I'm in the line at the grocery store. My adorable daughter is comfortably covered in her cloth diapers and snuggled safe and happy against me in the Moby Wrap while I carefully stocking the conveyor belt with all my groceries.
I hear the sweet whimper of an infant that is not my own and turn to see proud new parents with a baby gently hidden behind protective layers of blankets in his car seat.
I can't help but glance inside their cart and see two gigantic - no, I mean HUGE, boxes of disposable diapers as well as another enormous box of disposable baby wipes.
I silently do the math in my head knowing they're going to pay $50-$60 on something they'll throw away and have to buy again in a couple of weeks; something that will sit excessively in a landfill for ages.
I shake my head.
If only they knew that there was a better way. If only I could tell them without coming across as self-righteous and judgmental. So I don't tell them. I just smile and pay the nice lady and I'm on my way out.
"It's not like I'm perfect" I tell myself as I look at the 5 plastic grocery bags wasted on my groceries and remember I haven't had the guts to stop using my disposable maxi pads.
I still have a ways to grow myself when it comes to cloth.
I wish they knew they have options…
I wish they knew they have options so they could be well-informed in their diapering decision. I wish people didn't think using disposables is the only "real" possibility out there. I wish the news about cloth diapering and how far it has come was not so hidden.
If only brands like Rumparooz, and Thirsties sat next to their prefold counterparts on the shelves of tried and true stores like Walmart and Target - stores where people like me go to buy baby necessities like pacifiers and breast pumps.
If only there were some quality cloth breast pads next to the disposable ones, and flannel baby wipes next to the disposable wipes we have all used and thrown away.
If only these stores were "up to speed" on how far things have come, then maybe cloth diapering wouldn't remain such a mystery to so many people.
Intimidated by Gerber Prefolds and Diaper Pins
To many people hear "cloth diapering" and immediately think of Gerber prefolds, diaper pins, and vinyl pants; they remember how inefficient vinyl diaper covers were in stopping leaks.
They shudder at the thought of a diaper pin next to their baby's delicate skin. They wince at the idea of washing cloth diapers. They're scared cloth diapers will lead to diaper rash. They're intimidated by the delicate science of folding flat and prefolds correctly. They think that cloth diapering is old-fashioned and no longer necessary.
So many of their minds are completely closed off to cloth diapering because of their preconceived notions.
So how do we change their minds?
We need to just keep doing what we're doing - only more publicly.
Spread the Word in your Day-to-Day!
The best thing you can do to spread the word is to travel with your cloth diapers. When you go to the grocery store, bring your cloth with you. People will stop and notice when you are changing your little one in the bathroom. They will say, "Wow! What kind of diaper is that?" and you can tell them.
Have your baby wear his diapers to grandma's house. "Oh my goodness!" she'll say, "Diapers sure have come a long way since I used them." Better yet, she might give you tips on how to make your own because she's been there and was probably ingenious enough to make her own fitted diapers for her kids (My husband's grandmother did!).
Take them with you when you go to church. The other mothers will notice you aren't using the diaper pail. They might even end up using diapers themselves if you leave your child with them in the nursery.
I just give the nursery attendants a quick tutorial before I go to the service, leaving one of my diapers out and visible in my daughter's cubby along with a wet bag, some cloth wipes, and a little spray bottle of wipe solution. "Oh! I don't know how to do that!" some of them may respond in panic. But once I show them the diaper they'll respond, "Oh! That's not what I expected at all! I can do that."
Leave your baby with a sitter and nonchalantly show her your colorful, adorable stash, making sure to give her a tutorial before leaving.
Put your child in their cloth diapers when you go to the pediatrician's office. The doctors and nurses will have to handle the diaper themselves when examining your child. "Where did you get those?" one nurse asked me once. I told her of a website and she was so grateful. "People ask me all the time about cloth diapers and I never know what to tell them." Pediatricians have influence. I'm even thinking of making up some brochures with my favorite cloth diaper sites and leaving them in the office there next time I go.
Cloth Diapers are Intriguing
In almost every case when I bring my cloth diapers with me, not only are people intrigued by how new and innovative they are, but they ask me where I bought them, how I ash them, and comment on how much work they must be.
Each time people ask questions and make comments I have the opportunity to open their minds to something that is not only good for little babies, but great for the environment.
I can write down a website, or let them know that my daughter rarely has rashes, or enlighten them on the fact that washing cloth diapers really isn't much of a hassle, and I remind them of how many natural resources I'm saving by rarely ever throwing a disposable in a landfill.
Inevitably I get remarks like, "Oh! I should tell my daughter about that. She'd really be interested." Or, "My sister-in-law is having a baby soon. Can you tell me what kind of things she would need to get to cloth diaper?"
I get jealous responses from those who are done with their diapering days, and inquisitive ones from those who still have the opportunity to use them.
And in every case, I feel satisfied in having made one more baby step in conquering the elephant that is disposable diapering.
Take the Time
Someone told me about cloth when I was resigned to disposables. Someone made it impossible for me to say no to disposables when they gave me three beautiful, colorful pocket diapers and I was hooked.
If you use cloth diapers now, maybe it was because someone shared them with you.
Check this website regularly for more cloth diapering tips, amazing deals, and/or FREE cloth diaper giveaways, so you can easily share with others.
Word of mouth is not only an effective way of letting people know they can ditch their disposables, but when people hear about cloth diapers from someone they know - someone who has done/is doing it themselves, they feel the information is more reliable and they're more likely to try it.
Remember, you don't have to try to shove the whole elephant in your mouth all at once, you only have to eat it one tiny bite at a time.