The C word (Cloth)

A few weeks ago another blogger posted this article
 in Marie Claire, discussing a new book by the French author Elisabeth Badinter. While the article is very interesting to me, and brings up a few logical points, Id like to focus on one in particular.  Here is an exert from the article:

"MC: You've written about a "naturalist" strain to modern motherhood—breast-feeding on demand, natural childbirth, eco-friendly washable diapers, homemade baby food—that pushes women back into the home.

EB: Unquestionably. The gains of the previous century—epidurals, bottle-feeding, disposable diapers—allowed women to reconcile their roles as mothers with the necessity of being financially independent. This 21st-century project of naturalism, which makes the female into an animal again, is a rejection of those gains."

There could be a lot to unpack in these sentences. Im not interested in getting too political about this, I am by no means a feminist but I do value equality as a woman in all areas of my life. nor do I consider myself a "naturalist". Although, I did breast feed Julian on demand for over a year, he co slept with us until recently, he is in cloth diapers and I make pretty much all of his food from scratch, excluding those terrifically convenient but stupidly expensive baby food pouches from Ella's Kitchen. (They are so cute! And fun and yummy!) While I understand that my current situation allows for me to essentially "work from home" I by no means feel like I have been "pushed" back into the home, and I certainly don't feel like "an animal". I have done all of these things willingly, and not because I feel pressure too, I frankly could care less about what anyone thinks of my parenting choices. I thought that in leu of this post I would share a little bit about our choice to do one of the things mentioned in the Marie Claire article. 


dun dun dun!

I don't really remember when I first entertained the idea, in fact I can't even remember when I was introduced to modern cloth diapering out side of my sweet friend Betty * in Uganda, who put her boy Kimby in what she called "plastic baby pants", which actually sound as terrible as they are. Other wise, most of the babies ran around stark naked and essentially went where they were standing. 
There were several reasons why I wanted to do cloth diapers, and I deiced we decided to do them before Julian was even born. 

1. The disposable diapers that I considered good enough (bleach/chlorine free, easily composted) where very expensive anywhere from 25 to 50 cents a pop (or poop). X and I both have very sensitive skin, so I figured Julian would have it as well. I was very right. So, the savings cost wise was a huge incentive. I paid about $200 for our diaper system, which will last until Julian is potty trained and even through another baby if we ever decide to have one. Which means, I have saved over 700 dollars in the first year alone. 

2. When my brothers were born I was about 11. I had no problem changing diapers, but the smell of the garbage after even a couple of them was disgusting, officially my least favorite smell, EVER and haunts me to this day. Our apartment is very small and I knew that if we had disposables piling up in our tiny can in our tiny kitchen in our tiny apartment, the whole place would smell terrible. 

3. Its technically illegal to dispose of human waste in a garbage dump. If you dont want it in the water, dont put it in the garbage. No one is going to come and arrest you BUT most diaper packages DO say to flush the poop in the toilet before throwing the diaper away. If Im going to be flipping poop into the toilet anyway, I might as well save money while I'm doing it. 

4. Obviously the environmental damage is outrageous. Think of it this way, if you change your baby at least an average of 8 times in a 24 hour period, (which is about what I do) thats almost 3,000 diapers in one year! I honestly do not want to contribute over 6,000 diapers to the already monstrous amounts of garbage americans produce a year, it is estimated that there are over 24.7 BILLION disposable diapers going into landfills each year, producing 3.4 million tons of garbage. All of this just for the sake of connivence, especially when advancements and new technology on the cloth diapering front make cloth almost as convenient as disposables. In one study conducted by the National Association of Diaper Services found that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste when thrown away and three times more waste while being manufactured. On top of that, effluents from the plastic, pulp and paper industries are worse for the environment than the cotton growing industries.

5. Cloth diapers are counter culture, there for badass and "indie" by nature. 

6. They are actually really cute, and in the summer time, Julian can run around looking very European in his cloth diapers that look like little speedos. 

I try to be a compassionate person, I try to take into account what my actions are doing for the generations after me, and taking all of this into consideration I can't really wrap my mind around why more people, if they have the resources (which is essentially running water..) haven't jumped on the band wagon. Some people might have more than one child, and think its too much work. Both Julian and Naomi are in cloth diapers and it takes an extra three minutes to wash and hang them out to dry. Its unbelievable that something as simple as reusing cloth diapers makes such a huge impact on the environment, and so little people are making the effort. Later in the article Elisabeth Badinte says this in response to cloth diapers:

"EB: While we're waiting for biodegradable diapers to reach the market, I would choose disposable diapers [instead of washable ones]. Between the protection of the environment and the protection of the liberty and free time of women, my choice is made."

