Disposable diapers, while convenient and widely used, are relatively new. The first to be massed produced appeared in 1948, so most of our grandmothers (and certainly our great-grandmothers) used cloth diapers. Still, and even though cloth diapers are the ultimate throwback, parents can be shamed when choosing to go the cloth route. In fact, the things people feel fine saying to moms who use cloth diapers still shocks me.
The reasons parents choose to cloth diaper vary, just like any other reason behind any number of decisions parents make. I know, personally, that I wanted to cloth diaper because I valued a cheaper option, wanted to avoid harsh chemicals on my baby's skin, and had concerns about the environment. According to The Washington Post, more than 95 percent of babies today wear disposables diapers. The environmental impact of almost every baby in the country producing a mountain of waste, that takes decades to disappear, is certainly a cause for concern. In fact, Mother Jones reports that it will take until 2050 for the first disposable diapers to completely biodegrade.
Of course, cloth diapers are not entirely innocent when it comes to environmental impact. For instance, the manufacturing of cotton requires a huge amount of natural resources. Cloth diapers also require repeated washes, which have an impact on the environment as well. Like almost every parenting decision out there, there are pros and cons to each choice, and you'll always find someone who disagrees with your stance. So, if you're choosing to cloth diaper your little one, be prepared to hear the following comments. I know I did.
"Eww, Don't They Smell?"
Yes, they do. Why? Well, because just like disposable diapers, cloth diapers have baby poop in them. Weird, I know. The type of diaper you're changing won't protect you from the stench of human waste, dear reader. It's just part of parenthood.
"Don't You Get Poop In Your Washing Machine?"
Um, no. You don't just take the poop-filled diaper and throw it in your machine. You remove the waste and flush it away, then spray the diaper with water or soap before washing it.
It's all very hygienic, I can assure you. Well, as hygienic as life with a baby can be.
"Aren't You Worried About Hurting Your Baby?"
Most parents who use cloth diapers purchase covers that close with Velcro or snap buttons, so while a safety pin might come to mind when someone envisions a cloth diaper, those really aren't a thing anymore.
"But They Make Your Baby's Butt Look So Big!"
Are we really fat shaming babies, you guys? Is that a thing now? I honestly hope not. Please, please tell me this isn't a thing.
Yes, cloth diapers are a little more chunky than disposables, but I don't really see the issue. All babies are beautiful, whether they are chubby or not, and if a cloth diaper is safer for my baby's skin, who the hell cares if it makes their adorable butts look big? They're babies, you guys.
"Can't You Afford Disposables?"
While cloth diapers can (and usually are) a cheaper option over the course of your baby's diaper-wearing days, they're not cheap. There's an initial investment parents have to make when they first purchase a set of cloth diapers, and it's significant. So there is no need for pitying looks or assumptions about how much money a parent who chooses cloth diapers makes.
"I Knew You Would Quit!"
In my time as mom, I have noticed some people trying to "catch" cloth diapering parents in the act of using a disposable diaper, like they're somehow "failing" or how you diaper your kid is an all-or-nothing thing.
When parents are traveling, especially on long flights, they may choose to use a disposable. If their child is sick and going through a lot of diapers maybe they will switch to disposables, too. Either way and regardless of whatever diaper a parent is using, it's pretty petty to look for an opportunity to call a parent out for "failing."
"Your Baby Will Get Hip Dysplasia"
Disposable diapers are the new kid on the block, my friends. So, if cloth diapers were damaging to a child's developing legs and hips, we would have historical data to prove it. We don't, because it's not true.
"So You're, Like, A Hippy?"
I've never understood why anyone would use the term "hippy" as an insult. Hippies are known for being calm, peaceful, minimalist, environmentally conscious, inclusive, and loving. What's not to like, right?
However, one parenting decision shouldn't define your entire identity. Whether you cloth diaper, bottle feed, bed share or sleep train, these are your decisions to make for you and your baby.