I entered the world of cloth diapers for the first time right around my son's first birthday. Determined to encourage successful potty learning sooner rather than later, I invested in some basic prefolds and Bummis Super Whisper Wrap covers with high hopes that using them would help my son "connect the dots," so to speak.
I wasn't outspoken about my rather idealistic goals. I knew most people would think I was crazy, probably doubly so for using cloth and for trying to potty learn at an early age. Mostly, I just kept my head down and my mouth shut. I did share what I was doing with a few close friends that have young children, since they couldn't help but notice the switch. But I never set out to convince anyone to cloth diaper. I wasn't fully convinced yet myself. It was merely an experiment.
As the grand experiment continued, I began noticing some "side benefits" to my cloth diapering decision: no huge, smelly trash bag full of diapers in my garbage, no more costly store trips to stock up on something I was just going to throw away. I bought my last small package of disposables when my son was 14 months old, and they lasted a good two months. And wow, disposable diapers smell bad to me now, even when they're not dirty! I had never noticed. This change just might work for us....
Over time, my friend Rachel began asking me questions about what I was doing: "How much do cloth diapers cost? How do you wash them? Do you like them? Do you think it's working?" I answered as honestly as I could; I was very open about sharing my successes and struggles -- what was working, what was driving me nuts. She could see the benefits on her own -- not having to shell out the cash for disposables was something even our frugal husbands could get excited about!
Now I'm convinced that cloth diapering is a great decision, and I can see so many benefits that I didn't see before. However, I didn't actively try to persuade Rachel (or anyone else, for that matter) that cloth diapering was a good idea. After all, I never would have tried cloth myself if I had not come to it with ulterior motives! I simply answered questions when asked, showed others what I was doing, and let them form their own opinions. Most people are pretty good at doing that, anyway! I'm learning sometimes the most convincing argument is the one you arrive at all by yourself.
The day finally came, a few months later, when Rachel called me with a question, "Um, could I borrow some of your prefolds and covers? I'm thinking about this cloth diapering thing."
I grinned to myself. "Sure! Absolutely!"
Our sons are both two years old now; they've mastered the potty and ditched the diapers. However, we have many cloth diapering days ahead and we're both adding new little members to our families. Rachel just had a baby last month, and I'm expecting in a few more weeks. We've both decided to try cloth diapering a newborn, only this time, we'll be experimenting together. We're having fun trying different diaper combinations on Rachel's accommodating, sweet new baby to see what works and what doesn't. I'm very excited to begin cloth diapering my newborn with a supportive friend! If we just so happen to influence a few more friends to join us along the way, so much the better!
-- By Jennifer H.