For a good number of months after we found out we were expecting, Tim and I debated back and forth about what kind of diapers to use. Should we go with regular disposables, eco-friendly disposables, wash-it-yourself cloth or cloth diapering service? (Or, should we go the traditional Chinese way and dress our baby in split pants?…) There seemed to be pros and cons for each option and we wanted to weigh them out.
The main factors we considered were financial cost, energy cost, comfort for baby and environmental impact (in that order). The easiest on our pocketbook – wash-it-yourself cloth diapers – was the most taxing energy-wise. And the most convenient – regular disposables – would drain our bank account quicker than the other options. Eco-friendly disposables and cloth diapering service seemed to be somewhere in the middle, costing more than regular disposables but offering benefits in the energy and environmental departments.
I leaned more toward cloth diapers because they seemed more comfortable for baby and they were gentler on the environment, (plus, babies that are cloth diapered generally toilet train sooner because they’re more aware of when they’re wet), but Tim was concerned that it would be too much work for me to maintain them, especially since I am a pretty low energy person to begin with.
Then, a couple months ago, a dear cousin of mine from Toronto emailed me out of the blue and offered to get us, as their gift to baby, diapering service for as long as baby needed it. It was an incredibly generous offer and it made our decision a lot easier. While at home, we’d use the cloth diapering service and when we went out, we’d use disposables.
In the course of researching our options, I came across two cloth diaper services in Vancouver: Diapers Naturally and Happy Nappy. Happy Nappy seemed to be better. [Update: As of Feb 2013, Happy Nappy in the Lower Mainland is now Happy Baby Cheeks. There is no more Happy Nappy in Vancouver. Read their review here.] So I sent them an email and inquired about their pre-birth starter package and whether I could arrange for my cousin to pay. They replied really promptly and everything checked out so I signed us up. They sent me a detailed package via email with instructions and we figured out which day of the week I would be expecting the driver to come around.
On Friday (one week before our due date), our pre-birth package arrived. I had a chance to chat briefly with their driver, Rick, who together with his wife started the company. They have five of their own children! Rick was really friendly and answered all the questions I had.
I was super excited to open the package and see what was in it. Here’s what I got.
It all came in a white plastic diaper pail that was bigger than I had expected:
The lid of the pail had a deodorizing disc in the center. Apparently, you can order new discs in the future and replace them as you go so that it doesn’t stink up the room.
Inside the pail was a large, heavy-duty reusable bag. This is where I’ll be putting all the soiled diapers in and on Fridays, when Rick comes around, I’ll exchange the bag of dirty diapers with a new bag of clean ones. No need to rinse or scrape any poop off, just dump them in and exchange the whole bag for clean ones. =)
The diapers themselves came tied in bundles of 10.
Needless to say, I’m pretty stoked to try them out!
The cost breakdown for Happy Nappy’s service is like this:
Pre-birth starter package ($59.99) – if you sign up with them before the baby arrives, they will ship you 30 diapers a week before you’re due, along with a diaper pail and any diaper covers you request (diaper covers are the waterproof “diapers” that you put on top of the ones that get dirty). You can rent diaper covers at $1.05/week/each or buy them for $12.75/each. (I found mine used on Craigslist: 4 covers for $15). The starter pack price includes a $25 registration fee as well as the price of the diaper pail, which is yours to keep.
On-going service: $23.87/week + $2.00 fuel surcharge (because gas prices are high). This includes dropping off as many clean diapers as you request and picking up your dirty diapers. They bring the clean ones in a reusable bag that you then put your dirty ones into. The driver will come on the same day each week at around the same time, but you don’t need to be home – you can just leave the bag at the door and he will drop off a new bag for you.
They ask that you stay on for at least one month of service and then you can cancel at any time (with two week’s notice). They also offer a discounted rate if you pay in 6 month increments (which we didn’t do this time because we want to try it out first before committing to using them for longer.) Plus, they guarantee that your child will be toilet trained by 2.5 years. If not, your service is free for however long past the 2.5 year mark that your child needs diapers.
Happy Nappy also has a fantastic referral program. You get 1 week/month free service for the first three people who sign up for a month and the rest of your service free if you refer a fourth person!
I hope to do a follow up blog post to this one once we have started using their diapers for a bit. [Update: Two months in, I've reviewed their service here. And here's a second review 7 months in. Finally, here is a review of the new company, Happy Baby Cheeks.] If you do decide to give them a try, please tell them Olive Chan referred you. Thanks! (Note: I’m not getting compensated by the company for writing about them here. Your mention of my referral is compensation aplenty.)
What kind of diapers are you using (or plan to use) and why?