I want to preface this post by saying that I truly have no beef against those of you who choose to use disposables with your babies. I am not here to make you feel guilty for that choice. I, the owner of a cloth diaper store, have used thousands of disposable diapers in the past. I will be the first one to tell you that cloth diapering isn't for everyone, and that's okay. I just want you to know what the benefits of using cloth are and help you get past any fears you may have about using them. Here's my story of my own personal FTM cloth diapering fears:
When I was pregnant with my oldest son, Connor, and I heard the word "cloth diaper" I would feel literal fear shoot throughout my body. I had no idea how to care for an infant and the thought of adding in some unknown, complicated diaper was scary. It didn't help that I had never seen a modern cloth diaper in person so I had all these preconceived notions of pins and plastic pants. I wish I would have known how incredible the modern cloth diaper is. My pregnancy with Connor was filled with problems. He was my second pregnancy after a miscarriage, I battled low progesterone levels early on, then I developed high blood pressure which became pre-eclampsia. I think that after going through all that trauma the last thing I wanted to deal with was sifting through all the cloth diaper information on the web to figure the whole thing out. I wanted a simple diapering solution for my baby that wouldn't get me weird looks from my friends when I told them what kind I used. When I mentioned it to my husband he (being even less educated about cloth diapers that I was) shut me down right away. Cloth diapers never even had a chance!
Looking back now I wish I had been brave enough to make the cloth diaper leap. I regret every single Pampers, Huggies and Member's Mark diaper I placed on my babies bottom. It was expensive (thousands of dollars spent), messy (SO. MANY. DISGUSTING.BLOW-OUTS!), smelly (rotting dirty diapers stinking up in a diaper pail) and uncomfortable for my babies (too many diaper rashes to count). If only I had been able to get past my FTM fears and really see the benefits of cloth I would have saved myself a lot of regret.
Alright, it's time to break down my FTM fears regarding cloth diapers:
Poo - Yeah let's just get that one out of the way. With cloth diapers you do have to deal with the doo (haha). However, and believe me, I'm very sorry to have to be the one to tell you new moms this... it doesn't matter if you use disposable diapers or cloth diapers you will be interacting with poo on a daily basis (and most likely multiple times a day) for years. Poo is a part of a mother's life. Wow, looking back I really had no idea how much poo there really was lol! That being said dealing with a poopie cloth diaper really is no big deal. It is nothing compared to the newborn blowouts in a disposable that required me to not only bathe the baby because he was completely covered from bottom to top in poo but a complete outfit change and a HAZMAT suite to clean up the changing area afterwards. What do you do with poop in a cloth diaper? Well if it's newborn breastfed poo (yeah that super runny kind) you just toss the diaper in your diaper pail and launder it. That kind of poo is water soluble and washes right out in your washing machine. As your baby gets older and the poo becomes more solid you just take it to the toilet and dump the poo in. Do you think I make it sound too easy? Sorry, but it's just the reality. Let me tell you the best part about poo in a cloth diaper. Once you dump it out and flush it, it's gone! You wash your diaper and everything is fresh and clean. With a disposable you will wrap that poo up, jam it down into your diaper genie and there it will sit (and stink) until enough of them build up to haul the load out to your trashcan. When we used it the diaper genie was always so disgusting I had to have my husband empty it for me because I would gag at the smell. Now my diapers never get stinky because everything is kept very clean. Regarding those messy blow outs - nothing can contain a blow-out like a cloth diaper. Reagan had a 10 day long bout of diarrhea recently and I thought there was no way the cloth diapers would be able to handle that kind of mess (he's 17 months old). Well once again my cloth diapers proved my fears wrong and we didn't have a single blow out or leak.
It's complicated - I agree with the statement that disposable diapers aren't very complicated. Plus, if you google disposable diapers you aren't going to come up with a thousand blogs like this with detailed instructions on how to use them. Disposable diapers are marketed to look easy. They do have their benefits and lord knows I've used my fair share of them. So they must be the easier solution to diapering, right? Not necessarily. Recent advances in the cloth diapering community have lead to the development of some truly amazing cloth dipers. AIO (All-In-One) cloth diapers are used just like a disposable (aside from being reusable). There is only one piece to them, no stuffing required. I will make the bold statement of AIO's are the easiest cloth diaper to use (some will disagree!). Pocket diapers are only slightly more involved (You can read my blog on pockets here.) because you have to do the stuffin'. In reality the learning curve for cloth diapers is very short. Within one day I had it down. Once I started cloth diapering I loved it so much that I never looked back.
It's expensive - I remember going to a cloth diaper website while I was pregnant and reading that I would need 25 cloth diapers for my newborn. I did the math and *gasp* I couldn't believe how much money I would have to spend up front on 25 cloth diapers. That was reason #1 for my husband to shut me down lol. I was calculating the cost of the fanciest AIO diaper on the market and coming up with over $600 for something for my kid to poo in was not in the cards. I wish I would have kept looking and seen the less expensive cloth options that were available. You really don't have to spend $25 (each) to get a great cloth diaper. There are some fantastic pockets out there that only cost $10 each. When you look at buying 25 of those the cost is a little easier to swallow. Don't get me wrong, the more expensive cloth diapers are amazing, but it's not the only product out there that will work well! Regardless of the upfront cost of cloth it will end up saving you money in the long run. It's understandable to think that it's easier to spend $10 at a time on a pack of diapers at the store. The problem is that pack is only going to last you a week and then your $10 is in the garbage can. If you had spent that $10 on a cloth diaper you would have something you could reuse for years. When it comes down to it you really DON'T have to buy 25 cloth diapers up front in one huge chunk. If you're pregnant you can start buying them one at a time when you find a great deal until you have enough. It's okay to only use a few cloth diapers a day with your baby until you've built up a great stash. Using just 1 cloth diaper a day will save you $200 during the time you're diapering your baby. That is a lot of money!
I hope I've been able to address some of the FTM cloth diapering fears you may have. Is there anything I missed? I'm happy to explain the ins-and-outs of using cloth diapers with you personally if you'd like to email me firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a comment below!