Since Special K is now one year old, it is the perfect point in time to revisit the advantages and disadvantages of our Bum Genius one-size cloth diapers. In a previous post, I examined cost, mobility, and ease of use for the parents. For now I'll stick with those areas.
Although the diapers paid for themselves after about 6 months of use, there have been some minimal costs associated with using cloth diapers (aside from washer and dryer usage). We've had to invest in some bleach and some borax to help keep the diapers in ship shape. Since we don't use either the bleach or borax every time the diapers are washed, in the long run the cost is pretty negligible. All totaled, right around $20 worth of product has lasted close to 6 months.
Now that Special K is up and running around, the bulkiness of the diapers has become a blessing in disguise. The soft poly-cotton pillow of a diaper acts as a good landing pad for her little bum. On the negative/funny side, the diapers have caused her to walk like a penguin. She waddles around the house like a lost little bird looking for her mommy. I don't think this will have any long term effect. Just as she grew into the diapers when they were making it difficult for her to roll over, I'm sure it will be easier to walk as she grows a little more.
Ease of use and other general observations
Over time there has been a fair amount of wear to the diapers. This is most notable around the Velcro areas. The Velcro fasteners have curled outward, making it harder to keep the diaper fastened. Luckily, they are easily coerced into bending back the correct way. One unforeseen side effect of the Velcro curling is that the fasteners have become an easy access handle for undoing the diaper. Long gone are the days when Special K could crawl around in her diaper. Pants are required at all times, otherwise the diaper ends up on the floor.
The smell of the diapers has gotten progressively worse (the clean ones too :) ). This is where the need for the bleach and borax comes in. The borax is great for deodorizing the diapers, and is only needed every 4th wash or so. We bleach the inserts from time to time, but this is mostly to get rid of any dingy look (not that anyone really sees the inserts).
Overall we are still very happy that we made the choice to use cloth diapers, however we aren't in the homestretch yet. I do have some worries that she may outgrow the diapers too quickly, or that the Velcro will continue to deteriorate in such a way that the diapers become unusable.
DISCLAIMER: My wife and I are what I would say average when talking about diaper care. There are times when we do things like set the dryer at a higher than recommended temperature because we're in dire need of a diaper (and don't want to break down and buy a pack of disposables).