I have distinct childhood memories of my mom using cloth diapers on my younger siblings – big, scary, and sharp looking pins appearing to nearly stab their little sides, poisonous fumes emanating from the bathroom where the dirty diaper bin was stored, my mom sticking her BARE hands into the toilet with a dirty diaper to rinse it out, and later looking into the toilet to see it so cloudy with poop I couldn't tell if the diaper was still soaking –so I'd flush the toilet anyway, hoping with all my might a diaper wasn't actually still there so I wouldn't get in trouble for clogging the toilet - again. Needless to say, I was NOT interested in ever using cloth diapers when I had kids!
Fast forward to this past fall when I was pregnant with for the first time. Still "traumatized" by the diapering of my siblings, cloth was still too gross and intimidating of a process for me to consider. Therefore, using disposables seemed liked the logical and only option for me to use on my son when he was born. I was so indoctrinated by society that I didn't even think about the many downsides to using disposables.
But then I had a sinking realization; my husband and do not have trash pickup (instead, we take it to the area dump for free in order to save money), meaning we would have to endure smelly diapers piling up between trips to the dump. And that was definitely not something we wanted to have to endure – especially with a baby that was due in the spring, a long and hot summer ahead, and a house without A/C! Add all of those things together, and I knew the smell was going to get ugly fast.
Reluctantly, I decided to do a quick internet search to see if any diaper services were in the area and how much they cost. I was happily shocked to discover that they would cost the same price as disposables, and my husband and I set our minds to doing so. I even began to warm to the idea as I studied the websites of the diaper services and realized how much diapering had changed over the years.
I was not going to have to use those "giant" pins, and one of the services (which made it my favorite!) didn't even require that the poop be washed off! I also loved the comfort in knowing that I would always have clean diapers on hand, and would not have to worry about washing a single one. The only additional materials I would have to supply were diaper covers – which I was slowly realizing had changed drastically from the plastic underwear-shaped ones of the past.
However, I am always looking for a way to cut costs and therefore I couldn't leave it at that decision. So as "D-Day" crept closer, I started to wonder why I couldn't get and use my own cloth diapers. Why should I pay someone week after week for something that I could handle? "But you don't have a washing machine!" –cried out my inner child, as it realized I was suddenly seriously considering taking a much more active role in cloth diapering. "You can't take those dirty diapers to the Laundromat, people will get angry with you when they think you're contaminating the machines!" But I was determined to give it some serious thought, and after some quick number crunching, I began to realize just how much money I'd quickly be saving! And with that I was sold! Only later did I realize that in addition to the thousands of dollars I was going to save, I was NOT going to contribute a couple tons of diapers to the landfills, nor was I going to be exposing my baby's bottom to as many chemicals! Finally, I love knowing that I will be able to use these same diapers on my next baby, whenever that one comes!
Rebecca Brown is a working first-time mom who is learning how to balance work, motherhood, and marriage. And while she misses sleeping in stints of more than 3-4 hours, she loves every moment of motherhood!