Cloth Diapers: A Matter of Opinion

Take yourself back with me about five years – 2005.
I’m pregnant with Markus. The thought of cloth diapers has never entered my mind. I don’t know anyone who uses them. I don’t know anyone who talks about them. I know babies need diapers, and that means hundreds and hundreds of Huggies that get tossed in the garbage. That’s what everyone does. Any parenting magazine I pick up is filled with ads for Huggies and Pampers.

Now take yourself with me to last spring – 2009.
I’m pregnant with Bailey. Here’s what I think about cloth diapers. They’re old fashioned, inconvenient, and honestly…gross. The very thought of them makes me wrinkle my nose in distaste. My opinion is largely shaped by misconceptions and lack of knowledge. I make assumptions about them, but don’t have any real information from real people. The few people I know who use them don’t really talk about them, and I honestly am not interested in asking. I think that if most people stopped using cloth when disposables came around, then sposies must be the better choice. Cloth was for our grandmas and moms, when they didn’t have any other option. Presented with the option of disposables, nearly everyone chooses them. Why wouldn’t I? With disposables you can just throw the mess away, no washing required. I figured cloth diapering mommies must spend a load of time on laundry. Gross laundry. And what in the world would you do with a dirty diaper when you’re out of the house, or even a wet one for that matter? I don’t want to know. I figure modern day cloth diapering is for the extremely eco-minded. We do a number of things to be more responsible with the earth, but diapers are where we draw the line. Switching to cloth is the absolute last thing we’ll do to become more environmentally friendly…we’ll do it after we get an electric car. Which isn’t going to happen anytime soon. Disposables are where it’s at for me – modern, convenient, and honestly…less gross. They have served me well for two babies already, and they will serve me well with this baby too.

Okay, we’re in the present now.
Cloth diapers….are awesome.

I don’t even know what initially got me thinking differently and reconsidering the whole idea. My sister Sherry uses cloth, as does my friend Angie, so I think I started re-examining my opinions when I took notice of their use of them. Then I started reading online about them. Simple Mom was an invaluable resource for me with her Cloth Diapering 101 series of posts. The amount of different kinds of diapers you can buy was incredibly overwhelming to me, and the initial start-up cost for cloth is daunting, so I was terrified I would choose the wrong kind and be stuck with a bunch of diapers I didn’t like. 4 Cloth Diapering Choices Defined demystified everything for me and helped me figure out what type of diapers I wanted to buy. I was becoming more educated but still wasn’t sure when or how to take the plunge and just do it. That is, until Bailey developed a diaper rash that I just could not get to go away. Finally, in desperation, I went to Cravings to buy a few to get me started. I still wasn’t sure exactly what kind I wanted, but I was determined to come home with something and just try. I bought 3, which was all we could afford at that moment. They were fabulous. And the rash went away a few days later. I talked it over with Clay and we decided to use some of our tax refund to buy more so we could make the switch to all cloth.

They are so easy to use, as quick to put on as a disposable – there are no pins like grandma had. They take only a few minutes out of my day to launder. My mom told me she always loved doing diaper laundry, and before using cloth I thought that was such an odd thing to say. Until now. I totally get it now, Mom. I don’t think I can explain it myself, but there is something so great about folding clean diapers. There is something about wrapping my girl up in a cloth diaper that just makes me feel like I am doing something good for her. I’m doing something good for our bank account too, and I’m doing something good for the environment. I used to think cloth diapering was gross, and now, honestly, I think disposable diapers are so gross.

Before, my kids were wrapped up in paper, wood pulp, and plastic. When they’d poop, we’d wipe it up, wrap it up, and throw it in the garbage. Think about that. Human feces….in the garbage. That is disgusting. Now, my girl is wrapped up in natural fibers, and when she poops, it gets flushed down the toilet – where poop is supposed to go. The diaper is washed and used again. I am blown away by the decrease in the amount of garbage that gets hauled out of our house now!

I wish I had educated myself about cloth diapers back in 2005, but I am thankful that it happened late rather than never.

3 Responses to “Cloth Diapers: A Matter of Opinion”

  1. Angie Says:

    I love it! You say it beautifully:) We couldn’t be happier with our cloth diapers. We do use a disposable at night or when we’re traveling, and the times we are traveling have made me appreciate the cloth diapers even more for how good they are at containing everything!!

    I use the same kind as you and highly recommend them as well!

    Nice to see you’ve come around:)

  2. Christine Says:

    Thank you very much for the cloth diaper posts. I am due with my first child in Dec 2010 and really considering cloth diapers but it seems overwhelming. I don’t really know where to start. Would you recommend a “tester kit”? to try a few types of diapers?
    Thanks again for sharing your experience.

  3. Kim Says:

    Hi Christine, thanks for stopping by!
    A tester kit with an assortment of different cloth diaper types and brands can be a really great idea if you don’t know which direction you want to go. I know how overwhelming it can be! It seemed like the more I learned about cloth diapers, the more confused I became. I never did do a tester kit, but here’s what I did do. I considered the different types of diapers – prefolds and covers, fitteds and covers, pocket, and all-in-one – and determined what appealed to me the most, just in terms of the work involved, convenience, and price. Then I looked at different brands and what people thought of them, and made my choice from there. What I didn’t do, that I wish I had, was talk to someone who knows a lot about cloth diapering options, who can help you make a more informed decision. It seems as though people who use cloth, and those who sell them, love to talk about it. I went to a cloth diapering workshop (put on by an online store owner from nearby) about a month after I started using cloth. I learned a lot about other types of diapers that I didn’t know before, and she was so willing to talk about it. Just ask, ask, ask, until you figure out what’s going to work for you. And you won’t get everything figured out before you start. That’s another thing I learned after – I thought that if I planned enough it would all go smoothly, and there’s a learning curve no matter how much planning you do. Adjusting my washing routine is a big thing that I’m still tweaking.
    Hope that helps, and if you have any other questions, just ask :)

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