Wednesday, May 19

a case for cloth

This post is part of the Real Diaper Facts carnival hosted by Real Diaper Events, the official blog of the Real Diaper Association, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to cloth diaper education. Participants were asked to write about diaper lies and real diaper facts. See the list at the bottom of this post to read the rest of the carnival entries.

A little known fact, something I feel somewhat sheepish about, is that we are using cloth diapers with Eamon.

It's funny that I am so hesitant to tell people when it's something I believe in strongly and have hoped to do since I was in high school. I guess I think that people will think that I'm weird or crunchy or that cloth diapers are unsanitary or something. When I do mention cloth, I see a wave of something (judgment? shock? sympathy?) wash over the face of whoever I am talking to, and so I've more or less kept mum.

The thing is, my silence doesn't really help change people's stereotypes about cloth diapers.

I recently heard about a backlash against the cloth diaper industry, and the Real Diaper Association has asked cloth diapering mamas (and papas, I suppose) to write about various lies and truths concerning cloth. Therefore I am dedicating a blog post to the cause.

Look, this is me wearing a cloth diaper back in 1975.
That's how far back my dedication to cloth goes!

Lie: Cloth diapers leak.
Truth: We had more leaks when Eamon was wearing disposables.
The cloth diapers we are using are incredibly absorbent. Some of them have microfiber inserts, while other inserts are made of hemp (!) or bamboo, which are also incredibly absorbent. The only leaks we've had when using cloth diapers were at night, and it turned out the diapers (which are adjustable sized) were on the wrong setting. Once I changed the size to medium, the leaks went away.
Oh, and no poo-splosions so far. Eamon poops about once every 3 days now, and there is quite a lot of it on that third day. None of it has leaked.

Lie: Cloth diapers make the room smell.
Truth: Not so far, in my experience. We wash them every 3-4 days and the room smells as good (or bad) as any other room in our apartment.

Lie: Cloth diapers are a hassle.
Truth: I guess it depends on your tolerance.
The diapers we are using are called pockets, meaning that they include the waterproof layer with a pocket where you insert whatever you want that is absorbent. Once it is stuffed, you put it on the same way you would a disposable diaper. When you take it off, you pull the insert out of a pocket in the back and put them all in the laundry bag together. And when you do laundry you just dump the contents of the bag into the washer and wash it twice. Easy peasy. (This may be slightly more complicated when Eamon starts eating solid foods and his poop becomes more poopy.)
The main hassle is that you have to wash them at all, but we are able to do laundry about twice a week.

Lie: I've seen those new cloth diapers, and they are expensive.
Truth: They do look expensive. Each diaper is about $17, and you need about 2 dozen of them. But if you look at the costs of disposables, it's nothing. Our diapers were a gift, but they cost about $400 to buy. The laundry is $6/week. If Eamon wears diapers for 2 years, that's $312/year x 2 years + $400 (cost of diapers) = $1024.
If you were to use the same number of disposables per week (60) and each one cost 25 cents each, you would spend $800 per year or $1600 for 2 years.
We will also be able to use the diapers for another child (if we have one) and have a pretty decent resale value.
Eamon models one of his newfangled diapers.

Lie: Babies who wear cloth cry more.
Eamon doesn't cry more or less when he's in a cloth or disposable diaper.
The diapers he wears have a layer of microfleece between him and the microfiber, and it helps him feel dry. Some diapers certainly don't have the fleece (when I was a baby I didn't have fleece in my diapers!) and I think babies just get used to it. Plus, you should change them when they are wet anyway!

Lie: Babies in cloth get more diaper rash.
Truth: Eamon's only bout of diaper rash was when he was in disposables, but apparently cloth and disposable diapered babies experience about the same amount of diaper rash. According to the Real Diaper Association, diaper rash was unheard of before rubber or plastic pants were introduced in the 1940s. So blame the rash on the lack of air circulation.

Lie: Cloth diapers are bulky.
Truth: While they are a bit bulkier than disposable diapers, Eamon still fits into the same clothes. Really, it's not that big a difference.

So there you have it. I'm sure there are other misconceptions about cloth. Feel free to ask questions, and maybe I can write another post dedicated to cloth diapers.

(I'm having trouble with the code I'm supposed to paste in here. While it's pasted in, nothing appears. boo.)

Edited to add: the code is there, in html, but it won't show up and blogger keeps adding extra code to the code. :(


MamaMay said...

you have to transfer over to HTLM mode while pasting and then it won't show up until published (won't see it in preview). Blogger is weird like that.

MamaMay said...

In response to Edit to add:

That sucks, don't know what to do then... sorry.

Heather said...

thanks for speaking up. i used to change the baby's diaper in public as frequently as possible so people could see his cloth and i could talk about it. you'd be surprised how many people went from vaguely curious to really interested! the more we get this message (and our diapers) out there, the more mainstream cloth diapering will become!

Hilary said...

Hey, no judgment here! My cousin has cloth diapered all of her 4 babes (including a set of twins) and swears by it. My mom has told me she wished she had cloth diapered me because I had such bad diaper rash from the disposables. Thank you for this great information -- the more I read, the more strongly I feel about cloth diapering my own baby (whenever it is that I have a baby).

And my goodness, Eamon is so CUTE!

chateaushare said...

Hi, Eamon's maternal grandma here...just wondering if anyone doubts that cloth diapers are better for the environment than disposables!
(And, hey, I loved using the old cloth diapers. Really glad to see people gaining interest in them these days again.)

hwall said...

Cloth diapers rule! Eamon and Henry will have to do a fashion show :)

chateaushare said...

The Diaper Facts Carnival seems to have ended, but the spirit prevails.

Thorvalda said...

In Norway, where I live, it's not so uncommon to use cloth-diapers. The environment argument is the most important reason, I think. And an important one.