Those of you who know me might be a little surprised by this post. After all, for over a decade I’ve had at least one baby in cloth diapers and have spent many, many years with two in cloth diapers at a time.
I knit wool soakers, I peruse etsy for adorable handmade diaper covers, I have participated in online forums devoted to cloth diapering, and (okay, I’ll admit it) I take a tiny bit of pride in being “old school.”
However, (and this is an important point), as I often say, one person’s “simple” might be another person’s “complicated.” It turns out that last year one of those things that used to be a cornerstone of my simple living parenting life was overwhelming me.
So, I became a cloth diaper drop-out.
Why I “dropped out” from cloth diapering.
Last year I was feeling overwhelmed. I was having more and more tough days and found myself slipping into something a bit more serious than just the normal funk: when you find yourself getting teary-eyed on a regular basis over the laundry and the dishes, something needs to change.
So, along with paper plates and some paper towels for the kitchen, I purchased a couple of packages of disposable diapers.
And the world kept turning.
No Cloth Diaper Police officer showed up at my door, no authority figure demanding I give back my Granola Mama card. It was okay.
While there were a few raised eyebrows from those who know me and my normally “crunchy” granola mama ways, I didn’t feel guilty. Less laundry was something I needed, so I gave myself a break.
It isn’t the first time I’ve given myself grace in the diaper department. During the first few newborn days, we use disposables and when we’re on vacation we use disposables, too.
I’m a big believer in using cloth diapers, but I’m even more committed to moms and dads doing what they need to do to keep from being overwhelmed.
Parenting is hard enough.
Why I decided to get back on the fluffy bottom bandwagon.
After life started returning to normal (well, what passes for “normal” around here) I found myself coping with day to day life a little better. I was back on top of my game, mentally and emotionally, and the overwhelmed feeling I was getting from household and childcare duties was gone.
Plus, I missed those little fluffy cloth diapered buns.
With a refreshed attitude, a healthy nod “hello” to our 2013 budget (belt tightening, anyone?), and a renewed enthusiasm for cherishing the little things, I was ready.
Our family happily hopped back onto the fluffy bottomed band wagon and we started cloth diapering again.
I’m glad we’re back to cloth diapers because:
- I think cloth diapers are a greener alternative
- I think cloth diapers are an economical choice
- I think cloth diapers are more comfortable for baby
- I think cloth diapers are adorable
Those are all important reasons, in my book, for using cloth diapers.
I just don’t happen to believe that any of them should come ahead of the mental health and well being of parents.
You know the expression: if mama ain’t happy, no one is. And the truth is, sometimes mama needs a break.
How we eased back into cloth diapering.
When the time was right, we started using cloth diapers again.
This was fairly easy for me because we still had all of our cloth diapering supplies. I simply tucked the last of the disposable diapers into the linen closet and pulled the cloth diapering supplies out, an easily accomplished swap with no additional expense.
I do plan to add a few more prefolds and cloth wipes to our stash because, after four kids, some of our supply is in pretty threadbare shape. Amelia has grown a bit so I need to knit her more wool soakers. Still, I consider this a bargain.
I told myself I could use the disposables any time I found myself feeling overwhelmed, and we have used them a few times, with no guilt.
Don’t go cold-turkey.
If I were brand new to cloth diapering or I had already given away my previous cloth diaper supplies, I probably would not go cold-turkey from disposables.
Instead, I would gradually make the change by using cloth part of the time and disposables part of the time, setting aside money each week to add to the cloth diaper supply. In fact, when we first started using cloth diapers (when my oldest child was a year old) that slow and steady method was exactly what we did to begin.
It is easier for me (and our family budget) to make a change if I take it in baby steps.
Let go of any guilt.
If I want to be successful with a change, I’ve learned I need to let go of the guilt, too.
You do what you have to do to get through each season of life and I’m not going to be one of those who tells you that cloth diapers aren’t extra work because I think they are – they just happen to have many benefits that make them worth the extra effort.
If I can do it, you can do it.
Whether you are a cloth diaper newbie or need a refresher course, here are a few resources you might find helpful for cloth diapering babies and toddlers:
- Cloth Diapering 101 from Simple Mom
- Make Your Own Cloth Diapers from Going Green with the Grizls
- How to Strip Cloth Diapers from Mama’s Laundry Talk
- Cloth Diaper Tips and Troubleshooting from Bummis
- Two Easy Ways to Fold a Prefold Diaper from Nourishing Joy (this is the method we use with our prefolds)
What we use for cloth diapering:
- cotton prefolds – can be folded different ways to use as baby grows
- diaper covers – I prefer the kind with snaps
- wool soakers or longies – I knit my own. I love this pattern for Looking Glass Longies from Knit So Quaint.
- a wet bag – we have one for our diaper pail and a smaller one for the diaper bag.
- supplies for laundry – you can read about how we wash our cloth diapers and do our laundry here (note: your mileage may vary, of course) We use soap nuts when the budget allows and also make our own laundry soap using this recipe I found from SouleMama years ago. We also use baking soda, vinegar, a drying rack, and good old sunlight (to fade stains).
- cloth diaper-friendly clothing – I have found it is easier to dress fluffy bottomed babies and toddlers in cloth diaper friendly clothing like overalls, rompers, and tee shirts or dresses and babylegs/legwarmers.
I’m happy we’re back on the cloth diaper band wagon, and I think my toddler is, too. But, it is always nice to have the option of being a cloth diaper “drop out” if you need to be.
I’m sharing this with you today hoping to reassure those of you who, like me, have needed to become a cloth diapering drop out for a while. Maybe this post will help you back on the track to using cloth diapers again.
Or, maybe not. And that’s totally okay, too!
Do you use cloth diapers? Have you ever “dropped out” and, if so, why did you? What would you recommend to a new cloth diaper user, or someone wanting to get back into cloth diapering again?