Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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You use cloth diapers?! Why!?!?!?

Cloth diapering is not exactly common where I live. I don't have any friends or family members who use cloth and most people are pretty surprised when they find out that I do. Over the past eighteen months I have gotten a lot of different reactions, for some reason it seems to be a case of extremes: Either people think it's fantastic, or they think it's disgusting, but everyone has an opinion.

My mother in law thinks it's great. She used cloth diapers on her kids and she was excited to see how far they'd come over the years. She's perfectly happy to use my pocket diapers when she babysits and she even washes them and sends them home clean. She likes the economic factor as well as the lack of garbage created. My own mother was less enthusiastic. When I told her I was starting to use cloth diapers she laughed at me. She told me it would be messy and smelly and just an awful lot of work. I was a part of the first Disposables Generation and my mom had changed only a couple of cloth diapers in her life. Of course those were the old fashioned flat folded diapers, held on with pins and covered with hot sticky rubber pants. Once she saw my Happy Heinys and BumGenius diapers she conceded that they were pretty neat, but she's still not completely won over.

Younger people are equally divided. I was babysitting for a friend and I would use my daughter's cloth diapers on her baby whenever she was at my house because I didn't want sposies piling up in my garbage and I knew they were having trouble making ends meet so I thought I'd save them a few diapering dollars. My friend thought it was a great idea, but she had no intention of switching to cloth herself. One day I forgot to put that baby back into a disposable diaper before she went home and within half an hour my friend called me in a panic because the baby had pooped and she had no idea what to do. "Oh that's so gross! How on earth do you clean it?" I found it funny, and a little sad at the same time to see how dependent people have become on disposable diapers. Some people just dismiss the idea entirely. The strangest reason I hear for this comes from people with more than one child in diapers. They say that it would be alright for just one baby, but far too much hassle with two or three. I would think the more babies you have the more reasons there would be to use cloth! On the other hand I have had several new and expectant parents express a lot of excitement when they see my daughter's diapers. Most of them have never considered using cloth diapers and know nothing at all about it. They usually have many questions and I am only too happy to explain why I use them, although I never try to "convert" people unless they show a genuine interest.

I tell people how easy it is to use and wash cloth diapers these days. I tell them they can save thousands of dollars and prevent tons of garbage from ending up in landfills. I tell them about the possible effects of disposable diapers on a baby's health from cancer, lowered sperm counts and asthma to diaper rashes. I tell them about the dangers of ground water contamination from human excrement being thrown in the garbage instead of treated as sewage. Every so often someone will say "But aren't you wasting a lot of water?" So I tell them how much water is used in the manufacturing of disposable diapers, and how many chemicals, and how much petroleum, and how washing cloth diapers requires about as much water as a person would use in a day for flushing the toilet anyway, and how a biodegradable detergent prevents water from really being "wasted." I tell them how many hours I get to spend with my kids instead of having to be at work, earning money to throw away on diapers. I show them how astoundingly cute they are, and some of them have decided to use cloth diapers themselves.

Some people smirk and call me crunchy or weird. I had a home birth. My partner is a holist. Obviously we're doing this because we're hippies or something. But more and more perfectly normal, mainstream, modern parents are using cloth diapers these days and people are smirking less and less. Hopefully some day they will stop completely as people gain a greater awareness of themselves, their environment and surroundings and more people will find the joy of cloth diapering.


- By EdenSky

34 comments:

Christina C. said...

I also live in an area where cloth diapering is almost nonexistent! Even some of the nurses at our pediatricians office had no idea what my babies were wearing on their bottoms!
Most people I talk to about it think it is the craziest thing ever and seem to think it is a TON of work! I tell them that it is SOOOOOOOOO much easier than getting myself and both my kiddo's ready and going to the store to buy diapers every other week and I never have to worry about running out!! Also I don't have to take the trash out nearly as often as I did with disposables! Like you, I have SOOOOOOO many reasons why I love using cloth diapers!!! :)

Brena said...

