket diaper sampler pack from Nicki’s Diapers so that I could get my hands on several types to see what I liked best. (You can also customize one at

Many one-size diapers use a snap system on the front to customize the rise and have multiple waist settings that are adjusted using either snaps or Velcro (see photo). 

Rump-a-Rooz diaper on largest rise setting - no snaps fastened
Medium rise setting

A notable exception to this are the Fuzzibunz, which have an adjustable elastic in the leg. The leg elastic helps to customize both the rise and the leg opening size, and the waist is adjusted with snap closures. Tons of cloth diapering moms rave about these diapers (seriously, just “google” it or check out youtube!), and they definitely weren’t the most expensive pocket diaper option (Fuzzibunz usually sell for around $19.95 a diaper) – so they definitely made the list!

[insert photo of fuzzibunz – illustrating adjustable elastic]
Fuzzibunz on largest elastic setting
adjustable elastic in the back...

and the front

Fuzzibunz adjusted to smallest elastic settings

I also liked the idea of the “hybrid” diapers (particularly the Best Bottoms diaper, pictured below), mostly because they seemed like a reasonably convenient and cost effective alternative to pocket diapers. Plus, they have these amazing leg gussets that help hold in all kinds of messes. The Best Bottoms are $16.95 per cover (shell) and $3.95 per liner, and you can change the liners multiple times before you have to change the shell (usually you can get 2-3 liner changes before needing to change shells). If you average and an average of 3 liners per shell on an average day, that’s a cost of $28.80 for three diaper changes (or the equivalent of three diapers) – compared to $59.85 (3 x $19.95) for three diaper changes in Fuzzibunz!

Best Bottom Shell

absorbent liners snap in to front and back of shell

leg opening has gussets to help contain messes!

Despite all of the great things about Best Bottom diapers, I still had (have) a few concerns. I was (am) worried that the liner snaps may fail (pull away and tear the diaper cover). Jason and I googled this repeatedly trying to find instances where people complained about this happening…we weren’t able to find any, so I’m guessing that it hasn’t been an issue so far. 

What I DID learn is that some moms complained that with their young babies (especially those on the slim side), that when the waist setting was correct, the leg openings were too tight (and those amazing gussets were digging in and leaving red marks on baby’s thighs. Yes, I want to contain poop…but, I don’t want my baby to be uncomfortable in the process. 

So, I was torn between the adjustability of the Fuzzibunz diapers and the convenience of the Best Bottoms…and I literally froze with indecision.

What did we Choose?
After a couple of weeks of wavering back and forth and irritating my husband with my incessant cloth diaper talk (and my inability to make a decision), I started asking around to other cloth diapering moms. (I may not know any personally, but the internet is full of them…and most of them are dying to talk to you about their experiences and personal favorites.) 

I learned that it is generally not a good idea to put all of your “diaper stock” into one brand/type of cloth diaper. It seems that different diapers work better for different babies at different ages/stages (who knew?)…and that until you absolutely 100% know what works for you and your little one (which could take months or years of experimentation), you should keep at least a few different brands/styles on hand to ensure that you have diapers that will work and that you love to use!

Alright, so maybe we should just split our stash between Best Bottoms and Fuzzibunz? 

This was the original plan…until a fellow cloth diapering mom pointed me in the direction of the Kelly’s Closet retail site ( Kelly’s Closet periodically offers promotions where if you spend a certain amount, you get a free one-size or one-size pocket diaper (depending on the promotion) with your order. The catch is that you don’t get to pick the diaper, you get whatever Kelly’s Closet gives you…but it’s free! I thought this might be a good way to build our stash more cost effectively, so I went with it.

As I’ve been building our stash of Fuzzibunz and Best Bottoms, I’ve also received several Rump-a-Rooz and Happy Heiny’s (both one-sized pocket diapers). 

I had never seriously considered either of these brands until I received them in the mail, so I turned to the internet again…I checked out the company websites (and descriptions), read reviews from moms who have used them, and scoped out youtube for some video of these diapers “in action” – and yeah, it turns out that tons of moms LOVE these diapers as well!! Now, I am all the more excited about trying them. I’ve even branched out and ordered a few of the Happy Heiny’s and Rump-a-Rooz on my own…and now our stash is officially made up of 4 different brands of diapers (so far)!!

Speaking of Best Bottoms Diapers…
These are made by Nicki’s Diapers ( and are available on her website, as well as through other online retailers. Each week, Nicki’s Diapers hosts an online giveaway – this week the prize is: a Best Bottoms Diaper!! 

