When I first announced to my family that I was going to cloth diaper my first child the response was mixed. My mother had used cloth diapers in the early eighties at least part time for both of her children and was supportive of the idea.
My younger sister on the other hand looked at me like I had proposed diapering my daughter in paper towels and scotch tape. “Eww, what about the leaks and the poo? Every time someone holds the baby, they’ll get wet.” Now in her defense, her knowledge of cloth diapers is apparently leftover from the 19th century because she wasn’t aware that modern cloth diapers, (even those from the 1980s) require a waterproof outer layer.
Once I explained the conveniences of All-In-One and Pocket diapers, and the leak protection and stylish qualities of brightly colored gusseted covers she was still disgusted. I explained that my husband and I had made this choice mostly for financial reasons, but also for environmental ones. The statistics of how many tons of disposable diapers and accompanying raw human sewage go into landfills every year made me feel sick to my stomach.
My sister wouldn’t budge. To her credit, she and my mother bought me a lovely basket of cloth diapers for my baby shower. She still thought the idea was borderline barbaric. In the beginning she refused to help change my daughter’s diaper unless I used a disposable. Even when my daughter’s disposable diaper leaked poo all over my sister’s new dress, she still wasn’t convinced. But slowly she began to adjust to my choice. If she was babysitting she would use All-In-Ones, but nothing else. Soon she would change Pocket or Fitted Diapers, but refused to deal with the hassle of Prefolds. I was so grateful for the free babysitting that I wasn’t about to complain about her diaper changing habits.
My sister and her husband are planning to start their own family within the next year, something that we talk about a lot. Last week as she was entertaining my daughter while I rinsed a poopy diaper, my sister announced “I think Mike and I will use cloth diapers when we have kids.” I was speechless. I actually stared at her with my mouth open and sputtered. She quickly added the caveat that she would use disposables whenever she was out of the house, but I was still shocked. I began to tell her that I recommended that they opt for All-In-One and One-Size Pocket diapers for a combination of ease and affordability. She had still more shocking news in store. “I don’t think I’d have any trouble using prefolds, at least until the baby can roll over and sit up.” Again, I was floored. The woman who refused to change a cloth diaper and declared prefolds to difficult, time consuming and confusing was a cloth diaper convert.
I still hold out hope that she may find cloth as easy as I have and decide to ditch the hassle of ever buying disposables. But even a part-time cloth diaper user in a culture where less than 10% of children are cloth diapered, is a victory. Especially when it’s my biggest critic, my sister.
(If you look carefully in the picture, you can see my daughter’s Thirsties cover peeking out from the leg of her onesie.
My name is Bethany V. and my husband Rob and I have cloth diapered our daughter Althea (18-months) since she came from the hospital. I love writing, knitting and of course, cloth diapers. I have a blog called The Laundry List (http://thelaundryblog.wordpress.com/) where I talk about writing, budgeting, cloth diapers, parenting, and other aspects of my life as a SAHM/WAHM.