Real Diaper Circle Forming in Chicago Area

The Real Diaper Association is proud to announce the accreditation of Katrina Pavlik, who will lead the Chicago Area Real Diaper Circle! Katrina has several years of cloth diapering experience behind her and has been a child and adult educator and a community organizer in the past, making her particularly well-qualified for this position.

Why does Katrina support cloth diapering? In her own words:

I love that cloth diapers feel nicer on my babies’ skin. I love the fact that I’m saving money and saving the environment at the same time. I LOVE the idea that I have saved hundreds of diapers from sitting in the landfills for the next 500 years. I also feel like I have a connection to my mother, grandmother and mothers before them. In some small way, my mothering experience is similar to theirs.

Starting a big city Circle has its own special difficulties. There are a lot of people to reach out to, but they are spread over a larger area and have a wider variety of needs than a smaller, more homogeneous community might. Fortunately, Katrina already has some core supporters, including some local business owners, who are available to help her implement their shared vision for the Chicago area. Meetings will likely be held in multiple locations to cater to a wider geographical area with a shared online community to bring them all together. Want to find out more about cloth diapering in the Chicago area? Join the Yahoo group!

The 2010 RDA Calendar is available!

I just put my money where my mouth is. (What a visual, eh?) I purchased a Real Diapers Real Babies ceramic travel mug for myself and a RDRB beer stein for my husband at the RDA store on Cafe Press. See, I was on the site checking that the ... NEW 2010 RDA CALENDAR IS NOW AVAILABLE!!! Yay! So I put the calendar in my cart, then browsed the updated catalog to see what else I could get (to make the most of my shipping charges, of course!). Thus the mug and beer stein. My old mug has a broken top and Tim could use a beer stein to add to his New Jersey Devils pint glass set. (Or so I think.) I mean, we both talk enough about cloth diapers - it makes sense to have our gear pick up some of the slack. Plus, each purchase from the store includes a small donation for RDA - $1 or $2 for most items, $5 for the AWESOME custom calendar featuring the winning photographs from this summer's Real Diapers Real Babies RDA Photo Contest. And, of course, all those proceeds go toward getting more babies into cloth diapers - what a way to vote with your wallet! I can't wait until our products arrive. Action photos to follow... In the meantime, is a $1, $2, or $5 donation to RDA not enough for you? Want to do more? Join as a member-donor in the months of October - December and receive a special Welcome RDA Member 12-month calendar magnet! All members can show their colors by proudly displaying their Member Badge on their website or blog. Business members also receive a listing in our Local Resource Directory. By the way, in looking over our budget today, I'm reminded that neither the photo contest nor the calendar would have been possible this first year without the generous support of our sponsors. It's always a risk to sponsor something in the first year, but these businesses upped their support of the RDA to help us get this off the ground, and for that, we are grateful. They are:
Babies in Bloom
Mama Momo
Cozy Baby Boutique
Loads of Joy
Newly Eco Mama
Snooty Booty Diapers
Zoom Baby Gear
Heather McNamara Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

RDA facilitating more cloth diapers in daycare

In my local San Diego Real Diaper Circle, we get at least one inquiry per month about how to find a daycare facility that will use cloth diapers or how to convince a caretaker to do so. At the Real Diaper Association (RDA), we have received similar inquiries from all over the country since the day we were founded.

After a good amount of initial research (we shared the results of our survey here), a planning group, comprised of RDA and Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA) members, produced a proposal for a joint project to facilitate the acceptance and use of cloth diapers in the daycare setting.

I am pleased to announce that both the board of the RDA and the board of the RDIA have approved this proposal and we will be moving forward with the project over the course of the next year!

Based on a cost-benefit analysis of our various options, we decided to move forward in two main areas.

