Thursday, April 14, 2011

Not Your Mama's Cloth Diapers

When Hannah was born, my mother proudly unpacked all of the things she had saved from my own baby-hood, and presented me with all kinds of treasures. One of these was a pair of silver diaper pins that had been mine. Mom says that she even used these pins...because I wore cloth diapers. She also gave me some regular plastic-tipped pins, which I imagine were meant for everyday use, leaving the silver pins for special occasions.
But to me, these pins are simply nostalgia, not something I needed to set up my nursery. Many mamas my age would say this because like the pins, cloth diapers are obsolete. However, we used cloth diapers for Hannah's entire diaper-wearing years (and even now, use cloth training pants). And those same diapers are now folded and waiting for the arrival of Little Sister. But these diapers have very little in common with the diapers I wore when I was a baby.

There are many wonderful places on the web where you can study the pros and cons of all the cloth diapering options available, and I'm not going to replicate those articles. But I do want to share why I LOVE cloth diapers. Yes, LOVE, with capital letters, and I really do mean that. The original reason to buy cloth diapers was that we wanted to add less trash to the landfill.

Soon, however, I found myself a stay-at-home mama, rather than a working mama, and boy were we happy that we didn't have to buy diapers! The routine of washing and folding the diapers was an easy one to fall into, and took surprisingly little time (as per my usual time-keeping methods, folding diapers takes less than a 30 minute sitcom, 3 or 4 times a week).

Hanging the diapers on a clothesline outside adds a little to the time, but leaves the diapers snowy white and fresher smelling...turns out the sun works better to bleach baby's little presents than bleach does. Plus, I get to feel doubly green by drying my reusable diapers using the renewable energy source provided by the sun.

Of course, occasionally the piles of diapers would pile up. Because of the odor factor, this pile up usually occurs at the folding end of the process, not the washing end. Here's a priceless picture of Jonathan, just finishing the task of folding dozens of diapers.

All this talk of folding reminds me that those of you unfamiliar with the new generation of cloth diapers probably don't know what I'm talking about. We use BumGenius diapers, which are size adjustable (meaning Hannah wore the same diapers for two years), and fasten with Velcro (meaning my mom's pretty diaper pins sit unused in my jewelry box). The outside of the diaper is made of waterproof fabric, the inside has a soft, water-wicking lining, and in between sits a removable insert, which comes in thin for infants, thick for bigger babies, and when Hannah was a toddler, we stuffed with both a thin and thick insert. So when I say "fold," I really mean "stuff" the pocket of the diaper with one or more of these inserts, which serve to hold the liquid.

I just can't say how happy I am to be moving on to the second round of using our diapers. It certainly makes the high initial investment into cloth worth it when I look forward to another two years without buying boxes of diapers...and not putting them into the landfill, either!

Like I said before, one of my neurotic pregnant-lady worries was that the baby would come home to a house with piles of unfolded diapers on the floor.

So the first project I tackled in the nursery was folding the diapers and putting them away. Adjusting them to the smallest size and stuffing them with the thinnest insert made them seem very puny and inadequate after the recent months of super-sizing them for toddler use, but they are now just right for a newborn's tiny bottom.

1 comment:

  1. Siobhan,
    This is an ideal introduction for parents thinking of which type of diaper to use. I agree with you that it really is easier than you'd think. I have to admit that I was less diligent with by second baby than my first about using them all the time. Nevertheless, it was a still a big savings.


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