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Cloth Diapers, a luxury item? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Posted by Julie on 4/13/2011 to Frugal Cloth Diapering

Lately the world wide web and especially cloth diapering communities have been buzzing around recent news articles bringing to light the fact that low-income families are having trouble affording diapers.  Not only are they having trouble simply affording them, they're resorting to attempting to reuse soiled disposable diapers and/or knowingly leaving them on their babies for as long as possible in order to try and stretch the amount of use they can get out of a package of diapers.

Heartbreaking?  Yes.

Newsworthy? Yes.

A recent development?  Not by a longshot.

Back in the day, cloth diapers were the norm, they weren't fancy, they weren't expensive and they weren't optional. They were it and families either used cloth diapers or made their own.  When disposables first hit the scene, they were the fancy, modern diapering option.  Disposables were the latest and greatest and only those who could afford such a luxury used them.

Slowly as disposable diaper companies began to prosper, they were able to lower costs and increase their appeal among families all over the world.  Similar to the introduction of the microwave or tv, disposables just became what you use.  Did that mean that back then even low-income families could afford them?  No.  But what it did mean is that compared to families who used to know that they could switch from cloth to disposables, today's families feel like they don't have the option to switch back.

The times they are a changing.  No longer can you assume that a young girl will grow up in a household where she learns how to cook from her mother or grandmother.  You can't assume she'll know how to sew or have ever even touched a sewing machine, and there's also a really really good chance that she'll have absolutely no idea how to use cloth diapers or that she even has a choice when it comes to diapering her children, especially in a low-income situation.

Cloth diapers over the years, with the help of disposable diaper funded research, have been deemed inconvenient by the general public.  Not do people think they're inconvenient to use, but costly to buy, costly to care for and not a viable "affordable" option.

This is where cloth diaper advocacy comes in.  Join forces with other cloth diapering families, bloggers, retailers and manufacturers and help us spread the word that cloth diapers are not inconvenient but economical, practical and versatile.  (and I didn't even mention good for the environment!)  Cloth diapers come in all shapes and sizes and can be as expensive or inexpensive as the user chooses.  You don't need a front loader, top loader or even a washer for that matter.  Cloth diapers can be washed and dried with no electricity or appliances at all.

Please stay tuned for more great information on this topic and join us in helping to spread the word about cloth.  No families should be struggling to put food on the table because of the cost of diapering their child.  Over the next week or two we'll provide you with other great articles related to frugal cloth diapering and cloth diaper options for low-income families.