So, hey, you guys. This got me wondering--do any of you use cloth diapers? If so, can you talk about your experiences with them? We're not planning on trying to start a family for 6 months to a year, but it's nice to know about these things.
We used cloth diapers with our first baby. I had a great experience with it. For one thing, a cloth diaper service went out of business while I was pregnant, so we were able to buy heaps and heaps of diaper-service diapers for very cheap, plus we bought some of the pails they gave to customers to use for diaper collection.
Then, I bought a bunch of different kinds of plastic pants at a consignment shop for pennies (not a popular resale product, it turns out), and so I got to try all the kinds and see what I liked best. Hands down, my favorite were the Dappi pants. They used to sell them at Target; I don't believe they do anymore. They were...nylon? I think. So they could be laundered (I think I hung them up to dry, though), and they didn't rip anywhere near as quickly or as easily as the kind made of plastic. They were less crinkly, too. They were more expensive than the regular plastic, but I got a whole bunch on clearance, and also I thought they were worth it even at full price.
For wipes, I cut up cloth diapers that were getting tattered. The diaper service started us out with some of these as "hey, take these as freebies," which really helped; if I hadn't had those, I probably would have used washcloths. I do not sew in any skillful sense of the word, but I can thread a needle, so I used pretty colors of embroidery thread and did some crude round-and-round stitching to keep the edges from falling apart. I kept a bottle (it was one they gave us in the hospital) on the changing table filled with a baby-shampoo-and-water solution, for wetting the wipes. Then the wipes went into the laundry with the diapers.
I had a mental hurdle at first, with cloth. Rinsing the first few diapers in the toilet (I wore rubber gloves) was...unpleasant. After that, it was nothing. It felt totally normal. I got completely used to it, and felt satisfied with my system. We had a particularly excellent set-up: the washing machine was between the nursery and the bathroom, so I could take the diaper to the bathroom to rinse it, then drop it in the washer on my way back to the nursery with the bucket. I enjoyed taking all those clean fluffy diapers out of the dryer. And I liked it that when the baby peed in a fresh diaper, I didn't hear the ching-ching of coins dropping into the trash can, the way I do with disposables.
Why did we stop using cloth? We moved to a new place, and it had coin-operated laundry. Also, one of the big parts of my cloth-diaper system was filling the washer and dropping each diaper into it to soak until I did a load of diapers. I couldn't do that in the shared laundry facilities. I switched to disposable. Why am I not using cloth again, now that we are in our own home with our own washer? Part of it is that I was so, so stupid, and I gave away all our cloth diapers and Dappi pants when we went so long without our own washer, and I thought we wouldn't be able to get a house before we were done having children. Then the thought of buying all those things again was...disheartening. And part of it is that stores like W@lmart and Target made their own brands of disposables that cost about half of the ones I'd had to buy before, which made it easier to stomach the cost element of the disposable disadvantage.
So! Weigh in, cloth diaper users! Your experiences! Your favorite products!