Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A Cloth Diaper Evangelist


Before I had a baby, my only friends with babies were using cloth diapers. My parents used cloth diapers, my husbands’ parents used cloth diapers, and all the things I believed in pointed to using cloth diapers. So it was natural for me to choose cloth as well. I initially thought of it as just one more option in the many things we were deciding about how we would care for our baby. However, cloth diapers are so much more for me than that now. They have turned into an obsession for me. Using cloth has changed the way I think about many things in terms of disposability, made me think more deeply about what I choose to put on my baby’s skin, and kept me in tune with my baby’s bodily functions and daily changes. I am a cloth diaper evangelist.

OK, you’ve been warned. If you are not already a cloth diaper devotee, I will try to convert you. This is a blog post singing the praises of cloth, and not addressing any of the benefits of disposables (not that there really are any in my opinion). It’s true, this will not be a balanced piece, but that’s why this is a blog, not a newspaper!

Our cloth diapering story:
At my baby shower, I had requested cloth diapers as gifts. It is true that they are an up-front investment, and I thought that could be mitigated by getting a variety of diapers from my friends and family. However, I felt like many people did not believe that I would actually stick with cloth diapering once the baby was born – only 2 people out of 20 at my shower gave me cloth diapers (to be fair, it is hard to find cloth diapers to buy in person around here and many of my relatives are probably not consummate internet shoppers). Several people also made comments like “well, you’re using a diaper service, right?” acting like I was relegating myself to a life of drudgery if I chose to launder diapers on my own. Was I choosing an anti-feminist path? Making more work for myself? These thoughts did cross my mind but the financial and environmental benefits outweighed those doubts and we didn’t even buy a pack of disposables as back-ups before sweet pea was born.

We started her in pre-folds and covers first thing, after she pooped meconium all over the cloth that my midwives used for weighing babies. It took a few times to feel confident with the folds, and know that I was putting the cover on tight enough but not too tight, but it quickly became natural to both my husband and me. We use a variety of types of diapers: pre-folds and PUL covers, fitteds and wool or fleece covers, all-in-ones, and pockets. There are plenty of sites with a rundown of the options for cloth diapering. I like all of these options for different reasons and for different occasions, and I really believe that almost anybody can find a cloth diaper that will work for their situation. We use pre-folds mostly at home because they are the cheapest and wash and dry so easily, thick fluffy fitteds for times when I may have to wait a bit before changing her, all-in-ones for out and about changing ease, and pockets for overnight extra absorbency.

I have a large stash of diapers now, probably enough to last 5-6 days, but we still do wash a load of diapers about every other day to keep the bucket from getting too rancid and just to keep on top of it. It is so much fun to buy new soft fluffy diapers, although there are good deals on used diapers which still have a lot of use left in them. I have bought diapers both new and used online, and new in stores in Portland, Oregon. Friends have also passed used ones on to us, including a set of nicely dyed pre-folds in a rainbow of colors which make the even typically-boring pre-folds more fun. We will re-use many of these again on our second baby (someday), but for now continue to loan around the ones that sweet pea outgrows.

I have discovered my own personal favorites, and would love to build up even more of a stash, although I know it’s not really necessary. Our favorite PUL cover is Thirsties brand brand. They have a new model of cover out that is adjustable size, for even more value as you can use it longer without buying new. I haven’t tried them yet but have heard great reviews! Our favorite fitteds are GoodMamas and Guerrilla Fluff for soft, high-quality, cute diapers. My favorite all-in-ones are VeryBaby. I like that they are cotton inners and have a snap-in insert. We also use Thirsties and FuzziBunz pockets, but they don’t have quite the perfect fit on our little one that the Thirsties covers have.

Our washing routine:
Toss wet diapers into a pail with a screw-top lid. We didn’t use the lid at first as her pee and poo didn’t smell much. Now that she is stinkier, we are more inclined to use the lid, although I’ve heard that enclosing the dirties can make the smell worse, but you do get to close it out from the rest of the room. Most of the time, we spray off poo diapers with a sprayer attached to the back of the toilet before tossing them in the pail as well. I run a rinse-only cycle in the washer on cold water, then a regular cycle with a small amount of powder, additive-free detergent on warm, then sometimes an additional rinse cycle with white vinegar as a fabric softener. We either dry diapers in the dryer or on the line outside. Outside is nice because they smell fresh, and the sun gets out any stains, but it isn’t always practical. Covers always get laid flat or hung to dry. You can just grab clean ones out of the laundry basket, but I think folding diapers is actually kind of fun!

A few of the many many reasons to use cloth diapers:

  • Saving money

  • Saving the planet

  • Avoiding putting chemicals on your little ones’ sensitive parts

  • Knowing when your little one wees

  • Less stink than disposables (wet disposables are awful!)

  • The pleasure of freshly washed soft soft diapers

  • The absolute adorableness of cloth diaper-butt

  • Avoiding diaper rash

  • Supporting local businesses and/or Work At Home Moms

  • The admiration of old-school parents and grandparents


There are about a million Work At Home Moms making cloth diapers for sale (check out diaperswappers, etsy, or hyenacart), and assorted fits and styles for whatever your needs. Cloth diapers come in pretty much any color or print that you want, and they are so much cuter than disposables! So, go buy some today for your little one, or any baby you know! Give it a chance and you may come to be a cloth diaper evangelist too.

Here is another page about the reasons to cloth diaper.

6 comments:

  1. Thanks for the informative post, Rose! Who knew there was so much to love about diapers:)

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  2. Great post! Hopefully you'll convert the masses that read this post to the wonderful world of CD!

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  3. Thanks, guys!
    I've got plenty of ideas to write about, so stay tuned.

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  4. Hmmm
    very interesting subject.... I know nothing about it but I have a question...
    so you wash them by themselves, I am assuming... doesn't it consume a lot of water with all those washes for such small amount of clothes??
    sorry for my ignorance :)

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  5. Ignacio - Good question! We wash about every other day. If there is not enough for a full load, I will run a rinse cycle on just the diapers first, then add regular clothes/laundry for the wash and second rinse. That way we are still getting full use out of the water :)
    Yes, you personally use more water and electricity washing cloth diapers than with disposables, but the environmental benefit is still there when compared to the water, electricity, oil, and chemicals that went into making and transporting the disposables. And the cost of a load of wash is pretty low if you have a good washer/dryer (I've seen estimates that it's well less than a dollar). Hope that helps!

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  6. Thanks for participating Rose! :-) I thoroughly enjoyed reading your post. By the way, If you ever link an old post, don't feel you have to use my banner. Don't get me wrong...I always appreciate it, but I don't require it unless it is a post specifically written for my assignments.

    I do hope you will join in next week..It will be SO FUN!! I am scared at what my husband will write though! lol.

    Have a great rest of your week!

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