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Monday, November 15, 2010

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I’ve convinced my biggest critic to use cloth diapers; my sister

When I first announced to my family that I was going to cloth diaper my first child the response was mixed. My mother had used cloth diapers in the early eighties at least part time for both of her children and was supportive of the idea.

My younger sister on the other hand looked at me like I had proposed diapering my daughter in paper towels and scotch tape. “Eww, what about the leaks and the poo? Every time someone holds the baby, they’ll get wet.” Now in her defense, her knowledge of cloth diapers is apparently leftover from the 19th century because she wasn’t aware that modern cloth diapers, (even those from the 1980s) require a waterproof outer layer.

Once I explained the conveniences of All-In-One and Pocket diapers, and the leak protection and stylish qualities of brightly colored gusseted covers she was still disgusted. I explained that my husband and I had made this choice mostly for financial reasons, but also for environmental ones. The statistics of how many tons of disposable diapers and accompanying raw human sewage go into landfills every year made me feel sick to my stomach.

My sister wouldn’t budge. To her credit, she and my mother bought me a lovely basket of cloth diapers for my baby shower. She still thought the idea was borderline barbaric. In the beginning she refused to help change my daughter’s diaper unless I used a disposable. Even when my daughter’s disposable diaper leaked poo all over my sister’s new dress, she still wasn’t convinced. But slowly she began to adjust to my choice. If she was babysitting she would use All-In-Ones, but nothing else. Soon she would change Pocket or Fitted Diapers, but refused to deal with the hassle of Prefolds. I was so grateful for the free babysitting that I wasn’t about to complain about her diaper changing habits.

My sister and her husband are planning to start their own family within the next year, something that we talk about a lot. Last week as she was entertaining my daughter while I rinsed a poopy diaper, my sister announced “I think Mike and I will use cloth diapers when we have kids.” I was speechless. I actually stared at her with my mouth open and sputtered. She quickly added the caveat that she would use disposables whenever she was out of the house, but I was still shocked. I began to tell her that I recommended that they opt for All-In-One and One-Size Pocket diapers for a combination of ease and affordability. She had still more shocking news in store. “I don’t think I’d have any trouble using prefolds, at least until the baby can roll over and sit up.” Again, I was floored. The woman who refused to change a cloth diaper and declared prefolds to difficult, time consuming and confusing was a cloth diaper convert.

 I still hold out hope that she may find cloth as easy as I have and decide to ditch the hassle of ever buying disposables. But even a part-time cloth diaper user in a culture where less than 10% of children are cloth diapered, is a victory. Especially when it’s my biggest critic, my sister.

(If you look carefully in the picture, you can see my daughter's Thirsties cover peeking out from the leg of her onesie. :-)

My name is Bethany V. and my husband Rob and I have cloth diapered our daughter Althea (18-months) since she came from the hospital. I love writing, knitting and of course, cloth diapers. I have a blog called The Laundry List ( where I talk about writing, budgeting, cloth diapers, parenting, and other aspects of my life as a SAHM/WAHM.


Secret Mommy said...

Good for you! I, unfortunately, have had my children AFTER my sister and also quite a few of my friends. Many of them tell me that if I had kids first, they would have learned about groovy cloth dipes and maybe tried them, too. But sadly they are all past that stage. I still work on new friends, though! :)

Brassy said...

I don't think my husband was 100% on board with cloth diapers until the second time he bought a huge box of disposable diapers. This was those first couple of weeks home from the hospital and the math was already starting to add up (and quickly).

When you've got both in the house, and you plan on using cloth part time "for now," the money you're basically throwing out seems to really help push you completely over the edge.

Anonymous said...

aw! thats great! i love your daughters name, by the way. :) and i got my sister to use a cloth diaper when changing my daughter for the first time ever. grant it, i forgot she never used cloth before, so she didnt understand snap closures...oops. but i pre-loaded a pocket ad threw it at her and said there you go! she looked at me like i had a second pair of eyes like "what do i do with this?" i told her count in 4 from both sides [of the BG4.0,] otherwise it goes on JUST like a disposable. after it was done and over with i appologised for using all the aplix closures the day before, but cloth is still super easy even with the snaps. idk if shell CD her next kid [my niece has already learned to use the potty,] but i hope so! lol. my next kid ill probably try EC. im thinking starting EC PT with my 8-month-old.

Cloth Diapers said...

Congratulations on the conversion. There are those stubborns out there but I find it pretty easy to convert them one they see the product for themselves.

Katie S said...

This post gives me hope! As of right now, even my husband is a big critic of my desire to cloth diaper our son and our kids to come. My family members aren't too critical, but they aren't exactly supportive either. I think it embarrasses them in a way. Anyway, this gives me hope that my friends and family will changes their minds also. In fact, my sister-in-law did say that she and her husband are considering cloth when they have kids too!

Annie Brainard said...

I thought cloth diapers were gross. Then I heard a friend say she was so grossed out that she had to use disposables for a road trip instead of cloth.

Disposables, gross? Really?

That got me interested. I ordered a trial pack of 12, figured out that pockets were my favorites, sent the others back, and went full steam ahead with Rumparooz (and then later Bum Genius) pocket diapers.

Now I understand what she means about gross disposables when I have to resort to one again for whatever reason... the squishy, cold stinky disposables. I'd much rather clothe my little girl in cloth.

The Up North Writer Mama said...

That's terrific! I have helped one person to make the switch (part-time, due to daycare) and I hope I am able to make others at least consider using cloth.

When my son was first born, I said the same thing about using disposables (I'd have them for when we were out of the house and for anyone who is babysitting). Then I realized that it is super easy to use them when you're on-the-go. And it's not hard for someone to throw a dirty cloth diaper into a wet bag instead of the garbage, and to velcro on a pre-stuffed pocket diaper that I leave them. I no longer keep disposables on hand.

Dreaming Mama said...

I live really far from sister. She just had her baby and is adjusting to everything. I wished I lived closer to show her how easy cloth really is. It is hard to convert at a distance.

Sarah said...

That's great that she's going to give CD'ing a chance! I have to say though, that I don't understand why she would have such a strong opinion about it before she was even thinking about having kids herself! That seems really odd to me to be such a "critic", as you say, when she hadn't really used either diapers, especially full-time with her own kids. Anywho, welcome to the club! :)

Liz said...

I wish I could convince my mom to get on board. She still thinks I'm "making it harder on myself" by using cloth. I'll just keep at it, maybe one day she'll convert! :)

maebystyle said...

my side of the family has been really supportive. when i changed my daughter's diaper when my sil was around, she ran right over to watch how it's done. it will probably still be awhile before my kids have cousins, but i have a suspicion that there will be plenty of fluff butt photo ops.

April said...

I'm so thankful my husband and family have been supportive of our decision to cloth diaper our first due in Feb! Hopefully when my younger sister is ready to have children, she'll make the same decision.

Amber Eaton said...

My older sister is the one who got me started cloth diapering! I thank her for it.