I really disagree with this statement. I truly feel that being responsible with the resources we have and protecting the environment is a benefit for women! I would rather take a few more minutes, literally minutes, and preserve the world that we live in for the future generations of women than have a few more minutes to eat a banquette or paint my nails. How is a woman's liberty being threatened here? Unless someone is forcing me to use cloth diapers, I have no loss of liberty. Her point is almost laughable to me. Even when we are out and about, the zoo, the park, where ever, I just bring a wet bag (it has a water proof liner, which makes bags like these great for after yoga, or gym or even the beach) and throw the soiled diaper in the wet bag to wash with the rest when we get home. There is no smell, no leaking, nothing, and takes up very little space in those monstrous things we call diaper bags that everyone is toting around anyway, besides, isn't that the point of the bag anyway? It truly is not as inconvenient as most people think. 

We use one size fits all pocket diapers from Bum Genius. Here's how simple it is:

One size fits all
water proof outer/ soft inside 
microfiber absorbent insert
stuff it
in use on a cute bum
dump and rinse 
wash and lay out to dry

Washing them sounds scary but its not. You literally don't even have to touch them, just turn the wet bag inside out into the washing machine and throw the bag in too. I use a great bio degradable detergent called Charlies, we even use it on our clothes because it helps keep them soft and cleans really well. If the weather is nice enough I lay them out to dry and by morning they are totally dry, ready to be stuffed and used. Ive never had a problem with leaks, or smells, or really anything at all. Its so worth it! If you are really terribly squemish about poop. they have bio degradable liners that you also toss into the toilet. It's so easy and simple and so worth it!

I hope that if you have never considered cloth diapers this helps to enlighten you on the subject. To bring it all into perspective, cloth diapering makes me feel less like an animal, Dear Mrs Badetine,  because one of the differences between us and animals is logic, and to me, this is plain logical. Now, I do believe that cloth diapering is the way to go, but by no means do I judge you if you just can't see yourself doing it. I just encourage you to try it, you might be. surprised at how great it is. If you have any questions feel free to comment and Ill do the best I can to answer them.

Thanks for reading.



  1. Hey girl! I just read this post and talked to my fiance about it, since we eventually want to have a few children, and probably starting within the nex five years. I knew NOTHING about cloth diapers, but this post really sold us both. Thanks for the info!

    1. Lynette, thats awesome! I could go on and on about how great they are. Congrats on your engagement and good luck with planning and starting your family!

  2. Hey! I just found your blog through Danielle and saw you use bumgenius like us! I just wrote a post about it too! http://www.ladyleeinprocess.com/2012/04/cloth-diaper-update.html

    I love that you took pictures of how you stuff them, I think that overwhelms people and to see it might help!!

    1. Awesome! Im pretty new around this whole blogging world thing....we LOVE our bummies! I thought about doing a comparison vlog between those and the more expensive rumperoos, I actually like the bummies better! Ill check out your post too!

  3. I really like your thoughts here... firstly on the whole feminist/mama thing. I too hate that essentialising of women to either; be career bound or home bound. Can we not be valued as the complex, beautiful, multifacted creatures that we are? Can we not possibly attain the same "sense" of purpose, drive and success being mothers that a human rights lawyer or a government worker or a high-school teacher can? Is there not possibly for creativity and imagination in how we cook; eat; love; clean; grow; live? I won't rant on that any further... But I see myself not as a feminist in the "we're better than men way" but that I am proud to be a woman; to embrace and feel a sense of empowerment in my femininity.

    Also... those quotes really reflects women in France; the natural approach to motherhood is all but completely lost here. The fact that I am "still" at home now that my baby in over 3 months old; that I had a natural unmedicated birth; that I breastfeed on cue; co-sleep; baby-carry - is completely bizarre to most people I meet. Makes me feel a bit alien sometimes, and feel like mothers and children are missing out on some precious ways to bond here...

    We're using cloth too; but the old-style prefolds with a cover. I love the look of the all-in-ones though. I just wish we had more sunny days here to aid natural bleaching and drying!