When I first heard of cloth diapering years ago, my first response was, “Eww why?” I guess college Kristen was blissfully unaware of the cost of living in the world as an adult, as well as the environmental factors. My only worries were student loans, homework, and how come my boyfriend won’t text me back (It was because I ran out of minutes on my Virgin mobile flip phone). I also had never laid eyes on a cloth diaper. When I actually saw a cloth diaper while working in childcare, I was surprised by the bright colors and easy to use snaps. I’ll admit, I still rolled my eyes a bit-after all, don’t daycare workers already have enough to do? My friend who was a teacher in the toddler room at the time explained that really, the parents do all of the hard work. Her job was simply to remove the cloth diaper and put it into a bag for the parents to wash when they got home. It’s not like she was washing diapers at daycare! Not so bad after all!
A few years later, I happened to reconnect with a college friend who cloth diapers, and I made a new friend who also happened to cloth diaper her daughters. They explained that it really was not that difficult at all, and that they were really pleased with how it was working out for their families. I was definitely intrigued, and asked my husband what he thought about trying it once we had our own little one. He was surprisingly interested as well! When my good friend recently gave birth to my unborn child’s future best friend (no pressure boys!), I had yet another experience observing cloth diapering up close. After a few weeks of trying it, my friend confided- “It’s easier than I thought. The biggest complaints I’ve heard from people about it are from those who have never tried it.” I can relate, as I’ve definitely gotten some criticism when I’ve mentioned our choice to people as well. However, it hasn’t bothered me much because I remember my opinion of it all not too long ago! If you don’t know what it’s like today, the phrase cloth diaper conjures up the image of a white towel and safety pins. Although my mom is never one to criticize, I think she felt relieved when a friend from her church showed her the cloth diapers she uses for her daughter. My mom liked that they looked easy to use and thought that they were very cute! There are definitely way more options available now than there were years ago! If you haven’t seen one, google “cloth diaper” or the “Green Nursery”. Be prepared to be overwhelmed by the different terms and types. I still am! The silly brand names had Ilana’s husband amused. He was like, “Bumgenius, Rumparooz, Thirsties…really?”
My pup Hamish is investigating the cloth diapers and wet bag! He has been very curious about all of the baby gear we’ve brought home recently!
So, why the decision to cloth diaper?
Well, first of all, its definitely a way to save money. After I have baby boy, I will be working very minimally doing billing, or possibly not at all if baby is too grumpy to take into the office (as my boss has generously offered to allow me to do). My income isn’t much, but we will be essentially adding a person to our family and living on one salary- so I am going to do whatever I need to in order to budget so that we can still save money. I’ll admit, the initial cost of cloth diapering is expensive- you can spend around $350 building a stash- but if you do the math about how many disposable diapers you’d use over the course of around 3 years- you are absolutely saving money! To me, best kind of cloth diapers are the ones that grow with your child so that you can use the same diaper from infancy to potty training. Plus, if you treat them appropriately, you can use them for future children- and they have great resale value. There is a huge market for gently used cloth diapers. You can shop the sales and giveaways, and you can look into buying a gently used stash. It sounds gross- but diapers that were washed and treated appropriately will look like new. I know, because I was recently gifted a large stash from a sweet friend of Ilana’s. My husband thought they were brand new! I also recently got two brand new Bumgenius Freetimes from a good friend of mine! As you can see from the picture above- I practiced using them on my son’s teddybear!
Our second reason for cloth diapering- we also like the idea of not filling up landfills with years worth of diapers. I in no way criticize those who use disposables, in fact, we plan to use them when baby boy is an infant- unless he happens to weigh enough to fit into cloth right away. We also plan to use them when we are traveling. I think that the only way this will work for us is if we are flexible. This is supposed to be a small step to help the environment, and our finances- not an excuse to feel like a failure or lay on that “mommy guilt” when I put my kid in a disposable. Baby steps, guys. This is just one way to help that works for our lifestyle. I fully recognize that this is not for everybody! There are always a million decisions to make about parenting and childbirth. Cloth diaper, disposable diaper, epidural, home birth, formula feeding , breastfeeding- don’t hate! You never know what someone else is going through. Don’t feed into the mommy wars! I recently learned about this when I joined, and unjoined a cloth diapering Facebook group!
Right now, I am still a newbie and in the learning process! There is a ton for me to learn as far as types of diapers, and the washing routine. There are detergents that are cloth diaper friendly, and ones that are not. There are also certain diaper creams that can be used and creams that will ruin your diaper’s ability to absorb. I’ve recently learned that coconut oil is safe for cloth diapers. I’m also currently shopping for a diaper sprayer. As I learn more from experience and friends, I’ll update you on how this is going. I’ll share the good, the bad, and the ugly!
Do any of you cloth diaper? I’d love any feedback or advice if you have it!