There were a lot of reasons why my husband and I chose to cloth diaper our children. Cost was definitely a factor. Early in my pregnancy I discovered that a cousin was using cloth diapers for her daughter. She had bought all of the diapering supplies that she needed until her daughter was potty trained and spent no more than $700. At first I couldn’t get past the number, I mean $700 is a lot of money but once I started to consider the price of disposable diapers (for 2 to 3 years) $700 was starting to sound like a really great number.
I also considered the environmental impact of disposable diapers. I was horrified to find that a disposable diaper will take on average 100-150 years to break down in a landfill. Think about it, the diapers that we wore as babies are sitting under 26 years of garbage perfectly in tact. I don’t know about you, but to me that is a whole lot more disgusting than tossing a bin of poopy diapers into my washing machine! I try to consider the footprint that my family is leaving on the planet as much as possible so it is only natural that that would become a factor in our diapering decisions.
Last, but certainly not least, the health and well being of our children was paramount in our decision to cloth diaper. You can find so much information about the health benefits of cloth diapering by doing a simple Google search so I’m going to get off my soap box here and get on with my story.
My journey into cloth diapering was something that I really had to push for. I found myself defending my choices at every turn. I was made to feel like I had to somehow validate my choice, I couldn’t just mention that I planned to cloth diaper in passing. If I remember correctly the initial reaction that my husband and I received from our parents was “WHY?” I was pleasantly surprised to find that after briefly explaining the pros of cloth diapering (both environmental and health related) and the cons of using disposable diapers full time those “whys” turned into comments like “yeah, that does make sense.” I was not only met with support but actual excitement… especially once my mom and I started diaper shopping and found all the super cute prints that you can find on many diapers and covers.
For the most part my friends were another story. Those friends who already had children (be it one or four) met my intent to cloth diaper with statements like “yeah, we’ll see about that in 6 months” or “good luck with that.” Cloth diapering wasn’t something that many had considered and their resolve gave me the extra push that I needed to serge ahead and break with tradition (at least the tradition of our circle). Now I’m not saying in any way that I felt myself superior to anyone else who chose to use disposable diapers, because come on – its diapers. But I have to admit, the fact that I was constantly told that I couldn’t, or wouldn’t, succeed in cloth diapering awakened the inner mama in me that wanted to stand by what I believed to be best for my children and my family.
Two and a half years, and two children later, I am still using the same cloth diapers that I bought (ahem.. was given as baby shower gifts) in 2007 and I’m not going back. I’m not saying that we don’t occasionally get a pack of disposable diapers (generally we get ‘Green’ diapers) when using cloth isn’t realistic (or sometimes convenient) but for the most part we are a full-time-cloth-diapering family. For those who are concerned about the “gross” factor of cloth diapering let me put it to you this way. Babies are babies… they are going to poop, they are going to pee, and sometimes you are going to get covered in it no matter what your diapering choice is. I know that cloth diapering is not for everyone (if you don’t have a washing machine than maybe its not for you) but I am saying – give it a chance.
|Bonnie’s oldest “Sweet Pea” at 3mo old|
I will leave you with this to think about. Out of the girlfriends who thought I was a crazy, crunchy, idealistic first time mom (in the best possible way of course) two have asked me for cloth diapering advice and one is currently cloth diapering’s newest – and most diaper obsessed – fan! Yes, cloth diapering can be a little bit more work than using disposable diapers, but isn’t your baby worth it?