I have extensive experience and research in cloth diapering and I'd love to answer your questions! I think that not enough parents (and parents-to-be) out there know how much cloth diapering has changed and how easy it is! Therefore, I'm doing all I can to spread the word about it and help others to at least consider using them. I'd be happy to share my story about why we started using them with you as well if you'd like.
My wife and I tried cloth diapering on our first child, and we never gave it a second thought for our second child. We found it overly messy, had to change diapers constantly, littlest wetting would cause baby to be uncomfortable, had to use chemicals to kill the bacteria, washing diapers added additional load to already overly tired parents and on and on.
I am glad to say we tried it, but I was the first in line to buy disposable diapers for our second child, much easier, less work, less smell, and I don't think the cost was a big factor, only slightly more when you weigh in the cost for maintaining a load of cloth diapers and all the extra time involved. But kudos for anyone who has done it for all their kids!
I have a cloth-diaper story:
When my kids were babies (20/30 years ago) none of them had worn a cloth diaper - not even once. Having grown up at a time when a lot of people were still using cloth diapers, I knew that mothers who used cloth diapers were always fighting off diaper rash in their babies (because of the rubber pants required back then). Also, people's houses often had bad-smelling buckets in which they soaked the scraped-but-still-dirty diapers. I wasn't about to use a diaper service because I didn't want "used" diapers for my babies. I was concerned what washing diapers in detergents (etc.) might do (either irritate the baby because of residue detergent). At the time, I didn't like the idea of all the extra water use or sending the extra detergent into (in our case) the septic tank. Disposables worked well because of three babies, there were only two incidents of diaper rash (both caused when the babies were sick).
Anyway, I did buy a couple of dozen cloth diapers with each new baby, because I knew how handy they could be as all-purpose cloths.
My son was a toddler when he'd use a cloth diaper as a "blankie". One snowy day I knew I was about to run out of diapers the next day, so I figured I'd use a cloth diaper on my son the following day, until I get out the next day to buy diapers. When I tried to put the cloth diaper on my toddler he started to cry, "Noooo. Noooo blankies!" I tried to explain to him that "we" could wash "the blankie", and it was OK for him to wear it just 'til I got to the store. He just kept crying and waving his hands and saying, "Noooo. No blankies." He was REALLY upset. He DID love those "blankies".
So, I had "no choice" (unless I wanted to cause some horrible, psychological, scarring by forcing my toddler to wet into a treasured "blankie") but to find the disposable diaper from the night before (wet in, but not too much and at least dried by then), and tape it back onto my much relieved and happier son, just until we could make an early-morning run to the store.
This is one of those "I couldn't believe I was actually doing that" kind of parenting stories for me, but - really - he was so horribly, horribly, horrified and upset!!
Lisa, I LOVE your story!
I used a diaper service for my daughter's first year. The service was a gift from family members. There wasn't anything I didn't like about it. My daughter never had a rash, I didn't have to do laundry, and the worst thing that happened was that I accidentally flushed a diaper down the toilet while rinsing it out. Fortunately, there was no permanent damage to the sewer pipes!
Even now, I sometimes wonder about the young man who picked up the dirty diapers and delivered the clean ones. He was the nicest, sweetest, most cheerful person...I've always imagined him at a party, introducing himself as the "Didee Man". What a job! But he surely did make this mother's life a lot easier.
Sally's Trove, thanks. It's one of my "old chestnuts" that I find some excuse to tell every few years, mostly because my son was SO, so, upset. Never would I have imagined that trying to use one of the 36 cloth diapers he used as "blankies" would be such a problem.
I actually would have considered a diaper service (if I hadn't been so thrilled with the cute Luvs and Huggies out by that time), because - I'm sorry - if there's one big "issue" I had with cloth diapers, it was the need to worry about washing them. The son I mentioned was my premie. His little sister was a major projectile vomiter in her early days (at least three big, fat, over-stuffed, trashbags full of her and my laundry a day - not to mention the cleaning up of "used formula" from things like walls and rugs ). Then, I had an eight-year-old and the three-year-old (who still had issues with frequent respiratory infections). I'm getting exhausted just remembering those days.
(I wonder if former Didee men end up being fathers who favor disposables..... ) (Something else I wonder about: I wonder if, maybe, the world has one less serial killer because I made the choice NOT to force my son to wear that "blankie" )
You two are so funny! Lisa, I love your story! Sooo funny! Sally, I am so jealous of your diaper service! I wash all my own but I don't use tons of chemicals...just the diaper safe detergent. The sun gets all the stains out and naturally kills the bacteria.
