Monday, April 19, 2010


Friends, I've gone over to the dark side.




I've given up cloth diapers.

(Short moment of silence whilst I hang my head in shame and defeat.  Please feel free to use this time to point, laugh, judge, and scoff.  Better yet, if you know me in "real" life, DO remember that it was I, who only a month ago, was enthusiastically detailing my LOVE for cloth and attempting to make you feel like a miserable failure at life for your unwillingness to save the earth and your precious baby's tiny bum from the known and even worse, unknown evils of disposable diapers.  That was me.  I'm an asshole.  Can we move on now, please?)

The tagline for my blog is "mastering the universe, one cloth diaper at a time."  Dammit.  Somehow, "mastering the universe, one chlorine-laden diaper at a time" just doesn't have the same ring.

(I'm not really sure that I'm going to use chlorine-laden diapers, but the dramatic effect of toying with the idea is one I can't pass up.  Truth is, I spent all of my precious-few research-ready brain cells figuring out the PERFECT cloth diapering system, and since that has failed me, I find myself in Target feeling like Alice in Wonderland and staring hopelessly at piles and piles of shiny plastic packages covered in adorably swaddled baby bums knowing not what to do.)

Going through infertility, I had these symbols of motherhood in my head, things I needed to experience to make this life a full one: baby wearing (check), breastfeeding (check), cloth diapering (check)...

I had not planned to give up cloth until the babies were successfully destroying Cheerios with streams of urine in the big-boy potty.  But then our diapers got skunky.

I tried stripping them.  Spent a week with the babies in disposables running back and forth to the washer every hour to set another hot water rinse.  I tried Dawn.  I tried Bac-Out.  I tried leaving them in the sun for three days.  I tried Borax, bleach, washing soda, new detergent, no detergent, a wet pail, a dry pail, and standing on my head in front of the washing machine chanting ancient diaper-cleansing chants.

And finally, they were clean.


I transitioned the babies out of disposables and back into cloth.  We went through our full supply, and I washed them using my new sure-fire method.  The next morning, I brought the babies into our room to nurse. I lay in bed with them, thinking about the day, and smelling...something.  I nudged Kyle.  "Our house was sprayed by a skunk.  Do you smell that?"  He hadn't even opened his eyes before I realized my mistake.  I looked down at my two sweet babies in their adorably massive cloth diapers.  Damn.

I've recently decided to test my limits and sanity by taking on some new projects around the house.  In an insane moment of overestimating the hours in any given day, I gave up buying cereal, cookies, hummus, bread, and yogurt to make my own healthier, cheaper, organic versions.  Add to that, I've been making the babies food from scratch all along, which isn't difficult or incredibly time consuming.  It is, however, something that is not particularly optional.  "Sorry guys.  Mommy didn't make any steel cut oats today.  Would you rather have a beer?"  I've started a garden.   Blah, blah, blah.  I'm busy, and I take on too much.  And I usually balance "too much" just fine, because I don't usually mind teetering on the steep edge of total insanity.

But I'm a smell person.  A laundry person.  I don't like skunky.

So last week, in a crazy and wild moment of letting something go, I gave up on cloth.

Because washing each load of diapers six times in scalding hot water is at best questionable in environmental-friendliness.

Because I don't have time any more.

Because I'm not a martyr, and I'm not perfect, and I'm working on being softer with myself.

Farewell, cloth.


Lauren said...

You had a good run April. But you are right, doing 6 loads of laundry isn't really environmentally friendly. I am impressed that you're growing a garden! You always amaze me, cloth diapers or not.

Sarah F. said...

If it makes you feel any better we just recently gave up cloth too (I think). Not on purpose but because Caleb keeps getting yeast infections and we can't use the meds with cloth. I must say I am enjoying not having all of the extra laundry and don't see us going back to cloth. Plus like you said the smell is like nothing I have ever experienced before. Good job on the 14 months with cloth and good luck with the garden:)

Daryl said...

Really, this is in its own way environmentally better ... maybe you can burn the used ones ...

Babes Mami said...

You did good! You had a long run and now it's time to bend a little, that's ok.

Have you tried seventh generation diapers? Made from some recycled product AND chlorine FREE!

Sades said...

Welcome to the dark side, it's really not so bad. I really liked the Nature Babycare diapers that I could order off and Target, but here in HI we don't have that option. So, gasp, we are using CVS pull-ups and Huggies overnights. Make sure you buy a size up for the diapers you use at night. I found the Nature Babycare worked really well at night. Also pick up a little babybjorn potty for the boys to get used to trying out. I felt soo guilty when I first gave up cloth too, but I'm so glad I did.

TempestBeauty said...

APRIL. I could have written this post myself!

And I only had to deal with half the amount of cloth diapers.

As it is, I've sort of enjoyed the dark side. And I've given up the guilt as well. We tried going back to cloth for a while a week ago, and the smell was unreal.

I'm pretty good with what we've got going on now. Heck, 2 out of 3 ain't bad. There's a song about it.


Anonymous said...

I know what you mean about the smell ~ it's AWFUL! I really am so close myself to abandoning cloth, because I can't get that damn smell out, and like you, I've tried everything. :-(

Jilliane said...

I'm glad, I always thought they smelled...not your babies, the diapers. Dammit now you are going to hate me.

mamapoekie said...

Do you want a beer? Hilarious

I had some smell issues with the diapers, but got it out smply stripping them and doing some agressive treatment every so often. Sad it didn't work out for you.

Anonymous said...

After raising three of my siblings and enduring several thousand cloth diaper changes/soaking/washing/line drying... I knew better by the time I had my daughter.

Welcome to the dark side!

Anonymous said...

I had great success with a diaper service. They were comparable in price to disposables, picked up and delivered once per week, no rinsing needed, just throw in the special diaper pail. Also, as a business, they need to adhere to strict wastewater guidelines and use water efficient facilities. I wonder if they still exist 12 years later?


Hanneke Nelson said...

I really want to tell you NOT to feel guilty over smelly diapers. However, my motherhood mantra is "No guilt, no glory!" Enjoy the time not having to do so much laundry frees up.

Kim said...

First time reader here, but I just wanted to empathize and tell you I think cloth diapering twins for 14 months is very impressive. I CD'd my 1st from 7 months old until she was potty trained, but when I had my twins I realized, like you, that I had too much on my plate and something had to go. Oh, I've made half-hearted attempts at using cloth with them, but it has never lasted very long. The 'sposie guilt' hasn't gone away for me, and my twins are 18 months now, but it sure has made my life a little bit simpler!