The first is in guiding parents to find or convince a daycare to use cloth diapers.

a. To help them find a daycare to accept cloth, we plan to create a cloth diaper-friendly daycare directory. Parents will contribute data to this directory, and it will be available for others to search for daycares in their area.

b. In lieu of finding an already-cloth-diaper-friendly setting, we will also produce and distribute a “tip sheet” to guide parents in how to ensure a caretakers’ acceptance and use of cloth diapers for a child in their care.

The second area we’ll pursue is in educating daycare facilities about cloth diapers.

c. Using input from facilities already using cloth diapers extensively, as well as knowledge about local daycare provider licensing requirements, we will create materials for distribution in two ways. First, we will attempt to “soften the market” by using a mailing list to hit some of the largest providers. Second, we will make the materials available for printing and use by motivated “salespeople” – parents who are searching for daycare for their baby.

d. As part of this area, we’ll also examine existing relationships between daycare facilities and diaper services to produce a useful model to help more diaper services pursue these relationships in their communities.

To do all this, we’ll be using a lot of volunteer resources, so please contact me if you are interested in helping.

-- Heather McNamara Executive Director,

Real Diaper Association

Photo Contest Winners!

With such a strong collection of entries, voting was very difficult for RDA members. However, it means we're going to have a BEAUTIFUL calendar full of happy babies in cloth diapers that you'll want to show off in your home all year!  Proceeds from sales will help RDA with its mission to get more babies into reusable cloth diapers.   Think about that - not only will you be able to promote cloth diapers by displaying your calendar, but your purchase will support RDA's advocacy work as well!  Calendars will go on sale via RDA's Cafe Press shop in October.

And so, without further ado, the winners of the 2009 Real Diapers, Real Babies Photo Contest!

Grand Prize Winner: Izzabella in her favorite pretty pink bumGenius by the Mackinaw Bridge! (Jennifer H.)

First Runner Up: Dream big my sweet Sam (KPM)

Second Runner Up: Peace and Love (Katy Burnett)

And our honorable mentions, which will also grace the pages of our 2010 RDA Calendar...

Jacob fishing for his fluff (Sarah S.)

Keaton rockin' the cloth and gazing at his star-mobile. (Nisa F.)

Madeline in her (mommy's) favorite diaper taking a stroll in the backyard. (Madeline T.)

Logan taking in the fresh air in his favorite blue diaper! (Jess McC)

Shay at one month old in a white prefold, white cover, and white onesie. I love his little feet curled under his cloth diaper bottom. (Amanda Arnold)

Newborn Moses enjoying the softness of a real diaper. (melissa m.)

9 months old at the beach in a Wiggle Worm Bottoms. (M. Buckler)

Reece playing with her favorite toy wearing her softest cloth diaper! (Reece T)

Sophia taking a snooze. (Gwenn S.)

First Meeting of the Plano Area Real Diaper Circle

The Plano Area Real Diaper Circle held its first official meeting this morning at Davis Library in Plano, TX. Although we had a small turnout at this first meeting it was a GREAT start for our new circle. We had one mom ready to share almost 8 years of cloth diapering experience her three kids, using everything from flats and rubber pants to homemade all-in-ones. Another mom who was willing to not only get involved in advocacy work but willing to teach others how to sew and knit their own cloth diapers and covers. And even the mom who came looking for help getting started cloth diapering her twins offerered help and suggestions making connections with more local parents. In addition to getting to know each other, we had a chance to discuss problem solving for rashes and compare notes on wash routines and our preferences for types of cloth diapers.

I left the meeting very excited about growing our circle and getting some real advocacy work starting. I''ll be speaking briefly this coming Tuesday to a group of expectant twin moms about cloth diapering, so I'll drop a note on the blog about how that goes too.

Angela Imes, Plano Area Real Diaper Circle Leader

We choose cloth diapers

Real Diaper Association is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to cloth diaper education and activism. If you want to use cloth diapers, our volunteers can help you. The volunteers, staff, and board of directors who represent Real Diaper Association are all people who are dedicated to increasing the use of simple, reusable cloth diapers. We are not a diapering choices organization. We will not tell you what diapers you should and shouldn't use, and we won't give the media a spicy anti-any-diaper quotation. We make no judgments about the choices of others. We support and promote products that are 100% reusable and we affiliate ourselves with manufacturers who are similarly committed to reusability.

