Thursday, July 19, 2007

Diapers are so much better than when I was baby

Guess what?

I'm going to cloth diaper this baby!

Yikes, what am I saying?

How did I come to this place from my beautiful world of vastly improved disposable diapers that make life so darn easy?

Well, to begin with, cloth diapering is not just a historical thing in my world. I have the pleasure of having many friends who don't just go with the flow of the modern world and wrap their kids in the latest diaper technology available. They have expanded my horizons. In fact, I have quite a few friends who eschew diapers almost entirely, and instead live a diaper-free existence through a practice called Elimination Communication.

In point of fact, I'm also considering EC, but find myself somewhat overwhelmed by visiting the potty with a newborn who has to go every 20 minutes--especially as I'm in the middle of attempting to potty train Eve. Add to that my squeamish germophobia, and the idea of having little potties all over the house where toddler hands can find them, I'm just not so sure. At least, I know I will wait until 6 weeks or so, and re-evaluate then.

And who knows, after that many weeks of doing my own diaper laundry, I may just be ready to switch to an alternative!

What? No diaper service? No, you see, that's the *actual* motivation behind my plan to cloth diaper. No money! I think I previously mentioned that Tom will be recovering from surgery during my maternity leave (which I really do hope to make permanent, but I'm not going to get my hopes up too high until we see if we can survive that way. It's never worked before, and our financial situation has taken quite the hit since Tom's accident, so we're already starting from a difficult spot). With the loss of my income and living on disability for a month at the least, we'll be at about 50% our previous income. the cost of a few extra loads of laundry a week should be significantly less than either the cost of a service or the cost of disposables, and therefore our most affordable option. The alternative is putting disposables on credit--not cool.

Of course, cloth diapers and covers are not cheap. Although I did find a great resource for making your own at very little expense, I can't really spend any money on something Tom's not convinced we'll be able to sustain. Some very kind friends have offered to loan us all we will need to cloth diaper a newborn. What a huge blessing! And, if I decide cloth diapering is sustainable for our family, but decide against EC, I can probably afford to slowly build a stash of home-made larger-sized diapers and covers to take us through the baby's diapering year(s).

A couple added bonuses:
uh...the crunchy creds and props from my cloth-diapering friends. ;)
No worries about chemicals (with unknown consequences) lying close to my baby's skin 24/7.
Feelings of pride associated with clean laundry (Did I tell you how happy it made me to get Eve's training pants pristinely clean after a soiling accident a week or so ago? I was in alt), conquering a new challenge, and attaining a new skill.
And of course, being a good steward of the environment.

I'll have to say, the worst part about this is the laundry. Not only do I not relish the idea of rinsing diapers in the toilet (ew. eww. Thank goodness I bought a huge stash of disposable nitrile gloves from Costco a few months ago--is that like totally against the cloth diapering code? Maybe I should buy some rubberized kitchen tongs or something for the purpose? and a leak-proof transfer container too. Drips...*shudder*), I already hate folding laundry. Really, aside from putting laundry away, it's my absolute least favorite chore. Yes, I prefer scrubbing toilets, baths and showers, and getting on my hands and knees to hand-mop my kitchen floor to folding laundry. I guess I should be grateful that the diapers should be a lot easier to put away than clothes generally are, but the complicated folding ritual may make up for that.

I'm trying to build enthusiasm in my mind for this. When Cloth diapering was simply something friends did, I could admire it, and imagine myself doing it if need be. Same with EC. But now that I'm faced with actually doing it, I'm a little overwhelmed.

It sounds like so much work, and I'm worried I won't be able to wash the diapers clean enough for my own standards or those of the diaper owners (I had hoped that our last tax return would finance the purchase of a more energy/water efficient front loading washer and a dryer that doesn't take two cycles to dry a load of anything but delicates (you know, the ones you don't put in the dryer?), but we were looking and waiting for the right deal when Tom had his accident, and kept it as a stash for emergencies. We finally used it up in the last financial snafu. So I'm left with a washer that I feel doesn't even clean Tom's work jeans well enough, let alone a load of wet and soiled diapers that I will put back on my baby, and eventually return to their rightful owners.) Plus, I'm not a huge fan of the mondo-butt look so many cloth-diapered babies sport.

Wish me luck and perseverance. I'm gonna need it.