Up until a few weeks ago, at the age of 27, I was a virgin. That’s right, I had never changed a cloth diaper. I didn’t cloth diaper my first child. The idea never even crossed my mind. Despite my mother’s encouragement and advice, I didn’t even entertain the idea. Wash poopy diapers? Please, I didn’t want poo hanging around any longer than necessary. Little did I know that baby’s poo doesn’t always stay in the diaper and I would, in fact, be doing poopy laundry with nearly every load.
When I found myself pregnant with my second child, I read two shocking magazine articles that gave me a reality check. The first article stated the amount of money spent on disposable diapers over a 3-year period for one child. An astounding $2000-3500 (or more) depending on brand. Now, I’m a coupon clipping, sale shopping, hand-me-down clothes kinda mama, so this amount of money blew my mind. Oh, what a family could do with that extra cash in pocket! Savings? Family vacation? Home improvements? I knew we were spending money every week for diapers, but when I saw the total added up and put right in my face I couldn’t deny the financial benefit using cloth diapers would add to the family budget.
A few weeks later, article number two described in great detail not only the environmental impact of disposable diapers, but also the health impact on your child, mainly chemicals. These chemicals, many of which are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs), have been linked to health issues in many studies. How could I allow these chemicals to be in such close in contact with the precious body of my sweet baby? I was stunned. How could we stand to allow such harmful ingredients in baby products and our environment? And thus, my cloth diaper research began.
There were several questions on my mind. Where do I find cloth diapers? I had never seen them in baby departments at retail stores. Which ones are the best for my baby? There are so many different styles and options, how do I choose? How do I care for them? And seriously, how much laundry will I REALLY be doing? I was amazed at what I found. The resources were unending- blogs, websites, stores, communities, and more. I found answers to all my questions and more info than I truly know what to do with. I found myself (gasp) excited about cloth diapering.
I decided to commit myself to cloth diapering my daughter during the day. Baby steps, I thought, every little bit helps. I searched product websites, read reviews, and priced out options. I decided a couple different styles would give me the ability to discover which diapers I liked best. I choose with Flip Diapers, Kushies Ultra Diapers, and Bumgenius 4.0. Then, I anxiously awaited the moment I could begin the cloth diaper journey with my daughter. I must confess, I was so excited. Cloth diapering was going to save me some dollars, keep toxins off my baby’s bum, and keep thousands of disposable diapers out of landfills.
As excited as I was, I didn’t start using cloth until my baby girl was 5 weeks old. I tried the Flip diapers first. Adorable, adjustable diaper covers with changeable inserts. Next, the BumGenius 4.0 pocket diaper, amazing! And finally, my favorite, the Kushies Ultra Diaper, just perfect! The first day was just as simple as using disposables, the diapers are just too cute, and not one leak or blow out. Then came the first washing. Pre-Rinse, easy. Wash hot with extra rinse, easy. Separate items for dryer or air-dry, easy. Why did this for intimidate me so long?
I have now been cloth diapering all day every day for 3 weeks. I really think the hardest part is taking the first step and getting past any nerves or worries. Start with just a few diapers and give it a try, everything just flows from there. Now, I can’t go back, cloth diapering has become a passion. I’m in love, there is no other way for me. In fact, I am getting ready to up my diaper supply so I don’t have to dive into disposables ever again. My new commitment is to cloth diaper 24 hours a day and to air dry the diapers on the new clothes line my husband is installing this spring.
Linda Nutter Snay is a stay at home mom, yoga instructor, and artist. She loves spending her days with her energetic 3 year-old son and lovely 7 week old daughter.