So, head on over to their weekly giveaway site and enter to win your own!

Monday, June 6, 2011

What Types of Cloth Diapers are Out There?

Basically, cloth diapers all fall into one of five categories (in order from least expensive to most expensive):
  1. Prefolds – these are the most economical choice. They consist of a large sheet (usually thicker in the middle) that is folded into thirds and placed inside a waterproof cover. (Example: Econobum One Size Diapering System)
  2. Contours – similar to prefolds, but they don’t need to be folded. These also require a waterproof cover. (Example: Kissaluvs contour diaper)
  3. Fitteds – these diapers are shaped like a disposable diaper and are fastened with snaps or Velcro. Usually these require a waterproof cover, but unlike with prefolds and contours, the covers get dirty less often, so you can use them multiple times before laundering. (Example: Thirsties Duo)
  4. Pocket Diapers – made up of a waterproof outer layer and an inner fleece layer with an absorbent insert that is stuffed between the layers. No additional cover is needed. These are as easy to put on as a disposable diaper – the only extra effort is in stuffing the insert (and of course, the laundry). (Example: Fuzzibunz)
  5. All-in-Ones (AIO) – similar to pocket diapers, except no stuffing required! The absorbent part of the diaper is attached permanently to the waterproof outer shell. No additional cover is needed for these as well. (Example: Grovia AIO)
In recent years, some “hybrid” diapers or “all-in-twos” (AI2) have begun to appear on the scene. Based on the ones I have seen, I would describe these as basically consisting of a waterproof outer shell and a replaceable absorbent liner that can be replaced multiple times before the shell needs to be laundered. In my experience, these hybrid diapers are comparable to fitteds or pocket diapers in price.

What are the Size Options?

There is also the question of whether to use a “one-size” diaper or a “sized” diaper. With sized diapers, you generally buy XS (newborn sized), S, M, and L sized diapers depending on how much your baby weighs and what their measurements are like (waist size vs. rise, etc). Sized diapers generally offer a better fit (more tailored to size/age of baby), but require that you buy X number of diapers (usually somewhere between 20 and 40, depending on how often you want to wash) in each size…which can add up fast!! One size diapers adjust to fit babies as small as 8 pounds up to around 35-40 pounds – which should take you from birth (or within a few weeks of birth) to potty training. The fit is less customized (and sometimes not as trim under clothing), but the benefit is that you only have to buy one set of diapers. Period. 

And since I mentioned these diapers today...
Thirsties diapers now hosts a weekly giveaway on Thursday (fittingly called "Thirsties Thursday"). This week the prize is 2 Thirsties Duo Fab Fitted Diapers. Head over to their give-away site - Thirsties Thursday and enter to win!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Why Cloth Diaper?

When I tell my friends and family that we are planning to cloth diaper when our baby arrives in September, they generally react with one of two responses: “Why in the world would you do that?” or “Wow, good luck with THAT!”

Our decision to go the cloth diaper route was multi-faceted. Many people assume that we chose cloth diapers because they are supposed to be more environmentally friendly. Yes, cloth diapers are better for the environment, at least from a landfill perspective. Some quick facts:

  • The average baby uses somewhere between 8,000 and 9,000 disposable diapers between birth and potty training ( estimates 9,000 based on 12 diapers a day for the first 3 months and then 8 diapers a day until the age of 3; I’ve also seen estimates of 8,000 on other websites).

  • No one knows how long it takes for disposable diapers to decompose. A quick internet search will show you that the most common answer given is that it takes 500 years for one diaper to break down completely. But, since diapers haven’t been around for 500 years (nor have landfills), we obviously can’t know this – it is a projection based on the rate of plastic decomposition under ideal conditions (that is, with adequate ultraviolet exposure from the sun – which pretty much never happens in today’s landfills). (see or for more information)

  • Technically, it is against the “rules” (set forth by the World Health Organization) to dispose of human waste in a landfill – yes that includes disposable diapers (filled with pee and poo)! Though I didn’t see it on the pack of Newborn Huggies I have stashed away under the bed, I keep reading that disposable diapers packages contain requests that users “rinse away” human feces before disposing of the diapers (whether this is on your diaper package may depend on the specific laws in your state) – to prevent human waste from getting into our landfills and potentially seeping into the groundwater (that is, if the plastic bags surrounding the diapers ever decompose enough to allow it). Does any disposable diapering parent actually do this?? Doubtful. But, I actually wish people did. It’s bad enough thinking about all of the chemicals in disposables leeching out into the ground and water supply without adding poop on top of it! (see for more references on this topic)

