April 11, 2011

A new mom’s journey to convenience, comfort and cash!

How I became a cloth convert…and how you will, too!

When I was pregnant with my son, I tended to put everything off, primarily because every decision to be made was so overwhelming and seemingly monumental. We didn’t get our crib, car seat, and most baby clothes until I was about 32 weeks, and then it was only out of necessity. Walking into Babies R Us made me want to cry—how could I choose a crib when there were 12 versions of the same thing? Did I want the cherry or the espresso finish? Changing table attached to the dresser or separate? Who really cared??!! We had several shopping trips that ended with me in tears and my husband scratching his head.

Needless to say, when I learned about the cloth diaper option for my baby, I was intrigued but similarly overwhelmed.  I knew it was something I wanted to do, but I didn’t even know where to begin. I wanted to go to the store and put a cloth diaper in my hand and understand this concept, but where to go? I tried researching on the internet, but the terminology was foreign to me (what the heck is a “prefold”?). Yet all of the benefits resonated with me—yes, I wanted to decrease waste; yes, I wanted to save money; yes, I wanted to give my baby the healthiest start possible. But how to begin?

Fortunately, I had a friend who was already blazing a cloth diaper trail. She was my cloth diaper go-to. She inspired me and gave me the confidence I needed to get started. She had bought an entire cloth diaper system before her baby’s arrival and was confident that it would work for her. I, on the other hand, felt I needed to ease into it. I couldn’t decide between buttons or Velcro, covers or all-in-one diapers. Again, I was overwhelmed. So, I opted for a diaper service to start; testing the waters to be sure I could “handle” cloth. Looking back now, I see there was nothing to “handle”—cloth is such an easy choice!! After a few months with the service, I dove right in, bought my own prefolds (I knew what they were now!) and transitioned to a home-based cloth diaper system. Not only was it the healthiest choice for my baby, it was comfortable, convenient, and easy on the wallet. Let me explain…

My son has been in cloth since birth, and I’m proud to say that my baby has never—ever—had a diaper rash. He’s 11 months old and loves getting his diaper changed (probably has a lot to do with our cloth wipes and warm solution…more on that later). In fact, the one and only time he’s had problems in the diaper region was a result of wearing disposables. When he was 4 months old we flew from San Francisco to Washington DC and thought that traveling with cloth would be too much of a hassle. We opted for disposables for the plane ride only. The result? A bacterial infection in the diaper region.  According to our pediatrician, the disposables can hold so much moisture that it can actually irritate and infect babies’ sensitive skin. I was not happy. But it certainly reinforced our decision to use cloth.  Comfortable and healthy—what could be better?

My husband will vouch for the convenience factor—he’s never, ever, had to run out and buy more diapers. We’ve never watched for sales at CostCo on enormous boxes of diapers. We’ve never had a trash can overflowing with non-biodegradable waste. He’s never had to drag an 80 lb bag of poop
to the curb. When diapers are getting low, we throw them (along with our cloth wipes and our washable diaper pail liner) into the cold rinse cycle and walk away. It’s that simple. No getting in the car, no putting baby into the car seat, no opening up the wallet. Just rinse, wash, dry, and voila! Fresh, clean
diapers ready and waiting.

And finally, there’s the cash component: we are not spending money on something we throw away. I can’t emphasize this point enough. There is, of course, an initial investment to purchase cloth diapers and accessories. But you can spend as much or as little as you like. You can buy a whole system
upfront, or you can purchase a little at a time and test items out. The flexibility and versatility of cloth is truly amazing—3 of my closest friends and I all use cloth, and we all use different systems! And the best part? They all work for us. We’ve personalized our systems to fit our budgets, lifestyles and family goals. Instead of trying to tailor your life to fit the disposable diaper world, you can tailor your cloth diapers to fit your world. It doesn’t get much better than that…

As a new mom, I empathize with the demand for “easy” and “convenient” when it comes to baby products. And as a new mom, I can also say that choosing cloth diapers was one of the smartest decisions we’ve made for our family. It truly is the healthiest, most convenient, cost-effective choice you can make for your family. So don’t be scared, give it a whirl and try out the world of cloth. I know you’ll be happy you did!

(Another bonus of cloth? We’ve already got what we need for baby #2…whenever they decide to
make their debut!)

Author's Bio:  Kate is a first-time, stay-at-home mom whose hobbies include learning something new everyday from her baby boy, creating delectable homemade baby foods, teaching cycle classes, trying to persuade her husband to become vegan, and of course, trying to change the world one cloth diaper at a time.


Yes, even I am a convert...her mom who put her 4 babies in disposables and was VERY skeptical about this cloth business! a little tricky at first, but the baby was very patient w/ his Gram! and I love the warm wipes!!