I’d like to start this post by saying I’m still exhausted! We had an amazing weekend away with the kids for my brother’s wedding but it was complicated with many factors. First and foremost, the kids were sick with colds. Joy! Second, it rained during 99.9% of the AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL cliff top wedding ceremony. Third, DD’s shoes hurt her feet and gave her a large blister on the back of her heel. Fourth, and lastly, our little ones are still learning to use the potty.
Since this isn’t a wedding blog, I won’t go on and on (like I could) about what a beautiful and meaningful time it was. I do want to talk to you about preparing for the trip and using all cloth diapers and trainers while we were away. The past couple of times we traveled, we used hybrid diapers on the twins and honestly, looking back, I’m not quite sure why this was such a big deal.
Last week was jam packed with our regular schedule and all the trip preparations that added to it. The kids were missing a school day, which wouldn’t be a big deal, except for the fact that this particular school day was their first picture day. I really didn’t want them to miss pictures, so I took them to school for a couple hours before our regularly scheduled Kindermusik class. While they were at school I ran to the grocery store and then ran home to drop groceries off and then ran back to pick them up. Then we were off to class. After class we headed home for lunch and then the kids went to sleep for nap. Don’t ask me why on earth I scheduled my phone interview with the RDA, for THAT day (THAT day being the one where I was constantly breathless from being over scheduled), but I did. So while I waited for my phone call I worked diligently to complete a crafty project for my mother’s of twins club (who happen to be hosting our semi-anual Southern California Mother’s of Twins Club convention THE SAME weekend as my brother’s wedding). I am working towards becoming a certified cloth diaper educator with the RDA and this phone interview is one of the steps in this process. Anyways, her phone call came, we talked about my family’s cloth diaper usage and I realized that while we diapered 100% cloth at home, we had yet to use 100% cloth for travel. My interviewer asked me about this choice and we discussed why this had been the case. I guess, even though I know how natural and easy cloth diapering has become for us, I was still somehow intimidated at the thought of traveling with cloth. How could this be? So, I made the decision to leave the hybrid inserts at home, for donation, cloth diaper cakes, and gifts, and to travel with 100% cloth diapers and trainers. It was only after the interview was over, that I realized why I had fatefully chosen to overbook my schedule with this interview. I NEEDED to have this discussion and try using all cloth on this weekend’s trip.
I realized that because I was so used to our cloth routine, I was actually MORE comfortable than I was with hybrid diapers. I knew what to expect of them. I wasn’t worried that there would be an overnight leak because it had been so long since the kids had slept in the disposable inserts. I brought our large wet bag to hold all the dirty diapers in and kept it in a drawer in the hotel. I brought a couple extra, just in case, but found no unexpected surprises. It was just like being at home minus the diaper sprayer. If I had done this while the kids were still in diapers full time I would have probably packed diaper liners to make poo disposal easy – even without the diaper sprayer. I really don’t know what I was worried about. I could have done this when I went to visit our friends in Colorado. She offered up her washer for my use. If we had stayed another day in a hotel I could have easily found a laundry mat and run the diapers through the wash or asked the hotel if they had a washer available for guest use.
Apparently, no matter what your experience, (and while I have a decent amount of CD knowledge – it is undoubtably not without end), there are always things that will intimidate and surprise you! If you have EVER given cloth diapering even the smallest thought, want to learn about your diapering options, want to spend less on diapering, or want diapering your baby to have a minimal environmental impact, PLEASE reach out to a cloth diapering resource like me! We are here to help, not judge. I want you to be informed and I want to support you through what may seem like an intimidating endeavor. I don’t want you to feel like you are alone in your frustration, confusion, or intimidation. Life is a journey and it helps to have a guide, support, or a friend to listen!
(This is a repost from 11/15/12)
I have been so frustrated with all this talk about daycares saying no to cloth. I just don’t understand how this is a daycare provider’s decision. Should a day care provider tell you they don’t allow organic food at their day care? How about if they said they only allowed velcro shoes – no lace ups – those take too much time to put on. Granted, the usual argument is that cloth diapers aren’t sanitary, not that they take longer but I’m not really sure how on earth this argument makes sense.
With disposable diapers, most users wrap up a soiled diaper as tightly as they can and toss it in a garbage can or a diaper genie like pail. This seals poo in a diaper, in a bag, and eventually, in a landfill – only to create a toxic biohazardous stew. Parents and day care providers: If there is poo that has not absorbed into the diaper, it should be deposited into the toilet so that it can be treated like the raw sewage that it is. If this is difficult to get used to, just put your diaper pail in the bathroom. That way you HAVE to take the diaper to the bathroom anyways. Once you are there you can properly dispose of the waste. Back to the point. Diapers in general are not particularly sanitary. Most day care providers wear gloves when changing diapers.