On the other hand, some people will argue (rather convincingly) that the increased cost of laundering those cloth diapers on a regular basis (water and electricity) cancels out the other environmental benefits. A study funded by Proctor and Gamble (major diaper manufacturing company) comparing the effects of both cloth and disposable diapers on the environment came back inconclusive – that there were no apparent benefits of one over the other from an environmental standpoint (when you factor in increased energy expenditure of cloth diaper maintenance). That finding is a bit surprising. I wish I could find more information on the original study – to find out exactly how it was funded and completed. I wonder if the third party company that carried out the comparison might have felt pressure to find “no fault” with the disposables, given that a major disposable diaper manufacturer was signing their paycheck?

Honestly, I have no idea if cloth diapers are less wasteful than disposables in their production and maintenance. Even though they are “cleaner” (in that there is no chance of poo and chemicals leeching into the water supply), the environmental factor  wasn’t one that we really considered in our decision to cloth diaper. It’s my gut feeling that there is a definite benefit to using cloth. I just can’t imagine that doing a couple of hot water washes a week is all that detrimental to environment (especially since all of our other laundry is washed in cold water) – but what do I know?

In many ways, our decision to cloth diaper was made from a financial perspective. My husband and I are both still in graduate school, living on teaching stipends and financial aid. We manage to pay our bills and we feel confident that we can provide for a little one, but it is definitely not a life of luxury. (Trust me, we will both breathe easier once Jason graduates and finds a “real job.”)

Drop by your local diaper retailer (Sams, Costco, Wal-mart, Target) and check out prices on diapers and wipes…and some quick math will send your head to spinning. For illustration purposes, I’ll just use some numbers that I got from (

  • The average baby uses 9,000 diapers between birth and potty training. Consumer reports estimates that the average cost of a disposable diaper is 26.5 cents. $0.265 x 9000 = $2385. If you add in the cost of disposable wipes (1 wipe per diaper at 3 cents per wipe), that’s an additional $226.80 – for a total cost of $2611.80 (not including diaper genie refills if you go that route).
  • Cloth diapers, on the other hand, are likely to cost you somewhere between $372 and $931 (depending on the options you choose) over the same time. Add in accessories (diaper pail liners, wet bags, diaper sprayer, cloth wipes, etc.), and estimates you’ll spend another $154. Plus the cost of laundering the diapers (approximately 50 cents per load, plus 8 cents for laundry soap, washing every 1.5 days for 3 years) at approximately $423 and you get a total cloth diapering cost (birth to potty training) of somewhere between $949 and $1508. 
  • That’s an estimated savings of at least $ that we could use to buy other things we need! (Not to mention that the savings increase if you use the diapers for multiple babies!) So really, we looked at the decreased waste in landfills as sort of an “added bonus.

Of course, these numbers are just estimates from a website…the actual costs (or savings, depending on whether you are a glass half-full or half-empty kind of person) depend on a wide variety of factors, including the style of cloth diaper you choose and how many you buy (which, also affects how often you have to do laundry).

“But…it’s so much work…”

Yes, it’s true that cloth diapering takes more effort. You have to wash and dry the diapers on a regular basis (usually every day or every other day, depending on how many you have). But, you know what? You have to wash your baby’s laundry relatively often as well. Apparently they poop, and pee, and spit up all over their clothes…a lot…and if you don’t wash often, stains set in and (even worse) your laundry starts to STINK. In my mind, if you’re already doing laundry every other day…what is the difference between one load and two? Really?

One Last Selling Point… 

A final benefit that cloth diapers have over disposables is the CUTENESS FACTOR. 

There are tons of adorable prints and bright colors out there! It wasn’t an original selling point for us, but I’m finding that as we build our stash of cloth diapers, I am getting more and more excited about the colors and patterns that are available. I’ll admit that my stash is mostly solid colored (though there are some gorgeous reds and blues in there), but I do have a cute little cow print (“moo-licious”) and some adorable pink giraffes from Best Bottoms and a glow-in-the-dark skull print from Happy Heiny’s – and more prints on the way! (Seriously, when it comes to prints, it seems like the options are limitless!)

Best Bottoms Pink Giraffe Print Shell

So much cuter than disposables, right??

Huggies Little Snugglers Disposable

Yay! My Fluff Arrived!!

So, Saturday was a big day for me.

