When it comes to cloth diapering, first reactions nowadays usually look something like disgust (ew, poop!), confusion (people still do that?), or disbelief (why bother doing that?). For me, it was confusion. I heard cloth diapering and laughed at the “joke” of it. Cloth diapering seemed like something only my Amish neighbors took seriously. Otherwise, cloth diapering products didn’t really exist as an option for “everyone else”. When I was first exposed to the idea of cloth diapering as an actual alternative option for my family, my curiosity was piqued and I looked it up, only to quickly become overwhelmed and abandon the idea. But feeling pressed to actually figure it out (paired with my stubbornness to not give up even though I wanted to), I quickly realized it wasn’t nearly as complex as it initially seemed… and I was impressed! These looked like easy options! And here I was thinking rubber pants, loose thin cotton flats, and pins, which only goes to show how dated my thinking was. This is amusing since cloth diapering is practically synonymous with “dated thinking”, when in reality, its the majority’s knowledge of cloth diapers that is dated. You often hear phrases like “ha, that’s something my (great) grandmother did”, sometimes followed by some remark about how cloth isn’t necessary anymore because we have disposables now.
When you look at the history of disposable diapers, they came into the picture around the 40’s. They started becoming a predominant choice of parents during the 60s when the manufacturing process was able to be fine tuned to make disposables affordable enough to replace cloth diapers. Freedom!!!! …right?
Ironically, disposables have become a new set of chains to the struggling working family of today, many who believe disposables aren’t a luxury option but rather an only option. And who is to blame them? Most standard grocery stores only carry disposables. This impacted me, personally, as I certainly fell into that statistic of people who believed my options were between name brand and generic disposables, not disposables or cloth. I had no idea cloth diapers were modernized so that even the cheaper, more old-school style diapers are far better
quality and much more user-friendly than our grandparents used. I had no idea that those oddly made burp cloths sometimes called “prefolds” were actually diapers… and they make more sense now! (seriously, their design makes sense as a diaper, not a burp cloth. That legit confused me). Some of you may be chuckling to yourself, “wow, you’re a moron”. Well, in that respect, I was!
Sometimes we take information for granted. For instance, I was baffled at the young people today who don’t know how to work a rotary phone. It isn’t their fault, though, if nobody has shown them and it’s not a normal part of life; a poor yet valid example of how information some take for granted can get lost in just a single generation. But while working a rotary phone isn’t a requirement for life nowadays, diapering a child is. Cloth diapering used to be information taken for granted. Now it’s considered perhaps more dated than a rotary phone, chalked up as useless, unimportant knowledge. It’s not! Cloth diapers aren’t outdated; our perception of them are! They are making a comeback, but it’s up to each of us as individuals to spread the word of their existence!