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Monday, May 11, 2015

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Keepin' It Cloth In The Country

I live on a remote cattle ranch with my husband Jim and our toddler daughter, Grace. When we got married, I think Jim took it as a personal challenge to move me as far from a town as possible; we are currently over 100 miles from the nearest town with a stoplight. The closest town with the full range of services is 160 miles away. One of the major benefits of using cloth is that I never run out of diapers, which would be a far greater catastrophe than running out of flour or – heaven forbid – dark chocolate.

I started using cloth when Grace was 9 months old and my first-time mom brain finally realized that her ever-present diaper rash was from her disposable diapers. We brought her home from the hospital with a bright red rash, but since she was my first baby, I thought that was normal. After using diaper rash cream daily, sometimes two or three times a day, I decided something was definitely not right the day she screamed for an entire afternoon and her bottom was extra bright red.

I borrowed some cloth diapers from my only neighbor, and within 24 hours her bottom was the same color as her thigh. Apparently, that is the natural way of things. Who knew?! I liked this new, improved skin color, and I liked making my baby girl happy and content. I wanted to keep this good thing going, so I ordered some more diapers and slowly built up my stash. A favorite combination is a bamboo flat wrap with a Rumparooz one-size cover.

We are now a 24/7/365/no-holidays-or-lunch-breaks cloth diaper family, as Grace gets a rash from even one disposable diaper. Most of our rural friends use disposables, but I've realized that cloth diapers are well-suited to country life. It's worth stating again that a huge benefit is never running out of diapers this far from town. When I tell my mom friends that I use cloth diapers and never have to make an emergency trip to town for diapers, they usually say “Oh, that's such a good idea, I wish I would have thought of that!”

Garbage disposal systems on remote ranches are varied, bu one thing is for certain: the garbage man doesn't make weekly rounds picking up full cans parked on the curb. Country people have few options. Typically, we either collect our garbage in a trailer or bin, then haul it to the community dump, or we rent a Dumpster that is emptied periodically. Either one is a hassle, so the less trash we generate, the better. I've found that dumping the contents of a cloth diaper into the toilet and washing a load a couple times a week is by far the easiest way to reduce our household waste.

I've only used a few different brands of cloth diapers, since I don't get many opportunities to see, feel and hold the different kinds in person. Last week, I went to a cloth diaper store in Reno, our regional “big city,” and what a treat that was! So many beautiful diapers made from hemp, bamboo, cotton, microfiber, and every blend imaginable to examine and feel. I asked the store proprietor a ton of questions, and I went back to the boondocks armed with some new ideas and inserts to try with my toddler, who is experiencing a leaking issue.

With a few knowledgeable friends and online ordering, cloth diapering is totally doable no matter how far a person lives from town. I've changed cloth diapers at ranch rodeos, out on the desert while checking cows with my husband, and by the side of the road on our three-hour drive to town. Their reusable nature is a huge plus , and no rash means less stress 160 miles from a doctor and pharmacy. That is why I'm keepin' it cloth in the country.

Bio: Jolyn Young lives on the RO Ranch in central Nevada with her cowboy husband Jim and their toddler daughter Grace. She writes for the Nevada Rancher magazine, takes care of Grace, and rides and ropes whenever she gets a chance.

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