I Heart Cloth Diapers

cover_2I have an article about cloth diapering in this month’s Mothering magazine.

It’s 5,000 words long.

It’s sort of impossible to imagine how anyone could have 5,000 words to say about cloth diapering.

But I did.

And I actually could have written 5,000 more.

I don’t even know that much about cloth diapers.

I must be a cloth diaper freak or fanatic or obsessive or something.

But I’m not. Well, not really. Well, okay, maybe I am. Well, okay, maybe I wasn’t before I started researching the article (which Peggy asked me to write. I was going to tackle something way simpler: circumcision) but now I am. Expert, no. Eager and interested cloth diaper user and part-time EC’er, yes!

So this week I’ll be devoting the blog to cloth diapering. (Except I need to find time to squeeze in a post about 6-month-old babies as Leone turns six months in two days). We can get back to the vaccine debate and the hate mail (remind me to tell you about the crazy phone calls I’ve been getting. James: “I think you need to un-list your office number, for awhile anyway”) another time. But for now it’s all cloth all the time.

I heart cloth diapers.

I want you to heart cloth diapers too.

In my next post, I’ll write about getting started with cloth. Also up this week: traveling with cloth (I’ve done it twice now: to Chicago and NYC).

But for today, here are five things you may not know about cloth diapers:

1) They’re adorable: The new generation of cloth is so stylish that mamas are putting their babies in cloth for the chic factor alone.
2) They make good Halloween costumes: Get this JamTots jaguar print cover and you have an instant Bambam costume.

3) You can wash them on cold: When I first used cloth diapers ten years ago I had no idea how to wash them and I dumped in loads of bleach (I cringe at the thought now) and washed them on hot. You don’t need ANY bleach. You don’t even need hot water. We wash pee pee diapers on cold, using this make-it-yourself laundry detergent from Frugal Kiwi. James calculated that we spend about 2 cents a load on the detergent, which is mild and unscented. Though when I interviewed Betsy Thomas, co-founder of Bummis, for my article she mentioned that sometimes babies get diaper rash because of detergent residue if the diapers are washed on cold, Leone has never had a rash and we’ve been washing her diapers on cold since she was born. (The poopy diapers we wash on warm.)

4) You can buy them cheaply or get them for free: The start-up cost of cloth is a deterrent for many a new mom and dad but you can buy secondhand cloth diapers cheaply at your local consignment shop (they’re pricier on the Web). You can also get inexpensive seconds from diaper services. And you can even find free cloth diapers from other cloth diapering moms. With my first, I got a bag of diapers from a friend who was a cloth diaper fanatic, I mean enthusiast, and made some herself. She had tons of extras and was happy to share. When Leone outgrew the size small Bumkins we were using, I loaned them to a friend whose baby is a few months younger. A couple weeks ago on a Mama’s E-mail List I’m on someone gave away a bazillion Fuzzibuns. Tell people you’re looking for diapers. Sign up for Freecycle. Talk to cloth users and see if you can beg, borrow, or steal some.

5) You don’t have to use them all the time: I know a mom who tried cloth for two days and then gave up. She had a tiny newborn. She was a new mom. She was overwhelmed. But cloth doesn’t have to be an all or nothing proposition. As I wrote in my article, if you only use one cloth diaper a week, you’re still keeping 52 diapers a year out of the landfill. That’s a lot of landfill space!

Are you/were you a cloth diaper user? If you’re using cloth, what do you like about them? If you’re not using cloth, what can we do to inspire you to try them?

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