Monday, May 30, 2011

Reflections in a Yellow Puddle

Whew! What a week! I feel pretty spent right now. But in a good way. In an "I just climbed a mountain" sort of way. This week I posted the heck out of this blog, I ROCKED the flat cloth diapers (even invented a new cover and a new flat diaper fold), and I took four kids three hours away from home to a campground all by myself (though my husband did join us later, it was still an accomplishment).

The camping trip was quite a feat all on its own, but coming at the tail end of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge made it seem all the more momentous. 

Speaking of the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, (because perhaps we haven't spoken enough of it this week? lol), the final stats are in and this is how we did...

Total $$ Spent: $115.02 with tax

All told I ended up spending $115.02, but fine readers like yourselves would not have to spend as much by far.   If someone wants to cloth diaper with Walmart products in earnest, here is what I would buy (and what I would skip).

I would go with the flour sack towels for their great absorbancy, large size, and square shape.  I would also get Child of Mine flats to use along with them as a doubler.  I found a flour sack towel folded using the Happy Anteater fold with a Child of Mine flat pad folded and laid in the wet zone worked fabulously.  As well as any of my other fancier fitted diapers and much cheaper.  I would skip the funky punky flannel squares and pretty receiving blankets.  Flannel worked okay, but not nearly as well as the flour sack towel and Child of Mine flat duo.  But since I understand that sometimes you NEED a little color to help you through your day, I would instead substitute the 9.99 tie dye kit from Walmart and have some fun.

I loved the wetbags and would definitely recommend those.  Also the diaper pins were great.

The camp washer was okay, but I probably would skip that.  Actually, since it was so cheap it's probably worth a try to just see if you like it, but for me I'd skip it.  I did like the 5 gallon bucket with a lid though.  I used it for a diaper bin and then was able to wash the diapers right in it too - very handy.

The sprayer never fit on any of my faucets so that's a skip for me.

The drying rack worked very nicely, but since I have a clothesline in my spacious yard, I would skip it personally.  But if you are in an apartment or another place where you can't have a clothesline, the drying rack works great.

I wasn't impressed with the baby washcloths as wipes.  I am a big fan of my double thickness serged flannel wipes and found the baby washcloths to be too thin for my liking.  I think I would just save the money and cut up an old T-shirt for wipes.

I loved the flannel tie cover.  I would make more of these comfy little numbers for sure.

The Child of Mine covers were okay.  They worked and didn't leave too many red marks (just a little bit).  They were a little flimsy though - one pulled apart at the seam and another got a hole from snagging on my wedding ring during washing.  You definitely needed to have pants on the baby at all times to protect the cover from rips.  Here's what I would do - if you really can't afford nice covers, then yeah, go ahead and start with the Child of Mine covers.  But after you've saved some money from not buying disposable diapers, reinvest some of that in some nice, durable covers.  Two great options are the Flip one-size and the Blueberry one-size.  The Flip is better for pad folded diapers and the Blueberry is better for pinned on diapers, but both covers can accomodate either method.  An economical cover I love is the Tweedlebugs one-size cover.  At under 10 bucks a cover, you really can't beat it.  And a one-size cover will last the longest and give you the most bang for your buck.

So - if you want to give it a try and get started right away, then for under $25 go and get yourself...

1 pack of flour sack towels
1 pack of Child of Mine flats
1 pack of diaper pins
1 pack of Child of Mine covers
1 jug of Purex Free and Clear

if you want to spend more than $25 but under $50 then I'd add on...

1 more pack of flour sack towels
1 pack of wetbags
1 5-gallon bucket
Some thick fleece - preferably remnants so you can get it extra cheap

And then just see how that goes and work from there. 

Cloth diapering doesn't have to be an all or nothing proposition.  In fact, I think all parents should have a few cloth diapers and a cover or two stashed away for those late nights when you go to put a diaper on the baby for bedtime and realize you used the last one earlier in the day.  10 pm diaper runs with a tired fussy stinky baby really suck.

Total Time Spent: 4:02 (more changes and another wash cycle)

Okay, 4 hours and 2 minutes on diapers in a week seems like a lot, but after you take out the 2:02 I -spent wandering around Walmart and boiling diapers, it's only 2 hours.  Oh, and for the record, the plain old washed diapers worked just as well as the boiled ones.

2 hours is still more than I'd like, but do-able.  Most of that time was spent in the washing and that was the part that really sucked.  I like air-drying.  Hanging fresh little diapers up in the breeze is actually pretty fun for me.  Well, maybe not fun, but supremely satisfying.

The scrubbing part just sucks.

If I was in a bind where I couldn't afford to buy diapers or pay for a washer, I would definitely use cloth diapers, but I would only hand-wash as often as necessary.  And frankly, I'd only use the cloth diapers as often as necessary.

When you are under chronic stress, which is what happens when money is tight, the best thing you can do for your family is to take care of YOU.  Anything you can do to get a little more mama time to read a book or take a bath is so so important.  You can't be your best self without taking care of you.  And that takes precedence over saving the earth or any of that crap.  You can't even think about saving the earth when you need to save your family from poverty.

So yeah, I'd use disposable diapers every chance I got.  But if the choice was between diapers and food, I'd pin on a flat and buy my kids dinner.  Diapers or the electric bill?  I'd scrub that poo in the toilet by the light over the bathroom sink. 

And I'd wring soapy water out a hundred flour sack towels before I'd dry out and reuse a Huggies.

But the only reason I can make that choice is that I am aware I have a choice.

And that's what this challenge is all about.  Letting mamas everywhere, of all incomes, know that they have a choice.  They have options.  And when you have no money, it's nice to have some options.

Total Diapers Changed: 47
Total Leaks: 3 leaks and 1 apoocalypse

I think for a person learning a new diapering system, less than 10% leaks is pretty good.  But like I mentioned before, it wasn't all Walmart goodness.  I went camping with my old trusty covers and left the pull on pants at home.  Still though, I was pretty impressed by the end of the week with the Walmart covers.  I had expected much worse than just four accidents, especially on the overnights.

All in all, a pretty successful week, cloth diapering and otherwise :-)

Flats and Handwashing Challenge 2011:
A Walmart Shopping Spree
Getting Prepped
It's So Campy
Bye Bye Love
Day 1: So It Begins...
Day 2: Homemade Love
Day 3: Wordless Wednesday
Day 4: Noso Glory
Day 4.5: The Apoocalypse
Day 5: TGIF!
Day 6: Sharing the Love
Day 7: Your Grandma's Diapers
Reflections in a Yellow Puddle
The Happy Anteater


  1. Well, stated. All mamas have options.

    I estimate my stash of 30 flat diapers and covers would cost about $115. This includes detergent, too.

    By the way, impressed with all you did accomplish this week. I really appreciate how you make this something someone could go to the store to get. When I was just getting into cloth diapers it was so overwhelming to me that I could not find what I wanted in the stores. Thank goodness for the internet but often the folks who really need this kind of info don't have access to the internet.

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  3. I just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your posts! I found you from the Linky. I enjoyed seeing your totals of time and money spent. And way to do just Walmart stuff! Your posts were great to read and I found your posts from each Linky. :)


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