I just don’t understand how handling cloth diapers (other than laundry) are THAT different from disposables. If you bring a one piece diaper (an All In One or Pocket style diaper for example) and a zippered wet bag to day care, where is the unsanitary-ness? The diaper is removed and placed in the wetbag. (My preschool persists in putting a poopy diaper in a plastic bag and then in our wet bag – forcing me to dig in the wetbag instead of just dumping it to be washed. I can’t complain because at least they are very receptive to cloth!) I personally feel like disposables are the more unsanitary of the two for a couple of reasons. Most disposable users don’t dump poo in the toilet causing stinky poo to sit in the garbage can. Second, disposables have many other chemicals in them that leech into the environment, touch baby, and are potentially hazardous. (By hazardous, I’m thinking of several incidences I have read in the news about dogs getting a hold of an unused diaper, playing with it, chewing on it, ingesting some of the pulp, and dying because their intestines ruptured from this super absorbent pulp swelling in their gut. Note to sposie users: Keep diapers away from your dog!) No, I don’t think that disposable diapers are the root of all evil. I don’t feel ANY animosity toward parents who choose to use disposables. I believe that we are not educated on the subject. I believe that if you saw the MAD ARRAY of adorable cuteness and functionality that is modern cloth diapers sitting right next to all the disposables at your friendly supermarket or retail store AND you saw an easy to read “How to wash cloth diapers” guide next to them, you would most likely choose cloth. Cloth diapering has been made to seem illusive and intimidating by hiding it away in online shops. Where did all the cloth diapers go? My grandma and mom used cloth. Where did they get theirs? Why did they disappear from stores so quickly. Maybe because disposables are easy? Maybe because we live in a world where we don’t think, we just do. We get accustomed to doing things the way everyone else does things and forget to question the norm and think for ourselves. It can be intimidating and overwhelming to REALLY think about all the little things we do in our daily life. Buy local, eat organic, avoid chemicals, live in the moment – how can you not pull your hair out with all this STUFF to think about, right? This reminds me of that bumper sticker that says “If you’re not pissed off, you’re not paying attention”. No, we can’t go around analyzing everything. We couldn’t enjoy our kids if we did that. I know that, I’m realistic.
We do make some major decisions in life that effect our entire world. Many of these decisions get reevaluated when we start a family. We start to ask “Is this good for me while I’m pregnant?” “I don’t want that on my baby.” One major decision is how to diaper our babies. What frustrates me, is that this decision is practically taken away from us. Unless you know someone who is a cloth diaper advocate or have done research on your own, you will get thrown into disposables. They will be bought for you for your baby shower. You will be sent a zillion coupons for several brands. You will be GIVEN them at a hospital. A hospital with a comercial laundry facility BUILT INTO it. If anyplace should advocate for cloth it’s a hospital, and they don’t. Why?
It truly is beyond me why hospitals don’t use cloth. They have laundry facilities, and they can’t tell me that it’s not sanitary. I worked in labor and delivery. Labor and delivery is the bloodiest, goriest, place in the hospital. With labor brings every bodily fluid we contain. Women get nauseous, we get vomit. Women are in labor, water breaks, and we have amniotic fluid (sometimes everywhere). Labor is bloody. It just is. A placenta detaches from a uterus and there is bleeding involved. Pushing a baby out is hard work. Sometimes urine and poo get pushed out in the process to make room for baby to come out. So, I find it VERY hard to believe that a hospital is equipped to deal with all of that mess, but can’t handle some brand new baby pee and poo. It’s just not true. I know that disposable diapers are weighed in NICU to account for baby’s urine output. But, there are cloth diapers made to specific weight measurements just for this purpose.
I guess I just want caregivers to give this choice back to the parents. Parenting is hard enough without pressure from caregivers to make the same decision as everyone else. The cloth diapering community is growing every day. Support is growing. Advocacy is growing! This is one of those choices in life that can make a huge impact on our world. It can decrease waste, decrease your family’s spending, decrease your baby’s exposure to harmful chemicals, decrease the use of crude oil (used to make disposable diapers), and increase sales for small cloth diaper companies and work at home moms which will support our economy. The sad thing is that so many of us don’t even know this is a choice we can readily make.
If you know someone who is pregnant, ask them if they have ever thought about using cloth. As humans, we generally need to be exposed to a new idea or product at least three separate times before we really consider it. Be one of those exposures for someone and you may have really made a difference, even if they don’t sound convinced right then and there.