Our members can count on us to hold true to our organizational mission. Our Mission: The Real Diaper Association is a collective non-profit organization in which parents and small businesses take the lead in creating a cultural shift to increase the use of simple, reusable cloth diapers. We connect current cloth diapering parents to the long history of cloth diapering. Cloth diapers are real diapers. The Association organizes local advocates and activists for cloth diapers through a member-supported resource center which plans campaigns, trains organizers, distributes educational information, supports local groups, and connects users to the U.S. Cloth Diaper industry. Local Real Diaper Circles reach users face-to-face with knowledge and tools to make cloth diapering accessible and acceptable to U.S. parents, who have the power to change the world one baby at a time.

Cloth diapers are real diapers. We love cloth diapers!

If you love cloth diapers, too, share with others. Tell the world why you use reusable cloth diapers.

Read hundreds of testimonials why Real Diaper Association members use cloth diapers.


Lori Taylor President,

Real Diaper Association


Cynthia Thompson Vice President,

Real Diaper Association


Marie DiCocco Secretary,

Real Diaper Association


Angela Imes Treasurer,

Real Diaper Association


Heather McNamara Executive Director,

Real Diaper Association

Real Diaper Circles forming around the country...

At environmental fairs, baby expos, and similar events, a Real Diaper Association information booth is usually festooned with pictures of happy babies in cloth diapers, as well as with actual cloth diapers, in order to draw attention. Often a curious mother wanders up to the booth and tentatively asks a few questions. Where are the pins? What about the plastic pants? She runs her fingers over the soft, organic cotton and her eyes scan the pretty fabrics and colors. She calls her husband over. He voices his concerns. What do you do with the poop? What about the extra water use? Washing routines and research results are shared. Then he asks the real kicker: how much do they cost? When he hears about the huge savings real diapers can offer, the next question is usually: Where can we get them?

Often, all it takes is a conversation and a sample to set a parent on the path toward using cloth diapers. That’s why the Real Diaper Association (RDA) is committed to helping local leaders bring the message of cloth diapers to their communities. As an example, one of RDA’s active groups is the San Diego Real Diaper Circle, which was founded in April of 2008. Since then, the group has staffed booths at more than a dozen environmental and baby-related fairs. They have also presented cloth diapers in childbirth classes and held hundreds of meetings throughout San Diego County. Nearly 1000 members support one another via the meetings and an online forum, and they have exposed thousands more parents and caregivers to reusable diapers. 

Since its founding in 2004, RDA has put training local educators and supporting their local efforts at the core of our mission. Through local Real Diaper Circles, RDA organizes volunteers who advocate and educate about cloth diapers locally, meeting with new parents face-to-face to make their diapering choices easier. (To find if there is already a Circle in your area, check this map.)

To become a Circle leader you must:

  • use cloth diapers full time for at least a year (or must have done so when your children were babies).
  • be a Real Diaper Association member.
  • demonstrate support for and dedication to the mission of the Real Diaper Association.
  • be respectful of others and enthusiastic about cloth diapering.
  • be creative, persistent, and organized in doing the work to get a local Circle started.

There are several steps to accreditation.  Most volunteers find that this process takes about 30 hours over the course of 3-4 months.

  • Volunteers apply to begin leadership training by submitting a short application.
  • Volunteers put together a vision for what advocacy and education will look like in their area.
  • Leaders in training will prepare to practice Nonviolent Communication by reading Marshall Rosenberg's book by that name.  RDA will support your study of Nonviolent Communication with a quarterly webinar series, a reading guide or online study sessions, with a focus on situations you might encounter in a local diapering group.
  • Leaders in training will have a series of interviews, by e-mail and by phone, with the RDA Community Resource Director.
  • Leaders in training will participate in an online discussion group to support one another through the training period.
  • Leaders in training who are also cloth diaper business owners will develop a plan to separate those roles when working in their community.

