Cloth Mom, Samantha, Shares How Her Family Makes Cloth Diapering Mainstream by Showing, Not Telling
I use cloth diapers because I am deeply concerned about the amount of garbage piling up in this world. But moreover, I felt confident to cloth diaper because my mom did.
I fondly recall, as a nine-year-old, sitting on our living room floor changing my baby sister's cloth diaper. At the time, in the early 90s, we used what now would be considered a prefolds for absorbency, safety pins designed for cloth diapers, and diaper covers that resemble bloomers, with plastic lining and elastic around the waist and thighs.
The small town we lived in had a cloth diaper service. We placed all dirty diapers in a bin, put the bin on the porch one evening a week, and then, like magic to a young child, fresh clean diapers and covers would appear on our doorstep the next morning.
Because I was old enough to remember changing my sister's diaper, I knew that the process wasn't all that arduous once you got the hang of it.
Thus, before I got pregnant with my daughter, even when having a child was a far-off plan, I knew I would use cloth diapers. I had talked to friends and family about my decision, with varying responses, including apprehension, doubt, and "good for you" comments. But I was confident in my decision because I had experience.
I have friends who are raising babies alongside me. I don't try to convince them to use cloth diapers, not even my friend who worries about the environment. Like so many other choices we make in life, talking people into a decision is often fruitless, and too frustrating to be worthwhile.
So, instead, I show them. I use cloth diapers when we're out and about—hanging out with family and friends, after a messy sensory class, and in the course of a fun-filled day at the beach, the zoo, a museum, and wherever else the day takes us.
When out and about, using disposables is easier, and often my inclination is to pack those in the diaper bag instead of cloth. But, not only do I want to live by what I preach whenever possible, I want to show other mothers, especially those on the fence about cloth diapers, that using cloth is not as burdensome as they may think or as they have been told.
I am not in-your-face about it; I change diapers as any other mother would do. But the fun patterns and colors draw attention and ignite conversations.
Recently, my show-don't-tell attitude bore fruit. A fellow mother in a baby sensory class my daughter attends saw me changing her diaper and asked me some questions about our experience. She had considered using cloth diapers, watched many videos, and read articles, but she just wasn't sure whether the decision was right for her. I shared our routine, assured her it was easier than it seems, and told her about the myriad of options out there.
I don't know if she went home and reconsidered her decision, but I at least had the opportunity to speak with someone who is on the fence, who understands the value of cloth diapers, about what all is involved in using cloth.
Showing opened the door to the conversation. Showing moved us one step closer to making cloth mainstream.
I am an older mother. If I have a second child, my daughter will still be young and unable to change diapers. She likely won't remember that we used cloth, but she will remember practicing on her baby doll, and she will see pictures of herself wearing adorable cloth diaper covers on the beach. She will know that we are a cloth diaper family, and hopefully continue the legacy, because I have shown her.