My story is this (definitely not as funny as lisa's story): my daughter was in disposables when she was born but she got a terrible chemical burn from them and we couldn't get it to go away...just kept getting worse. So finally we stuck a cloth diaper on her (we had a few that we thought we'd try out). We have never looked back and its been 10 months since that day (she's 1 today!!). We both love cloth diapering so much that we plan to do it right from the beginning with the rest of our kids.
I'm sooo glad that rubber pants are no more! My diapers are as easy to use as a disposable: velcro closure and all one piece. Washing is very simple for me....I've had to do a load of baby cloths every day for a long time anyway because of her reflux (I totally get the projectile vomiting!!). Now that she's older, I'm able to do about one load every three days and that's really only to keep the loads small enough to get the diapers really clean...I could probably go longer between with the number of diapers I have.
Thanks for sharing your stories! Loved reading them!
Mommy S, I shared these stories with my mother this morning, and she'd like to share a story. Since she's not online, she asked me to tell it...
Mom didn't have a washing machine when I was a baby, and there surely weren't any disposables on the market. She washed the didees in the bathtub, by hand, using a scrub board. She told me, as you said, a drying in the yard on a sunny day took care of the stains quite nicely.
Those were the days of making do. The bathtub's purpose was for bathing bodies and laundering clothes, too.
One morning my mother went into the bathroom to get ready to do the didees and discovered the bathtub was full of water -- and catfish. My father had come home late from a fishing trip with his buddies and was too tired to do the skinning and filleting. So he ran water in the tub and threw in the catch.
There was a window over the tub. My mother opened the window and threw every one of those catfish out, drained the tub, cleaned it, and went on with the laundry, washing, rinsing, and hanging the didees out to dry while my father snored away.
When he awoke, he stumbled into the bathroom to do his morning business, came out, and said to my mother, "Where are the fish?"
My mother said, "What fish?"
Well, there's more to the story, but maybe I better write a Hub.
Thanks for opening up this very neat topic.
Sally, I love your story. Maybe somebody needs to start a blog or a site with nothing but diaper stories on it. (I've actually got a kind of gross catfish story that involves tiny catfish, birds, and the kids' wading pool I left out in the yard one Winter and didn't get to quickly enough in Spring (who knew?) - but my catfish story doesn't belong on a diaper thread. )
More related to diaper thread, I do think a whole of things are a whole lot easier and better for moms with babies today - cloth diapers or disposables. My eldest son was a baby in the days before disposable diapers had "gentle, elastic, legs". He had "skinny" legs, and I had a new carpet. Need I say more?
Lisa, I couldn't agree more!
@Mommy S, maybe this is what you are working on already; if not, go for it!
OMG! My daughter had chubby legs, so no problem there. I do hope you weren't trying to house-train a puppy dog at the same time! Hmmmm, baby and puppy could be either learning positive toileting from each other, or getting your goat at every possible turn. What happened to the carpet?
We weren't house-training the dog, because the breeders did a great job of teaching him in the first three months of his life before we got him. (Thank goodness. That dog was an amazing, amazing, "saint" when it came to those "matters" )
As for the carpet, we resisted the overwhelming urge to move after the first few incidents took place. Clean-up was actually sort of easy enough to do (small kids, small appetites if you know what I mean ).
So, although the joy certainly was out of that particular carpet, we left it long enough to get past three child-years of diapers (although "gentle elastic legs" had been invented by the time the second child was toddling around in them), and long enough for my otherwise perfectly intelligent little daughter to learn not to start running through the house wildly the minute the urge to vomit struck - and then we moved.
That carpet? I may as well add this for any entertainment value that may be in it: Picture this. Your sweet little daughter is sick with a 24-hour stomach bug, and your greatest maternal urges are causing the overwhelming wish to comfort her. Instead, she senses "a problem" coming on, starts running wildly through the house (making sure to run in all rooms with carpeting, and making sure to turn her head from left to right the whole time. And you, nurturing and "wonderful" mother that you are, are chasing after her and kind of frantically begging her to stop running (and struggling with the thought that your child will think your carpets are more important to you than her discomfort is - but, oh, what a horror of a clean-up job each time! (My two sons? They had it all down to a neat, clean, science. I didn't know what hit me when my daughter came along. )
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