I like to be green. In fact, I'm the kind of person who sorts my garbage because I love to recycle (it's one of my favorite pastimes). The cause? An eighth grade recycling project that has truly stuck with me. But mostly a mother who always lived by and spouted the old adage, "Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without."
My mother emulated this philosophy by raising her five children in cloth diapers. However, keep in mind that this was the 1970's and '80's, so picture the pre-fold diapers with plastic pants - the ones that had to be rinsed in the toilet bowl and a bucket of bleach before washing. Yes, my mom was not afraid to get her hands dirty to save on costs. Good woman.
When I learned that I was expecting, I did what any pregnant woman of the 21st century would do. I hopped on to the world of baby blogs and mom forums to inspire me: birthing techniques (yes, I did the epidural), benefits and how-to's of breastfeeding (I'm a believer!!!), nursery themes and decor (we inherited everything), baby names (she was named as we left the hospital), raising bilingual children (yes, we're going that route). And then I stumbled upon the cloth diaper aisle of the baby blogging world.....
I had heard rumors that cloth diapering was making a comeback with a new edge to it. I didn't really know what that meant until I saw it: the bumGenius cloth diaper. See model below:
Cloth diapers that look and work like disposables?!! And that come in the convenient colors of moonbeam, butternut and blossom? ;) An outer cover made of liquid-resistant material (PUL fabric) and absorbent inserts of cotton or microfiber. Amazing. I did more research and naturally (hahaha, get it?), became instantly sold on the idea of cloth diapering. And here are the reasons why:
Cloth diaper babies save their parents approximately $1,500+ per child (cheap).
Cloth diaper babies do not contribute tons of waste to landfills (green).
Cloth diaper babies tend to potty-train more quickly (convenient).
Cloth diaper babies get their nappies hung out on the line to dry in the sun (cute).
As I continued to search the internet for cloth diapering info, I learned that while investing in name brand cloth diapers is cheaper than disposables, making your own cloth diapers was even more cost-efficient. I happen to know a woman who sews. I called my mom. With her can-do attitude and enthusiasm for undertaking projects of a good cause, she volunteered to make every single diaper for her unborn grandchild. When Justin came home that night, I told him of my desire to baby our baby with cloth diapers. Without hesitation, he fully supported my dream (granted, at that point he had no idea what to expect, but ask him today and you'll find that he's fully converted to the cloth diapering technique).
My pregnancy progressed and my belly became noticeable and my mom was at work making adorable diapers for my adorable baby. If you have ever been pregnant, you know that other parents (mothers especially) always take the opportunity to engage in discussion about parenting techniques. :) I wasn't a walking advertisement for cloth diapering or anything, but if the subject came up, you can be sure I excitedly shared my intention to do cloth diapers. Would you believe that only a handful of those listeners actually supported my ambition? The rest were pretty quick to raise their eyebrows and tell me that I would regret it once I was elbow-deep in poop.
Now, this post is in no way a stick-it-to-the-man to all those who doubted me. But I have to tell you, most people doubted me because they just don't understand what it means to be a modern cloth diaper parent. You may be one of them. Thus, I write this post as a follow-up to my great cloth diapering ambition. It's been six months. Here's what we've observed as cloth diaper parents:
*We really do save money with homemade cloth diapers. We spent about $400 on all the homemade cloth diapers and wipes (you didn't think we would be cloth diaper parents without also being cloth wipe parents too, did you??) for ALL the children will have. Compare to $2,000+ each.
*Cloth diapering is no more messy than disposable diapering. You place the soiled diapers (did I mention that you can use a cover for up to 2-3 diaper changes?) in a wet-bag and do a load of diapers every 2-3 days. The stink is no worse than having a pail full of dirty disposables in the nursery. As for touching anything...you still have to wipe that precious little bottom and wash your hands with disposables, don't you?
*Once your little one starts eating solids and producing solid...ahem...poops, you place a liner in the diaper (looks much like a dryer sheet) to catch the peanut-buttery stuff. You throw that in the toilet and don't have to worry about any scraping or soaking.
*Cloth diapers on the go aren't a hassle. You take a small wet-bag along for the dirties and plenty of covers and diapers to make it through the day.
*It's gentle on baby's skin. We use special detergent and yes, we make our own wipe solution out of all-natural, tree-hugging products like coconut oil, lavender and tea tree oil.
*There is absolutely no waste involved with cloth diapering (except any disposable wipes on-the-go). It's super green and it feels good.
*When you dry them on the line, the sun bleaches out the stains.
*Sophie's bum is absolutely adorable with the cloth diapers her grandma made her. What an amazing gift.
There you have it. The reasons and benefits of being a modern cloth diaper parent. Justin and I love the choice we made and can I just say we couldn't have done it without my amazing mother - these diapers were a labor of love for a cause I am proud to support. Thank you, Mom! :)
The diaper pattern:
It must run in the family?
My cousin Amanda is a great advocate of the cloth diaper alternative and even promotes a business for organic parenthood. Check it out!