Last week I wrote about the pros and cons of using a diaper service. This week, I'm thrilled to share with you this guest post written by Emily. She shares her experience with using a diaper service and how she came to the decision to ditch her service and do it all herself.
I signed up for the diaper service, Clean Green Nappy, which had great Yelp reviews and that's mainly why I went with them. They had a discounted rate if you signed up for 3 months at once, so I figured I would do that then re-assess after the 3 months was up. They delivered a starter pack of newborn prefolds a week before my due date so we would have some once the baby arrived. We bought our own covers - a Thirsties duo, a Bummis Super Brite and...a couple others that I can't remember, plus some Snappis.
We used the hospital-provided Pampers Swaddlers for the first few days of life then began with the prefolds/covers. I have to say it was great to not have to worry about the laundry aspect of cloth diapers during those first few weeks of sleep deprivation, healing body and nursing round the clock. We just set out the bag of dirty diapers Monday night and Tuesday morning had fresh clean ones. Newborn diapers are not very smelly, but I wonder now if I had a week's worth of dirty prefolds in a bag, how that would smell, and even worse once he is eating more solids.
When we took a vacation the service was nice enough to let us skip a week of service and tack a week onto the end of the 3 prepaid months. However, this was a bit of a hassle because I had to use disposables for a whole week (Tuesday-Tuesday), instead of just the 4 days we were traveling.
The service was reliable, but it was family-run so things did get changed a lot. Like our pick up day/time was switched, one week we got the air freshener disc, but then they stopped including that unless you asked for it -- really just little things, but if you like to be in control of your diaper stash, this is a minus. And for some reason I was always nervous someone would steal the diapers off our porch and we would be liable for the cost.
The service only did prefolds and doublers, so no fun AIOs or pocket diapers or anything like that. The prefolds did not stand up too well to blowouts. We ended up using two newborn prefolds layered together for more protection for months 1 and 2, until he was upgraded to infant size.
We kept ending up with extra diapers because I would keep the unused diapers from week to week (seemed so wasteful to throw the clean ones in the dirty bag to get washed). It was hard to estimate how many we would need. I believe the cost for 60 diapers/week was about $70/month, which is probably not any cheaper than disposables. So after the 3 months ran out I switched to buying and washing my own. I just had the upfront cost of about $250 (a few GroVia, 7 BumGenius Freetimes, two random pocket diapers, a few prefolds) and ongoing minimal cost of Charlie's Soap and hot water.
I do have to wash them about 3 times/week so this is added work compared to the service, but I love the freedom to choose the type of cloth diaper I want to use, and to be able to switch to disposable (usually a disposable at night and when we travel) without feeling like I'm wasting the money I'm spending on the service. I also have the flexibility to use my own cloth wipes and throw everything into the diaper pail -- with the service I'd need a separate pail for my own laundry -- the service may have offered wipes at an additional charge, but I could not justify paying for that.
Bottom line -- worth it when baby is brand new (especially first time mom) and adding more laundry to the workload is really tough. Not worth it once things settle down and you want the flexibility to try different brands/combinations to find out what works best for you and your baby.
I also feel like there is a certain amount of pride from washing the diapers myself - something so refreshing and maternal? about hanging up the clean diapers to dry, feeling how soft they are, and knowing that you are taking care of your baby the best you can.
Thank you Emily for sharing your story! Do you have experience using a diaper service? Is this something you would find helpful during those first few months of the newborn stage? Comment below or email me and share your experience!