I’ve been a father for nearly 14 months now and wanted to start passing along some tips, tricks and gear that have made life easier for the wife and I when bringing up our son.

A cloth diaper from BumGenius

First on the docket: BumGenius cloth pocket diapers (pictured at right).

Before we had Ben, we talked a lot about doing lots of rather granola-y things: cloth diapers, making our own baby food, etc. Thanks to these diapers, cloth diapers are the one of those thoughts that stuck.

See, we didn’t want cloth diapers to be a hassle involving safety pins, rubber pants and cleaning services. What we wanted was the convenience of disposable, with the cost-savings of cloth.

And boy, are there some cost savings.

We have an initial outlay of around $500 for more than 24 diapers.

Since then, we’ve bought maybe $100 worth of disposables for trips and excursions (since one thing that cloth isn’t good for is lugging dirty ones back home).

On disposables, we would have passed that $600 around Ben’s eighth month (even at Amazon bulk prices).

And the cost savings increase with each kid we have. As long as we take good care of these diapers — wash them correctly, make sure we have the velcro tabs tucked in — the next kid or two can use these same diapers. We might have to replace a few, or want to get a few pink ones for a little girl, but we’re not talking a huge outlay.

In exchange for all of those cost savings, you have to do more laundry: about an extra load every other day. You have to user special detergent (we use Mountain Green) free of dies, perfumes and enzymes, which is much harder to find than you’d think.

Until starting solid foods, you just remove the diaper, remove the liner from the pocket and toss the whole thing in a mesh bag that gets taken down to the laundry room later. After solid foods, you might have to make a stop by the bathroom first to remove any solids he might have left.

The other good things about using cloth:

We’ve had very few diaper rashes, and the ones we have had have been caused by missing a poopie for too long and have been short-lived.

We’ve had zero blowouts and very, very few leaks, unlike they few times we’ve used disposables.

In all, choosing cloth, and specifically BumGenius, turned into one of the best decisions we made as new parents.

I can’t recommend them highly enough.