Welcome to the First Annual Freedom of Cloth Carnival
This post was written for inclusion in the Freedom of Cloth Carnival hosted at Natural Parents Network by Melissa of The New Mommy Files and Shannon of The Artful Mama. This year’s carnival will run from Sunday, July 3rd through Saturday, July 9th. Participants are sharing everything they know and love about cloth diapering, including how cloth has inspired them.
When I think back on how the whole ‘Becoming Crunchy’ phase of our lives began, the phrase “Inspired By Cloth” is simply an understatement.
Here’s how it went down…
Back when I was first expecting and had almost no conception of what it meant to be ‘crunchy’, AP, natural, etc., I realized towards the end of my pregnancy that I had been reading all kinds of books and resources about pregnancy, but very little about actually being a parent.
Along with that, I had this irrational fear of postpartum bleeding – for some reason, I had built it up in my head as this terrible thing (I was imagining my worst period times 10) and I was quietly searching around the web for some sort of mega-pad type solution to save me from becoming a Lady Macbeth covered in blood type figure directly after delivering.
(I know – but I was pregnant).
Anyway, my search led me first to mama cloth (cloth menstrual pads) – it was my first introduction to the idea that cloth could be used in place of something I would normally just assume to be disposable, like a pad.
And in the end, while I did find the idea intriguing, I rejected it – I didn’t really see it as worth the investment or believe that it would work.
But in that search that exposed me to mama cloth users, I came across bloggers who were talking about using cloth diapers.
For whatever reason, it caught my fancy and I started reading more and more about it. The benefits seemed incredible – the money I could save, the fact that it was a chemical free option for my baby’s precious parts, the adorableness of all the different diapers, etc., etc.
I started leaning towards it more and more, though I still wasn’t sure – the idea was really totally outside my frame of reference. There was also a TON of information out there – how would I know which options I should choose?
But then I had the opportunity to attend a cloth diaper workshop hosted by a local retailer. My husband and I went and got a pretty decent crash course about all the different types of diapers available, what terms like ‘prefold’, ‘pocket diaper’ and ‘AIO’ meant, an even greater list of the benefits and so forth.
In the end, both of us were convinced.
Then we went and invested in an entire system, and the diapers we decided to purchase and use ended up being a total fail!
I don’t really want to talk about what they were or who I bought them from; I was very unhappy in the beginning when all we had was leaks, but now that I’ve gained some perspective I’ve realized a few things – we may not have been doing it properly, and not every diaper works for every family.
My husband was ready to move to disposables – he didn’t want to spend more money on cloth, but I convinced him to give it just one more try. After getting some recommendations from people we knew, we bought a Flip day pack and pretty much never looked back – after about a week of getting used to using cloth we were good to go.
And then the floodgates opened…
See, most of those cloth diapering bloggers I had been reading were also Attachment Parents. It was a parenting philosophy I knew nothing about except that every time I read something about it I was totally hooked in – it was everything I had always wanted to be as a parent without even realizing it.
Essentially, cloth diapering set me on the path to babywearing, co-sleeping, gentle discipline, and all the other tenets of AP – talk about being inspired!
And not only that, but I started to realize that one of the most important reasons I chose to cloth diaper was to keep my daughter’s most sensitive parts from being exposed to the harmful chemicals found in many disposable diapers – and it made me start looking around for other types of toxins that we’re exposed to on a regular basis.
As my eyes have been opened to those things, I’ve switched to using only natural cleaners, only natural personal care products (including ‘No Poo’ when it comes to washing my hair), tossed out all my makeup, severely limited our use of canned food, switched from Teflon and Tupperware to glass and quite a bit more – and I’m always on the lookout for other changes we can make (and no, we have not yet reached the point of perfection with this type of thing).
I have started reading ingredients labels before purchasing anything; if I don’t know what an ingredient is, I won’t buy it. If it says fragrance in the ingredients list, I won’t buy it. I’ve tossed out my fabric softener, my Comet and my Swiffer mop – baking soda and vinegar are my new best friends.
All of this began with cloth diapering.
And finally – cloth diapering has set me on a path to finding all kinds of other ways to ditch the disposables.
Instead of grabbing a paper towel for anything that needs wiped in the kitchen, I now grab a cloth towel from the net bag hanging on my stove. We also use cloth napkins instead of paper.
I used to use those disposable cleaning cloths from Lysol to clean everything – a huge waste aside from being toxic. It just wasn’t something I thought about. But those things will never be found in my house again.
I no longer purchase any paper plates or Styrofoam cups or plastic utensils – we only use real dishes. Next time we go camping or have a picnic I plan to purchase bamboo plates, etc. so that we can reuse them again and again.
I’ve wanted to make the switch to cloth wipes and have used them; though I still use disposable more often than not, it is something I plan to commit to fully in the near future (and the disposable wipes I use are totally natural and biodegradable).
Eventual switches that I want to make also include handkerchiefs – and family cloth.
And those cloth menstrual pads I decided against when I was first looking into all this?
Well, if you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I’m a total convert! I will never, and I mean never use disposable menstrual products again – and if I’m lucky my daughter will never use them at all.
I don’t want to come across as a total saint here – we do occasionally still use paper towels and even disposable diapers (though we buy the greenest ones we can find).
But all in all, over the past 10 months, cloth diapering has inspired amazing changes in our family – even helping lead to this blog where I share our experiences of how we are Becoming Crunchy – and I’m sure it will continue to inspire more changes along the way.
Who knew a diaper could ever do so much?
Have you been inspired by cloth? I would love to hear your story!
Natural Parents Network for the most up-to-date news on the Freedom of Cloth Carnival!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants on the following themes. Articles will go live on the scheduled theme day:
- Sunday, July 3rd, 2011: Cloth Related Recipes — Writers share their best cloth-related recipes and tutorials.
- Monday, July 4th, 2011: Choosing Your Cloth Style — Today’s posts discuss parents’ individual journeys to finding the cloth diapering “style” that best suits their families.
- Tuesday, July 5th, 2011: Cloth Diapering Must Haves — Parents talk about the most important items in their diapering “stash” and why they love them.
- Wednesday, July 6th, 2011: Wordless Wednesday, Inspired by Cloth — We asked parents to share their favorite cloth-related photo with us and turned them into a fluffy Wordless Wednesday photo montage on Natural Parents Network. Link up your own Wordless Wednesday post there!
- Thursday, July 7th, 2011: Cloth Through the Stages: From Infancy to Potty Independence — Today’s participants explain how cloth diapering has served their families throughout one or more stages of their children’s lives.
- Friday, July 8th, 2011: Cloth Troubleshooting and Laundry Day — Seasoned cloth diapering parents share their best tips and tricks for handling common cloth problems and tackling the diaper laundry.
- Saturday, July 9th, 2011: Inspired by Cloth — For today’s theme, we’ve asked writers to explore the ways cloth diapering has inspired them to become “greener” overall.