Despite the 4,203,482,874 blog posts out there on cloth diapers, I’m going to toss another one you’re way. And probably a few more over the next few years.
Choosing to cloth diaper actually started long before I was even near the realm of motherhood. During my freshman year of college, I attended a Franciscan school called Siena College in Loudonville, NY. Part of Catholic social teaching and a particular charism of Franciscans is to be good stewards of the earth. In the spirit of our Catholic Franciscan identity, our freshman “Foundations” class required each student to choose some way of going green and writing a research paper about it. Our professor highly encouraged us to research something we might actually use or consider implementing in the future. I thought to myself, “Self, you’d like to have a family someday. Why not look into cloth diapers?” After learning about how many diapers go into landfills (appx 4,000 per baby per year)…and how long those said diapers take to decompose (opinions vary, but ballpark is around 800 years)…and how much it costs to diaper just ONE child annually….my partial hippie, Oregonian heart cried a little bit. I knew that in the future I would at least try to cloth diaper.
I’ve had to learn alot…and I still have alot to learn, but for me, it was a fairly simple decision. So long as I was able to stay home and had easy access to laundering facilities, I would give cloth diapering a go. For other families the decision is more complex. Parents have all kinds of reasons for cloth diapering or not – they’re all valid. Not all people are in a position to even give cloth diapering a try; they may not have a washer and dryer at home. Maybe both parents work full time and their childcare does not accommodate cloth diapers. Maybe they have several children and thinking about washing that many diapers a week makes them break out in a nervous rash. I do think it’s important that we all find ways in our life to reduce waste and try to take care of the earth, but I know that not everyone will choose cloth diapering.
What I didn’t know or expect were the wide range of reactions I would receive when telling people that we’re choosing to cloth diaper. I thought it was just kind of a “whatever, you do it or you don’t” kind of a thing.
A few gems of reactions I’ve received…
There are those that do not give a bleep about how I will handle my child’s poop (fair enough) and give me just enough acknowledgement as to move on and change the subject:
or just straight up:
Then there’s the completely horrified reaction…and through their eyes you can see their imaginations running wild with fecal-filled nightmares and the thought of new diseases developing in my home. They are also considering getting me a hazmat suit as a baby shower gift.
(If Kristen Wigg or Maya Rudolph sent me a hazmat suit, I wouldn’t be offended at all. I’d probably wear it.)
There are the couple of generations above me that dealt with some really crappy cloth diapering situations (pun noted, but not intended). They have ALL THE HORROR STORIES about dunking diapers in the toilet and giant diaper covers that engulfed half the baby’s body and the diaper rashes that put all diaper rashes to shame! (Why would you ever consider being such an irresponsible parent, Ashlie?! Why?!) When I try to share that cloth diapers have changed a lot and there are new styles that help make it easier, and that I think it’s important to reduce waste, they be like:
And then there are the other cloth diapering moms and my environmental enthusiastic friends who do they happy dance with me when I get a shipment of AIOs, covers, pockets or prefolds in my mailbox:
And I love you all. Even the haters.
Let the cloth diapering adventures begin!