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Cloth Diapering 101

Whether or not to cloth diaper was kind of a no-brainer for us. Some years ago, much before having babies was anywhere on my radar, a friend shared with me this simple fact: it can take an estimated 200-500 years for a single disposable diaper to decompose. Information that can never be erased from my mind. I went on to find out more unflattering information about the disposable diaper industry that sealed the deal for me before K was born. This book has a great chapter on the topic.

Six months in, forgive my bragging, but I am kind of proud of the fact that we’ve managed not to use a single disposable. I doubted it was possible and feared all the piles of laundry but thanks to all the amazing options available today, an amazing Facebook group, a lot of support from the husband and also K’s grandparents who have all chipped in with diaper washing and folding during visits, we’ve made it thus far!

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I think cloth diapering is great. It’s healthier for baby. It’s chemical free. It’s definitely so much better for the planet. It’s supporting small businesses (although some cloth diaper companies are pretty big, they are nothing compared to the large conglomerate that is Pampers). It (can) lead to faster potty training (babies in disposables are not used to the sensation of being wet and thus can take longer to learn to respond to it).

But it is not easy.

You really have to be dedicated to do it if you are planning to do it full-time.

My husband for some reason thinks it’s so much easier than disposables. I don’t know where he gets this logic from. Maybe from the fact that he’s only changing diapers on the weekends and some evenings and only throwing the diapers in to the washing machine and not putting them out to dry (my least favourite job ever).

Don’t get me wrong, he’s just as committed to cloth diapering as I am. In fact, he may even be a little more obsessive about it than me. Case in point:

On a recent slightly wet holiday to the beach (the one where we accidentally let K’s little baby face get sunburned. Oops), I was ready to throw the towel in and buy a packet of disposables but he would have none of it and personally hand-washed and blow-dried all the diapers. That’s love.

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I know it’s totally crazy but oh, the stories we’ll have to tell K when he’s old enough. It certainly would have been easier to not cloth diaper on holiday but in the grand scheme of things and compared to say, 200-500 years, what’s two days of hand-washing some cloth diapers?

Anyway, back to the point, ignore my delusional husband, cloth diapering is hard work. I’m being honest. I think everyone should totally cloth diaper. I think it’s GREAT but you should know a couple of things:

  • It takes a lot of time figuring out what to buy in the first place. Flats, prefolds, pockets, All-in-Ones, All-in-Twos… Say what? And then there’s all the Cloth Diapering lingo that you have to learn. It can all get a bit intimidating and confusing.
  • It can be expensive but it can also be a tiny fraction of the cost of disposables. It’s easy to get carried away with buying all the adorable prints but if you plan on having more than one child, you can use one stash of diapers multiple times and there’s also a great market for reselling cloth diapers (yes, the marvelous ol’ idea of recycling works in the cloth diapering world.)
  • It’s kind of gross spraying poop off of cloth diapers. There’s no glossing it over.
  • Figuring out a washing routine that works for your family (and your diapers) takes a bit of time and experimenting. You also need to be mindful of what laundry soap you use for the environmental impact and for the longevity of your diapers.
  • There’s no way around it, it’s a LOT of laundry.

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If you’ve made your peace with the above, stay tuned for the Stephens’ Mansion Guide to Cloth Diapering in my next post…

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