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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

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OCD: Overseas Cloth Diapering

Being a military wife can be hard. Living overseas can be challenging. Having a baby overseas can be even more trying…..but cloth diaper overseas, forget it!!! Right?!

Wrong! I will tell you, the decision to use cloth diapers while living overseas is very do-able, challenging but possible. I have spent the past 6 months of our first sons life cloth diapering in a culture that…well…doesn’t use cloth diapers!

We welcomed our son, Josiah, into the world this past February. My husband, believe it or not, was the one to convince me that cloth diapering was the way to go. So I set out on my mission to purchase a stash that would get us through potty training, not just for Josiah, but the many more children we plan to have. After settling on a few different brands to try and choosing a laundry detergent, wet bag and all the accessories I thought I would need, we were set to begin our cloth diapering journey.

We live in Italy and thus things are different here. Let me share with you a few complications you might face if you are overseas and decide to cloth diaper:

  • Supplies: You cannot go to your local cloth diapering store and buy CD friendly detergent, rash cream, or ANYTHING for that matter! So you must plan in advance if you are getting low on detergent or are in need of a rash solution.
  • Washer & Dryer: Most Americans that live overseas do not have a washer or dryer. If you are lucky enough to have a washer you probably don’t have a dryer and if you are lucky enough to have both, they are most likely located in your kitchen, dining room or bathroom because you certainly do not have a laundry room. However, if you want to CD, you make do with what you have. In my case, I have been blessed enough to have a washer and dryer, a brand new one at that!
  • Energy Costs: Major cost saving problem for those overseas: it costs a small fortune to use the electricity needed to run a washer and dryer. Thus, we run only our washer and always at low energy usage times, i.e. night, mid-day and early morning in our case.
  • Space: Overseas washers are so small two days’ worth of diapers fill the washer to complete capacity. So to overcome this hiccup we do laundry every day and a half. Every day is too often and two days means the diapers will not have the room needed to agitate enough to get clean.
  • Weather: All diapers go on the line for drying. In Italy, this means that during June and July your diapers will be dry in 20 minutes, in every other month the likelihood of daily rain is so high, you just might not be able to line dry. Or you may get a few hours of sun then find yourself making a mad dash outside to save your diapers from the downpour that just started out of nowhere!
I like to share cloth diaper war stories with other ladies who are choosing to CD through the obstacles of living in another country. I once found myself down to about two loads of Rockin Green and my order hadn’t come in the mail yet, as you can imagine panic set in. I was posting on facebook pages and calling everyone I knew to borrow a cup or two of detergent for survival til the order arrived. I dropped everything to meet with another mama who was nice enough to give me half a bag of detergent that she keeps as her ‘backup’. Through that I learned, always keep a bag you don’t touch as a backup. Another mama who washes her diapers at the laundry mat consistently had to go to a friend’s house to strip them due to the detergent buildup that transferred to her diapers each time she would wash them. And even worse, another mama lost all her diapers at the laundry mat. She left them there on accident and upon return; they were completely gone, never to be seen again.

Cloth diapering overseas is possible but you may need to procure some external resources in case you find yourself in a bind: join a local CD support group if possible, make a few friends who cloth diaper and ultimately have some extra patience to work through the complications you might face. Know the culture you are going to if possible and do everything you can to make the best of it; knowing you are giving your baby’s bum the best it can have, even if it means a little extra work!

By Kristy

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You should check out for cloth diapering in South Africa :)