I've looked into cloth diapers a few times in the past. I actually seriously considered them with my first, but we didn't have a reliable washing machine & the thought of hauling diapers to the laundromat really didn't appeal to me. When my second came along, I was so busy figuring out how to rangle a newborn and a toddler I didn't even give it a thought. Eight years later when I was expecting number three, I briefly considered cloth again. I did now have a reliable washer & dryer at home, but I was going back to work after the baby was born & didn't need the added work. I ended up quitting my job to start a daycare business in my home. I looked into cloth again, but the millions of choices and the expense of getting started really discouraged me. Life was stressful and money was tight when number four arrived, but the memory of the expense of buying cloth diapers to get started kept me from giving it a try. When number 5 came along, I was working long hours & had her with me in the car all day most days, cloth never crossed my mind. As she got older and my schedule lightened up, I started checking out starter packages on cloth diaper websites. I asked my friends for advice & I thought about switching. Then number six was born & I was once again thrown into the craziness of trying to meet the needs of a newborn & a toddler. The idea of cloth & of at least using it to supplement was still in the back of my mind, but it was over a year before I took the plunge.
I researched online & decided the Kissaluv contours looked like a good diaper to start with. Amazon sells them, but by the time I added shipping it seemed pretty pricey, so I looked around & found a local store that sells them. She is only open a couple days a week & finding the store the first time was definitely an adventure, but it was totally worth it!!! I bought six to start & two covers with the intention of putting them on Baby Daughter at times of the day when she wouldn't normally poop. They worked GREAT & the covers were amazing. Next I went to Baby's R Us and bought a dozen Gerber prefolds and a 6 pack of traditional rubber pants and two packages of traditional diaper pins. I started putting two prefolds in a cover for night time & it worked GREAT!!! Within less than a week I had almost stopped using any disposables. I found that I could handle a once per day poop and it wasn't the end of the world I had previously imagined it would be. I had to wash them everyday to not run out though, so I decided we needed to find a creative way to add to our diaper supply.
A couple of ladies I met on a message board suggested making my own diapers. I am not a crafty person, but my Mother has a sewing machine & will usually sew just about anything I want as long as I cut it out. I got together a bunch of old flannel receiving blankets and some fleece baby blankets we don't need anymore and used the kissaluv as a basic pattern. The outside of the diapers is fleece, the inside is flannel and we made a soaker to sew in that has a layer of flannel, a layer of fleece & then a layer of old towel for absorbency. In one day we cut out & sewed 17 of these homemade diapers!!! I now had plenty to get me through 3 days or more without running out.
We have fallen into a really easy routine. I have a bucket in the laundry room with a locking lid. I put the dirty diapers in it after each change & when it is full, I do a load of diaper laundry. I have an HE front loading washer, so I do a cold soak cycle, then a hot wash with a small amount of soap & then a second quick hot wash with white vinegar instead of soap. They come out super clean. Because none of my diapers are more than 3 layers thick, they also dry pretty fast in the dryer. My washer & dryer are pretty energy efficient & I haven't noticed any change in my utility bills since switching to cloth.
I was surprised at how quickly the cloth diapers became routine for our whole family. Baby Daughter now only wears a disposable on Sunday mornings for the Church nursery. She fusses when I put it on her & as soon as we are home from Church she is pulling at it wanting to change into one of her "regular" diapers. She definitely prefers the cloth diapers. I told a friend recently that I really wish I had taken this plunge at least one baby ago....it's not hard & I'm saving soooo much money. I did spend about $100 in the first two months getting to the point where I had enough diapers & covers to last several days without washing, but I no longer have to budget every month for disposables. I may have to buy a small package in November because I've nearly run out of "Church" diapers, but the last time I bought any was July, so that's not too bad.
I've picked up a couple fitted diapers recently & am considering trying a pocket diaper, but I'll write about that another day....this got much longer than I had intended.