Tuesday, August 25, 2009

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It's Water Soluble! Really?

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?

Do:

1. Do make arrangements beforehand to wash the diapers at your host’s home

2. 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.

18 comments:

angellface333@msn.com said...

Gotta love Cloth diapers, boobie milk, and shopping with friends!!!!!!

Upstatemomof3 said...

We have washed diapers in three different households so far and the biggest thing I have found is that when I treat the washing like a normal thing so do they. Although I did have to go running and rip the diapers from my MIL because she has just put Dreft in the washer.

ih0ney said...

Hehe, this post was cute. I love how your friend was open minded to the idea. It's a good way to show cloth diapering to others, that it is not as hard as people think it.

Jenney said...

It is so hard to go to someone's house when they don't like cloth diapers. I have a family member (who shall remain nameless) who didn't care if breast-fed baby poop was water soluable, she insisted that I rinse my diapers in her toilet which she used those color/chemical tablets in. I wasn't even going to wash them at her house, just rinse them in the laundry tub because my wet bag was deemed "gross" if the diapers were not completely rinsed before depositing them there. I ended up leaving my wet bag in our van (so convenient) in order to avoid rinsing them. CRAZY.

J TiBBS said...

Thankfully the only person who has ever had any problem with me using their washer is my MIL. But I think that just has to do with the fact that she can't stand any of our parenting ideas. But I agree you should always ask the Host before just assuming you can use their washer.

TheClothDiaperWhisperer said...

Thanks for a great post. I travel a lot and most of the time we are able to do cloth.
We are going to a children's show in September and we are staying at a Residence Inn (which has laundry faciliti. We went last year and I packed cloth and Riley was in cloth the whole time.
This year, to make things easier, I am shipping a box of our clothing and his diapers via UPS to arrive a couple of days before we go.
This way we don't have to check anything at the airport. (Checking things in now costs $25 per bag so shipping a package ahead of time actually saves us time, money, and is SO much easier!)

Lisa said...

Cute story. I like the part about using the idea of shopping to distract your friend from thinking too much about washing the diapers in her washing machine.

Robyn said...

My baby is due in October and I really wonder what Christmas travel will be like. I think I will just ask my mom about it and what my dad doesn't know won't hurt him :-)

Ashley said...

I'm curious to know if your friend had children, and if so - did she end up giving cloth diapers a try after your fun weekend together?

hosiewosie said...

such a great post! Love your motto, "smile graciously and carry a big wetbag!"

Crissy said...

Great post. I haven't had to wash at anyone else's home yet..but I'm glad to know it MIGHT not have to be as big as an issue and I'm thinking!

Twisted Cinderella said...

I really like the tips at the end. Thanks so much.

heather said...

i love how you enticed her by saying you can go shopping! i haven't washed the diapers anywhere but home, but my mom has offered to let me use her sanitary setting on her washer before!

thejepps said...

This post was a reminder that not everyone thinks my baby's diapers are as innocent and adorable as I do! Honestly wouldn't have occurred to me that this would be offensive...that's have obliviously "Mommified" I have become!

Amber Liddle said...

We are going to visit friends next month and I have been debating whether or not to ask if I can wash diapers there...Maybe I should just ask and see what she says--it's worth a try :)

Christina C. said...

I wonder how my sister in law would respond if I was going to visit them for longer than a day and asked if I could wash dipes in her washer! Maybe I could covert her (she will soon have 2 in diapers)!

MeghanT said...

I wish I was this brave. I was going to use disposables at my sister's house just to avoid the negative comments. Turns out we didn't end up going so I didn't have to worry about it.
I am debating about taking my cd's on vacation to the beach. I'm afraid of detergent residue in the washer at the hotel.

Brie H said...

haha that was so cute...