Tuesday, September 6, 2011

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Surprising My Family by Cloth Diapering

Since July of 2010, I've been surprising people around me left and right.

My husband and I announced we were pregnant--surprise!
We decided to have an un-medicated birth--surprise!
We weren't going to find out the sex of the baby--surprises all around!!
I was ONLY going to be a breastfeeding mom, no supplementing--surprise!
We are going to cloth diaper--SURPRISE!!!

Friends and family were caught off guard, and understandably so. Those decisions aren’t really mainstream for American parents. Because even though many couples start out with similar intentions, for some reason or another, it doesn't always work out.

For our little family, we’ve thankfully succeeded in them all.

Pregnancy--complete.
Very intense un-medicated birth--success.
Our 'little bear' turned out to be a girl--Gianna Clare.
Breastfeeding is still in progress--no supplementing needed!
Cloth diapering?? Check.

I thought about many parenting decisions before we were pregnant, but I never really considered diaper options until after the test turned positive. Like a lot of people, my husband and I worried how we were going to pay for everything. We formed a budget and figured out what things we NEEDED and what things we could do without. Turns out, you don't actually need a dresser for your baby because her tiny clothes can be crammed into some closet cubbies or on hangers. One thing you do need? Diapers.

My mom cloth diapered me, and my husband was cloth diapered by my motherin- law. No one else in our family approved, because those were the days ruled by plastic pant leaks, wet pails, diaper pin pricks, and the toilet swirl/dunk. I remembered my mom dealing with my sister's yucky cloth diapers when I was little—in fact, if I think hard enough, I can still smell the disgusting odor that permeated our bathroom. I just knew that wasn't the way I wanted to go. I have a type A personality, and germs/messes aren't my thing.

Then I read up on the chemicals in disposables--Sodium Polyacrylate, TBT, VOC, etc.
And I read about how many diapers go into landfills per year--27.4 billion.
And how long they stay there--450 years.
And I read about how many disposables our little bear would go through—6000.
And the pretty pennies thousands of dollars it would cost us--$1700.

I'm not an extremely green person, but I'm becoming more and more crunchy as I get older. I decided then and there that cloth diapers would save us money (yay!) and help the environment (bonus yay!). Now all I needed to do was convince my husband.

I am so glad the internet showed me all the ways that the cloth diaper world had changed. I devoured all the information I could find about 'modern' cloth diapering. Thank God for kellyscloset.com. Flats, prefolds, fitted, pockets, all-in-ones, hybrids, wool, fleece, hemp, cotton, OMG. I spent an entire day reading about all my options. I actually ended up spending several days deciphering all the information I had found. I read reviews, I price compared. I perused all the cool prints and patterns. I figured out which accessories I wanted.

What I had not done, yet, was inform my husband we would be cloth diapering. I knew I needed too, I was just nervous. I mean, who wants to change a diaper, let alone deal with a yucky wet mess that you don't just throw away.

So I bit the bullet, prepared a portfolio of all my new knowledge, and shared with my husband why we should cloth diaper. After showing him all the easy-to-use styles, and how good it was for the environment, I hit him with the SURE THING. "It will save us almost $2000, for just one baby, and they can be used for other kids too!"

Husband: "It saves us money?"
Me: "yeah, lots!”
Husband: "Sounds good, I'm in!"

Other people weren't as easy to convince. I added lots of cloth diaper options to my registry, but I think everyone was afraid to buy them. They didn't seem too confident that I would actually go through with cloth diapering. “Disposables are just so much easier! “One of my aunts informed me that there were just be some messes that I wouldn't want to wash, I would end up just throwing the whole diaper out. Oh, I do like a challenge! And I'm proud to say we've had our fair share of absolutely disgusting diapers, but not one that couldn't be washed!

Bio: Kaylene Brown loves fruit, baking, fitness, and cool fall days. She is a kinda-crunchy, old-fashioned SAHM who blogs about all kinds of things at her blog, Letters from Momma

3 comments:

Tracy said...

I love that you call yourself "crunchy"! I was born and raised in Oregon, lived in Eugene for the ladder part of my growing up but moved to Utah 6 years ago. I also describe myself to others and "crunchy granola" and giggle to myself every time I say it.

Sarah Hill said...

How true it is that family can be one of our least supportive forces and yet can be one of our strongest influences at the same time. I'm so glad you listened to your instincts and that your husband was supportive enough to let you. My sister and I both cloth diaper, and while our parents and inlaws were very supportive, there were plenty of people outside of our family who was not. BUt here we are, 18 months and 9 months later after starting cloth and we haven't looked back! I love reading posts like this. Keep it up!

Beth @ Sand To Pearl said...

It's so sad that everyone was being so un-supportive of cloth. Some people can do cloth even with all those voices saying that they can't do it, but I really do think more people would do cloth if they had support. With our son, we had decided to do cloth because of budget reasons. We didn't have much support. We even had a relative who told me they would give us a pre-paid card monthly to pay for diapers. We didn't want to HAVE to rely on other people, we want/(ed) to be a self sufficient as possible. So, we did cloth, and yes, there were problems, but we've fallen in love. Our next child will be born in March, and though, in July my husband will have a "real" job (he'll finally graduate) and we'll have the money to spend on disposables, but will we use them? ABSOLUTELY NOT! Cloth is worth it. Saves money, keeps the trash level down (no we're not really crunchy, but really, who wants to make more garbage?).
Good for you for sticking to your guns and having the baby the way YOU want. Every woman should be able to have the birth they hope for (as long as it doesn't present a harm for anyone). People need to shut their mouths when it comes to having babies.