Petitioning for a Tax Break in Canada

When I found out I was expecting twins in 2004 I knew I needed to save money any way I could. Cloth Diapering was just one way we were going to accomplish that. As I researched and learned more about cloth diapers and their benefits I felt very strongly that this was something I was going to do no matter what other people thought or said. In fact, because of how strongly I felt about cloth diapers and their importance to our childrenʼs health and our environment I started my own online boutique that promotes and educates on the use of cloth diapers.

Despite all that, there are many people I speak with who just canʼt wrap their heads around the idea of cloth diapers no matter how supportive the evidence I give them. I just canʼt comprehend how people can possibly think that using cloth diapers will be inconvenient or “too much work”. Yet, I think what bothers me the most are the parents who sit on the fence about it. They know that cloth diapering is the better way to go and they have seriously thought about it; but, they just wonʼt commit to making the switch.

After a lot of thought, I decided it was time for the Canadian government to recognize those parents who have committed to cloth diapers and have made the switch for their babyʼs health and our environment. More and more we hear about the government supporting “green” businesses and taking “green” initiatives. The Ontario Premiere is all about “Going Green” and if switching to cloth diapers isnʼt “going green” I donʼt know what is. I have created a petition to submit to Canadaʼs Parliament asking for a tax break for parents using cloth diapers. Not only do I think this initiative will benefit those already using cloth diapers; but, I think it might provide just a little incentive to those sitting on the fence about them.

Every signature counts and with your help, Iʼm sure we can succeed! Please take a moment to view and sign the petition which can be found at: online/29264.html Please also feel free to pass this information along to family and friends.

Together we can make a difference, not just for our environment but for the future too.

Stephanie Nash, Real Diaper Circle Leader Volunteer

RDA Cloth Diapers in Daycare Survey Analyzed

The Real Diaper Association (RDA) conducted a survey on the use of cloth diapers in daycare facilities.  We received over 250 detailed responses.  The responders were largely parents who had talked with daycare providers about their willingness to use cloth diapers on their children while caring for them. Maybe you were one of them?  If so, THANK YOU!  We learned several important things by analyzing the survey results:


  • Parents who educated themselves about this issue and were persistent about educating daycare providers to use cloth diapers were at times able to turn a “no” into a “yes.”
  • There are some daycares providers who exclusively use cloth diapers in their facility.
  • Daycare providers who refused to use cloth diapers usually feared they were unsanitary and were generally unfamiliar with cloth diaper usage.
  • Occasionally daycare providers blamed state health and licensing regulations for restricting the use of cloth diapers in their facility.
  • This is a nation-wide issue.  There are no regional patterns for the acceptance or rejection of cloth diapers in daycare.


A working group composed of RDA and Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA) members is currently working on a plan to facilitate the use of cloth diapers in daycare.  These survey results are helping to guide the direction the project will take.  The proposal for the project will be presented at the RDIA Annual Meeting in Las Vegas in September.  If you are interested in working on this important issue, please contact me!


Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Making RDA's Annual Goals a Reality

It's been a couple of months since the annual meeting, and as I get ready to move to my "summer home" (visiting family in New York), I am reviewing my RDA project priorities.  The Board decided on three major goals for the year:

1. create an RDA cloth diaper advocacy welcome packet for our donors,

2. create a Real Diaper Circle Leader support packet to be distributed to all accredited Leaders, and

3. work with RDIA representatives to propose a joint project for getting more cloth diapers into the daycare setting.

We've made progress on these and numerous other smaller projects.  To continue to do so and spread the word further about cloth diapers, we need to vigorously pursue funding sources.  We recently submitted a grant proposal that would support Goal #2, among other things.  But grants are never a given, and we still have more we'd like to do, so we'll also be pursuing some new fundraising ideas.

One of them is a short-term, fun, super-secret :) project.  We have a general project plan, but could use some help putting it together.  We're looking for someone with some graphic design / print media experience who has good planning and organizational skills - preferably an RDA member.  Let me know if you're willing to lend your time, please!

As always, we continue to depend on our donors and volunteers to do our work and are grateful to all of them.  We're always happy to put you (or your gift) to work in the name of cloth diapers!

Heather McNamara

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Cloth Diapers at the BabyTime Expo

The San Diego Real Diaper Circle teamed up this past weekend with the San Diego Babywearing groups to staff a Mothering Magazine booth at the BabyTime Expo in San Diego.  Over the course of two days, a dozen volunteers exposed hundreds of parents to cloth diapering.  Many attendees hadn't seen cloth diapers in person before and were excited about the possibilities available to them.  Folks who were reticent at first became intrigued upon hearing about the financial savings they could realize.  And when Circle members demonstrated the easy washing and care routine, they were sold.  In addition to complimentary copies of Mothering magazine, volunteers handed out brochures about cloth diapering, including a list of upcoming meetings and a link to the group's website.

This is the third major public event that the group has done so far.  With a couple of new volunteer Leaders in training, the San Diego Real Diaper Circle hopes to further expand their outreach efforts and get even more SoCal babies into cloth diapers in the coming year!

Real Diaper Circle opens in Belfast, Maine

Recently, the Real Diaper Association accredited Angela Domenichelli of Belfast, Maine as a Real Diaper Circle Leader.  She held her first Real Diaper Circle meeting in a local midwife's office.  They discussed diapering while traveling, rashes, night time diapering, why they chose cloth, potty learning & Elimination Communication, asthma & diapers, diaper systems, and cloth diaper advocacy.

