I have also given biodegradable diaper liners, Chinese pre-fold diapers, even my daughter’s own lightly used diaper covers as gifts to my expecting friends. My penchant to give cloth diapers or any of their assorted accouterments comes not from my desire to push my cloth diapering beliefs upon others on the day of their baby shower – that would be tacky. I am simply giving soon-to-be new mothers a gentle nudge toward the cloth diapering belief system I have wholly subscribed to with my second child.
You see, I am a born-again cloth diaper user.
Those of the fundamentalist cloth diapering tribe wouldn’t consider me a full-blooded convert: I don’t, for example, tuck a poop-filled diaper into my purse when I’m out and about with Emme. In these scenarios I bend the rules and go with a disposable. However, in my hanging-at-home, day-to-day life, I can say with pretty good conviction that I have gotten over the cloth diapering hump. Nearly one year into my second child’s life, and the associated eleven months of changing eight-to-twelve diapers a day, I am (perhaps not a die-hard, but at least) a committed cloth diaperer.
Yet as is the plight of others who have bucked convention to follow a lesser-known philosophy, I often feel alone on my cloth diapering path. My mom pleads incompetence in folding as her excuse for snubbing the stacks of cloth diapers organized oh-so-perfectly on Emme’s changing table. (This is a woman who can, meanwhile, go toe-to-toe with a carpenter with regards to her proficiency with power tools, and can diagnose computer network problems with ease. I thus get the impression that lack of motivation is more the culprit than an inability to figure out how to fold a cloth diaper in thirds and affix it to my child’s butt.)
My husband, meanwhile, flat out rejected the use of cloth diapers altogether. Which was fine, I told him, if he was going to go out and buy disposable diapers himself. (This was a winning argument for cloth diapering, I assumed, since buying diapers ranks only a few points higher on his hate-to-do list than buying tampons. He and my mother may not agree about much, but they do find common ground in believing cloth diapering to be insufferable – and were obviously in cahoots when my mom showed up to the house one day with an entire case of Huggies.)
Yes, woe is me: I find no cloth diapering comrades in my own home. I have no one with which to share the solidarity shared only by those who spend their days spraying poop out of diapers. So shoot me for wanting a little companionship on this cloth-diapering road I have embarked upon.
Puns aside, I honestly believe that cloth diapering is not just for overzealous quacks who write parenting columns (and thus, admittedly, have something to prove). Cloth diapering is seriously not that hard. It takes time to figure out the system that best works for you, but once you’ve figured it out it’s easier, even, than your least-despised chore. And it feels good… seriously. Because every time you dump a load of used cloth diapers into the wash, you get that giddy little feeling that you’ve just done something that Karma will smile kindly upon come judgment day.
I used to buy cute things for babies. Nowadays, I draw my baby shower gift-giving inspiration from a purely practical place: My own experience as a mother of two. And in my experience, there are few things babies do as consistently and as well as pooping. Which means you have a choice: Dump 4,000 disposable diapers into the ground, where they’ll stay for the next 1,000 years, or roll up your sleeves and wash a few hundred loads of diaper-filled laundry (and dump maybe only a few hundred disposables into the landfill.)
Join me, mothers-to-be, with poop sprayers in hand, and let’s make this cloth-diapering road less lonesome.