My husband and I decided to cloth diaper for the usual reasons. It was good for our baby, the environment, and our pocketbook. What I didn’t expect were all the additional benefits of cloth diapering. These became evident the first time we put a prefold on our daughter’s bottom.
1) They let me know that my daughter was ‘getting enough’. Like many new moms, we had a rocky start with breastfeeding. The first day home we tried doing wet diaper counts with the small supply of disposables we had on hand. I had the hardest time telling whether or not her diaper was wet, which only caused more anxiety not knowing if she was getting the nutrition she needed. Switching to cloth took out the guesswork. Wet diapers are wet and dry diapers are dry. Cloth diapers told me when it was safe to stop supplementing with formula, rely solely on breast milk, and feel confident that Evelyn was well nourished.
2) Our dollars go to small business and communities that need it most. Unlike disposables; FuzziBunz, Softbums, Gro-via, bumGenius and Oh Katy diapers all started as cottage industries and are still run by Moms here in the USA. I like knowing that my dollars are going to support families and communities that need it. Next time you order cloth diapers look and see where they come from. Chances are you will feel good about that purchase. I like that.
3) Cloth diapers help my daughter sleep at night. When Evelyn was 6 weeks old I realized that changing her diaper at night woke her up more, and made it more difficult to put her back to sleep. Obvious I know, but after 6 weeks of colicky baby sleep it felt like a major revelation. So we stopped. Now she is put in a Kissaluvs cotton hemp fitted diaper, fleece liner, and Thirsties cover after 7PM bath-time, and it doesn’t come off until 7AM the next morning. At 3 months she wakes up once a night to eat, and then goes right back to sleep. No more turning the light on or diaper change play-time. Friends with children the same age in disposables don’t believe a diaper so small can hold so much. What about poop you ask? She doesn’t poop at night. We accidently missed one early on (whoops) and it has not happened since.
4) It’s a great conversation starter: Every cloth diapering mother has been there. You change your child’s diaper in public only to have someone look over your shoulder and ask “that’s a diaper?” What a great positive conversation to have about parenting. I’ve had this conversation in churches, libraries, hospitals and even once in a plane at 10,000 feet!
5) Cloth diapers kept our house clean. Yes, prefolds are also great dust clothes, and my father still talks about how wonderful my old diapers were for washing the car. This is even better. Two days after Evelyn was born a client called my husband asking for 60 hours of work in 4 days. My response was “only if we get some help”. Enter Tanya, a fabulous cleaning lady who kept our place spotless during the grueling first few months. Her bill? Equal to the cost of disposable diapers. Having someone else scrub the bathrooms while I cared for our newborn was priceless.
While I was pregnant plenty of naysayers tried to convince me that my cloth diaper plans wouldn’t last. To the contrary, I’ve found plenty of reasons to love them even more.
Melissa Lindsey is on a short hiatus from a nursing career while she cares for her infant daughter and prepares for a cross country move. In the short space between Evelyn’s bedtime and her own she enjoys reading, knitting, and spending time with her husband.