After successful completion of initial training:

  • Leaders in training will be awarded a 6 month provisional accreditation.
  • Provisional leaders will complete a cloth diaper related research project with support from RDA.

Once a leader is accredited, Circle leadership usually involves:

  • Coordinating regular local meetings.
  • Organizing Circle members to conduct outreach in the community.
  • Setting up an online component to support Circle members beyond meetings.
  • (Optional) Raising funds to support Circle events.

The time and effort that it takes to run a Circle depends on a number of factors such as how new the group is, how many volunteers a leader develops within the Circle to take on responsibilities, and how much outreach the Circle does.  Each leader must individually decide how to balance their commitment level and interests with the needs of their community. RDA currently has more than 65 leaders in training around the country.  If you are interested in starting a Circle, be sure to volunteer as a Circle Leader when you join RDA.  In the event that someone else from your area is also interested (or already in training), RDA organizers can help you work together to share responsibility for a common Circle.


Real Diaper Association 

RDA Proudly Announces the Real Diapers, Real Babies Photo Contest!

Do you have a great, enticing, creative and well-shot photograph of your baby in a cloth diaper?

The Real Diaper Association ( is launching the Real Diapers, Real Babies Photo Contest this week.  Winning photos, as selected by RDA members, will grace the pages of our first annual RDA Calendar, with the top three winners to receive special prizes.  The Grand Prize is sponsored by, with Runners-Up to receive prizes from Babies in Bloom ( and Mama Momo ( Contest ends August 24, 2009 so get your photos in soon!

Proceeds from calendar sales will help to fund the RDA’s support of local cloth diaper advocacy and education as well as special projects like the joint project with the Real Diaper Industry Association to facilitate the use of cloth diapers in the daycare setting.

Watch this blog for continuing updates on contest status!

Real Diaper Association is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization.  All donations are tax-deductible.

August 14 - A Big Day for the Cloth Diaper Industry

The cloth diaper industry -- and all industries that make, sell, and distribute products for children 12 and under –- is coming up to a deadline August 14, 2009, that could change the cloth diaper landscape considerably. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) requirements change the way all children’s product manufacturers and retailers do business.

As of August 14, all products are required to have labels that track materials and details of production. The statute also requires third-party testing for lead by that date. Though the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has issued a stay of enforcement until February 2010, some state Attorneys General, those empowered to enforce the law, have said they will follow the date on the statute itself and begin enforcement in August.

August 14th will be a big day for the cloth diaper industry.

Lori Taylor President, Real Diaper Association


For more information, see:

New Real Diaper Circle forming in Plano, TX

The Real Diaper Association recently accredited a new Circle Leader, Angela Imes, of Plano, Texas. Angela has twin girls, who have been cloth diapered from birth, and is getting her diapers ready again for an expected baby soon. Angela was elected to the RDA Board of Directors in April and has been the Treasurer since then. As a CPA, Angela has been invaluable in this role, helping to ensure RDA is handling our accounts appropriately to maintain our 501(c)3 non-profit status. She also works tirelessly on projects to keep RDA funded and running.

Angela's goal for the Plano Area Real Diaper Circle is to create a local resource of people that will both seek out new parents to share our knowledge of cloth diapering and be a visible source of information to those actively seeking cloth diapering knowledge. She is in the process of establishing an online forum and monthly meetings at local libraries where parents can support one another with diapering issues, help educate those new to cloth diapering, and plan for local cloth diaper advocacy and outreach events.

Looking for a Real Diaper Circle in your area?

If there is no Circle in your area listed in the RDA Directory, encourage others to start one - or consider becoming a Leader yourself: