When I had my first child, fourteen years ago, all I knew about cloth diapers were that they were gross - I remembered the crisp, bleached white prefolds my mom received from the diaper service when my sister was a baby and, surprisingly, I remembered how uncomfortable rubber pants were from my own toddlerhood. However, as an adult, I became more and more focused on sustainable, natural living and five years ago, while preparing for the birth of my second child, I became aware of the changes in the cloth diapering world. I stocked up on various types of diapers and had a collection of nearly everything available at the time. My son was born at home and we used cloth from day one. I was such a fanatic that the thought of a paper diaper touching his little bum was too much, I just couldn’t do it. I quickly learned that I wasn’t too fond of the polyester fleece linings found in most AIOs and pockets and my favorite diapering combination became a nice, organic (or at least all natural) fitted with wool.
During his diapering career I swayed a few times and tried various AIOs or pockets when I wanted to switch things up. For a time, AIOs lined in organic velour worked well but I decidedly became a fitted snob and felt that even the synthetic nature of PUL was not as admirable as putting the most naturally luxurious fabrics on my child’s rear.
Enter Baby #3, who was born shortly after my second son turned three. It may have been that he was born early, in a hospital, rather than at home, as planned. And the hospital, of course, sent us home with preemie Pampers. And I used them. And of course I’d like to blame the hospital for all manner of things, but I’ll take some personal responsibility here – they were easier. While caring for a newborn and toddler, especially while running errands, they were my first choice. I still used my organic fitteds at home but soon realized that caring for wool became the very last thing on my list of to-dos. Aside from letting my little one go coverless around the house, I relied on disposables about half the time and I kept telling myself “it was easier” and “there was less laundry” and “it was only temporary”. Then my son turned a year old and I thought, “Enough already!”
I asked myself why I was using disposables every few days and the only thing I could come up with was how convenient they were. I reminded myself why I chose to use cloth in the first place and it had very little to do with convenience. I was not happy about throwing away a diaper that would never “go anywhere” but rather, sit in a landfill for hundreds of years. I was not happy that I had somehow lost sight of my ideals for the sake of a little convenience as soon as my life became busier.
I had to find a way to make cloth worth for me again and decided to stock up on some AIOs and pockets. I wanted to know what the big bumGenius deal was, as so many of my friends can’t seem to get enough of them and I’d never tried them. I also purchased plenty of one-sized pockets and it didn’t take long for a full-on conversion! As soon as the first load of PUL lined diapers came out of the dryer, I packed a few in the diaper bag, along with a wetbag and we went about our business. Making the switch back to full-time cloth was easier than I’d anticipated and even at home, I find that I grab a pocket or AIO before a fitted, these days.
I no longer have any qualms about putting synthetics on my little one – because, when it comes down to it, they keep him drier than fitteds, they’re as easy to use as disposables (but way cuter) and this should go without saying, but they’re much better for the environment than using even just one or two disposables per day. Once I let go of the self-imposed wool and fitted standard I was able to find a cloth solution that provided the convenience I so desperately needed, as well as the sustainability our planet so desperately needs.
By Valerie B.