To Do or Not To Do: That is the Diaper

You’d think that after having had a few kids now that the diapering question would be far past me. But it isn’t. I have been struggling with an inner diapering soliloquy for nearly 15 years now.

To do, or not to do:that is the diaper;
Whether ’tis nobler for the Mom to suffer
The stinks and washings of a cloth diapering fortune,
Or to lift up the arms despairing against the seas of weewee
And through disposables, fight them?

We all know the pros of disposable diapering, and I suppose that’s why I chose to use Huggies with my three oldest children. I felt that I was too busy to deal with cloth diapers. I also didn’t have fond memories of helping my mother cloth diaper my younger siblings. I appreciated the convenience of disposables, especially when I wasn’t at home. However, that little voice of Mommyguilt just kept gnawing at me. I just could not shake the feeling that I was doing something wrong.

It spoke when I had to peel the little crumbs of who-knows-whatsit out from between the folds of chubby baby fat. It spoke when my kids suffered with diaper rash, “Could the chemicals in that diaper be causing this?”. It spoke when ALL THE CHILDREN refused to potty train early, and the older they got the more apparent it became that the disposables were too comfortable. Yes, I say too comfortable because it seemed they liked to sit in their urine-and-excrement-soaked chemical-wraps rather than change them. I say soaked, because they would even hide from me rather than asking to be changed, and when potty training, they would seem relaxed and relieved (forgive the pun) when allowed to wear disposables at Bedtime or before Important You-Can’t-Have-An-Accident-Right-Now Events. I began to realize that, much like puppies, my children were being paper-trained to the Huggies. They were not uncomfortable enough in them to want to be free of them.

When I learned that I would be having a daughter, two things happened. I remembered what I learned in school about baby girls being born with all the eggs they will ever have already in their bodies. Did I really want my grandchildren, all-l-l-l-l my future grandchildren from this child, marinating in who-knows-whatsit for the next few years? The second happening? My 5-year-old decided to regress and has un-potty-trained himself in what’s probably a fit of jealousy. Grrrr. I began to really hate disposables then… not just the diapers, but the training pants too. It dawned on me that he wanted his newspaper back, forget about the wonderful grown-up world of cloth underwear. Being the wonderful Mom that I am, (having come in Runner-Up to star as Wicked Witch of the West), I determined and decreed that BOTH of these children should henceforth be miserable. Cloth it is!!!!

Seriously, though… it was about the money, too. (Isn’t it always?) My husband and I were really getting sick and tired of forking out the dough for the puppy-paper! I mean come on!!! How many more thousands of dollars were we going to have to spend between the 5-year-old and the baby, hmmm? And while I do not believe in global warming, I do believe in proper stewardship of the earth. Have YOU ever left a garbage pail of disposable diapers sit around inside YOUR house? Gagarific! The voice of Mommyguilt quietly reminded me that my disposable diaper quota and claim of the earth’s landfills were probably already maxed out.  I often found myself asking myself, “Were my children’s used disposable diapers ever returned to my doorstep for me to take care of myself, would I want them back?”  Then my better self would wish, once again, that I could use Joseph Jenkins’ Humanure system for myself and my family.  (We’re just not in a situation where we can yet.)  However, a baby step in that direction is to switch to cloth diapers with our newest baby.  I also believe in self-reliance. What if the day came that our economy got SO bad that disposable diapers were no longer available? What then? My gut said that it would be a GOOD THING to have cloth diapers in my family’s store of emergency essentials, food storage, bug-out bag, or by whatever other name you gave it,   it would still be as sweet…. to be prepared.

I think God waits for us to be ready to do the things He has long known we could do, and should do. Who is ready to receive a lesson on something you won’t do? Nobody. So while I floundered about in my dilemma, He was quietly preparing the way so that when I realized cloth diapering was something I could, should and would do, the way was prepared; ready and waiting.

I’d had a little stint with diapering an older child. I tried Kissaluvs when he was a newborn. But the big problem was drying them. They take forever to dry, usually taking at least 2 runs through the dryer… sometimes 3 in the winter. That made the disposables look too good not to return to. So I knew I had to bite the bullet and go with REAL cloth diapers this time. You know, the old-fashioned ones that look like a square and make you ponder HOW they can go around a round body? I’d seen Snappis somewhere before, but was intimidated by those, too. Tried Bummi-Wraps with the Kissaluvs and loved them more than the Kissaluvs. So – behold my moment of truth at the Google search engine box! And voila! There was Mama’s Love At Home, all ready for me.

I was just delighted by the video! There were all the answers to my problem! Unintimidating! Simple! Happy! There was also something in that Mom’s voice that said, “You can trust her.” I went to her website and read every bit of it. What I loved there was that she made diapering seem easy, livable, logical, practical, and – goodness gracious – almost fun! I telephoned Susan and liked her even more. We worked out the package that would work for my baby, and everything has been roses from there (so sweet!).

Since becoming a cloth diaper convert, following Susan’s instructions right down to the diaper pail, I am a happy Mommy! I no longer hear that little voice of Mommyguilt. I feel good about stopping my consumption of kiddie puppy paper, and could sing kumbayah around the campfires with the best of the global-warmer types right now! Every time I put a load in the washer, I feel like laughing, “HA! Mr. Disposable Diaper manufacturer! I didn’t have to leave home to get your product to take care of my baby! HA! I’m not spending more money on your product! And my daughter and all those future grandchildren are safe from anything you may have used in them to cut costs. I WIN! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!”   Significantly (and ominously), I’ve seen little to no diaper rash whatsoever.  (Mommyguilt was right again!) When I do have to use disposables – like when we go to church – I’ve noticed something I never did before. They really do smell bad. I mean yucky BAD. Why didn’t I smell that smell before? Makes me want to go bury my face in that nice fluffy pile of Indian cloth diapers. Mmmmmmm!

I’m still planning to try Elimination Communication with my new baby, as well. There have been a few times, even now, when it’s worked. (But that’s a whole ‘nother post, and I’m about done for today!)

If anything I’ve said here makes sense, and you go to from here, would you please think of me? I earn a small little commission if you’d mention to Susan that I referred you… one that would pay for another Bummi wrap, or maybe a purple Snappi this time. Thanks for reading, and best wishes for happy trails on your own adventures through the decisions you will make about how to care for your baby’s elimination needs.  With  apologies to Shakespeare for all I’ve butchered today…

UPDATE 2015: My new baby is a baby no longer. Unlike the older siblings, this child self-potty trained before the age of 2. Thank you, cloth diapers. I experimented upon the diaper word and found it to be true for myself (Alma 32:27, Alma 34:4).

Humbly, I thank you; well, well, well. – Hamlet