Monday, December 22, 2008

Cloth Diapers

Some people think of me as a "tree hugger" or "granola-ish." To me it's a compliment, even though I don't think I'm nearly hard-core or cool enough to live up to either title. This has come up recently because Desmond's cute little bum is covered with cloth diapers.

I'd like to say that we decided to try cloth primarily because it's "eco-friendly." The truth is my biggest reason for using cloth diapers is to save money. Also, we want to fight a "single serving" mentality.

I'm carrying dozens of freshly washed diapers to Desmond's room.

Please don't misunderstand me. I don't think disposable diapers are evil or that using them makes anyone better or worse for it. We occasionally use disposables. Doing cloth as our primary diaper just seemed right for us.

If you're thinking about going the cloth route, there are a ton of options. A lot of sites go into helpful detail (like here or here or here); I won't rehash what others have already said. Here are a few of my scattered thoughts about diapers thus far:

  • Don't believe cloth-evangelists who say cloth is not more work than disposables. It is. However, it's not as bad as I thought it would be. I do a few more loads of laundry each week and it does take a little longer to put the diaper on. But folding diaper laundry is actually kind of fun. It reminds me that my little boy is growing. Plus, it gives you an excuse to watch TV guilt-free while you fold. :-)
  • We're using a combination of pre-folds and pocket diapers. I've been surprised that pre-folds aren't as difficult as I expected. The creation of Snappis, which replace diaper pins, makes pre-folds very do-able.

  • I love using pocket diapers in the middle of the night. They are quicker to put on, which is nice when it's especially cold at night.

  • I'm not totally sold on the idea that cloth diapers are unequivocally and significantly more eco-friendly than disposable diapers. I've read articles which make the case that all the water used to wash the diapers negates the re-usable factor of cloth diapers. I'm not sure what I believe, but it's enough for me to realize that eco-friendliness is not sufficient by itself to be a motivator for me to use cloth diapers.


Lisa Law said...

Way to be counter-cultural!

Libby said...

Hi, I've been "lurking" since Desmond's birth--my husband, Mark's, parents are friends of Larry and Stephanie, and they told us about your pregnancy saga as we were going through ours--Nathaniel was born in April.

Anyway, I love your blog and have been waiting for a good time to comment. We, too use cloth diapers primarily, and I've noticed that everyone who does it finds a slightly different system, but one that works for them (we use prefold inside Bumkins covers, and 1 disposable at night because we've not managed to put on enough layers of cloth to keep leaks from soaking through).

I agree that the "cloth-evangelists" are untruthful (as are the "breastfeeding-evangelists" who say that pumping is easy and convenient) in their uncritical promotion, but that it's worth the extra effort. Mark and I feel like real parents when we have to move the hangers of drying diaper covers out of the shower in the morning!

Your posts are wonderfully reflective and also remind me of the blessings God brings us in parenthood (and marriage). Thank you! :-)

~Libby Gorman, Durham, NC

Katharine said...

Libby - nice to "meet" you! Peter's folks speak very fondly of Mike and Nancy.

That's great you're using cloth and that Nathaniel sleeps well enough that absorbency is an issue. I look forward to the day when Desmond sleeps that long at night. :-)

I've heard people highly recommend bamboo products for babies who need a more absorbent diaper. They are rather expensive and bulky, but I have a friend who swears by them for night-time. Maybe something to look into.

Merry Christmas!