There’s more than one way to cloth diaper. In fact, this fall I learned that there are many ways.
With names like “Frankenstorm” and “superstorm” being floated in the forecast around Halloween, my husband and I started to think it might be a good thing to be prepared for a few days without electricity. He stocked up on jugs of water and propane, and I weighed my options for dealing with dirty diapers.
To help me decide, I checked in with a group of fellow cloth users I’m acquainted with and was shocked to hear some of the other ways mamas were getting prepared. Namely, some were gathering up T-shirts, burp cloths or rags to stretch out their stashes enough so that they wouldn’t have to resort to paper diapers even if the worst happened. In the end, I’m not that dedicated. I washed everything up, stuffed it in the drawer and used disposables until I was sure I wouldn’t be stuck without the means to do laundry.
Luckily, the worst of Superstorm sandy at my house was a night spend in the basement listening to the wind howl. But the experience got me to thinking about how many different approaches people take to cloth diapering. Some would rather use old T-shirts or handwash their diapers than ever put a disposable diaper on their baby. Other people I know only use cloth when it’s convenient, taking disposables with them any time they’re on the road and never using cloth at night.
At different points in my time as a mom I’ve taken slightly different approaches, but I – probably like most moms – usually fall somewhere in the middle. When I first started, I used a single, solitary diaper for a few days to give it a try. Next, I bought enough diapers so that I used cloth at home in the evenings and on weekends, but my son was in disposables during the weekdays at day care. Eventually, I upped my stash again and used cloth full-time. I’ve taken cloth diapers on trips and vacations, and I’ve left them at home, too. If I at all have a choice, I stick with cloth.
Every single time I avoid putting a diaper in the trash can, I feel like I’m doing something good. And when I can’t use cloth, I try not to beat myself up too much. However we work cloth diapers into our lives as parents, every little bit is worth it.
Jessica Wiant is now a stay-at-home mom of two who was once a working mom with a (cloth diapered!) son in daycare.
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