Dylan started doing yoga today – on the changing table. Bridge pose, to be exact. He dug his little heels into the mat and lifted his hips toward the sky…all while I was mid-diaper change. It was a glimpse, I think, into the future of challenging moments in the cloth-diapering world. It takes fast hands and a bit of trickery to be able to bob and weave around kicking legs and a wayward spray of urine while trying to secure the cloth and the cover in a suitable fashion. Thank God we operate in Velcro these days – I cannot even imagine how my grandma used cloth diapers (on nine children, no less) using the old safety pin route. I would surely be guilty of sticking my child and causing worlds of hurt.
In all honesty, cloth diapering today is actually pretty easy. It has to be, or I wouldn’t do it. I’m kind of lazy when it comes to household chores, so when Josh first started talking about cloth diapering our baby – months before Dylan was born – I nodded and went along with it, but secretly doubted our ability to stick with it for the long haul. Josh was all in, though, and he did the legwork: researching the different kinds of diapers out there – from pre-folds to all-in-ones – and how we would go about laundering them on our own, etc. I’d like to say we chose cloth diapering for its environmental impact (or lack there of), but in reality, we chose cloth diapers because we can’t afford the cost of disposable diapers. Granted, the initial investment in cloth diapers can be financially significant, but we registered for all our cloth diapering needs at RG Natural Babies (http://www.rgnaturalbabies.com/); getting diapers as baby shower gifts (though not glamorous) cut the cost considerably. Furthermore, when the staff at RG Naturals helped us figure things out by sharing their personal stories of cloth diapering their own children, I started to think that maybe we could actually do this.
Once Dylan arrived, I was so busy pumping and nursing around the clock, that diaper duty fell to Josh. Luckily, it was June, and he line-dried Dylan’s dirty diapers every other afternoon. To my amazement, line-drying is also more than just a crunchy way to save energy: the sun zaps the stains and the stink away better than any store-bought stain and odor remover ever could. It’s so effective, in fact, that I started wondering about whether the sun could take wine stains out of clothes as well…too bad you can’t line-dry carpet…
Unfortunately, line-drying in Minnesota during the winter months will prove impossible…but that’s where the power of the hot soak comes into play. Since Josh returned to work, and I’ve been home on maternity leave, the laundering has fallen to me – a task I don’t actually mind all that much. It sounded gross at first, but so does the image of landfills piled high with plastic, stinking waste. And, like all things, once you get into a routine, it becomes easier.
Now, I actually kind of like my mornings when I wash the diapers. The steady hum of the washing machine and the dryer is powerful white noise for Dylan to fall asleep to, and I feel like a good mama at the same time. Plus, there’s something comforting about the motion of stacking fresh-from-the-dryer cotton cloths, one upon the other, and carrying them up to Dylan’s room. It’s similar to how I feel when I bake something, like I’m adding warmth to the home in some way. Anyway, all this to say I’m pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoy cloth diapering. Whether or not I’ll continue to enjoy it, once Dylan becomes more agile and his little acrobatic moves on the changing table increase, remains to be seen.