Why I Choose to Use Cloth Diapers

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Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Flats Challenge: All done!

I'm sorry I'm so late on this post.  If you were keeping up with my posts on the Flats Challenge at the Cloth Diaper Blog, you'll realize that the flats challenge week also happened to be one of the busiest weeks my house has seen in a long time! We had a record amount of visitors and my husband was tearing up the back yard to make a patio so I had extra food to cook, dishes to wash, and laundry to clean, plus I spent more time  sweeping, mopping, and straightening the house up, plus I was hand washing the flats and then spending 1-2 hours every evening writing about it for Diaper Junction.  Remember, I'm not a Stay at home Mom, so I did this all when I got home from work every day at 12:30PM.
Bunny felt the pressure and the stress, and also noticed that she wasn't getting as much one on one time with Mommy (and Daddy) that she wanted, and became very winy and clingy.  I can't blame her.  Of course, I wanted to spend more time with her, but because I was taking care of so many people.  There were some days I just wanted to collapse and give up and cry.  I was thankful that even though the visitors meant more work, they also meant more people to help out if necessary so at least I was allowed a moment of peace here and there while someone else took the load. 

When everyone finally left on Monday (Memorial Day) evening, I just lay in the back yard in a hammock with my daughter and we watched the birds go by and it was the most blissful 15 minutes I'd spent all week.  Bunny's mood change was almost immediate.  She suddenly relaxed and became more like her typical self, and ever since I've been reveling in the uninterrupted moments I get to spend with her as has she. 
So, I'm not sure that my view on flat diapers is not unbiased by how difficult the week was.  Currently, I just don't want to touch them or look at them and I'm happy to stick to all my pockets and AIOs.  But I think if I could separate the flats challenge from the rest of the week--like if it had happened at a different time--my views on using them would tilt more to the positive side. 

I wrote a list of pros and cons I discovered about flats and I forgot two of them (well, two that I can think of at the moment). Another pro would be that flat diapers are so very trim that Bunny was able to wear some pants that never went over her little fluffy butt before.  Another con would be that I didn't feel that I was able to win people over to cloth diapers by changing her diaper in public when using flats.  Flat diapers seem to scare people off more than the diapers I typically use. 

If I were to put myself in the financial position that such a lifestyle would be necessary in order to buy other necessities that my child/ren needed, I would definitely use flat diapers and hand wash them all the time.  It was hard, hard work, but I'll do anything for my  little one/s.  (I use the plural not because I'm expecting, but because I hope to have more kids one day).  But I'm from a specific culture/class of people that has that mindset and that perspective on life.   I don't know much about the different classes, but I've heard a little bit from Ruby Payne's studies while being educated as a teacher.  She summarized the three classes with three sentences based on food.  The poverty/lower class (I hate to use lower with a people group!) uses the phrase, "Did you get enough?" in regards to food.  The middle class will say, "Did it taste good?" and the upper class will say, "Does it look good?" She also told the story of a group of teachers who pooled their money together to buy a refrigerator for a family who was known not to have one.  The kids in that family were subsequently absent for the next few weeks.  When they came back, the teachers were worried and asked, "Where were you?" They answered, "Oh, we sold the refrigerator and went to Disney World!"    So, based on the little I know of Ruby Payne's studies, I don't know that the lower class would consider cloth diapers an option.  But, I don't consider myself an expert.  I personally have an acquaintance who has two children, and a boyfriend in and out of work and who has already been evicted from her apartment and is in dire straits financially, but when a friend suggested cloth diapers to her she said, "I'm not that desperate!" So, I'm just not sure that the culture of people in our country who need to use and hand wash flat diapers would consider it an option.  And I'm not trying to judge at all.  I'm just trying to put myself in someone else's shoes. 

So, conclusions: If it were me, I'd do it.  I would hand wash flat diapers all the time to keep food on my children's plate.  But I just don't know that it's something people who are turned off by cloth would consider.  I hope I'm wrong. 

Once the dust settles at my house, I think I'll be using flat diapers more often than I ever did before considering the challenge.  I've certainly learned a lot and found lots of trick that have made me more successful at using flat diapers.  I can fold them and fasten them so that they are pretty snug, and I've learned little tricks to add to the tried and true folding methods that allow them to fit my daughter better.  I like them.  I really do.  But I think it will be a couple of weeks before I voluntarily use them again!

On a side note, having all my other diapers washed and waiting allowed me to do something I've never gotten to do since starting to cloth diaper--take a photo of my entire cloth stash! Actually, the stash is so large that I took three photos of four of the different groups of diapers I have (pockets/aios/ai2s, prefolds, wool covers, fitteds), and once they're clean, I'll take a photo of my flats and my PUL covers as well.  Soon, I'll post them for those of you who are interested.  Also, I'll need to start organizing and categorizing all my dipes for the Fluff Stash app I recently got for my iPhone from Diaper Junction.  I purchased it already but have yet to transfer it from the computer to my phone.  We'll see if my hubby has time to do that for me today when I get home from work.  :-D


info said...

You are so dedicated, you are quite the inspiration


Anonymous said...

After finally managing to handwash my pocket diapers (most of which I did not buy, or buy full-price), I would be grateful for flats or prefolds which would be so much easier.

I think you misjudge the issue. For some poor, it certainly is a dismissal of frugality, but for others it simply might be the initial intimidation of cloth, combined with the "grossness" of handwashing. Since I have already made the transition to cloth, I've already overcome those two hurdles, so handwashing was a simple further step in frugality.