SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The average family will spend just more than $3,000 on disposable diapers for one child from birth through the time he or she is potty trained. Now cloth diapers are making quite a comeback -- and are much easier than the kind your mother used on you.
Most parents still prefer disposable diapers because they don't want to deal with the mess and extra laundry. Saving thousands of dollars in this economy, however, has made several moms believers in the days of old.
"I've spent $200 on all my diapers since birth through what I am using now. I have spent $200 on diapers, that's it," said Kelly Evans.
Most families with a baby will spend $200 on disposable diapers in less than three months. Evans has spent that much in a year and a half and doesn't expect to spend a dime more until little Gavin is out of diapers.
"Once you start using it, you're like,'Why did I even mess with those blowouts? How did I even deal with up-the-back, out-the-legs, changing everything?!' It really is an amazing thing to not have those issues!" she said.
Evans is mother to four other kids. None were cloth diapered except the last. Why start now? Her good friend, Lisa Schlientz, made her a sales pitch that she couldn't resist.
"My mom will tell you that I am far too enthusiastic about diapers!" said Schlientz.
She is a believer. She has convinced many moms to get on board, even her babysitter who does the dirty work multiple times a day.
"For me, it's the convenience, first of all, because I don't have the smell in my house. I put the diapers in a bag, zip it up, and mom and dad take care of the rest!" said Lori Ward, a babysitter who prefers when clients use cloth.
"I used them in the days of the pins and the plastic pants and I thought, 'Cloth diapers? Really? We're back to pinning diapers on?' And my clients told me, 'No, no,'" said Ward.
So, what has changed? A lot.
"It can go down to as small as about an 8-pound baby. You snap the eyes down and, once you snap them in a setting, you can leave them at that setting," Evans said, demonstrating how the new diapers work. "You just stuff the insert in the little pocket in the back and, every time I change a diaper, I take it out, I throw the diaper in and close it off."
The diaper then goes into what is called a wet bag, and it washes, too.
"It zips in the smell, there is no major odor coming out of this. When you're done, you unzip it, you dump everything in and you throw the wet bag into the wash," said Evans.
Speaking of the laundry load, Evans says you do a cold wash with the diapers then, on the second wash, you throw in anything else.
"You don't use detergent on the first wash. And, for the first six months when my son was exclusively breast fed, all we did was open the wet bag, dump everything in the washer, run a cold rinse, a warm wash, then an extra rinse. So we just used detergent on that second cycle," Schlientz said.
Both ladies say they haven't noticed a bit of difference on their water bills.
"I am on city water, I live right here in Springfield," said Evans.
Since it's a small load, and only cold water the first wash, it's not a lot of extra laundry to do, according to the moms.
The sheer finances speak to most. They've spent $200 one time as opposed to $3,000 from birth to age 3. But the green dough didn't speak to Evan's husband. For him, it came down to being green.
"I said, 'Did you know it takes 500 years for one disposable diaper to biodegrade?' Well, that was it; that's what caught him. He was like, 'Oh, wow, that's a really long time.' So, basically, the very first disposable diaper that was ever invented is still sitting in a landfill," Evans said.
In fact, she pointed out to us that disposable diapers actually say on the package to rinse and shake out solid waste before throwing it into the trashcan. It turns out landfills are not actually designed to deal with human waste.
These ladies shake out solid waste before throwing their diapers into the wash. What about that grossness?
"The grossness factor, I can appreciate that, but you are going to deal with poop no matter what kind of diapers are on your baby. When you do the cold wash, everything goes down the drain, and out the sewer system. It does not sit. If you have mud on your clothes and you wash the clothes, the mud does not stay in my washing machine, it's gone out the drain," she said.
Here's the bottom line.
"My advice to parents is to keep an open mind and go into it willing to receive a great experience from it! I'm a believer, absolutely, I tell anybody I can!" said Ward.
Evans and Schlientz are so passionate about their cloth diapers that they've even started a cloth diaper bank in Springfield where moms can buy, sell, and trade. You can find the cloth diaper bank online or you can call Crosslines at (417) 869-0563 to experiment with some before you buy.
Several stores in Springfield sell cloth diapers. Bella Baby on Battlefield sells higher end ones. Walmart and Target also sell them online. We also found cloth diapers on several sites such as Craigslist, eBay and bumGenius.com. Prices varied from $7 to $24 apiece. Moms say they need about 15 to 20 diapers total.
If you would like to hear more from Evans or Schlientz, you can e-mail them at send them an e-mail message.
There is also a lady in Republic who teaches cloth diapering classes once a month. You can contact Belly Buttons and Bubbles Baby Boutique at (417) 860-4573 if you are interested in classes.