Imagine saving as much as $1,000 per child, every year, just by switching to cloth diapers.
Lakisha Windle has used both disposable and cloth and is glad she made the switch. Her full time job is taking care of her children, 3-year-old Isaac and 18-month-old Kyla.
Like any mom, she wants to do what's best for her kids and save a few bucks in the process. After Kyla arrived, Lakisha became frustrated with the cost and nuisance of buying diapers.
"When she came along, I had two kids in diapers, and we were buying a box of diapers every week - diaper pail refills, baby wipes every week," says Lakisha. "It was getting out of hand."
She exclusively used disposable diapers with Isaac, but having two kids in diapers was too much. So she switched to cloth. She says the switch saves her at least $200 a month.
"That's a lot of money! That's a grocery bill right there," says Lakisha. "It does save so I'm glad we made the switch."
After having used both, Lakisha says cloth is no more yucky than dealing with disposable.
She has a stash of cloth diapers next to her changing station. The snaps not only ensure the diapers fit from 3 months to potty training, but they make for easy changing too. No pointy pins.
After each change, the diapers are thrown in a smell-proof "wet bag." The whole thing, bag and all, gets thrown in the wash. She says it's about two extra loads of laundry a week.
"It really wasn't any different," says Lakisha. "You still have to change it, you still might smell a little poop. Some poop might blow out. But when I was using disposables I had more blow outs then with my cloth. A dirty diaper is a dirty diaper."
Lakisha has found herself addicted to ease and cost savings of the cloth diapers.
And they're making a big comeback. Memphis' first cloth diaper store opened in 2012 - Over The Moon Diapers.
Over The Moon Diapers is in the front room of Courtney Moser's home. Her goal was to provide a place where Memphis moms could learn about and purchase cloth diapers.
"People's automatic assumption if they don't know anything about it is, 'oh that's so disgusting.' And it's just, it's more sanitary, it's better for the baby, it saves money, it's truly not disgusting," says Moser. "The biggest person I had to convince of that was my husband, and now he's such a big believer. "
Get the cloth squares your grandmother used as diapers out of your head. A modern cloth diaper is more like a disposable but there's several varieties to fit every families life style.
"Pocket diapers" have an absorbent insert that goes in the outer shell. The two pieces are separate for faster drying.
The "all in ones" act just like disposable, all one piece. You just snap it on the baby and go. The whole thing goes in the wash.
"Hybrids" have an absorbent insert that snaps off. You wash the insert every diaper change, but cuts down on laundry because the shells can be used several times before washing.
A flushable liner is a product that can be used in any cloth diaper. No environmental impact, they break down in the sewer system within a few days. No more stinky diaper pails in the house waiting for garbage day.
"It kind of looks like a sheet of Bounce (fabric softener)," says Moser. "Then if you have a dirty diaper you can shake that off, or lift it off and dump it in the toilet, and flush it away. You didn't really have to touch anything."
Moser says the environment is big motivation for cloth diapering moms. Every year it's estimated that 27 billion diapers are used in the United States. About 25 billion end up in a landfill. It's estimated each diaper will take 250 to 500 years to decompose.
"Estimates are that for one baby from birth to potty training, you're generating one ton of waste that goes into landfills," says Moser. "So that's another great consideration for why people should use cloth diapers."
But she says its the cost savings that is the most attractive.
Cloth diapers run about $14 to $23, and absorbent inserts are around $8 each. The flushable liners are about 5-cents each.
The number of diapers you need depends on which cloth diaper system you choose. The average investment is $400 to $500.
The one size diapers work from three months until potty training, and can be used if you have more kids, or even sold used on the Internet.
When you use disposable, you'll probably use at least 6,000 diapers by the time the child is potty trained, for a total cost of around $2,000 give or take depending on the brand of diaper.
That equals big savings.
"The best estimates we come up with are anywhere between $1,500 and $2,000 per child from birth to potty training, which is really significant," says Moser. "Especially if you're able to invest that money in an education fund for your child or something, that's a big savings."
Like most moms, Lakisha was drawn to cloth for the cost savings, but she sticks with it for the little extras. She's become sort of a cloth diaper spokesperson, even converting a few of her friends.
"Most people would have said 'Kisha would never do cloth diapers,' but I love it, and that's what I try to tell them," says Lakisha. "It's easy, how much money you can save, how its healthier for the baby, and it's healthier for the environment. So those are the things I mention to them - and they're cute."
Over the Moon Diapers has a 12-week infant diaper rental program. They also have a two-week trial program if you're unsure, or want to experiment with which style of diaper is best before you invest.