It’s no secret that you carry excess baggage after the birth of a baby- and I’m not just talking about those mama pounds! My daughter and I accompanied my husband on a business trip to Dublin when she was six-weeks old- and this new mama was in tears trying to limit what she would bring- just knowing that anything I forgot would constitute an emergency situation and there just wasn’t anything in the nursery (save the crib, dressing table and rocker- which my husband MADE me leave behind) that my daughter didn’t absolutely need. But cloth diapers were a necessity, and though it was no problem at hotels with laundry facilities or on weekend visits to my mother’s (the saint of a lady washed and folded them for us even) I was not sure of the etiquette of laundering cloth diapers as a houseguest. My daughter and I were invited for a long weekend to the home of a college friend. Though this friend would exclaim over the pictures of the cute diaper covers I would send to her, I knew that she was slightly repelled by the idea of baby poop lingering in her laundry baskets. But as someone who needs to have loose ends tied before embarking on a trip, I broached the idea of laundering my cloth diapers at her house.
“Um, in my washer,” she replied? “Yes”, I said, knowing that I had to talk fast to convince her, and that this conversation might ultimately lead to my packing a four-day supply of cloth diapers and laundering every diaper I owned upon my return home.
“I have my own laundry bag, detergent, everything.” Knowing that these material things were really not the issue I brazenly rushed forward. “Breast milk poop is water soluble, so its perfectly safe in the washer. Environmentally friendly and no messes.“ “Really,” she asked, sounding slightly more interested? “It’s water soluble?”
“Yes,” I explained. “So no need for diapers to go in a landfill. “Oh,” I said, (and I admit this may have been somewhat manipulative) “I just got some adorable new diaper covers. I think she needs a few more sundresses to match. Maybe we can shop for some together while I’m in town?” “Shopping, really?” I could hear the enthusiasm in her voice. Shopping is one of the bases of our relationship, after all. We lived across the hall from each other freshman year and discovered that our love for shopping, along with similar tastes and sizes gave us each an extra wardrobe. She quickly replied “Oh, I’ll help you find the cutest little dresses to match. And it’s no problem for you to wash your diapers here. “
My friend is not shallow, but cloth diapers are not the norm as they were for earlier generations. Inundated by commercials, price-war advertising and the image of those white Luvs or Pampers running all over the backyards of America, our society has somehow come to see disposable diapers as just part of having a baby. Cloth sounds foreign, and even less sanitary, when you consider that the disposable diapers and wipes disappear neatly into plastic bags that someone else takes away each week. So, if an opportunity to shop was a way in which I could help my friend accept cloth diapers as the natural, most healthful and sanitary way of life for a baby: so be it. (Plus, I really did want to shop…) When the actual weekend arrived, we were so busy having a great time together that the topic of washing the diapers rarely even came up. But my friend did get to feel the soft organic prefolds and declared them “absolutely divine for a baby’s bottom” and she did get to see what cute accessories great cloth diaper covers and wetbags can be. And if that gets us one more cloth convert, how can it be wrong?
1. Do make arrangements beforehand to wash the diapers at your host’s home2. Bring your own detergent, dryer balls, wetbags etc.
3. Do ask politely before laundering your own diapers so as not to interfere with your host’s laundry schedule.4. Keep your laundry separated from your host’s and in appropriate wetbags, waterproof liners, etc.
Do not:1. Do not volunteer more information than they may want to know (for example, I would proudly boast: “Oh, the diapers can go right in the washer because breast-milk poop is water soluble.” While this is true, some friends don’t necessarily want to know)
2. Do not challenge your hosts if they say you’d prefer not to have your diapers washed in their facilities- if the matter is of great importance stay with another friend or in a hotel with laundry facilities . And regardless of the outcome, smile graciously and carry a big wetbag.
— By Tawnya S.