Living a Better Life
(featured column... from the editor's desk)
The First Year: Save a Bundle
Using Cloth Diapers and Homemade Diaper Wipes
by Michelle Jones
We saved a small fortune by doing these two things with our first child, and itís not as hard as you might think!
When I gave birth to our first child almost 14 years ago, my husband and I were just about flat broke. Not only did we use cloth diapers, but I also made my own diaper wipes and continued to make them for several years. We saved a small fortune by doing just these two things, and itís not as hard as you might think!
The best cloth diapers to use are the plain white ones that are pre-folded; they have thick padding in the middle, are inexpensive, and work great. Youíll need about 4-dozen, though you could get by on less. The plastic pant covers are also nice to use, but try not to use them all the time. They keep the moisture in a little too well, and can lead to diaper rash. Itís important to change the cloth diapers often; they are not as absorbent as the disposable ones.
Diaper liners are available in the store as well, but I found these to be a waste of money. I purchased one package and never even used half of them. If youíre using the pre-folded cloth diapers, they will be thick enough to keep everything in. But if you are using the thinner, unfolded variety, you might want to invest in the liners and give them a try. When anticipating a possible leak, during a long car ride or day trip, I would just fold a single thin diaper and place it inside of the pre-folded one. It usually did the trick.
Use a large plastic container with an airtight lid to store the soiled diapers until you are ready to wash them. Washing them every other day should be plenty enough; depending on how many diapers your baby goes through. Just be sure to rinse the dirtier ones in the toilet before placing them in the container. Do this by holding one end of the diaper above the water line, swishing the cloth around until the soil is released into the water. You may have to flush the toilet once and repeat this step, just be sure not to let go of the diaper!
When you are ready to wash your container of diapers, wash them in hot water with your choice of detergent. Tide is great, but if your baby has sensitive skin you might try switching to a milder detergent. If the diapers are badly soiled, add a little bleach to the water and soak them for an hour or so before washing. Donít soak them in the bleach water too long, as this can break down the fibers in the cloth and cause them to tear.
This was always my favorite part. Every time I made a batch of home made diaper wipes I was just a little more proud of myself for being so frugal. They do not take long to make, and at a cost of 50 cents a box, youíll be able to take a small vacation with all the money youíll save!
Hereís the recipe:
1 roll of paper towels
2 T. baby oil
2 T. baby bath or shampoo
2 cups boiled water, then cooled
Old diaper wipe container
(or any airtight container will do)
Each roll of paper towels will make two boxes of wipes. You also have two options for the style of diaper wipes to make. You can either cut the roll of paper towels in half; leaving them in a roll, or you can tear apart the towels and fold them to fit into the box. The later was my preferred choice.
After you place your towels into the empty box, mix the remaining ingredients in a large measuring cup. Slowly pour the liquid over the towels, making sure to cover them evenly.
If you have chosen the folded method, place half of the towels in the box and pour in half of the liquid. Then add remaining towels and remaining liquid on top of them.
If you have chosen the rolled method, be sure to remove the cardboard from the middle before adding the liquid. After the towels have set for a short while, they will absorb the liquid more evenly and will keep fresh for several weeks.
Be proud of yourself for saving money, but more than anything else enjoy that precious little baby, they grow up so fast! Sing songs or nursery rhymes while changing those diapers, make the most of every moment you have together. Babies are a precious gift from God, and every new day is another blessing.
* * *
Copyright 2001, 2004 by Michelle Jones
Want more money saving tips like these? Sign up for our Free monthly newsletter!