I am, admittedly, a pretty crunchy girl. I hate that word, though. But it’s true. I have always been for some reason. I wasn’t raised that way; my parents didn’t recycle when I was a kid, but we did use a clothesline in the summer, so that is something I guess. I just always have cared a lot for this planet. And while I haven’t been consistently crunchy (we all fall off the wagon from time to time), I remember always being concerned about the planet. One of my favorite t-shirts as a youngster was white with “Signs of the Times” in black bold letters on it. And around the front, in four rows of three, there were circles positioned like statement buttons on it. They said things like, “Save the Whales” ,”Love is Love”, “Make Love Not War”, ‘Reduce, Recycle, Reuse” and other fun slogan-y deals that were prevalent at the time. I was not allowed to wear the shirt to school because way back then, “Make love not war” was apparently scandalous, but I wore that thing to threads. And I just remember loving the icons that had to do with the planet. Saving the oceans. Recycling. Tree hugging. Those things appealed to my soul from a young age. Hell, I wanted to be a marine biologist to save the manatees, but I live in Ohio, and well…we’re a little short on oceans around here. But I was always passionate about the planet.
Fast forward to motherhood. I had never considered cloth diapering. I didn’t know anything about it. I wasn’t sure if I knew anyone who did it. I just was ignorant to the whole idea. I remember my introduction to the concept. Caelan was less than a year old, and I was walking in the March of Dimes Walk for Babies with my friend Sara. Now, Sara is one of the most inspirational, green, crunchy mommas I know. And she had been telling me about cloth diapers, but I felt like I didn’t know enough about them and didn’t have time to really research them. Well, we sat down and changed our little ones (she had a little boy who was a month younger than my oldest at the time), and out of his tiny little pants came the most adorable diaper I had ever seen. I was immediately intrigued. I don’t know what I thought cloth diapers were up until that point, but once I saw them, I had to know more. She was using Bum Genius 3.0 AIOS (all-in-ones) on him. At the time, they were the latest model. They were one size, and she showed me how easy it was to take them off and on with velcro *they now snap, which is (in the words of Sophia the First, “ah-mazing!”). She showed me how she stuffed the new ones, put them on him, how they would size up and down to grow with him, and how easy it truly was to use them. I could not believe it. I went home and talked my husband’s ear off about them for days. I asked Sara a million questions, and she patiently told me about cleaning, stripping, stuffing, and diapering her child in a way that had limited impact on the environment. I bit the bullet. I was ready to make another crunchy step.
I looked around online for the best deals, and I found CottonBabies, which Sara had recommended. I ordered some from CottonBabies (www.cottonbabies.com) and was ready to go. I was like a kid on Christmas when the package came. I ordered more over time and wound up with a pretty good stash. I kept Caelan in cloth for a while. But, she kept getting terrible rashes, and I couldn’t find out where they came from. I stripped. I washed and washed. I changed laundry soap to try to find another one she could use. I called CottonBabies for help from their customer service. I did everything I was supposed to do. Well, it came to be that she was allergic to something in the lining that they used to sew the leg bunching together. I am thinking it must have a latex base, as she also had shown a slight allergy to latex. She was no longer able to be in cloth, and I was devastated. I sold my stash, got rid of all of them, and didn’t want to be reminded of how I felt like a failure, though none of it was my fault (oh mom guilt…). I decided to cloth diaper Ellery in some way, and by the time she came around, Bum Genius had come out with their Flips diapers. They were diaper shells with snaps that could be sized to grow with her, and they had an option for a disposable liner (or cloth!) instead of cloth all the time. With all of the issues I had with Caelan, I decided to go right into the Flips with the disposable liners. After almost a year (I believe it was nine months, but that was so long ago I am not sure), it got to be annoying because I was still throwing something away. It didn’t “feel” like I was doing much for the planet. Sure, she had a cute diaper butt in the shell, and I was saving something small, but I didn’t feel committed. So I stopped using them, packed them away, and allowed Sara to use them (again I was done). She didn’t end up using them, but she kept them for me. She must have known somehow I’d be on this road again….
And here I am. When I found out about Finola, the first thing I said was, “I am cloth diapering her. I don’t care what issues we run into, we can fix them. I am doing this.” And I have committed. Bum Genius, in their infinite genius (I am a brand snob and will not even consider another diaper, I know what I like, though there are many styles and brands to choose from) has come out with a diaper called the FreeTime *check them out here: http://www.cottonbabies.com/product_info.php?products_id=3101* that requires NO STUFFING. The inserts are attached!! AND! They are All-in-One (able to be sized to grow with the child). This saves so much time and hassle and REALLY makes cloth diapering an easy option. I am not anti-stuffing (stuffing is where you have to put the inserts into the diaper liner to add absorption and make the diaper actually work as a diaper should), but man, if I don’t have to do it, sign. me. up. TWICE! I was instantly in love with the idea, and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on some. I bought one from a local place I frequent (www.thebreastfeedingcenter.com) to show my husband how easy they were to handle. And he was even impressed (he calls me a dirty hippie, so obviously this stuff means way more to me than it does him, but he lets me fly my Freak Flag, so I can’t complain). I was planning out how to build my stash to work alongside my Flips I have back from Sara (thank you, Sara, by the way), and like a prayer answered, CottonBabies ran a Seconds Sale last week. Now, a Seconds Sale is a sale on diapers that have cosmetic imperfections, uneven stitching or color, but the effectiveness of the diaper is not compromised. My husband likened it to shopping at Gabriel Brothers for diapers. After consulting with him, and a few of my cloth diapering friends, I decided to build my stash from the Seconds Sale. FreeTimes retail for about $20 a diaper, and they were $12.50 a piece during the Seconds Sale. So, duh. I mean, really. So I ordered some (more than I would have had I had to pay retail), and I ended up still saving over $100. As we all know, I enjoy any savings I can get, especially on diapers, so I was pumped.
The diapers came in two shipments, and I got the final shipment today. I have to say, I don’t know if it is because I have an untrained eye or whatever, but I see absolutely nothing different between those diapers and the one I bought from retail. I compared the stitching, the coloring, the everything… and they all appear perfect. This is bonus for me because it means that the fine folks at CottonBabies obviously have high standards (did I mention the diapers are made here in the USA?! IMPORTANT!!) for their work because as “Seconds” they seem flawless. It was like Christmas morning for me, and the girls loved seeing them and touching them as well. I got a bunch of colors, so Finola will have the most stylish butt in town. 🙂
I am committed to this for our planet, for our pocketbooks, and for my child. I will do whatever it takes to use these until she is potty trained because I don’t want to give up. I see this like I see nursing (a post for another time). I gave up on both with the other two, and I owe it to Finola to do everything I can to make sure I am successful in my commitments to her. I am stocked, the diapers are waiting to be washed and used, and I cannot wait to do this one more thing for our planet. I will be successful in this. I won’t give up. And I will show my other two girls *who are always watching* that it is important to do what you feel is right, what is just, and what is good for us now and in the future. So, I am a committed cloth diapering momma. I just need to wait until Finola is here and big enough *about 8-10 lbs* to be a full-on Bum Genius Girl.
DISCLAIMER: I am in no way getting paid for this post. I am not affiliated with any of the above retailers, but I think you should check them out anyway. If you have any questions about cloth diapers, feel free to contact me here and we can chat!!
I did! I was an official witness at the BreastFeeding Center in Massilon, and we helped set a Guinness World Record for the most cloth diapers changed at one time, on the same day. It was so cold *it snowed!*, but it was so fun. I can’t wait for next year; Finola will be able to participate!! Consider cloth, friends. 🙂