the one about cloth diapers

October 20, 2011

(I know right? I promise I'll try not to make it boring but come back tomorrow if poop-catchers don't heat your gerbils.)

When the jude was a delightfully giggly and low-maintenance six months old I dug out the handful of bum genius cloth diapers I had purchased when I was a still dreamy-eyed pregnant marshmallow. I set them out on the dining room table and an epic stare down began. It's you or me, cloth diapers, said my eyes. And they responded with, You washed me 8 months ago. Hurry the hell up, I'm bored. I had put it off long enough. It was time to give that pony a whirl.

diaper covers

I found cloth diapering a daunting bandwagon. Early on I made the mistake of visiting forums in search of more information and stumbled back out in a terrifying haze of acronyms. They made it seem so ridiculously complicated. Holy shit people take that stuff seriously. Some of them must devote 86% of their brains to their pre-rinse 1/4 part soap .896 hour sun-dry laundry routines. I did not have 86% of my brain to spare. Could I still do this?

What I discovered when we got our feet and/or pants wet was that cloth diapering was just... not a big deal. I thought, "Hey! We're doing this! I should totally blog about it! ...After we test it out for a while." We waited and tested and it was such a non-issue that... I never mentioned it again. It faded so perfectly into our routine that it barely seemed worthy of a passing discussion.

The basic concept is so simple; the chemistry and engineering are tertiary. For all the intimidating talk the heart of it is just to put something washable on your kid's butt. I started sewing my own diapers and covers. My klout in 'being a filthy hippy' went up tenfold, but only in secret because I never talked about it. Shhhhh, I bought prefolds. Meet me behind the dumpster and we'll gingerly touch snappi tips.


To this day we remain only part-timers, though dedicated ones. We use cloth diapers by day but never by night, a combination one part heavy-wetting and one part too lazy. (Don't worry, I'm still saving the earth in other ways.) I've found the flexibility to switch back and forth betwixt the two irrationally comforting and I refuse to feel guilty. We use less diapers, less plastic, less chemicals, less dollars– less is good enough for me.

Early on I had to talk Jon into it and talk rather fast, given the high price per diaper when you buy them new. (That was where the sewing came in. I win.) These days it's completely the opposite. On mornings when I'm in a hurry and packing the jude's bag for Awesome Babysitter's I'll throw out there, "Maybe we should just send disposables today." and he's the one who says, "Oh come on, the cloth diapers are better. I'll get them." You won't catch me complaining, though I still do the majority of the washing.

How does the jude feel about it? He doesn't care. Does. Not. Care. Be it cloth or disposable it goes on his butt and... whatever. Some little bitty babies cry when they have a wet diaper, some don't. When you have one of those babies it's a blessing– they don't wake you up in the middle of the night for a wet diaper change. WIN. As a toddler you start to wonder what the hell is going on in their head that they're totally cool hanging out in their own pee but I digress.

A big bonus has been that Awesome Babysitter lets us send cloth diapers while we're at work. In fact, this is all kind of her fault. I BLAME YOU, AWESOME FRIEND. She was the one who gently convinced me that cloth diapering was not so scary. And really, it hasn't been. I don't want to sound like a crazed Rand Paul supporter but try it, you'll like it.

Underpants party any given sunday
vintage behbeh jude in disposable   /   vintage behbeh jude in cloth

Troubling and not-so-troubling cloth diapering concerns of the masses:

Some worry about ewww, the touching the poop. I have news for you honey, whether you're using disposables or cloth you will occasionally touch poop. Welcome to parenting. I find that I touch no more percentage of poop with cloth than I do with disposables. Also touching poop always sucks.

Some worry about the laundry. I'll admit, it's not the best part. It also doesn't have to be a huge terrible hullabaloozling monster. I toss our dirty diapers in a regular laundry basket (if there was poop I rinse them first with hot water). I wash a load once or twice a week with a bit of detergent and a downey ball full of white vinegar. You read that correctly, I use regular detergent. I'm a rule breaker, a LAW SHAKER. However rarely has it caused a problem that an afternoon in the sun couldn't fix.

Some worry about leaks. Again, as with the repellent poop-touching, we've experienced them no more than with disposables, probably less. Once in a blue moon we have a leaky day. Meh. Ditto for diaper rash, though we've been lucky on that front in general.

Have we saved money? Up front and in charge, big YES. Have we saved the environment? Debatable. Is it easy, really? YES, it can be. But has it changed my world? NO. Would I recommend it to others? ABSOLUTELY. But do I care if you do it? NO.

Have you tried or thought about trying cloth diapers? Love it hate it? Any requests for a cloth diaper cover sewing tutorial? Do you like dinosaurs? Questions? Do you have them?
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