Sunday, September 6, 2009

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How I Converted a Friend to Cloth

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.

23 comments:

bethy said...

i have my sister in law to cloth diaper with and it really is great to have extra support!

Shelby said...

What type of cloth diapers are you trying out on your newborn?? I stared cloth on my daughter when she was 15 months old.. and I'll never go back. I will use cloth from the beginning on my newborn, but I don't know which diaper to go with??

Lil Mouse said...

A couple of my friends have shown interest, but haven't taken the plunge. One is planning on it, but her baby is due in a couple of weeks and I don't know that she's made any movement in that direction either.

Lil Mouse said...

What age did you start trying to potty train? My mom said we were all potty trained by 22 months, but most of my friends wait until their kids are 3 or 4 to start, and can not only talk back, but refuse to cooperate. Why the switch in thinking, if it makes it harder?

Joe said...

"And wow, disposable diapers smell bad to me now, even when they're not dirty! I had never noticed."

Ugh, I noticed that too when we switched DD to cloth when she was 3 months old. She's now 15, and I can't STAND the smell of disposables! ;-)

dannyscotland said...

Similar experience for me, as far as "convincing" someone else. My daughter goes to the church nursery, and I send her in cloth. One of the supervisors is expecting and has been asking me about cloth. She told me she wants to try it out. I get so excited when I meet other CD moms or when people ask about it!

Catherine Anne said...

I have a dear friend that turned me to cloth about 5 yaers ago! Thank you thank you to her!

Hannah said...

You sound like a great friend! I'm thankful to have a few friends that use cloth diapers and could reassure me before my baby was born that "yes, they do work". I, in turn, introduced a friend to cloth diapering when I sent her my "baby budget" spreadsheet, which happened to include the cost of cloth diapers.

J TiBBS said...

That is wonderful that you were able to tell her the truth. I mean who wants to hear lies. I would be lying if I said I never struggled with cloth diapers. Unfortunately for me I don't have anyone to cloth diaper with. Everyone thinks I'm nuts for doing so. But here I am, 4 years later (with three kids) and I am still using cloth diapers. Thankfully I haven't let people try to change my mind. I am glad you'll both have the support from each other to cloth diaper newborns, that was the trickiest part for me.

ih0ney said...

I definitely agree with the disposables having a funky funk smell to it. It's the chemicals mixed in with the pee, eww. That's why its so unhealthy!

Lauren G. said...

I haven't fully converted to cloth diapers-- only because we can't afford to all at once. I do plan on convincing my sisters (when they get older and have kids) to cloth diaper... It's amazing on how much trash you can save in one month! And why not use cloth diapers? They're cute!!

Upstatemomof3 said...

Congratulations on your new little ones!!! I hope my influence helps others give it a try - if more people tried more people would do it. :)

rebecca said...

I love this post. It is hard for me sometimes to not be so excited about cloth diapers that I "force" my thoughts on my family and friends. Several people are thinking about it, but it's hard not to push! I'd love to have a "cloth diaper buddy." :)

gitrecca at gmail dot com

Cloth Diaperer Extraordinaire said...

Shelby:

For cloth diapering a newborn I highly recommend using prefolds with diaper covers!

Most One-Size pocket diapers don't fit newborns very well, at least not until they thicken up a bit (although the bumGenius One Size 3.0 pocket diapers do perform pretty well for a newborn in the 8-9 pound range).

I also recommend getting a few fitted diapers such as the Kissaluvs in size 0 (these work phenomenally well for a newborn) and/or xsmall/small all-in-one's (we love the bumGenius All-in-One 3.0 diapers). These will make the middle of the night diaper changes quick and easy!

While I understand a lot of people are intimidated by using prefolds they really are quite easy.

Here's a link to a few blog posts we have about prefolds as well as diapering a newborn. Hope this helps!

http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2009/03/back-to-basics-with-prefolds.html

http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/2009/03/i-love-prefolds.html

http://www.theclothdiaperwhisperer.com/search/label/Newborn%20Diapering

Christina's Cookies said...

Good job! I wish I could convert my SIL but unfortunately my whole family thinks I am some sort of hippy for CD'ing and no one else I know CD's :(

I too think disposables smell funky now!

Jill said...

My friends rolled their eyes at me when I told them I was going to cloth diaper my now eight week old daughter. I was nervous to do it..I didn't know anyone else who was using cloth. I'm so happy that we're using cloth. Now I would love to convert a disposable user. I would love my sister to give it a try.

Ashley said...

did you use prefolds and covers the whole time? Are you planning on doing the same with a newborn?

Amy B. said...

People at work have recently started asking me about cloth diapers. I love to share my pictures of Ellie in cloth and tell them all about it! I have on friend who is thinking about trying it when she has her new baby.
My husband and I were just discussing how bad disposables smell to us now!

Crissy said...

It's always nice to have someone to talk to about cloth diapering. I never try to push anyone or persuade anyone either. I'll be waiting to hear how cloth diapering your new baby goes! We didn't start until my DD was 6 months so I have no clue!

hosiewosie said...

yeah, I hate the smell of disposables too!

heather said...

my bff and i started at the same time(we have 3 yr olds and we each have one under 1) and you can usually find us "speaking" cloth. im trying to convert someone still

Jennifer said...

Ashley -- yes, I used prefolds and covers the whole time with my son. It worked out well for us because he wasn't in them very long.

For this new baby (hopefully any day now!), we're trying some prefolds and covers, but also some Kissaluv size 0's, as mentioned previously. I'm still saving up for the more exotic diapers mentioned (BumGenius, etc), so I don't have anything like that yet.

--Jennifer H.

brightland416 said...

I absolutely agree about the smell! I recently found a couple of disposables on the bottom of my diaper bag (one that I rarely use) and I could smell it as soon as I opened the bag. How weird. I remember that I used to like the smell of the Luvs diapers because they smelled like baby powder to me... NOT anymore! Woah.