This week’s Green Moms Weekly post has to do with a topic that’s an old favorite for many:
“What do you say to people who can’t wrap their head around the cloth diapering phenomena? Give some simple and positive examples of how cloth diapering can benefit both mom and baby.”
When many people think of cloth diapering, they envision large cotton diapers that must be folded and pinned on, and “rubber pants” to go on top, and the inevitable toilet dunking.
The truth is that the cloth diapers most modern parents use are quite high tech. They use snaps, not pins. They feature fabrics that dry quickly and feel dry against baby’s skin. And there is no reason to dunk a diaper in the toilet if you don’t want to. Using cloth diaper liners or a diaper sprayer eliminate the need for this.
As for cloth diapers being complicated, well… my 13 year old, 10 year old and 8 year old all change diapers occasionally. It couldn’t be that difficult.
Cloth diapering actually makes your life simpler in a couple of ways.
Fewer trips to the store. There’s no “running out” of cloth diapers. You simply start a load and wash them when your stash looks small. Unless you are without a washer and dryer, this saves you another errand.
Breastfeeding confidence. When I did work as a breastfeeding counselor, I was sometimes frustrated when I asked a mom how many diapers her little one was producing. This is a good way of measuring “output” and restoring a mom’s confidence that she indeed does have enough milk. But with disposables, it’s difficult for a mom to tell how many times baby has wet.
When you cloth diaper a newborn, you may change that baby a dozen times a day. There is no doubt of adequate milk supply when you are doing that, because what comes out must have gone in! But with disposable diapers, a baby can wet a few times without mom changing her. Besides the grossness factor of a baby sitting around in urine far longer than it needs to, this can undermine breastfeeding success. Mom thinks baby isn’t getting enough, supplements with formula, which then does lower her supply, and then weans. It’s self fulfilling prophecy.
Less rash. Cloth diapered babies almost always get less rash. (If they get rash, it’s usually because of the detergent used to wash them, and easily remedied by using something with no fragrance or additives.)
Ruby happens to have the most sensitive skin of my other babies, but the only time she has gotten a tiny bit rashy was when she wore a diaper too long (i.e, when she’s with Daddy for a few hours!). Letting her run around commando for awhile takes care of it.
I’ve never worn a disposable diaper. Well, except that one time my water broke in the middle of the night and I needed something to put in my undies to catch the leaking.
But, I DO wear cloth menstrual pads, and I can tell you that they FEEL and SMELL sooooo much nicer than disposable pads. It follows that cloth diapers must feel more comfy than disposables. Cloth lets your skin “breathe”, which results in less odor and less rash.
Cloth diapered babies train younger. This is an often overlooked benefit of cloth diapering, but to me it’s no small thing. Studies, and the experience of millions of cloth diapering moms tell us that cloth diapered babies potty train several months earlier than babies in disposable diapers.
Changing a 3 year old’s diaper is something I’ve never experienced, nor do I want to. It’s quite telling that (that evil contraption invented by the devil commonly known as) PullUps go up to a size 5T.
Somewhere around 15 months of age, my cloth diapered babies began pulling their diaper off when they were wet or in some other way communicating that they wanted to be free of the diaper when it was wet. Ruby has been doing this for months. And all of my babies were potty trained at age 2.
Of course, I haven’t even mentioned that cloth diapers are far more economical, better for the environment.
It baffles me that some find cloth diapering gross. The selective squeamishness and irrationality of this is plain. Which is more gross? Putting human excrement in the toilet or sewer system, or putting it in the TRASH?
Check out what the other Green Moms are saying about cloth diapers and:
Rachel on Why Cloth Diaper?