As I mentioned we have been using BumGenius cloth diapers for James and (strangely enough) kind of enjoying it. Here's my most Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's) for your learning pleasure.
James in his stylish BumGenius diaper
Q: Ummm, are you crazy?
Q: Ok. So are you doing cloth diapers to help save the environment?
A: Not really. Yes, it's a perk, but we got into this to save money. Most websites say you'll spend $1,500 to $2,000 on diapers for one child. We spend about $700 for diapers, pail and a few other accessories. We will continue to spend money for wipes (I just wasn't interested in doing the cloth wipes.) and an additional $2 per month for laundry water use in the newborn months. The bonus: This is a one-time investment because our next child can also use these diapers. Sweet!
Q: That's nice for you, but won't your kid be laughed at because he has to wear those loud plastic pants?
A: There are no plastic pants and no pins! The diapers look and function similar to disposables but there's Velcro to fasten the tabs in the front. There's really 2 pieces to these diapers: the colorful shell and the microfiber insert. There's a "pocket" at the rear of the diaper that we stuff the insert into. Voila! Ready to wear! Here's a picture---click to enlarge and read more.
Also, our diapers can be adjusted so as James gets bigger, the diapers "grow" with him. There's 3 different sizes and the diaper snaps make it easy to go from one size to the next.
Q: Ok, let's talk dirty. Do you have to rinse dirty diapers in the toilet? Do they sit in a pail of water? Is it smelly?
A: Well, since James is still exclusively nursing, the smell is nonexistent. We're not complaining, but that will probably change once he starts eating solids.
We don't rinse his diapers in the toilet. It's not necessary. And the dirty diapers sit in the pail without water (dry pail method). Seriously, there's no smell.
Q: How do you wash them?
A: Washing is easy. Dump the diapers from the pail into the machine (no need to touch dirty diapers---they just slide right in because we have a top loading machine) and do a cold wash. We use Trader Joe's powder detergent and you only use 1/4 of the recommended amount. Then wash again on hot, again with 1/4 of the detergent. Do an additional rinse to get any detergent residue out. Then we hang the outer shell and machine dry the microfiber insert.
Q: And then you wash your regular clothes in the same machine?
A: Yep. I intend to get a new machine once all children are done with diapers, but until then, we're sticking with this washing machine unless it dies prematurely.
Q: This all sounds kinda complicated.
A: It's not that bad. I like to think of the money we're saving. :)
Q: Any other perks you want to share besides the cost savings?
A: First, my diapers are colorful! Second, many families that use cloth report that their child begins potty training faster because they feel wet more so than disposable-diapered babies. I'm crossing my fingers that we experience this too.
Q: Any last thoughts to share?
A: Two things: Some people might be irritated when they change a diaper and baby immediately fills it within 30 seconds. What a waste of a good diaper, right? For us it's no big deal, because it just goes in the wash to be used again!
Second, if any of my readers want more info, here's a few links:
http://www.bumgenius.com/one-size.php (Info about the BumGenuis diapers)
http://www.fill-your-pants.com/pdf/bumgenius (British PDF with great info!)
If you are kind of considering cloth or know someone else who might be open to this, I'm happy to talk more.
Do you have more questions that I didn't answer? Just post a comment and I'll respond.