1. I finally managed to sleep the entire night Friday, only waking up to pee and blow my nose a couple of times. This was huge for me. Apparently, pregnancy messes with you in more ways than you can imagine, and difficulty sleeping has been at the top of my pregnancy "complaint list" since somewhere around week 11 or 12 (though luckily, I haven't really had many other problems so far). It was awesome to get almost 9 hours of sleep...seriously.

2. My mom and I were able to finalize my baby registry at Target. I had been working on it online for the most part, and it was mostly finished, but I still needed to get into a store to add some of the smaller items - receiving blankets, booties, bottles, sleep n plays, and the like. The selection on those things vary so much from store to store that I wanted to make sure I added things that would be available here locally. I have to admit, it was pretty fun!!

So, I am officially registered now. Most of our registry is at Target, but we have some cloth diapering essentials that we still need on a registry at Kellys Closet (

3. Finally - last but definitely not least - my "fluff" (cloth diapers) arrived in the mail! Today, I received some cloth wipes (yes, we are going with reusable wipes - they are way less expensive over the course of several years, work equally as well as disposables - if not better, and can just be thrown in with all your other cloth diaper laundry), our diaper sprayer (for hosing poo into the toilet - without the risk of getting it on your hands),some cloth diaper friendly rash cream (CJ's BUTT-er), and of course - some cloth diapers!! I had ordered Fuzzibunz in Kumquat (orange) and Buttercream (light yellow) along with a "very cherry" (red) Best Bottoms shell and a Happy Heiny's pocket diaper in a glow-in-the-dark Skull Print!!

I generally buy my cloth diapers and accessories from Kelly's Closet ( because they offer promotions from time to time, where if you spend a certain amount of money, you get a free one-size diaper with your order. This time, I got two Rump-a-Rooz. The colors (bright yellow and bright orange) wouldn't have been my first choice, and I probably would have chosen snaps over aplix (velcro) fasteners, but I've heard great things about Rump-a-Rooz!! They are a bit on the pricey side (starting at $23.50 each) compared to our Fuzzibunz and Best Bottoms (more about that later), and I haven't been able to make myself shell out the money for them. So, I am super excited to get to try them out (for free)!!

So, all-in-all, Saturday was a great day! Let's hope that Sunday brings more great things! :-)

Friday, June 3, 2011

Not-So-Patiently Waiting!

I was going to make my next blog post all about cloth diapers. I am expecting some that we recently ordered to arrive in the mail today, and I thought their arrival would be a good chance to talk about some of the factors we considered in making the decision to cloth diaper, what kinds of features were important to us, and generally how I went about navigating the seemingly endless options that are out there. But, they won't be here until later this afternoon...and I want to procrastinate NOW!! :-)

Instead, I'll fill you in on something I recently discovered about the is AMAZING!! And it is filled with FREE STUFF (or at least the promise of free stuff)!

As my due date for Baby Girl Clepper creeps closer and closer, my "nesting" instinct has started to become stronger and stronger...and one of the things I've finally been motivated to start dealing with is organizing our slowly growing cloth diaper stash...including finally getting around to looking up how to actually care for (i.e., successfully wash the poop off of) our diapers.

My recent travels on the world wide web in search of this information (with the help of Google of course) led me to a couple of interesting blogs, one of which posts information on current diaper (and cloth diaper related items) giveaways - that's right, giveaways - as in, FREE!! Whenever you get a chance you should check out Maria's blog at She regularly posts reviews and personal experiences with many brands of cloth diapers and has always been super helpful whenever I've had questions! As an added bonus, she is currently hosting her own giveaway of Bum Genius diapers!!


Oh, and I totally won a Kissaluvs Antibacterial Wet Bag about a week ago in a giveaway hosted on Maria's website...which I'll talk more about once it arrives in the mail! I had to give a first and second choice of color/design, so I chose the Mocca Swirl or Spring Dots (pictured left)

If you want to win your own, you can hop on over to Happenings of the Harper Household (between now and June 10th) and enter to win one of your very own!!

Through these blogs, I have discovered a variety of other cloth diaper-related blogs - many of which offer reviews and personal experiences with cloth diapering, and some of which also regularly host giveaways! I would encourage any of you who are interested in cloth diaper to absolutely check them out. Who knows? Maybe you'll get something for free :-)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

A Brief Introduction...

I am a 29 year old, married (2.5 years), graduate student (Biological Anthropology PhD) from Texas (born and raised). My husband and I are expecting our first baby (a girl) in early September.

(here she is at 16 weeks; what a cutie!!)

The primary focus of this blog will be my daily experiences - as a first time parent, a cloth diapering novice, a wife, and a graduate student. I'm interested to see how it all turns out!!