If you had asked me two years ago if I would ever consider doing cloth diapers, my answer would have been a firm "no". At that time, all I had ever heard about cloth diapers was that they were AWFUL. My grandmother told me that "in her day" they had to use birdseye flats and pins and rubber pants. She also said that they had to "bleach the crap out of them" and that disposables were the best invention ever (as she saw it). Fast forward nine months and our second son was born. Already on a tight budget with one child, diapers became the biggest drain on our income next to our mortgage. I was having to cut into my allotted grocery budget to afford two sizes of disposable diapers. So I started thinking about ways to cut back on spending. Diapers was the first thing that came to mind, but I didn't know the first thing about where to save money because we were already using the cheapest diapers that we could find. Evan was about four weeks old and I was on a babywearing website trying to figure out how a wrap-style carrier worked (think Moby wrap, but I just went to Wal-Mart and got 7 yds of fabric from the clearance section). In one of the banner ads next to the article I was reading, was an ad for BumGenius diapers. It was dark blue and looked so cute. It immediately grabbed my attention and I clicked on it. To this day, I consider that ad a Godsend. From that one ad, my whole obsession sprang. For the next four weeks, I did nothing but research cloth diapers (except the times I was nursing or cooking or cleaning... :) ). I knew from the diaper websites I had seen that they were pretty pricey and that would be a big obstacle in convincing my husband to use cloth. I gathered all my information and sat him down and presented my arguments for needing to switch (because by this time, it was a NEED and not a want). I told him I knew the initial investment was a bit high, but that I planned on starting with just a dozen prefolds and a couple covers and only for our youngest child. I said I would see how that went and go from there. I figured if I could do prefolds, then I could do any other kind of diapers. And that's what I did. I got a dozen infant prefolds and two Thirsties Duo Wraps. I had to wash every day to keep up with Evan, but by the third day, I knew that I would never go back to disposables. I was hooked. I built my stash little by little, usually buying two to three pocket diapers a months until I had a stash big enough for both the boys.
In the 13 months I have been cloth diapering, I have learned there are so many other benefits to cloth than just financial. Before we used cloth, Ian kept a constant diaper rash that no amount of diaper rash cream could clear up. I just attributed it to the severe eczema he'd had since he was six months old. TWO days after I started using cloth with Ian, the majority of the diaper rash and most of the eczema on his back and stomach were GONE. I could have cried. I felt like if I had known about cloth when Ian first started having his flare-ups, it would have saved us so much money on doctor visits and prescription medicines that never seemed to work.
After we made the switch, I also noticed that our garbage output significantly decreased (and was significantly less stinky...). With two in disposables, we had at least two bags of just diaper garbage and so that meant extra trips to take it off. But now, we have about one bag a week. I know that's still quite a bit, but I'm a work in progress!
I know when a lot of parents initially decide to use cloth diapers, it is typically for one of three reasons: economic, health, or environmental. But by the time they fall in love, it's for so much more.