There are a lot of stereotypes, misconceptions, and prejudices tied to cloth diapering:
-“Only ‘hippies’ use cloth diapers.”
+Okay, well I may like bell-bottoms and gardening *gasp!* but I’m not about to go chain myself to trees or go vegan… cloth diapering parents aren’t always the crunchiest people in the world because their decision to use them isn’t always rooted in saving the earth. I made my decision to switch because my daughter was chronically rashy and our finances were crumbling apart. Admittedly, though, the switch to cloth did open the flood gates of reusable products that entail the cloth culture, and I have found numerous new ways to save money and reduce my trash at the same time! I still wouldn’t consider myself “crunchy”, but apparently there are others who do! I’m okay with that, it just seems weird to me because I’m not much different than any other mom!
-“Cloth diapers are bad for baby’s hips/impedes developmental milestones”.
+Hahahahahahaha, oh, you’re being serious… I have even heard a pediatrician say these kinds of things, and it’s purely heresay. Nobody can cite a study for this conclusion because there is none. It’s a popular myth, but it’s popularity doesn’t substantiate the claim… at all. In fact, my older two children in disposables weren’t reaching the same milestones (crawling/walking) as fast as their younger siblings, which is entirely anecdotal and doesn’t prove that cloth promotes milestone development any more than another mom’s experiences of delay prove contrary.
-“Cloth diapers are unsanitary.”
+If you think cloth diapers are unsanitary, you should seriously reconsider your underwear that you THINK is cleaner than my child’s diapers. Cloth diapers are completely sanitary when properly washed… just like your underwear.
-“Those are for poor/rich people.”
+There is a reason I hear both ends of the spectrum here: because cloth diapers are all-inclusive! There is a brand and style of diapering for all budgets and all lifestyles!
-“Cloth diapers are so disgusting.”
+Frankly, babies are disgusting. And disposables never exonerated any mom from poop moments. In fact, “poopsplosions” aka “blow outs” are a common problem with sposies that happen on FAR fewer occasions, if at all, with cloth diapers. It’s entirely a mental thing and, sorry not sorry, if you have a baby, you best get used to poop…. and vomit… and pee… and drool… and snot… …everywhere. Seriously. Cloth diapers contain poop BETTER than a disposable. I often hear “I don’t want to deal with poop”, which always makes me laugh. The only way you’ll ever achieve that desire is to simply not have a baby.
-“Cloth diapers aren’t for everyone”.
+Neither are reusable dishes, yet most of us use them because we know disposable dishes are incredibly wasteful! So why are diapers an exception? Let’s at least admit that, while cloth diapers aren’t for everyone, the number of families who can’t make cloth work is FAR SMALLER than the number of people currently using only disposables. I’m just pointing out a wide-spread lack of information, not judging parents. Heck, I didn’t even know cloth diapers were a thing when my first three children were born!
-“It is a step backward for women to use cloth diapers.”
+(biggest facepalm) It was MEN who chained women to disposables. Yes, chained. Do you realize how many moms (and dads) feel financially OBLIGATED to buy disposable diapers for their babies? But it was WOMEN who have reinvented cloth diapers to be more user-friendly, budget-friendly, and effective, not just for OUR sake, but for the sake of the environment, for the sake of baby’s health, and even for dad’s sake! Sure, statistically much of the “chore” falls on women, but let’s be real: so does most other housework. And let’s be even more real: it’s changing. Men and women are sharing workloads both outside and inside the home. Which leads me to…
-“Cloth diapers aren’t ‘dad-friendly'”
+Come on! Now we’re just getting degrading to the average, capable male. Many modern cloth diapers are just as simple as disposables: on/off/wash/repeat. It’s a learning curve, just like anything related to having a baby for the first time, but it’s not rocket science. Let’s not esteem men so lowly. There are enough horrible stereotypes deeming men as an incapable species.
-“Well I use disposables because…”
+Here’s what it all boils down to: most moms using disposables will hear another mom uses cloth and immediately feel the need to defend their choice to use disposables. Stop! Yes, I know I just said that the majority of people who use disposables could use cloth if they tried, but that is only if they really want to (or even know about it in the first place). Fact is, most moms don’t want to try because they don’t have a reason to! They are accustomed to disposables and that is working just fine for them, so the thought of deviating from disposable diapers seems absurd. But don’t be quick to think moms who cloth diaper are bringing it up because they are passing judgement on you. This is the biggest (unspoken) myth I come across on a regular basis! We aren’t judging you! I promise! (And if someone is, walk away because you don’t need that negativity in your life!).
Most of us cloth diapering moms share our experience, not to condemn you, but because we are excited about the cuteness, the money saving, how surprisingly easy it is, how many fewer blowouts we’re experiencing, how that 11 month old rash from disposables is finally gone, did I mention how insanely cute they are?
It’s legit it’s own culture of moms excited about cute poop catchers. We have entire albums worth of bum shots! We’re just having fun, not judging you! We are drawing back the curtain so you can see in to the fun community of women of all backgrounds coming together because of poop catchers, and if you don’t find that magical, you really are missing out! It’s hilareously amazing when you think about it, and hard not to be excited about it! And it’s okay to not want to partake, just enjoy the comical thrill of your cloth diapering mom friend and smile at the ridiculous number of butt pictures she has!
My goal with Normalize Cloth is exactly as it sounds: to normalize the concept of using cloth diapers so that people are not just accustomed to using disposables by default, but are aware of all their options and can make an affordable, sensible decision for their family. People having a baby know they need diapers. But there are a surprising number of parents oblivious to modern cloth diapers as an option, they just add disposables to their registry by default. For many, the choice is only between which brand of disposable they want to use. They’re missing out on so many other options! They are entitled to at least knowing they are there! I would give anything to hop back in time and tell myself in 2011 while pregnant with my first “hey, there are modern cloth diaper options, check them out! They’re easy to use, let me show you! Then you won’t have to worry about running out of diapers when you lose your job next year!” What? “I’ve said too much…”
Let’s drop the misconceptions, let’s kill the prejudices, let’s bury the myths, and let’s come together as parents supporting parents on this crazy journey of parenthood. I’ll bring the coffee and the 10,000 pictures of my kid’s butts.
It’s 2020, not 1920. Let’s act like it.
I encourage anyone to release your prejudices and stereotypes that close your mind to a concept that is revolutionary, not obsolescent.
Approach cloth diapers with an open mind and know that we aren’t judging you, we’re just excited!