A few weeks ago I had the privilege of presenting at
Just Born and Nearly Born Night, an educational
afternoon for new or expecting parents. One of the other
presenters spoke about cloth diapers, and I was amazed by what she
said. I was also kind of bummed that I didn't have this
information when my girls were really little - my third daughter is
on the verge of being fully trained.
I may not get the opportunity to give this a try, but I did
want to make sure other parents heard what I heard. So I
asked Katrina Pavlik, mother of two, post partum
doula, and the founder of the Chicago Area Real Diaper
Circle, to write about the myths and misconceptions when
it comes to cloth diapers.
"So you use cloth diapers? With the pins and
everything?" Just today I had this conversation with another
mom at the park. In order to show her that, no, I do not use
the pins and everything, I immediately pulled down my kid's pants
to show her what a modern cloth diaper is. Cloth diapers have
come a long way, but the fears and misunderstandings about what
they are and how they work lurk deep in our blood.
Myth #1 - I'm going to be knee deep in poop
and my house is going to smell like a zoo.
WRONG! Well, half wrong… any parent that diapers a baby is
going to touch poop at one time or another. With cloth
diapers, you plop the poop in the toilet (where poop belongs) or
spray it in with a diaper sprayer and you're done.
Really. Houses with cloth diapers also don't have that
"disposable diaper smell." You know the smell - the one that
smells like chemicals with pee on them. My house is more
likely to smell like the overcooked scrambled eggs still sitting on
Myth #2 - I don't have time for all the
extra wash and work it takes.
WRONG! Well, OK, maybe you really don't have the
time. In that case, you can get a cloth diaper service and
spend the same amount of money you would spend on
disposables. No laundry needed. As for the rest of us,
once you get into a routine of washing, it's barely an extra hour
of work a week. Besides, don't you spend time running to the
store to get diapers? Instead, stay home and turn on the
Myth #3 - I'll poke my baby! My
husband will never go for this! Everyone will laugh at
WRONG! WRONG! MAYBE. Modern cloth diapers come
with Velcro or snaps, not pins. There is no poking - only
nice, soft, real fabric against your baby's bum. You don't
wear plastic underwear, right? Husbands are sometimes late to
board the cloth diaper train, but once they realize that they are
saving over $2,000 over the average baby's diapering lifetime, they
get on board pretty quickly. Invest that money instead, and
send your kid to college.
Myth #4 - I did the research and it's
really not that much better for the environment.
WRONG! Disposable diaper companies love to fund these
"studies!" Grrr. A baby in disposables creates one ton
of solid waste per year, and those dipes are going to be in a
landfill until your great-great-great-great grandchildren are
running around (estimates range from 250-500 years). Yes,
washing takes water, but so does creating a disposable diaper (two
times more water than washing one!). Yes, drying takes
energy, so does producing a disposable diaper (plus gas for
shipping, extra packaging, waste transport, and landfill
Myth #5 - Cloth diapers are incredibly cute
RIGHT! Modern cloth diapers can fit anyone's budget and
style. New businesses are popping up all over the city and
online. Chicago also boasts an active community of cloth
diapering parents who support each other and freely hand out cloth
diaper love to anyone who is interested.
For more information about cloth diapers, check out the
Real Diaper Association, a national non-profit
dedicated to promoting reusable diapers
Facebook page: Cloth Diaper
For more information about the next Just Born and
Nearly Born Night, contact Tricia Fitzgerald
at 773-620-3829 or check out her
Facebook page: Gentle
Cathy Adams is a certified parenting coach, yoga instructor and mother to three girls.
See more of Cathy's stories here.
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