The next meeting will include a diaper show & tell, tips for washing & stain removal, and comparisons about the life of various diaper components.

If you're in the Waldo County area, contact for more information.  Keep up the good work, Angela!

New Real Diaper Circle in the Twin Cities!

The Real Diaper Association is proud to introduce our newest Real Diaper Circle Leader, Elizabeth Wickoren of the Twin Cities, Minnesota!

Elizabeth has been working in cloth diaper advocacy for a while already.  She founded a non-profit called Teeny Greenies that lends a day's worth of cloth diapers to anyone in the local community who is interested in trying cloth diapering. The focus of Teeny Greenies is getting diapers in people's hands and homes to try them out.

Her focus for the Real Diaper Circle of the Twin Cities is on creating a place for cloth diapering parents to meet others and exchange information and support. It will also be a way for new local families to explore and learn about cloth diapering.

The two organizations should complement each other nicely and, together, put a lot more Twin Cities babies in cloth diapers!

Deductibility of Cloth Diapers

As a CPA currently working as a full-time mom to my twin girls, I have really enjoyed being able to put my accounting skills to use for the Real Diaper Association for a cause I am so passionate about. As the new Treasurer, I was very excited that right from my first meeting I was able to help out by researching a couple of tax related cloth diapering topics.

The first of these issues was whether or not parents had any support for deducting the cost of cloth diapers. It turns out that the issue is pretty clear cut and some very specific rules exist.  If cloth diapers have been prescribed for the "treatment of a disease", then parents can pay for them with funds from their flexible spending accounts or take their cost as  medical expense deduction. I got this information from IRS's  Publication 502, "Medical and Dental Expenses". Anyone who would like more information can find this publication at or should discuss this with the tax adviser or plan administrator. We'll be adding this information to our Real Diaper Facts at to help make parents aware of this potential tax savings if they're in this situation.

I hope this will be the first of many opportunities I'll have to share (what I hope is) helpful tips with other cloth diapering parents.

A message from RDA Executive Director, Heather McNamara

As my family continues to evaluate how we can live more responsibly and at a lower cost, we are constantly reminded of how well cloth diapering fits with these goals. We’ve taken this message to friends and family and, through the San Diego Real Diaper Circle, to our community. I am now tremendously proud to work with RDA to take the message even further!

RDA member volunteers, and especially the Board of Directors, have already done so much to advance our mission of getting more babies into cloth diapers. But in the current environment, I believe we have a special opportunity, and responsibility, to do even more. Families are looking for leads on how to live in these changing times and we have a great answer for them.

To get the message out, though, I’m going to need your help! In the coming weeks and months, I plan to begin tapping some of you to assist on various projects for RDA. If you have ideas on something you can do now, please contact me - I look forward to working closely with many of you.

Additionally, we need to grow our membership to support our work and take advantage of every opportunity. Please spread the word about RDA and encourage your friends and business partners to join our efforts.

I will keep you updated on our progress and successes. Thank you for your continued support and for joining with me to help this movement flourish!

Real Diaper Association at the King County Fair

RDA at the King County Fair The Real Diaper Association was invited to attend the King County Fair in Enumclaw, Washington for the entire 3 days of July 18th, 19th & 20th. In 2008, King County decided to "go green", and wanted RDA present - and of course, we said yes!

The KCF green theme echoed throughout the grounds, and everything from rain catchment for recycling water, to Park Rangers speaking of wildlife environment, to stainless steel water bottles were present. This made it a wonderful setup to advocate for reusable, real cloth diapers.

The response from fairgoers was so exuberant, I decided to take video shorts to compile why they chose cloth.

Tom Watson at RDA Booth

During the fair we met many wonderful people, including the founder of Sew Up Seattle, who helped RDA get in touch with Goods for the Planet, so we now have a new location for diaper circles right in downtown Seattle.

We even had a chance to see Tom Watson, King County Solid Waste Division Manager! He has been a partner and supporter of RDA for many years, and includes cloth diapers in his presentations regarding solid waste.

It was a wonderful fair, and thank you to all those that stopped by to share and learn! Excited to go back next year,

Maya Board member, Real Diaper Association Real Diaper Circle Leader since 2004 Organizing advocates and activists for cloth diapering


Beach Babies Love the Earth!

The new San Diego Real Diaper Circle hosted a hugely successful booth at the San Diego EarthFair 2008 on April 20th. We had a beautiful day and the fair was very well attended. Our prime location in the Children’s Area drew a lot of visitors to our booth. Photobucket

Over the course of the day, ten volunteers (and several experienced visitors) spoke with hundreds of potential cloth-diaperers, answering questions, showing off a wide variety of diapers, and demonstrating various aspects of cloth diaper use and care. Thanks to the generous donations of several local suppliers, we were even able to change a number of babies out of disposables and put them in cloth on the spot! We supplied visitors with general information about cloth diapering (provided by the Real Diaper Association), a copy of the Cloth Diaper Comeback issue of Mothering Magazine, coupons from local retailers, and a San Diego-specific Local Resources Guide.

- Heather McNamara, San Diego Real Diaper Circle Leader,