Thursday, August 20, 2009

Not Your Grandmother's Diaper!

I would not consider myself a "crunchy" mom by any stretch of the imagination. Sure I breastfeed, make my own baby food, and wore my baby in a wrap for the first two months of his life (the only time he was small enough to not break my back), but I can't really conform to the flowy-skirted, Birkenstock-donning mental picture that this term conjures up in my mind. I do these things first and foremost for my baby, but I also find them very convenient. Instead of slithering out of bed and down the stairs at 5:45 am to prepare a bottle for my hungry 8-month old, I can just pluck him out of his crib and latch him on. Rather than running out of baby food and frantically dashing to the grocery store for some culinary delight like pureed lasagna (gag), I can whip up a mean chicken, rice and veggie dinner for my little man in no time at all. And for the brief time that my son fit in a wrap, I could finally get stuff done around the house (I can't remember what is was, but it must have been something). I like things that are beneficial for my baby, cost-effective, and easy, easy, easy.

So I must admit that when I first heard about cloth diapering my eyes glazed over and my brain shut down. Who wants to deal with scraping poop off diapers, pee leaks all over the house and ever-growing mounds of laundry collecting dust in a corner near you? Who does this anyways? And why in the world would you want to when you can get disposable diapers for $17 a box?

And yet I, even the toughest of cloth scrutinizers, was somehow converted.

I began to notice other moms around me looking into cloth diapering. And these were not the hippy-chic mamas who swear off meat and buy only organic. These were moms just like me, all about convenience, somewhat thrifty but still wanting the very best for their babies. So I took a nosedive into the world of researching cloth diapers. I soon realized that the pool was empty.

If you have ever researched cloth diapers then you know how confusing it can be at first. With abbreviations scattered about the internet like AIO/AI2, OS and UCIBFP, I honestly tossed the idea around that I had stumbled upon some sort of secret society. And in a way I had, only this exclusive club wanted as many new members as possible. As I started learning the different meanings and brands, everything started to come together and I found myself able to make sense of the acronym jumble.

I clumsily stumbled upon many websites that claimed to debunk the myths around cloth diapering. I rolled my eyes at first, but upon reading them found that they actually made sense to me. I was intrigued by the idea of this age-old method of diapering your baby and how it could be convenient, a money saver, and be so great for the environment. (Yep, that's right! Mommies like me care about the environment too!) But on the other hand, my less expensive disposables were working just fine, and finances were just not that much of an issue. Sure I like to save money where I can, but I certainly didn't need to switch to cloth out of necessity. If it ain't broke, don't fix it right? Wrong, at least not for me. After doing the math and realizing that my baby would have gone through about 7,300 diapers by the time he potty trained, only to be discarded into some stinky landfill somewhere, I decided that it was my obligation to at least try cloth. Not to mention the thousands we would save over his diaper-days, multiplied by the number of little brothers and/or sister he ends up with, if cloth ended up working out for us.

So with a deep breath I took the plunge.

Now all I can say is that I can't believe it took me six months to try it! The diapers nowadays are not your grandmother's cloth diaper, for the most part. You can get cloth diapers that have everything all in one, meaning that if you can velcro on a Photobucketdisposable then you can velcro on these. There are diapers with pockets for faster drying, soft fitted diapers that go under cute covers, and yes, there are still the inexpensive, yet-oh-so-soft and squishable prefold-style diapers that our grandmothers used. I have tried every kind and love them all for very different reasons. We have explored around and found what works. We didn't put all our eggs in one basket and stick to one brand or type. We decided to try everything and see what worked for us and are very happy with the selections we made.

And yes some cloth diapers can be expensive, but cloth diapering is very doable even on a budget. There are plenty of sales and less pricey styles if you just take a little extra time to look, and even the priciest diapers will pay for themselves over time. With so many cute patterns and prints, the main problem here is self control. (I will not go online and order than adorable paw print fleece cover, I will not, I will not...oh, you accept Paypal?)

As far as laundry goes, it is admittedly a little extra, but it is a labor of love that does not require the monotonous sorting and folding of regular laundry. And a wonderful little side-bonus about having cloth diaper laundry is that my other laundry gets done in between diaper loads, so the heaping mountains of laundry have shrunken into oblivion. My hands don't get any messier than they did with 'sposies, and my trash can is no longer over-flowing with poopy diapers. Now if only I could find a solution (or an excuse) for that stack of dirty dishes...

I can now proudly say that my baby's bum is wrapped in the adorably-patterned, gentle, chemical-free goodness of cloth. I am happy that amidst all the "green" chatter, I know I am doing my part to help out with our waste problem. And on top of it all, my pocket book feels a little bit fatter these days.

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Tamara said...

I really hope this is how I feel as well. I'm about to start cloth diapering, just waiting for the smartipants to arrive :)


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