Last week I was talking to an advertising representative at a downtown Bath networking event. He was there promoting a magazine focused on coastal living. My husband and I were there promoting our businesses. We made a connection in that he’d cloth diapered his children, years and years ago. He was saying that what was once old is now new again. Whenever I go to networking events, I tend to bring along my baby - not my daughters - but the cabbage patch doll that my grandmother stood in line for decades ago. It’s helpful to have a “model” when talking about or demonstrating how to use cloth diapers. The ad rep immediately noticed how much cloth diapers had changed in the last twenty years. He commented that what’s old is new again only better. He got it right: cloth diapering is indeed making a comeback. And here’s why:
Cloth diapering is easy. Baby boomers are surprised to learn two basic facts about modern cloth diapers. Number 1: no pins! Number 2: no toilet dunking! Generations X and Y are delighted by how easy cloth diapering is now. Baby Boomers can’t believe the someone hasn’t thought of it when they were diapering their children. Today’s diapers secure with snaps or Aplix and can be easily washed in a standard washing machine or with a diaper service. Aplix is a type of velcro and usually diapers using this will have laundry tabs to secure so that the velcro stays free of gunk and doesn’t catch on anything else.
More and more information is available, locally and online. The March/April issue of Mothering magazine carries the headline Cloth Diaper Comeback and can be found at the Good Tern. The Real Diaper Association, a national cloth diapering advocacy group, provides internet searchers with facts and directs interested folk to local resources. Four times a year, Mid Coast Hospital offers a free Diapering 101 class. In Maine, there are two diaper services and at least a dozen stores selling quality cloth diapers. Local cloth businesses are more than happy to give demonstrations - often at no cost to you.
Increased awareness of environmental benefits of cloth. More and more transfer stations are introducing pay-by-the-bag. The cost of petroleum products (such as disposable diapers) is rising. Modern cloth diapers can be used, reused and then used some more. Energy efficient washers make it possible to launder cloth diapers with less water and without harsh chemicals. By laundering cloth diapers, waste stays out of the landfill - or wherever your municipality ultimately puts of trash. Cloth diaper manufactures are aware of and open with the sources of the fabrics used in making cloth diapers. Read the ingredient label on the disposable diaper packages... oh, yeah, there isn’t one. Hmm...
Increased awareness of health benefits of cloth. In a time where we are bombarded with chemicals and additives, cloth diapers are a natural haven. Unlike their throwaway counterparts, cloth diapers are pollutant free and contain no dioxin or Tributyl-tin. Dioxin is a cancer-linked chemical while Tributyl-tin is linked to hormonal problems in humans and animals. Back in the 50’s, when nearly every baby was in cloth, most babies potty trained at 18 months old. In the 80’s, when half the babies were in cloth, only 50% of babies were potty trained at 18 months. Now, with over 90% of babies in disposable diapers, two-thirds are still in diapers after their third birthday. Delayed potty training has taken its toll on the environment as well on the child. First there’s the prolonged exposure to chemicals. Second there is the impact on self-esteem in being too old for diapers but still in them.
Availability and options. Cloth diapering parents refer to their collection of diapers as their stash. No two stashes are identical. Selecting diapers is no different than shopping for a car or deciding what you want to be when you grow up. Admittedly, it can be overwhelming and is sometimes sited as reason for inaction. You can try a variety and make up your own mind. You can ask friends and family what worked for them and make up your own mind. If one diaper seems to work better than another, you can switch. You’re not locked in. Anyone who’s looking to try cloth diapers, please give me a call, I’d be happy to show you my stash!