By Theresa McWilliams Wessels
When I was pregnant with my first son, I had a lot of preconceptions. My child would sleep in his own room right away, I would breastfeed, and I most definitely planned on using disposable diapers. After my emergency c-section, breastfeeding wasn’t successful and it was easier to keep the baby in my bedroom, but I used disposable diapers. Did any other kind even exist?
How It All Began
Then, when my son was about sixteen-months-old, we started swim classes at our local YMCA. Because I was balking at the price of swim diapers, a friend sold me a couple of her pocket diapers to use instead. Several of my friends in a local mothers group were advocates of cloth diapering. I thought they were insane. My mom had used cloth diapers on and off with my siblings, but they were the old school kind with pins, white cloths and plastic pants. One of my most vivid memories was my mother shrieking at a sibling after they got into her five-gallon diaper pail and dumped it out. So cloth diapers were not on my radar at all, even though now they came in a plethora of colors, designs and were much easier to use. I used the pocket diapers for the swim classes and then on a whim, stuffed one with an old cloth diaper that I had been using as a burp cloth. It seemed pretty easy. I ordered a few from a clearance website, bought some off of friends, and started cloth diapering part-time.
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One of my most vivid memories was my mother shrieking at a sibling after they got into her five-gallon diaper pail and dumped it out.
[/pullquote]James loved his diapers and referred to them as his “potties.” He would pick out his diaper by color and design and sit happily in his fresh diaper, admiring his “pottie.” He also could tell when he had wet his diaper so he was able to tell me when he had gone to the bathroom. James began potty training a little before two years and was fully trained by two and a half. While I could boast of my stellar parenting skills, the credit really goes to the cloth diapers. The cloth was less absorbent compared to a disposable so he could actually feel when he had gone to the bathroom. I have used cloth consistently since then; my son Bennett was in cloth diapers (with the exception of overnight, as the wet feeling would wake him up when he was asleep) as a newborn until he potty trained. My nine-month-old daughter currently wears cloth diapers the majority of the time (I work full-time now).
Benefits of Cloth Diapers
They come in pockets (fuzzi bunz are my favorite!), all in ones, hybrids (like G diapers) and yes, you can even do the cloths with pins if you would like to be retro fabulous. Except they don’t use pins anymore, they use these totally fun snappies and super cute water proof covers rather than plastic pants. Cloth diapers are economically savvy. You will save thousands over the years, especially if you use them for multiple children. Your carbon footprint will reduce drastically. Even though we very rarely use disposables, I feel guilty about polluting the earth. It takes a diaper hundreds of years to decompose. Once you’re done with your diapers, pass them on, either by giving them or selling them. A long hot wash and a little bleach and they are sanitary. Fuzzi bunz, my diaper of choice, hold their value really well. Check websites like diaperswappers.com or diaperpin.com for reviews and tips from other cloth diapering mamas.
No Real Downside
The only downsides to cloth diapers: they are not as absorbent, so you must change the diapers more frequently. This really isn’t a downside as baby’s bottom will be much healthier with frequent changes and the lack of chemicals that are in disposables. You may not want to use cloth on a long road trip or overnight. Some daycare centers may not be open to changing cloth diapers, so make sure to speak to your provider. Once upon a time I thought cloth diapering was for crazy people, but either I’ve become one of them or the pros really outweigh the cons for me. My baby’s healthier (no diaper rash!), I’m not polluting the world nearly as much, I can match her diapers to her outfits and my kids potty train early. Anything that makes parenting a little easier and the world a little cleaner is a change that works for me.
Editors Note: A great local place to get more information about cloth diapers and to get information about diaper “swaps” is A Nurturing Moment in Huntsville.