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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

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Cloth Diapering in a Military Family

Let's face it, just about no one enlists in the military for the fabulous salary. As a stay-at-home Mom and U.S. Air Force spouse, I have to work hard to stretch every dollar. When my husband and I found out that our second son was on the way I started looking around for ways to economize even further than we already had.

One day when I was talking to a new friend I had made at a house warming party, and she told me about her decision to cloth diaper. She showed me her daughter's adorable diapers with their cute girlie prints and explained how much money she and her husband were saving on diapers. I kind of nodded and smiled, but my husband's ears perked up when she mentioned how cost effective cloth diapering could be. A second friend echoed the same opinion when I asked her about her cloth diapering. She had cloth diapered her last three children and had nothing but good things to say about it. Needless to say, after some prompting from my husband and a LOT of internet research later I agreed that we should try to cloth diaper our upcoming bundle of joy.

Almost eight months later, and we're still growing strong! My husband and I LOVE cloth diapering, and we already know 100% that we're going to cloth diaper any subsequent children we have. Here are a few reasons that we, as a military family, have chosen to continue to cloth diaper:

1. The obvious reason, it saves us money: We are currently a family of four living on a Senior Airman salary. Cloth diapering has saved us so much money. We no longer have to buy wipes, diapers, diaper pail liners or tubes of rash ointment. All in all we spent a shockingly small amount of money on our stash. We were given some cloth diapers at my baby shower (you can't beat free!), I bought second hand diapers in a local B/S/T group, and I bought pocket diapers and covers from Kelly's Closet. I even got a few free diapers thanks to their great coupons! With diapers, wet bags, detergent, and pail liners we spent about $400. $400! I get dizzy when I think about how much we spent diapering our first son in disposables compared to our second son in cloth.

2. The cute factor: Paper diapers may be trim, but they aren't known for being super cute or original looking. Yes, I know functionality is key and all that matters is that they catch the poop/pee, but sometimes it's nice to have something cute to look at while you're cleaning it. Plus, since they are so cute, my diapers can be conversion starters. When you move around often it can be hard to meet new people and make new friends. My adorable Spence bumGenius is eye catching on the playground, and I've been able to strike up conversations with other Mommies and make new friends.

3. Fewer rashes and trips to the doctor for prescription strength rash ointment: Since we live hours away from any family it's hard when my kids get sick. If you don't know anyone, your support network can be almost non-existent. Being a first time Mom when we moved to our current base, I ended up Skyping a lot with my Mother to get her opinion on every illness my son had. He used to get terrible yeast rashes, and I'd hold his raw little baby bum up to the laptop camera just for my mom to say, "Poor baby! You need to take him to see the pediatrician!". My second son isn't plagued with the rashes his elder brother suffered from, and I attribute that change entirely to cloth diapers. No more disposables that don't breathe and are filled with skin-irritating chemicals = much fewer rashes.

I'm so happy that my husband and I made the decision to switch to cloth diapering. And you know, you don't have to be in the military to appreciate a little extra money in your bank account!

Bio: Meridith is stationed at Little Rock Air Force Base with her husband Nathan, and their two sons. She is a stay-at-home Mom and fledgling blogger who loves reading, canning, gaming, and (of course!) cloth diapers.

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