My wife and I have flirted with cloth diapers for a long time. We had some that our mother-in-law gave to us when our daughter was born, but all we had were the safety pins and old plastic diaper covers from about the middle of last century. After having a dirty diaper in my hand with nowhere to put it and a lack of confidence in what to do next, coupled with the painful holes in my fingers from trying to figure out how to use the old safety pins, I decided that disposable diapers were just going to have to suffice. We used disposable diapers with my daughter almost exclusively.
When my son was born, my wife had a moment of genius (which she actually has pretty regularly) and decided that an initial investment that would make our cloth diaper experience more fulfilling was in order. She bought these new plastic covers that hold the cloth diapers inside them and Velcro shut. No more safety pins and no more confusing diaper folding. I can’t say that I was hooked, but I was much more willing to try. We also got serious about our budget, and since she had spent so much money on the convenience of cloth diapers, she all but removed the disposables from the list. Therefore, I was using the cloth diapers out of necessity rather than a desire to do good things for the environment.
We have been using the cloth diapers for about a year and a half now, and though we still use the disposables when we go places and sometimes at bedtime, we pretty much stick with the cloth. I haven’t calculated how much we have saved, but I don’t really need to. The opportunity to practice living out our values has been worth the effort and, at this point, I would do it even if we broke even.
Overall, the cloth diaper experience has been good, and I think that most people should at least consider it. Many urban areas have diaper services that will pick up cloth diapers and launder them for you, which I would entirely support if one had the means. I don’t think that cost effectiveness is always the number one concern when trying to decide how best to live out your family’s values