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Warning: This Will Be Boring to Everyone Else

I'm feeling a bit disappointed in myself, and here's why: I think I'm going to abandon cloth diapering.

I started using cloth diapers for Mallory when she was 9 months old. She wore disposables to daycare and to my inlaws, but the minute she got home I switched her to a cloth diaper, and that's what we used all evening and overnight and on weekends, until she was almost 3. The idea of cloth diapering may sound daunting, but really, for her, it was easy. It was two extra loads of laundry every week and ten minutes of folding and putting away. It was no problem at all.

I planned to use cloth for Phoebe from the moment she was born. A few minutes after she was born -- well, okay, let's say a few days after, when we got home from the hospital -- I realized there were other things that took priority. Like sleeping. Like feeding her while trying to keep Mallory entertained. After a few weeks, I started with cloth, and it just wasn't as easy this time around. The extra laundry was much harder to deal with now that I had a second child, especially since Phoebe is a "heavy wetter" (as they call it in the cloth-diapering world) and leaked over everything a couple of times a day and every night.

But I stuck with it, more or less. Even when I went back to work, I tried to use cloth during the weekends, at least. But I couldn't use cloth when we went out anywhere, because they were too bulky to fit under Phoebe's clothes. And I never ever found anything that would work for her over night -- I tried one "superabsorbent" diaper but it was so ridiculously bulky that she couldn't even roll over. So it usually ended up that we were only using -- and washing, mind you, in hot water with an extra rinse -- six or eight diapers a week.

Then, this fall, she outgrew the diapers I had (which Mallory had used before her, so we certainly got our money's worth), and I placed an order for new ones, but the company was out of stock, and it was a month or more before I got the package. And the intervening month of not using cloth was kind of nice. And now I'm looking at the brand new diapers and thinking, Do I really want to do this again? Is it really worth it, if she's only wearing a few every week? And the answer I've come up with is, no, not really.

Understand that in normal circumstances I am a huge advocate of cloth. Disposable diapers are horrible for the environment, in every stage of their "lifespan." There's something like one cup of crude oil in every diaper, and their manufacture creates all kinds of waste from the bleaching and the pulping and whatnot, and then they're packaged in more plastic, and trucked all over the country, and then after a few hours of use they're sent to the landfill, little plastic-wrapped bombs of human waste. Nice! And the absorbent "gel" is full of chemicals which hasn't been proven to cause harms to little children, but it would be nice to keep as many chemicals away from children as possible, right? So I think cloth diapering is a wonderful thing.
It's just not working for us right now. And I feel really horrible about that, especially since I've just written that paragraph. Argh. I really can't see the value in using them as infrequently as I do, though. (And Phoebe has started to tell us when she "goes", so could it be that she's going to potty-train early anyway? What a lovely thought.)

As I said, I'm sure no one else cares about this. I just feel bad about going back to disposables when I know cloth can be so much better. Maybe I'll start using reusable grocery bags instead of plastic. Maybe that'll make me feel better.


MomofK9s said…
I think it is awesome that you have used them for as long as you have.

You could also look at it from the point of view of the water you are saving from not doing that extra laundry or the energy you would be using. Also, you recycle at home which is a lot more than most people do! Just trying to help give happy thoughts!
aimee said…
You know, I never had any qualms about using disposable diapers, even though, in the back of my mind, they were pretty bad for the environment. But there are worse things. And changing to recyclable paper bags sounds like a good compromise.
Anonymous said…
I think that there are probably worse things than using disposable diapers, but I certainly respect you for sticking with the cloth as long as you did. I used cloth exclusively for both you and Jana, and it was a huge pain. The smell of the diaper pail alone was awful! When Aimee and Casey were born, I tried cloth for about two days and realized that I didn't have time with twins to wash and fold diapers. At least that was my rationalization.


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