Our Journey to Cloth Diapers

When we were expecting J, the thought of using cloth diapers never even crossed my mind. I was hell-bent on using disposables, which I saw as the epitome of convenience, another thing that would make my life as a mom easier. My conviction strengthened when I saw J's poop for the first time. I think being a parent stretches your tolerance level for gross bodily excretions to incredible levels, but I mean, come on. It's poop. It's gross whether it comes out of a huge, hairy adult, or a tiny, adorable baby. And meconium? It has a sticky, tarlike consistency which is hard to scrub off a baby's butt. I couldn't imagine trying to scrub it off a cloth diaper.

Fast forward to a year later. We've become pros at diapering our wriggly baby boy. (Except for Big C, who, to this day, has never changed a single diaper. I do give him credit for helping me clean out J's butt in the hospital the first night.) But budget-conscious me, was ever so aware of the mounting costs of convenience. We tried all the diaper brands in the market, in the hopes that we could switch to cheaper brands and save a little money. But as you have it, all the diaper brands we tried didn't work for J. Some weren't absorbent enough, some would chafe him in the hips and thighs, and some just wouldn't fit well and leak no matter what we did. In the end, we had to stick to Pampers Active. Mind you, not Pampers Comfort, which I think is a local brand and is more affordable. Oh no, my son's butt needs the expensive diapers. Drat.

At the end of J's first year, I went through our books and summed up how much we spent the last year, just on diapers alone. The total? A whopping P14,775 for the entire year. That is money that my son literally pooped and peed on.

Added to that was my mounting guilt at the amount of trash we generate at home. I think the tipping point was that one morning when I ran into the yaya who was taking out the trash from the previous night. She was holding a plastic bag stuffed full to bursting with disposables. See, even at 1 year old, J was still taking 3-4 bottles of milk at night. I think he's so busy playing and exploring during the day that he makes up for it by stuffing himself during the night. So since he drinks a lot of milk, he also pees a lot.

Anyway, when I saw that huge bundle of trash, I felt really, really guilty. I mean, I'm not exactly what you would call an environmentally conscious person, but at that moment, I pictured in my head, a huge mountain of soiled disposable diapers that came from our house and I just felt bad. So I looked into cloth diapering and I discussed it with J's yaya. I took the time to do so, because for one thing, she would be the one doing washing the diapers, and she has enough to do during the day. Fortunately, the yaya was supportive of my idea.

So I looked into the whole idea of cloth diapering. I have to admit, I had a lot of misconceptions about using cloth diapers. In my head, cloth diapers equaled the diapers used when I was a kid, the ones that had to be changed after one pee, and would leak through right away. Fortunately for us modern-day mommies, cloth diapers have evolved.

The posted picture show samples of the actual cloth diapers that J uses now. As you can see, the cloth diapers of today are made out of two parts: an inner pad to absorb baby's pee and a waterproof outer shell. What you're supposed to do is insert the inner pad into the pocket of the waterproof shell. The inner cloth layer of the shell is supposed to stay dry even when the inner pad is wet already, since the inner pad is supposed to absorb the moisture. When it's time for a diaper change, more often than not you just have to change the inner pad and you can reuse the shell if it doesn't feel wet. This means that you only have to wash the inner pad for the time being. In our case, we found that it works better for J if we just place the inner pad on top of the shell, because we end up having to change the whole set.

Also, contrary to what I expected, you didn't really have to change the diaper after every time that the baby pees. With J, it was a bit of trial and error. In the beginning, since we were used to disposables, we'd wait a really long time before changing, up till the point that the diaper would leak through his clothes. Since then, we learned that what worked best for us was to make sure we changed his diaper every hour and a half. With that time interval, the inner pad would be wet, but not wet enough to soak through the shell. This means that the shell can be continuously reused for most of the day.

Up till now, we still use disposables, but only when J takes a nap, at nighttime and when we go out. We tried using cloth diapers on him during his daytime naps, but I think he pees more when he's asleep, so he ends up leaking through and waking up because he's uncomfortably wet. Since J sleeps so little during the day (just an hour, two at the most), I don't like it when his daytime naps are disturbed by wet diapers. Even so, with diapering just half the time, it still reduces our diaper expenses. By how much, I'm still waiting to see. I'll give you an update as soon as I've worked out the numbers.

The diapers I use are Next9 one-size cloth diapers. The one-size cloth diapers are good for babies from 7-35 lbs, which means you can use them from birth. Each diaper costs P350 and comes with one inner pad. I just bought extra inner pads for P100 each. Right now, we have 7 outer shells and around 12 inner pads. you can also get a set of 3 for P1000. So far, I have spent around P3,000 pesos on all of these. For now, what I have at home is enough for J's use, but if all goes well, we'll be adding to our collection in preparation for Little C.

I got three sets first and only got more when that worked out. I suggest you do the same. Get one or two sets and see how they work out for you and baby. Next9 diapers are the only ones I've tried, but there are a lot of other brands out there for mommies who are willing to experiment. Other diaper brands that I know of include Charlie Banana, Bamboo Dappy, and Baby Leaf. I decided on Next9 because they're the most affordable. I also think it's a plus that Next9 diapers are made and marketed by a Filipina mommy, so in addition to cutting back on diaper costs and lessening my contribution to garbage, I also get to help a fellow mommy with her business endeavor!

I don't think I'll be using cloth diapers on Little C right away though. I'm thinking of waiting until things settle down a bit for us to normalize the routine here at home before we make the shift. But I am eager to get him on cloth diapers as soon as possible. When Little C is here, I was thinking that J could be transitioned to cloth diapers at night, since Yaya will have to get up every two hours or so for Little C. We can add J's diaper change to the routine. Fingers crossed that my plan works and Little C will be on cloth diapers as well!

So mommies, here's a link to my favorite online store for cloth diapers. Caleb's Closet Ecostore is run by Mommy Lei, who is super accommodating and always takes the time to answer my questions about cloth diapering. I like how she really gives assistance to her clients. I remember the last time I ordered, she didn't have stocks, but she knew how urgently I needed the extra diapers (because of the rains in the past few weeks), so she was kind enough to text me as soon as new stocks arrived. Plus, Mommy Lei lets you buy a set of diapers in a combination of colors. For other sellers, you can only get one color per set, or get individual diapers at a higher price if you want to mix and match your diaper collection. She also carries Charlie Banana and Bamboo Dappy diapers if you want to try those.


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