You should’ve seen the faces when they heard my news. Crinkled up noses, wide eyes, smirks, and even some sticking their tongue out in disgust. All this caused by me saying two words: cloth diapers.
It all started when I was pregnant with our first baby, a sweet little blonde girl we named Jozie. I was talking to my mom about a conversation I had had with my best friend a few years earlier when she was pregnant with her son. My friend and her husband live in Minneapolis and she had looked into doing cloth when their son was born. She had found a website that offered various “packs” of diapers, and she really wished they could do them, but the starter pack was over $600. When she told me the cost, I about choked. I don’t know what I was more surprised at: my friends desire to do cloth, or the exorbitant cost the website was charging.
My mom laughed as I was re-telling the conversation to her. She had used cloth on both my older brothers and me, so she was a pro, or so I thought. She was telling me about the pre-folds and plastic pants she had used for us, and how they are still available for WAY cheaper than the packs my friend had looked at. I felt a twinge of joy - could I really be getting excited about cloth diapers? They seem like so much work. And what about all the poop? Ew. Well anyway, we started looking around and we were able to find everything my mom used on me and my brothers’ bottoms. My husband was smart enough to just say “whatever” when I got home with our finds.
Fast forward a couple months and our little girl is in our arms. She was 4 weeks old when her umbilical stump finally fell off and I felt enough like myself to tackle the CLOTH. My first attempt took a while; prefold first, pin it tight enough to hold but not too tight and don’t poke the baby!, then the plastic pants over top. Got her dressed, picked her up and by the sounds of it, I thought I was carrying a plastic covered camp mattress. Ick, I didn’t like this at all, but my mom and I had gone through all the trouble of finding the supplies that I wasn’t going to give up. But about 20 minutes later, when Jozie had wet all the way through her onesie and fleece overalls, I changed her thinking I must have just hit a full bladder. But when she wet thru 3 more outfits that day I was at wits end, and couldn’t see any of the benefits of cloth. I called my mom to vent and she said “Oh yeah, I remember that I had to double diaper you guys!” Ok, I thought, tomorrow’s a new day.
So our new day starts, only to find out that it would be same song, second verse. Ugh. But then I remembered a bag that my grandma had given me while I was pregnant. She volunteers one day a week in our small town second hand store, sorting through donations before they go on the floor, and one day she found some cloth diaper covers. When she first gave them to me we were unsure of how they worked, so I just put them in a tub of baby things and forgot about them. So I went and dug them out and I found a couple Fuzzibunz covers and liners and a couple homemade covers.
I looked them up online and 4 clicks and 5 minutes later, I was introduced to a whole new world of cloth diapers! I couldn’t believe how incredibly easy these covers and liners were. I went right to it; slipped a liner in the pocket of the cover, and snapped my sweet little girl up in her new diaper. Done. No pins, no plastic pants crinkling under her clothes, just as quick and no more bulk than a disposable, and the very best part? No leaks that led to a complete costume change every half hour.
Since my alleluia moment 2.5 years ago, a lot has changed; I have accumulated quite a collection of covers and liners, Jozie has been potty trained since she was 22 months which I think is in part due to how her cloth diapers felt as soon as she wet, and our family went from 3 to 4 last November with the arrival of our son Lane who is now wearing the same diapers Jozie used to.
Here are the morals of my story: First, my mom is still a pro cloth diaper-er, and has given me lots of good tips on soaking, washing, and smell reduction, but so much had changed in the 26 years since I’ve been out of diapers that neither of us knew about how completely easy it is now. Second, Cloth isn’t gross, hard, and doesn’t need to be all that expensive to get started. And lastly, the part my husband likes the most: we have saved an untold amount of money by buying a fraction of the disposables most parents do. The diapers we invested in for Jozie still look like new so I’ve had to buy 0 new diapers for Lane, and since we live in the country and farm our burn pile is not piled high with disposables that will never burn away.
And here’s the part I love most: my husband changes cloth diapers without even flinching.