It’s easy to dismiss how cloth helps the environment and perhaps saves money; provided that you’re not buying new cloth diapers every time a cute, new print comes out. Disposables are so convenient and hassle free. But are disposables really so easy?
I first heard about cloth from my own mom whom cloth diapered me as a baby. According to her, I was so allergic to disposable diapers that the skin on my bum had turned beet-red and was blistering off. I learned about modern cloth diapers during graduate school. Some of my classmates, including Nissa, had decided to use cloth diapers with their babies. I quickly became fascinated by the green aspect that came with using cloth and was enthralled by the idea of not going on emergency runs to the store to buy diapers.
Fast forward a few years and I found myself choosing a diaper system for my own offspring. My husband and I were both cloth diapered as babies, so we wanted a similar experience for our children. I had my baby on a Sunday afternoon and we started out by using the disposable diapers provided by the hospital. By Thursday, my baby had developed a horrible rash where the disposable diaper touched her. She was allergic to disposables; just like I was as a baby. I even tried using three different brands of disposable diapers with no improvement in baby's skin. Besides the battles with rash, I was also getting fed-up with "poop-splotions." Forceful newborn bowel movements eased their way out of the diaper and covered everything in their path.
I quickly made the switch to cloth diapers and never looked back; that is, until this past weekend when we decided to take a 12-hour road trip. We were unsure whether the place and climate would be cloth diaper friendly. I went to the store to pick up disposable inserts for our hybrid cloth diapers, but they were out of stock. After consulting with several mom groups on Facebook and a couple of friends, I grabbed a pack of cheap, hypoallergenic (unscented) disposable diapers. These diapers felt incredibly flimsy compared to our bulky cloth diapers. I did like the "wetness" indicator line that lets you know it’s time to change a diaper, but I was already accustomed to changing diapers every 2-3 hours (thanks to my heavy wetter) and didn’t pay attention to the indicator color. Nevertheless, the diapers worked and they performed well. These cheap diapers were light yet, sturdy. Ellie wasn’t allergic to them either.
I had brought cloth to use at night, but ended up using disposables full-time during our trip. I even had to teach my husband how to change disposables since he had only changed different kinds of cloth diapers. Things were so easy with disposables that I forgot I was doing a disservice to the environment by adding non-biodegradable material into the landfill. However, I was guilt-free and happy since I was saving time. As we were getting ready for the drive back I noticed my 3-month-old daughter had a bowel movement. I picked her up. Not only did she feel damp, but her pants were soaked with poop! What started as a quick diaper change, turned into a bath-on-the-go and full outfit change. With this disposable, the poop just soaked through the diaper. I couldn’t have been more upset. I had learned that a bad fit will cause poop and urine to leak out of a cloth diaper, but it was nothing compared to the mess I experienced with disposables.
It was originally tempting to consider how to buy disposables in bulk, but I’ll be saving my money for the next cute cloth diaper print that comes out.
I’ll probably be using disposables again on road trips, but next time I might be using the compostable and bio-degradable inserts that are available for hybrid cloth diapers. The cloth diaper cover is more effective at holding poop within the diaper. I’m happy to say I’m now, and forever, a cloth diapering mom.
Agnes Lenagh is a scientist by training, a free thinker by design, and a bohemian soul by nature. She is committed to pursuing the passions that inspire her while taking non-conventional approaches to accomplish a meaningful life. Visit Bohemian Nevertheless, where she documents her bohemian approach to life and methods to live a simpler and more substantial life. @SilverAntigen