I'm not really sure why, but I recently decided I was going to try using cloth diapers - at least part of the time - on our one year-old-son.
I suppose if I had to give a reason, it would be a combination of the following:
1. I heard potty training is sometimes easier for children who wear cloth diapers, and although I'm not sure at all about this claim's validity, potty training our older child was very difficult and, hey, I'll try anything.
2. I was tired of carrying so many bags of dirty diapers out to the trash can.
3. It seems like an economical and environmentally friendly thing to do.
Although, to tell you the truth, the biggest reason I wanted to try cloth diapers was to simply conquer the challenge.
I don't know if I believe that using them is better for the environment (all those hot water washes...) and I don't know if I'll actually save any money (buying the supplies can be pricey...) but it was an aspect of the parenting world I knew nothing about, and since I write about parenthood and am curious about the experience in its entirety, I like being exposed to new things.
So I bought some FuzziBunz diapers for reasons nearly as vague as the reasons I decided to try cloth diapers in the first place. They were on sale; I'd heard of them; they make an adjustable one-size diaper, so I wouldn't have to buy new ones every time my son grew.
Also, FuzziBunz are pocket-style cloth diapers - this means that there is an outer, waterproof layer and an absorbent insert you place in a "pocket" inside. This seemed like an easy enough concept and I didn't want to weigh myself down with any additional information.
And it turns out that it's a good thing I decided to go with my first instinct and limited knowledge on cloth diapers because, oh my god, there is a lot of information out there on the subject. Weighed down? You could drown yourself in this stuff. And sink into the ocean and never be heard from again.
I mean, theoretically.
Before I say more, I want to note that I think the information currently available to parents - especially the connectivity and advice made possible by the internet - is amazing and absolutely beneficial to many, including myself.
But every once in a while - in the same way that searching your symptoms online is bound to yield a self-diagnosis of cancer - the amount of information on any given topic can be absolutely overwhelming in its breadth.
Cloth diapers, for whatever reason, seem particularly prone to analysis on online message boards, on YouTube videos and on blogs, among other web-based communication tools.
So when I first bought my diapers, naive to the passion surrounding the whole cloth diaper movement, I innocently conducted a Google search about achieving the right fit for your baby and was assaulted with thousands upon thousands of videos posted by parents - mostly moms, it seemed - discussing the topic. And also discussing a ton of related topics, like leakage and detergents and hot new products, accessories and so on.
Many of these videos had hundreds of views, at the least. I watched about five minutes of one mom's video - a tour detailing her precise cloth diaper washing routine - before I got scared. I thought trying cloth diapers might make life a little simpler and at least mildly reduce our consumption and waste but I was beginning to think I'd have to attend a seminar to get it right.
By the way, there are totally seminars.
So I backtracked. I decided that the only information I'd utilize in my first attempts was the information that came in the box when I ordered my FuzziBunz, as well as some more detailed information on the company's website.
It was all I needed. I'm happy to say we've used the pocket diapers part-time for about a week now. I haven't attended any online support groups, I've been able to store them and keep them very clean using simple instructions about washing them in our completely uncomplicated top-loading washer, and I plan to keep using them in the future when its convenient. Probably not much on the go or when we're traveling, but when it's easy to do so.
The best part is throwing a few less disposable items away. Alhough I'm doubtful of any real impact I'm having on the world, it still feels good.
And all the cute colors - cloth diapers are adorable.
The worst part of my experience was the initial overload of information; as so often happens in parenting (and many other parts of life) the online database of knowledge should have helped, but instead it made me feel nervous and incapable. I don't think there's anything wrong with all the videos and posts and whatnot - quite the contrary - but I'm glad I found my own way of handling the situation without spending hours glued to my computer figuring it all out.
The other worst part is dealing with poop when you're using cloth diapers. It's just not all that pleasant, although it's never that pleasant, really, cloth or disposable or whatever the case. I won't go into details on that matter here because I'm not quite up for it but don't worry, you guys. There's a video.