This weekend I have explored the world of cloth diapering. I have ricocheted from feeling averse to brimming with enthusiasm. I have called friends across the country who use them; have explored websites (see cotton babies and keen bambino); have called & texted Jen, borrowed diapering items from her and dragged her to Target with me (where -- who knew -- they sell a credible brand of cloth diapers); I have strewn various diapering paraphernalia about my house as if I already use and love it; I have bought a pink cloth diaper, had Eden pee in it and laundered it in hot water -- but it's hard to have a real taste for what using cloth would be like owning only one.
My motivator in this whole ordeal -- chemicals, chlorine and plastics aside -- is to avoid plastic diapers that will sit and sag on the earth for decades to come. I read that each year, one baby's dirty diapers weigh HALF A TON. Come on. So cloth, though not perfect (and not helpful in the water arena) seems a friendly option. I do have some reservations though:
1. These diapers have to be laundered every 2-3 days once in cold water and then in hot. I tend to abandon at least 2 out of 5 loads of our laundry in the washing machine and then find them wet and mildewy a few days later in need of being washed again.
2. The smell of a trashcan full of cloth diapers -- would it be any worse than a trashcan full of regular diaper?
3. Leaving the house usually looks like this for me: I am holding Eden, some stray blanket that is still half wrapped around her, a bag over my shoulder, 4 toy trains Silas has pleaded to bring along, a cup of something caffeinated (actually, I usually forget that on the kitchen table), some letters to mail, and am reaching for Silas's squirmy hand so we can walk through the garage together. Adding 4 pounds of bulky cloth diapering supplies including a bag to zip up heavy wet diapers doesn't sound too appealing... especially for someone who is most happy when carrying nothing.
4. I am all for being organized and planning ahead, but I like the freedom of leaving with no diapers, wipes or change of baby clothes, banking on wipes in the car and a crumpled diaper in the glove box. Cloth diapers would be a whole other ballgame.
All of that said, I know I could rally and embrace this new lifestyle -- I could carry many things and join the world of follow-through laundering, I would just need a few weeks to learn and slip
Ben isn't on board right now (which is fair considering the above reservations) -- but I figure I have a couple of years of diapering ahead of me and have time to work on him. Until he's convinced, I have found two decent options: SeventhGeneration and Nature Babycare. They are both "biodegradable" (which I have learned means nothing when diapers are going into a landfill -- only helpful if we were composting), but at least they are made with fewer chemicals and oil-based plastics, and no chlorine. The Nature Babycare (diapers.com or Target) are corn based and so far so good.
Silas votes for disposable so we can continue wearing diaper hats (if you have never worn one you should try it):