We can’t continue to live in a disposable society. Our world won’t allow it. I remember when waste management companies STARTED recycling programs. Apparently, diapering will take a bit more work to see how this disposable convenience has turned into a big mess that our children will have to live with. You can make a difference. If you use cloth and need daycare, I suggest you don’t bring it up in the beginning. Get all settled and then TELL your provider “Oh, here are our cloth diapers. This is how you use them.” Make sure you meet all their requirements for how to store clean and dirty diapers. Have a wetbag with a closure they agree on. Do they need a zipper closure vs. a drawstring? Comply. Make it as easy for them as possible. Have a one piece system like prefolds stuffed in pocket diapers or All In Ones. Many caregivers will support you if you give them the chance. Approach the subject with matter of factness. Don’t preach or speak reluctantly. If you start to tell them that you use cloth, and make it seem like this huge burden because you are afraid they will say no, they will be more likely to tell you they don’t allow the use cloth – even if they have never thought about it before. Make sure to express how easy they are for you to use. They are! There are still a couple states that don’t allow cloth in daycare without a Dr.’s prescription. (I don’t suppose this has anything to do with the HUGE companies that produce disposables.) Maine is one of them. If you are a Maine resident please click HERE to help change this law!
If you are having ANY issues with your cloth diapers, please contact the manufacturer. If they do not provide you with the answers you need, reach out to this cloth diapering community. Email me. Email another cloth diapering blogger. Email or call your retailer. You will find answers. I looked to my doctor for answers and they couldn’t give them to me. Why should they have been able to? They have enough information in those big brains and cloth diapering 101 is not a class they teach in med school. Go to those with experience. Ask a grandma who cloth diapered. Just ask. It breaks my heart to hear of anyone giving up on cloth because they hit obstacles, whether it is a daycare provider, a washing routine, or a poor fit. You are responsible for this baby, don’t let someone else take your educated decisions away from you!
(This is a repost from 2/29/2012)
When I talk about being a cloth diaper circle leader and teaching 101 workshops to friends with older children in diapers or disposable training pants, I often hear something like “Well it’s too late for us now, maybe if I have another kid…” It’s for those parents that I wanted to crunch some numbers for and let you know how you can still save quite a bit of money.
I started with the cost of one of the most popular pocket diapers on the market, BumGenius, and went from there. You can buy one pocket diaper for $17. (If this turns you off right away, make sure to note that many retailers offer great sales. Some give discounts for buying more than 3 and many retailers offer larger price breaks if you buy in bundles.) I priced out a 186 count box of disposables (on sale) for $45 which averages out to about .25 cents per disposable diaper. Using those numbers, each cloth diaper you buy will be equal to the cost of 68 disposable diapers. So even if you only have a few months in diapers left, buying just one cloth diaper will save you about $5.50 if you use it every day and wash it every night. If you buy just 5 cloth diapers and use all 5 every day and wash them daily, you will save $27.50 in just 3 months. If your little one has just 6 months left in cloth and you buy 5 cloth diapers (enough to cloth diaper part time) you will save a whopping $140! If you buy a full (toddler) stash of 12 pocket diapers for $17 each, wash every day and a half, and use only those cloth diapers, you will save $336 over 6 months!!!!
Have I just blown your mind? Because even though I KNOW there is a lot of money to be saved in cloth diapers, those numbers still look pretty awesome to me! Oh, wait, I forgot about resell value. Make sure to tack on the fact that if you only use your diapers for 6 months (and don’t completely terrorize them by disregarding all washing instructions) your diapers will be in excellent condition. You can resell them online through many sites, through a consignment store, or save money on a baby shower gift by gifting them to another mom who will surely underestimate the money saving power of the gift you handed down to her.
“Janice,” you say, “my kid is in disposable training pants and cloth diapers are no longer an option for us, how can I save money?” The lease expensive disposable trainer I found was $36 for 100. A high quality cloth trainer (that absorbs similar to disposable trainer) will cost anywhere from $19 – $35. But you have to know what you get for that price. The $19 trainer is a GroVia trainer (see the link in my side bar). If it gets soiled you need to change and wash it just like you would change a disposable trainer. I think this trainer is a great night time option. The $35 trainer is a Flip trainer. It comes with one cover (that is wipeable and reusable if it gets soiled with urine) and 5 inserts to absorb 5 accidents. If you get one Flip trainer and two GroVia trainers (for nap and night time) it will cost you $73. If you buy anything over two (100 count) disposable trainers you have made your money back. Cloth trainers also take the pressure off of potty learning. I’m not worried about when my kids finally gain control of their bladder while sleeping because I don’t have to buy any more training pants!
If your child is only in disposable training pants for night time and you buy 2 GroVia trainers and wash every other day, you will make your money back on anything over the cost of one box of disposable trainers. Your child will train faster because they will feel the wetness of their accidents without the mess. Can you say win, win? How much you save will depend on how much potty learning your child has left to do!