Whenever I tell people I almost always get looks of shock and disgust. Up until I point out that the landfills are full of disposables, and while scientist think it might only take 500 years for them to decompose, no one is really sure because it has never happened. Most people have no idea!

Kira said...

What a great post! Keep spreading the good word! And long live crunchy hippies! Changing the world, one cloth diaper at a time!

kira_williams2003atyahoodotcom

Upstatemomof3 said...

Yup those are pretty much the standard answers! But Hubby and I are nowhere near hippies so most people are shocked to find out about our cloth habits. :)

Amanda said...

My MIL and Mom had similar reactions to yours. My in-laws were quite excited I was looking into doing cloth. My Mom was like, "Why?" and "When I diapered you, disposable were all the rage" and "I feel so bad for you because you're doing so much extra work." Oh well. :D

Lauren said...

When I first told the nursery workers at our church that we were switching to cloth, they all gave me this blank look, and then one finally said, "...But...you have to WASH those, right?" :o)

Great post! I too try to remind people who are skeptical about cloth diapers that until 30 years ago, that's all there ever was, and cloth now is so much easier than ever before!

Amanda Sikes said...

You are so right. The comments sure are opposite extremes. Some people look at me like I am crazy and others think it is great.
But I know it is great for us and that is all that matters!

Sugar & Spice said...

Great post!

the monkey's mama said...

I love reading posts like these. It seems like reactions are all across the board everywhere. Lately, though, people seem more intrigued than not!

the McGee family said...

More and more my friends are commenting on how WONDERFUL it must be to NOT have the diaper blowouts that disposables lend themselves too readily to. Maybe they'll switch just because of that!

Jill Brown said...

My friends and family think that I am weird for using cloth diapers. My mom used cloth diapers and thought they were a mess. I was a bit skeptical at first about using cloth diapers, but I love them. The savings is great and I think that my baby is happier and more comfortable in cloth.

Kate Wangsgard said...

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Catharine said...

That is an interesting perspective. I am one of those on the fence. I totally get cloth diapering, I am just working on a slow tranistion to see what works best for me. Sposies sometimes, cloth sometimes... we'll see where I end up!

Twisted Cinderella said...

I am heading out to buy my first batch of cloth diapers this month. I have a one year old daughter and I am due in January with baby number three. I really enjoyed this post!

MaryAnne said...

None of my friends use cloth diapers either - I even got three BG 3.0s from a friend who received them as a gift but was afraid to even give them a try. It is fun to see more people online using cloth diapers, though, and most of my family approves of our using cloth even if they don't do it on their own kids...

EFalls said...

What a great post! I have had a lot of people tell me they think it's gross to clean the messes, but that just seems like a lame excuse to me. I mean, children come with messes...And I am also a lone cloth diaperer in my little community. Most of my friends think it's counter cultural, although I have been able to convert and solidify some of my friends to start using cloth!

Ally said...

Loved this post. I wish more people who say something instead of just stare. I would love to talk cloth!

Very cute pictures too!

Lisa said...

I'm what you'd call a "mainstream" parent. I switched because we were having a hard time making ends meet. A friend stocked us up on her extras. I'd never go back to paper! I wish I'd been more open to it back when my first born was a baby and done it the whole time with #2.

True Story: I was washing diapers (I'd slacked and ran out), so I put #2 in a paper. I sat her down for a snack in her booster. I walked into the living room to check email and headed right back to kitchen to check on kids. In the 3-5 minutes I'd been gone, she'd pooped, so I changed her immediately (cuz who wants to sit in that?) and she already had rash! That night I started researching the paper diapers and chemicals in them. I couldn't BELIEVE all the side effects of paper! Now, I let grandparents put her in sposies if they buy them themselves, but I never put her in them myself. Plus, I've saved a fortune on sposies! I even learned to make them myslef and love sewing them! So I've spent very minimal amounts of money on my cloth. I have about 15 diapers which lasts me 2-3 days and I couldn't be happier!

