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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

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Converting Others to Cloth

I’m sure my friends think I am the crazy cloth diaper lady. I can almost see the wheels turning in their heads when they see me approach, “Don’t mention babies!” So, I’m an enthusiastic cloth diaperer, and I love sharing good ideas with my friends. Cloth diapering is such a good idea for so many types of families- those looking to reduce waste, those looking to save money, those looking to reduce their children’s exposure to chemicals, and even those, mostly mommies, who can’t help buying cute baby stuff. Unfortunately, unfavorable stereotypes about cloth diapers abound, and some people need convincing. In my experience talking people into trying cloth, there are some very common barriers most people have to get over before they’ll jump on the cloth band wagon. Here are some of the most common:

  • I’ll have to touch poop! Yuck! When most people think cloth they think about swishing diapers in toilets or having to scrape off poop. Most of my cloth diaper converts warm up to the idea of cloth very quickly once I explain about diaper sprayers and biodegradable liners. I also highlight the fact that cloth diapering means never, ever having poopy diapers sitting around in a garbage can smelling up the house.
  • It’s really expensive to start cloth diapering. It’s easy for most people to see the savings of cloth when you look at the entire diapering life of a child, but some families think that the start-up costs of cloth diapering are more than they can manage. I try to steer these friends towards inexpensive options such as flats or prefolds or get them to look into an all-in-two system. These usually have lower costs because you’re buying more of the cheap part (the absorbent diaper) and less of the expensive part (the covers). Some families also like the option of building a stash over time. It’s easy to start cloth diapering just at home or even dealing with a one day wash cycle for a short amount of time.
  • Cloth Diapering is a lot of work. I use this analogy: The time it takes me to do 2 loads of laundry each week is less time than having to bundle up both my boys, get in the car, drive all the way across town, find diapers, wait in line to buy them, then drive all the way home. It’s also a lot less work- as anyone who’s ever had a toddler and newborn can attest to. We have a three day wash cycle and do everything in the washer and dryer. It’s really not that big of a deal, and it becomes second nature in a matter of weeks.
  • Cloth Diapering isn’t sanitary. We, as adults, don’t throw away our underwear every time we use them, so obviously we trust the washer and dryer to get things clean enough. In fact, cloth diapering can cut down on uncomfortable diaper rash, and it’s a wonderful solution for children with sensitive skin. If my friends are really worried about sani^-tation, I encourage them to wash and dry on hot and purchase bleach-safe brands so they can do a wash in bleach every few weeks.
  • Cloth Diapers are difficult to care for. You do have to use an additive free detergent, but these really aren’t difficult to find. In fact, I use a brand which is available at my local Walmart. Other than remembering not to use fabric softeners, fluff laundry isn’t any different from all the other laundry I do in a week.
Most of my friends and family haven’t had a lot (if any) exposure to modern cloth diapering. One of my close friends who converted to cloth, upon seeing my stash, couldn’t believe how far cloth diapers had come since her mom used them. Modern cloth diapers have taken all the guess work out of diapering, and most people respond very positively when they get to see them in person. The best tip I have for converting friends to cloth? Let them see your stash! All those cute diapers will do most of the convincing for you.

Bio: Heather Hale - Heather is a work-at-home violin and piano teacher, but her full-time job is chasing after her two boys. You can follow her eco-friendly lifestyle changes at


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