Cost savings is hardly the only reason to use cloth diapers and trainers but the purpose of this post is to let you know that it is hardly ever too late to save money by switching to cloth. If you wait until your child only has 3 months in diapers, you can still save $65 by switching exclusively to cloth (12, $17 cloth diapers). That means you are still saving money – even when factoring in the fact that you need to wash them and should buy cloth diaper safe detergent. My advice? Make the switch now! The sooner you switch, the more money you will save!
(This is a repost from 3/16/12)
It’s day two of Real Diaper Week and I want to talk a little bit about waste reduction. A child in disposable diapers will most likely use 6,000 diapers in their first two years. That thought alone motivated me to use cloth. I dreaded thinking about the landfill that my twins’ diapers would fill by the time they were potty trained! It would be nice if our city would give us a reward for keeping diapers out of our trash cans, don’t you think? We can make that happen. Right now there is a movement to get subsidies or vouchers from our cities in return for using cloth diapers. Many propose a $100 voucher that the city would give parents with children 18 months and under. Other proposals suggest a starter kit for families with babies under 6 months. However you look at it, this money could pay for 1/3 of your cloth diapering stash! In the months following the Great Cloth Diaper Change I will be working with my local diaper service agency to put together a proposal to our city officials in an attempt to get a subsidy system in place. We will be collecting signatures for those supporting cloth diaper subsidies. I hope you check back and sign!
If you want to learn more about how to get a subsidy program started in your city, go to the RDA’s Diaper Hub page on Facebook where they have posted a “how to” note!
Most of us know that using cloth diapers decreases your waste, but did you know that cloth diapering is the “gateway drug” to greener living? Once I started using cloth diapers I found myself using cloth in place of so many other disposable items in our home. We started using cloth napkins and cloth baby wipes. We bought flour sack towels to clean up kitchen messes instead of using paper towels. When microwaving food, I cover the bowl or plate with a cloth napkin instead of some other disposable product. When we have a cold we use small lightweight prefolds instead of tissues. All of these items are easy to wash with hot water in the same load with towels of similar color or with diapers. I am amazed at all the money spent on items we literally throw away! I remember one day when I realized that while I was keeping my children from the many chemicals in disposable diapers, I was exposing myself to the same or similar chemicals in sanitary products. Talk about an Ah-Ha moment. I went that day to Whole Foods and picked up a Diva Cup (a silicone menstrual cup) and cloth pads (aka momma-cloth). I haven’t bought disposable sanitary products since.
I hope this post gives you a hint at what a difference you can make to our environment (and your income) by making a few simple changes in your home. The time it takes to launder your cloth items is nothing compared to the time and money it takes to go to the store and buy their disposable equivalents! (Anytime I can avoid the song and dance it takes to keep my twins entertained at the grocery store is a bonus in my book!)
I have been teaching Cloth Diapering 101 Workshops for a few months now and I am loving it. I apologize for not having made my own cloth diapering 101 video yet – it’s in the works! I have loved sharing the benefits of cloth diapering with anyone that is interested. Because there are so many parents out there that have never considered cloth diapers, either because they consider them archaic, don’t know that they still exist, or for other reasons, it is important to share your love. I wear an “Ask Me About Cloth Dipaers!” pin on my diaper bag at all times. Whenever diapers come up in conversation I offer a cloth solution or option.
You may think that you could never hold workshops or be a cloth diaper circle leader. I have to say, you – the lover of cloth diapers – just may be the perfect cloth diaper circle leader for your area. It’s the parents who love the freedom that cloth diapers give us that make experts. We deal with any challenges that arise and overcome them. I had to find all my own answers online or through manufacturers because I didn’t have any local resources. It was this struggle to find answers (with no local cloth diaper resources or stores) that led me to becoming a cloth diaper circle leader myself. I reached out to the amazing cloth diapering community online, learned so much and got endless support! I have reached out to local childrens’ stores and have held cloth diaper circle meetings and 101 workshops at their stores! I didn’t need to put out money to rent a location. I brought in a some business and am helping to educate the community. The business I have worked with have been very helpful and supportive.
If you want to be a cloth diaper circle leader, and want to help your local community find the support and encouragement they may need to cloth diaper or to get started cloth diapering, click HERE to find out what is required and how to get started!
Before I kick off the MommaWords Real Diaper Week Celebration with a GIVEAWAY, I want to share a video my fellow Cloth Diaper Circle Leader, Heather B., put together. It’s a cloth diapering 101 video with an ASL translation. Kudos to you and your circle Heather! Great job!
MommaWords is GIVING AWAY a copy of the book “Changing Diapers: A Hip Mom’s Guide to Modern Cloth Diapering”! What am I doing for day 1 of Real Diaper Week? I’m holding a CD 101 Workshop at a local preschool! And…. giving away this book to help educate you! If you win, don’t forget to lend out your copy and share the love!