By: Jessica Dunn
I first heard about the Flats and Handwashing Challenge last year while I was researching cloth diapers. I was home on bed rest and spent a lot of time researching the benefits of cloth diapers. I discovered the Dirty Diaper Laundry website and really liked the idea of diapering on a budget. I have volunteered at food banks, homeless shelters, women’s shelters, crisis nurseries and job skills programs. I saw parents struggle to feed and cloth their families. I heard moms talking about wringing out wet disposable diapers to use them again because they didn’t have money to buy new diapers. I couldn’t imagine having to reuse a disposable diaper because I don’t have enough money to buy more diapers.
It wasn’t until I started preparing for the birth of my daughter that the cost diapers really hit me. I asked my friends and family’s of the kids I worked with what diapers they liked best. Most responded with Huggies or Pampers, but a few said that they used the Target or Wal-Mart brand because they were less expensive. I started calculating the cost and was blown away. I could buy a store brand economy pack of 180 diapers for about $27. I figured 365 days in a year and an average of 10 changes a day meant I would need 3,650 diapers, so I’d need just over 20 economy boxes of diapers (3650/180=20.278 boxes). This would cost me $540 for one year. Since potty learning is usually accomplished between 2 to 3 years old, I was looking at spending $1,080 to $1,620 to diaper our daughter. This was using the store brand, if we needed to use sensitive diapers or our daughter had a reaction to the diapers (different brands work for different babies) this could increase to about $38 a box and increase our cost to $760 a year or $1,520 to $2,280 until potty training. “You have got to be kidding me!” I thought to myself as I looked at these numbers. There has to be a cheaper way. That’s when I started researching cloth diapers. I learned that you could diaper you child for $300 or even less until potty training and you could use the diapers again for future children. “Sold!” I thought to myself as I made the decision to use cloth.
I have been following the Dirty Diaper Laundry blog and as soon as the Flats and Handwashing Challenge was announced I signed up. I decided to participate because I want to help show people that cloth diapers aren’t as scary as so many people think. I want to show that cloth diapers are a viable option for low income families even if they don’t have access to a washer and dryer. I’m hoping that our week long journey in cloth will help people learn more about cloth diapers and the feasibility of using them in a variety of situations. I am also using the challenge as my practice run for using flats and handwashing so I am ready when we go camping this weekend.
About the author: My name is Jessica and I am the author of Parenting and Living Our Way blog. I am a busy stay at home mom to a 9 month old daughter who has recently learned how to crawl is keeping me on my toes. I was invited by Kissed by the Moon to be their guest blogger for the week documenting my experience diaper my 9 month old. I am so excited about this opportunity and look forward to sharing my experience with you. If you’d like to read more about me, my family and our life, you can read our blog Parenting and Living Our Way. We can also be found on facebook.
About the challenge: I'm participating in the Flats and Handwashing Challenge hosted by Dirty Diaper Laundry. This event aims to bring awareness to the challenges that low income families face when trying to diaper their children. There are not publicly funded programs that supply diapers to families in need. Using cloth diapers and handwashing is an affordable way to families to diaper their children. Flats are the most inexpensive of commercially available cloth diapers; receiving blankets, flour sack towels, cut sheets, and t-shirts can also be used as flats making these diapers available to all families.