Cloth diapers are extraordinary. If they weren't, I wouldn't have bought a cloth diaper store, and be spending a precious kid-free afternoon writing a blog post about cloth diapers. Right? How do I love thee? Let me count the ways....
If you are unfamiliar with what a blowout is, it is when pooh escapes from a diaper and into its surrounding environment such as clothing, cribs, car seats, unwitting grandparents laps, etc. This usually involves an extreme amount of cleaning, apologizing and occasionally some embarrassment on the parents' part.
Parents using disposable diapers know the signs of an impending blowout all too well. They panic at the unmistakable warning signs: a red face, faraway look and the sounds of distant backfire, for they know what catastrophe is coming. Meanwhile, we cloth diapering parents sit back and smugly take another sip of our coffee, knowing that our cloth diapers can handle whatever our little throw at them.
Cloth diapers are designed by parents who don't enjoy cleaning poop off of every imaginable surface. They adjust to give a perfect gap-free fit to babies of every shape and size, by elastics across the baby's back and leg gussets to hold messes in. Disposable diapers are made as cheaply as possible as they are made in mass productions, so they lack thoughtful features like these, resulting in the aforementioned disaster.
Although I love my cloth diapers, I do look forward to the glorious day when both of my children can use the toilet independently. Cloth diapered kids tend to potty train earlier, although so much depends on the individual. Cloth allows baby to feel wet, which gives them an awareness of when they have gone. Disposable diapers feel dry all the time that delays potty training, making it frustrating and longer on both parents and child.
In 1957, 92% of children were potty trained by 18 months old. Today only 4% are potty trained by two years old. Much of this difference is attributed to the rise in disposable diaper use. There are other factors at play of course, but it is a pretty powerful statistic!
With endless colors and patterns available, a fluffy cloth bottoms are one of the cutest things around. Disposable diapers are so utilitarian looking that we go to great lengths to cover them up, while there is nothing better than catching a peek of a sweet cloth diaper. My kids rarely wear pants, both by choice and because their diapers are just too cute not to show them off.
There is a pattern to suit anyone and for any occasion. Custom diaper makers can even put sports team logos, names, etc. onto a diaper for you.
When we need diapers, I walk to the baby's room, pick up the diaper pail and dump it in the washing machine. Add detergent, push a button and I'm done. In an hour or so, I'll toss them in the dryer, then put a bunch of lovely, fluffy clean diapers in the drawer.
If we used disposables, I would have to wrestle two kids into clothes, load them into the car, drive to nearest store, park, if they are sleeping wait until they wake up or have to deal with two cranky and crying babies, wrestle them both into the store, chase them like I was herding hungry goats through the store, pay for my order while prying candy out of a screaming toddler's fingers at the checkout, wrestle everyone back into the car, drive home, count to one-hundred to not lose my mind at listening to What Does the Fox say for the thousandth time on the drive, wrestle everyone back into the house. Phew. Oh no, now the garbage can is full. Wrestle full can downstairs while children clutch at my legs and scream about mommy going outside without them, wrestle bag into the already overflowing can outside while covering face against the stench, returning back inside to angry children that I DARED have all the fun of taking the garbage out by myself. Even typing this has made me yearn for a large, strong Starbucks!
A cloth diaper is pretty much like a magnet attracting other cloth diapering parents. Once they catch a glimpse of an AppleCheeks ruffle sticking out the top of your little one's waistband, you instantly become lifelong friends. Okay, maybe that is a little exaggeration, but it definitely does start a conversation!
There are a lot of online groups devoted to cloth diapering as well. While some are subject to the usual Facebook Drama, others seem to be immune and are great, supportive places for moms and dads to chat about not just cloth diapers, but parenting in general. A couple that I would love to give a shout out to is Funky Fluff Chat and Peace, Love, AppleCheeks. Both of these groups are full of incredible people and are a great place to virtually hang out.
Changing diapers may never be on your top ten list of favorite hobbies, but using cloth makes it more enjoyable. Whether you focus on which diapers match today's outfit, how much money you are saving with each change, or how this is one less diaper being added to the landfill. Cloth diapers give you a variety of good things to think about while changing that bottom. There is nothing that will make your inner hippie chick sing, like looking at a clothesline full of clean cloth diapers drying in the sun :)