If you had asked me three years ago if I used cloth diapers for my son I would have looked at you like you had alien antennae growing out of your forehead. Honestly, my husband I did try cloth diapers with Miles when he was a newborn but we very quickly gave up. Our second son, Simon, has very sensitive skin so we were kind of forced into giving cloth diapers another shot.
After four months of using nothing but cloth diapers for Simon, I can honestly say, it really isn’t that bad. And I realize now that the reason I failed the first time around was a lack of knowledge and organization.
Although I could get over the idea of having to clean up dirty diapers (and by “dirty diapers,” of course, I mean unprecedented amounts of poop in varying shades and neon hues I didn’t know where humanly possible), I had not really done my homework or taken the time to create the organized system I needed to help me succeed. It’s taken us a few months to figure it all out, but I will now say that using cloth diapers has become as second nature as using disposables.
Here are a few of the most important things I would pass on to other parents who are considering using cloth diapers:
1. Know your own habits and adjust your system to work with them, rather than fight them. For example, I know that my schedule is crazy busy and that I hate doing laundry, so I will hate doing a load of diapers every night. So, I have accumulated enough diapers now to last us two days and two nights so that I only have to wash a load every other night. I know other parents though, who would just as soon get them washed right away and so daily laundering would work better for them. I do not think there is a right or wrong way, as long as it works for you.
2. Get a sprayer for rinsing. On our first trial with cloth diapers, we rinsed them out after each use the old-fashioned way, hands in the toilet – you get the picture. Some parents take no issue with this and, to be honest, my husband and I both did ok too – for a while. Now we use a sprayer and I would never go back! There are sprayers you can purchase that hook up right to your toilet. I have heard though, that some people have trouble containing the spray inside the toilet (and some have no trouble at all). We opted to use our sprayer in the laundry room utility sink, which is deeper than the toilet or a regular sink and there are no containment issues. Also, since the sink is right next to the washing machine we can hose them down and bam – into the wash they go. Done.
3. Trust the label on your detergent bottle – you don’t need to over-suds.
4. If you’re worried about asking your daycare provided to do cloth diapers –just ask! The worst they can say is “no.” You can handle that. And you might be surprised – I was very nervous to ask our provider and there was no need to be – she was awesome and agreed to give it a try. Now, even she will tell you it’s not as bad as she thought it would be!
5. Get a wet bag for transporting dirty diapers home from daycare and whenever you’re on the go. Wet bags are just a little zippered cloth bag with a plastic-y kind of material on the inside that makes the bag waterproof. These bags come in many different sizes, can be tossed right in the wash with your diapers and are usually dang cute!
6. Don’t use regular diaper rash creams – really. The diapers will lose their absorbency. If you need a cream, look for one that says it can be used with cloth diapers.
7. Talk to other parents who have used or are using cloth diapers. Their advice and experience is invaluable.
To simple, green living,
“You must be the change you hope to see in the world.” -Gandhi
Carrie Brusven is an Independent Green Irene Eco-Consultant based out of Moorhead, MN and her website can be found at www.greenirene.com/carriefargo. Carrie offers Green Home Makeovers, “Go Green” Workshops/Parties, and Green Business Makeovers with Green Business Bureau Certification. Contact Carrie to book a workshop or a makeover for your home or small business: firstname.lastname@example.org.
LIKE my Facebook page for lots of free tips, inspiration, and advice about green living as well as information about upcoming classes and special offers on Green Irene products! www.facebook.com/colormegreennow.