Tag Archives: baby supplies

Consumer Reports Blows It?

There’s a recent post on the Consumer Reports blog that has a lot of people pretty upset, and I don’t blame them. Their recommendations for what parents should NOT buy for their babies include two very popular products for attachment parenting – cosleepers and baby sling carriers.

Not specific brands of these products, cosleepers and slings in general.

The problem I have with this is that if they held other products to the same standards, they’d never recommend any products at all. Children get injured or even die in all kinds of products. Accidents tragically happen.

Babies get hurt or even die in car seats. In strollers. In cribs and cradles.

But no one attacks these as a category. They’re what we’re used to.

Cosleeping and using a sling can have risks, but if the parents learn the proper precautions they’re very safe. Both are practiced regularly in other cultures. Cosleeping in particular is dangerous mostly when done wrong, such as with excessive bedding or an intoxicated parent. Otherwise it helps the parents to be very aware of the baby’s breathing and sleep patterns. It even helps mothers to get more rest at night.

The fact that they’re quoting 4 deaths in 5 years for baby slings only serves to accent how poorly thought out the post is.

Tell us the brands that are unsafe and why; don’t just condemn the product as a class. That’s where Consumer Reports normally shines.

The Disadvantage to Line Drying Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapering my daughter is going really well right now. She still has the occasional leak if she naps too long and I only have the infant insert in the diaper, but so long as I pay attention all goes well. She can even make it through the night with the full size insert in her bumGenius 3.0 cloth diapers.

Caring for them is going really well too. I’m pretty used to the clothesline routine for drying them. But there’s one little disadvantage we have to deal with…

There’s a pepper tree next door. It’s dropping those tiny little flowers all over the place.

I keep finding them in the diapers when I bring them in. I’ve not had this problem with other laundry, although I will admit I’m pickier about the condition of diapers when then come in than other clothes. Selene’s smaller, after all, and diapers have a rather important function.

Aside from that, I’m loving the clothesline, at least on warm, sunny days. The sun nicely bleaches out the color that the washing machine doesn’t quite manage.

How Much Will Cloth Diapering Save Me?

After spending about $350 or so on various cloth diapering supplies (cloth diapers, cloth wipes, wet bags and a diaper sprayer), the question of course comes up as to how long it will take me to earn my money back. I mean, the lack of waste is nice, but it’s a bit of a financial commitment and money’s tight for us. Knowing when the payback is reached is a nice reassurance.

Payback for us won’t come as quickly as for others. We always bought the store brand Target diapers, which are significantly cheaper than name brands such as Pampers. A mid size pack of Target diapers runs under $11 pretax, versus $16-45 for Pampers, depending on the number of diapers in the package.

The number of diapers in a package drops as the diapers get bigger, so that they can keep charging the same price per package. This makes it hard to do more than approximate things.

And I haven’t even tried to figure in the cost of disposable wipes. Diaper costs alone should be sufficient to show the benefit in a reasonable time frame.

$350 is around 32 packs of diapers. Less actually, since that’s pretax, so I’ll call it 30 packs. Still too many but I would rather overestimate than under.

It’s hard to figure out how long to assume each pack will last on average. Call it two packs a month at the size I buy. I’m guessing here, based on a newborn using 8 or so diapers a day while an older child uses 5-6 a day.

So 32 packs would go for 16 months.

I’m skipping a few factors here. On the disposable side, there’s the cost of going to get the diapers, which is small as I can combine it with other errands. However, the need for them in the past often caused trips to Target that could have otherwise been combined with later trips. The more you shop the more you buy, you know?

As noted above, I’m also skipping the cost of disposable wipes.

On the cloth diaper side there’s the cost of doing laundry. Probably a load every other day in the early days, then spread out depending on how well I can stand waiting. Plus the time to handle the laundry, including hanging them out on the clothesline in good weather for them to dry. But I do that with all the laundry these days, so I really don’t think of it as a big deal anymore.

There’s another factor to consider. One site I saw said it’s an average of 30 months of diapering with babies. However, I’ve also heard that cloth diaper babies tend to potty train earlier. I like that benefit, even if there’s no obvious cost savings with cloth. But it does mean that the financial cost of disposables adds up for longer.

And one more subtle cost factor. This is absolutely my last baby, so I can’t spread the cost out over multiple children. I had my OB make sure of that with a tubal ligation during my C-section. Too bad I didn’t discover cloth diapers sooner.

But cloth diapers have a resale value if they remain in decent condition. When the time comes, I can go to a forum such as Diaper Swappers and get something back for what I’ve spent already. That can bring the payback time frame way down.

Overall, I’m enjoying these early days of my cloth diapering adventures. I hope it continues to go well for us. The money saved and the decreased waste make the extra work worth it for me.

Loving the Handmedowns

We took a little trip this weekend up to my sister’s house. Not a big drive, it would have just been an hour if it weren’t for the non-injury accident that shut the freeway down to one lane on our way up there. Took us an hour just to get through that point.

But the trip was worth it. We have the handmedowns for Selene now. Bags of clothes that my sister’s daughter has outgrown, our old Exersaucer that we had handed down to her, and a dance pad game that she no longer wants that our older two are having a blast with. Plus a few other random supplies.

It’s the wonderful part about my sisters and I having our families in so much the same time frame. Tons and tons of stuff has gone through 4 girls already, and has now been handed down to the fifth.

I love that about baby clothes. Most get worn so little that they can go through a lot of kids. Each cycle the most worn out ones are cycled out, but that still leaves a ton of baby clothes that we’re reusing. Hardly anything new is needed at this point.

Although I must say it’s really hard to resist all the cute clothes when I pass by the baby department at Target. Baby girl clothes are just so cute! But so far I’ve been good.

Trying to Get Cloth Diapering Started

As I posted after she was born, Selene is a very small baby. Or perhaps I should say was. Little rascal has quite the appetite, and she’s not so tiny anymore.

She might even fit into the bumGenius diapers we have for her at last.

That’s what I’m trying out today. First time I put one on her, even as tight as I could get it, she just swam in it. Tiny, tiny baby girl! We

My mother is rather surprised that we’re doing cloth diapers, but she understands the bit about saving money. She was worried about the water use, though. A good point, but I got a great tip from a reader that I’ll be trying to save on water when I wash the diapers. She suggests soaking the diapers in the wash for a half hour, rather than doing multiple cycles. I sure hope it works for me! Thanks, Deoxy!

The diapers are fitting a bit better now. I don’t have a scale to say what she weighs now, but I would have to guess at least 7 pounds.

One challenge we’re facing is that our little miss is a queen of futile diaper changes. Yes, she’s one of those who manages to save up for just after you change her. Or during. Those are… umm… fun too, really….

Obviously that can be a bit of a hardship with cloth diapers. We’ve gotten better at catching when she’s really ready for a change, rather than just getting started, and I hope this will keep the number of quick changes down.

I know we’ll still end up using some disposable diapers. There’s pretty much no way my mother-in-law will put up with cloth. Since she is a highly willing babysitter once baby can take a bottle, there’s only so much complaint I can have about that. Doubly so since she usually buys her own diapering supplies.

I have to say, Selene looks awfully cute in a cloth diaper. It makes getting her dressed a bit more interesting, fitting her clothes over the diaper, but I can deal with that. I just like being able to cut down so much on waste.