At yesterday's birthday party, the subject of cloth diapers came up -- and no, I was NOT responsible. Okay, my blue-eyed baby was wearing his "My mom may be crunchy, but my diaper's not" t-shirt, so it's possible this was some influence. Nonetheless, once the subject became the center of a conversation, I was happy to join in, explaining that, Yes, indeed, cloth diapers are alive and doing better than ever, and if the party's Token Pregnant Mama is interested in more information, I even know a local diaper maker!
A couple hours after the party, I was talking to a friend via telephone, and she brought up the subject again (yes, really, I had nothing to do with it!), saying she wanted to use cloth diapers with her next baby. I expounded on the wonders of wool soakers, pocket diapers, all-in-ones and unbleached Chinese prefolds, and she quickly realized she'd need the entire pregnancy to shop!
Then, (without even looking!) today I found yet another webring to join, this one for bloggers who use, what else? And I promptly added it to the list at right. So, I guess it's time for a cloth diaper post.
Here's my spiel (and don't ask Scott for his, he doesn't change enough or wash enough diapers for it to count). Do you use real plates or paper plates for dinner every night? Why? Whatever your answer, the same goes for diapers. (That said, I do have a close friend who uses paper kitchen goods frequently, but ALSO cloth diapers. I suppose it's her contribution to make up for the extra trees. ;)
We use real plates and real napkins for almost every meal. They're just nicer, plus it's better for the environment and our grocery budget. I'm not a cloth napkin Nazi -- we do have paper towels handy for when they're more practical, and we use paper plates and napkins for big social functions, just as we have disposables handy for long trips or stressful weeks. If I didn't have a dishwasher, I'd probably use paper more often, just as I'd probably use disposable diapers if I lived in an apartment without my own washer and dryer (we don't have a diaper service in my town).
Plenty of sites out there explain the actual or imagined environmental differences. The disposable diaper makers would have you believing that it would be BETTER for the planet if everyone stopped using their dish- and clothes-washers and started using disposable everything. This makes no sense to me. Get an energy-efficient washer and a clothesline, if you're that concerned, and don't use so much darned detergent! It's really not that complicated.
Besides, would you want to wear plastic-covered paper underwear for three years out of your life even if they did seem to keep you feeling dry? No one looks forward to having to wear Depends. When I'm old and incontinent, I hope my diaper-making friend will still be around to sew up some beautiful, soft waterproof panties that I can wash alongside my clothes in the retirement home laundrymat.