I've been researching cloth diapering. Why is it so confusing? While there are a lot of sites out there that explain the different types of diapers, how to fold them, where to buy them, I'd love a practical discussion of how well these methods work in real life. I just can't figure out practicality vs. effectiveness vs. cost.
Girl 2, aka "the Baby" is almost 10 months old. If she's like her siblings, we have a max of a year and a half left in diapers. When I look at all the prices out there for cloth diapers, it's just too expensive. I can get disposables pretty inexpensively, especially if I bargain shop and use coupons. If I was on my first child, and could reuse the diapers, or even if I'd started cloth diapering when Girl 2 was born, it might have been worth the cost. But the learning curve, the chaos in my house, and the price are just too much. I've also looked for biodegradable disposables, but so far the only kind I've found are also too expensive.
I'm feeling sad and frustrated by this. I know that we're making a lot of waste, and LASTING waste with the way we're diapering now. I also know that we are on the run a lot once school starts, and I'm not sure we can learn how to cloth diaper on our fifth child. I really want to cloth diaper, but I don't think we have the time or money to afford it.
To add to my guilt is this. I'm not going to look back at the number of diapers we've sent to the landfill with the first four, because there's nothing I can do about that, and it's just discouraging. But looking ahead, and assuming the Baby is in diapers for 18 more months, we're looking at a lot of waste.
18 months = 547 days.
Assuming 5 diapers a day
= 2735 diapers or so until she's potty trained.
And while I'm not looking back...there's a little mathematician in the back of my mind trying to calculate 2.5 years of disposable diapers for each of the 5 kids. I'm squelching that voice, I can't fix the mistakes I've done...but I feel the emotional weight of them.
So do I just decide that there's nothing I can do, so I should just keep on the way I have been? Or do I ignore our time & money limitations in order to be a better environmental steward? Is there some middle ground I'm missing?