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Tuesday, February 10, 2015

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Cloth Diapers - Why I Almost Gave Up

Have you ever thought of giving up cloth? Many parents enter the world of fluffy bums with enthusiasm, only to pack the cloth diapers up and switch to disposables with a dreaded sense of defeat just a few short months later. I was one of those parents… In a matter of a few months I went from smirking at people telling me “You’ll never last”, to being ready to give up entirely. I think the only reason I didn’t bow out was having to explain to my husband why I spent all that money on something I wasn’t using. He’s always been masterful at motivating me in times of weakness by promoting guilt.

I should start this post by saying you should not feel guilty if you decide that cloth is not working for your family, even if my husband would have you thinking so. Or if you only cloth part time. It is imperative that you, and your family are happy. But if you are thinking of giving up, because you have had it with the cloth, let me commiserate with you for a little bit, while I tell you why I almost gave up, and most importantly, explain what has helped me stick with it.

1. Lack of support.

I am going to be honest here. When I told my mother I was choosing to cloth diaper my son, I was expecting a little bit more keenness from her. I definitely did not foresee her reaction being anything but encouraging. I was totally stumped when she said: “Why would you? Having a baby is going to be enough work as is.”. In shock, I couldn’t come up with a witty response, like ones I have mastered during the years of my teenage rebellion. “Because!”, I said. And that was all I could muster up. And while later she’d become my biggest supporter in the cloth journey, when enough people attempt to convince you cloth diapering was not a good idea, after a while you start believing them.

This is when I turned to Google. Because there had to be more to cloth diapers than what Target had in stock. And I was mesmerized by all the different styles, colors, accessories, and cloth fanatics ALL OVER THE WORLD. I have joined support groups, connected with people who not only helped troubleshoot any issues I had with cloth, but also offered support and encouragement I never thought existed. It is thanks to those people that I was able to overcome the next honorable mentions on my list of reasons why I almost gave up.

2. The dreaded ammonia.

Oh the stink of ammonia… The culprit of many cloth diapering adventures… I didn’t get it, I kept washing them over and over and over again, trying to rid my diapers of the stink. Without the help of the cloth mob online, I would have failed. They are the ones who have taught me how to “strip my diapers”. I didn’t have to experiment anymore, they have done all the trials, and I could draw conclusions from their errors. After stripping my diapers, and tweaking my wash routine a little bit, I have finally been able to vanquish ammonia.

3. My baby’s poop was not ploppable. Ever.

As most of the first time moms I was so excited when my little man started eating solids. Little did I know, it would become yet another roadblock on my road to successful cloth diapering. From water soluble breast milk poop, I had suddenly stepped into the world of sticky, peanut butter like consistency poops. What do I do with it? No matter how much I shook the diaper, the poop just wouldn’t come off. And he wasn’t a one-a-day pooper, either. Every day I had a minimum of three poopy diapers to deal with. That is when I learned about sprayers (genius stuff) and SprayPal (because cleaning the poopy water off of the walls in my bathroom was not my favorite pastime). Getting rid of the poo suddenly became easy.

4. My little man is an aspiring fireman.

This one didn’t become an issue till my second son was born. While my first pooped like it was a competition, my second could put out a fire with the amount of urine he produces. Suddenly my diapers weren’t enough. He’d pee through a diaper double stuffed with microfiber inserts in less than two hours. Day or night. That is when I discovered natural fibers and fitted diapers. It is amazing how well my bamboo and/or hemp inserts are doing in comparison to the microfiber ones. And the fitted diapers allowed me to finally kick night time disposable diapers to the curb. Aurevoir disposable diapers. You will not be missed!

So there. Don't give up quite yet. Find your mob, and try again. It might just be worth it...

Bio: Anna is a stay at home mom to two wonderful boys, ages 2 years, and 6 months old. She lives in Portland, Oregon area, where she and her family spend their days enjoying the beauty of The Pacific Northwest.

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