When my now-husband and I were preparing for our engagement, we looked at a lot of diamond rings. Ever the practical one, I was very worried about how high above my finger the stone would protrude. I was scared to death that I would constantly be spearing my babies – then just a glimmer in our eyes – with the spike, drawing their blood and my tears.
As it turns out, I shouldn’t have been so scared.
Not that I haven’t scratched babies with my engagement ring – I have, but in eight years of mothering three children, so have thumbnails, coffee tables, sidewalks, buttons, zippers, and forks. You can’t cushion the entire world, and you just learn to roll with the punches, even if the blood and tears are your fault.
Cloth diapering has been similar – I wanted to switch to cloth diapers when my second child was about 8 months old, but I was scared to death of trying “cloth” and worried I would pay more money than disposables.
I ended up holding out until my third baby was five months old before switching over and then trying 25 brands for this comprehensive cloth diaper review.
I’m here to tell you that a lot of the challenges a parent might worry about when considering cloth diapering will probably happen.
It’s just that they become part of the parenting landscape, usually more molehills than mountains. It’s all about perspective.
1. The language seems foreign.
This really intimidated me, that there are so many terms and kinds of cloth diapers. I was totally overwhelmed. Once I got reading just a little, I quickly built my cloth diaper vocabulary, and now I feel like a pro.
For some direction, try 7 Tips for the Cloth Diapering Newbie by Calley Pate or my Cloth Diapering Rookie Information post, including my laundry routine, opinions on what kind of diaper to buy, and the vocabulary, defined in layman’s terms.
2. Baby’s bum will look huge.
Sure does! But it will grow on you. Even my husband admits that the “fluffy buns” look pretty cute most of the time. You may need to size up on the pants, for real though, especially if you have a chunkier baby.
3. You might run out of clean diapers.
Sure. You also might run out of disposable diapers if you’re not organized. Rather than a trip to the store with a screaming baby, you take a few hours to do laundry, and you’re back in business.
I also keep disposables on hand for those times when I waited too long to do the diaper load, forgot about them in the washing machine, or simply haven’t paired them up and hubs doesn’t want to!
4. You do touch poo.
Some people actually disagree with me on this one, but I’m telling you: you will end up touching the poop at some point as you’re trying to scrape or spray or swish it off into the toilet before washing the diaper.
Luckily, parents become pretty inoculated to bodily fluids in general just by nature of having a child, I think, and also it’s not like there’s not the chance of sticking a thumb in it on any disposable diaper change. (The chances are increased with cloth though. Don’t deny it!)
The first 6 months with cloth are pure joy, however, because breastmilk-only poos can go right into the washing machine and disappear AND blow outs rarely happen. I did find that to be blissfully true; the number two deposits seem to remain trapped in the diaper much more effectively with cloth than ‘sposies. So at least there’s a little less poo-touching at that point.
5. Your spouse will never change a diaper again.
If your spouse is completely anti-cloth diapers, you really do need to have a heart to heart. There are plenty of cloth diapering dads, even some who have done You Tube videos showing how easy it is. As you decide what brand to buy, lean toward “easy to put on/take off” if this is your situation.
My husband really isn’t a fan of cloth, but he manages. We take a “Sabbath” either Saturday or Sunday when he’s home and have at least 24 hours in ‘sposies…which sometimes turns into 3 or 4 days, to be honest.
So he’ll change them…but he also says, “There’s a poopy cloth diaper for you on the bathroom counter.”
The man isn’t touching that poop spatula.
Is it worth it?
Buying a house is more work than renting, yet many do it.
Parenting is certainly more time consuming, emotionally exhausting, and filled with bodily fluid messes than a life without children, but, thank goodness for humankind, people keep having kids.
Like many worthwhile things in life, cloth diapers are a lot of work.
But if you’re feeling a prick on your green consciousness to save the earth from the volumes of disposable diapers your baby will create…go for it.
It will be part of normal life in no time.
I wrote this post before the numero six here…but now cloth might be on the chopping block of frustration!
6. You could wreck your expensive investment just by using the wrong detergent.
I didn’t know I needed to be worried about them, but after what happened to me, you’re going to want to read my post at Green Your Way today about how to wash cloth diapers (and more importantly, how not to)…
Here’s another one on the perils of homemade detergent.