Sheryl said...

Nice post!
I loved the fact that you used your CD on a friend's kiddo! I'll have to think about that...
Your summary of reasons to CD was so good, I'm sending it on to a friend who is beginning to use cloth this week.
Thanks!

Shaking said...

Good post, people are shocked that I use cloth. They often say they thought I was to much of a Diva to clean diapers on a regular. Yet I do, and I love it.

Sara in Seattle said...

Thanks for sharing! It's great to hear from other cloth-diapering moms.

TheClothDiaperWhisperer said...

Enjoyed this post a lot. You should see the looks I get when people ask what I do for a living!
Once I explain (and I try to keep it brief) about modern cloth diapering most people get it. Of course they look at Riley and ask "Is he wearing cloth diapers?" My response is absolutely and depending on the person I say, "Do you want to see?" LOL

AScott said...

I think the main problem with people not excepting cloth diapering is that it is not out there in the stores. It may be in some specialty shops, but as a whole if you walked into Walmart, it's just disposables. There really should be an effort to getting these in the stores!

The few mommies I know don't seem to have any interest at all. They just seemed mildly curious the first time they saw my baby in them and that was it.

Tiffany said...

I really enjoyed your post. I don't know any other people who cloth diaper and I've also received mixed opinions - from the horror stricken (my mom) to sincere enthusiasm (some friends). I find it amusing how everyone seems to have an opinion, like you said! My only regret is not cloth diapering my first two kids. I can't say enough good things about it!

Denise said...

I've had quite a few people from church show interest...it's always fun to talk to older people who are so amazed about the new cloth diaper styles.

Your baby is adorable....was she finger painting?

Ammie said...

I'm grateful to have support. (Too bad our families don't live closer!)
Yes, constantly taking out the trash is as much work as laundering nappies.
btw, fun paints!

Kristen said...

It's so funny the different reactions you can get! My grandma thinks they are aweseome. Granted, she can't quite figure out the snaps on my LO's Fuzzi Bunz, but she gives it a try! Friends of ours on the other hand are always quick to tell us how gross it is. But, I have gotten many a comment changing diapers in public restrooms/mothers rooms about how stinkin cute the apple green dipe is!!!

Shelly said...

The photo with the painted baby is a hoot! How fun :)

And cloth diapering is great- it saves the planet, our health, and our money! Thanks for spreading the word.

Jennifer said...

I don't know anyone in my area that CD's either. I am not surprised, as it is in character with the disposable mindset of our culture. But it is sad. CD's are so flippin cute, and not at all hard to do. The people who think CD are hard usually also think BF'ing is too hard. Dude, LIFE is hard, they each have pros and cons. But for me, I have to say the pros of BF'ing and CD'ing far, far outweigh the cons. (Since this is not a post about BF, I'll leave that for another day.) Yeah, more laundry, but it's not like washing clothes, which have to get all folded and put away. The dipes go in a basket straight from the dryer. And her clothes stay clean because we don't have blowouts! Yippee! I know, it must be really tiring to push those buttons on the machine. he he he.

Slee said...

my mom was mostly excited, but overall i get the "you won't like it" reaction too.
by the way, those are some of the cutest pics!

hosiewosie said...

I love hearing your story and seeing the adorable pictures!

Heather M said...

Great story! I enjoyed reading it!

Susan (5 Minutes For Mom) said...

It's funny to me it seems like cloth is becoming so popular that I'm in the minority for not using them. And yes, I feel guilty.

I did try cloth on my first. But I failed. But my second is getting close to potty training so it'll be a moot point soon.

All power to you though! And keep spreading the word. I do agree with you and I wish I used them. But I don't.

Lisa said...

Great story. I myself have gotten mixed reactions from people when they find out I use cloth diapers. Luckily most of my family and friends are very supportive, although some of them were a bit skeptical at first.