Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Cloth diapers do not make me a better person than you

I recently saw an episode of "19 Kids and Counting" where Anna (the oldest Duggar son's newish wife) waxes poetic about how it's okay that she is currently driving a Hummer H2 because her baby is wearing a cloth diaper in the backseat.

Uh, sorry. No.

I could care less what she is driving, but since when do the good Christian family the Duggars brag and boast that their parenting decisions are better than everyone else's? Frankly, the momma driving the Prius next to her in traffic is probably using cloth diapers, too and she is getting like 60 miles per gallon, not 3.

Jack is past diapers mostly, so I get fewer inquisitions in public than I used to. But I was always fond of telling people that I don't care about the environment. I'm just frugal.

Okay, cheap.

No, frugal. Let's go with frugal. I bought cloth diapers for our son before we knew he was a son because I have known for many years that for me, they are just the better choice. They are less expensive (unless you want to spend more, in which case there are still a lot of options for cloth that breaks the bank). End of story.

Okay, almost.

I also read some compelling research about how disposable diapers affect male fertility and that made a difference. But the decision was already made, and as an intellectual human I cannot believe there is enough evidence since disposables have only been the "norm" for most of my life, and many of my peers are not even attempting to procreate just yet. Are they also great for the environment? Well, sure, maybe. Depends on who you ask. But frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn. I also happen to think they are cuter and in some ways easier.

Cloth is cheaper. For me. But maybe not for you, if you have the time and energy to chase the deals. A dear friend of mine just gave birth to a lovely little boy (he is a week old today!) and she has about 3 or 4 months' worth of diapers in her son's closet that she has been stockpiling throughout her pregnancy. Friends also gave her their leftover diapers when they switched sizes mid-pack and I found an amazing deal last fall on a case of Pampers that made them all but free and had them shipped her way. She has probably not come close to the cost of cloth diapering and she probably won't ever hit what I have spent, and will continue to spend, on cloth diapers.

The thing of it is, I bought an entire set of diapers before I knew all that much about them, and they turned out to not be what I thought they would be. We had to invest in more, and had to buy new covers along the way when Jack outgrew them because the ones we bought before he was born didn't fit him well. And many of those covers can be re-used with our new little bean when s/he arrives come November, but many are worn out and will have to be replaced. I intend to invest in nicer covers when I need to, but the cost is still up there. And since many of the diapers we used for my son are not re-usable anymore, we'll probably invest in more prefolds (which, shocklingly, I turned out to like better anyway) If I have a 3rd, I'm pretty confident that I'll spend less in the long run. But I couldn't say we won't spend more than my friend will over her diapering years.

And, guess what? We also used disposables, and now that we are down to 2 diapers a day (nap and night), we use no cloth diapers. I cannot justify washing 2 or 3 diapers at a time. We have yeast rash issues if we use cloth at night, so we have been buying disposables since Jack was 6 months old. Thirty disposables a month isn't the end of the world, but it does add to the cost. Now we use about twice that many.

At the end of the day, we all do what we believe is best for our families. It is true that many parents have no idea that cloth is a viable option and therefor don't make a "decision" concerning diapering. But you will never catch me telling someone that I can waste other natural resources because my child wore cloth diapers. You will never hear me claim that not only is cloth better, but that I'm better for using it. I'm a stay at home mom, like Anna Duggar, and I have time to wash diapers. I'm sure there are many other moms out there who make other decisions that will turn out to be better in the long run, whether they diaper with Pampers or Thirsties.