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An Open Letter to the White House on the Diaper Divide

Today the White House published a blog post titled the “Diaper Divide," calling attention to the fact that many low income families struggle to afford the high cost of diapers for their children. While we were pleased to see this discussion raised by the highest branch of government, we were also disappointed that cloth diapers were not mentioned.  Cloth diapers are economical, safe, and convenient, and they can bridge the Diaper Divide. 

We know that for many families, the cost of disposable diapers can be prohibitive. Our RDA Circle Leaders have heard firsthand stories of low income families forced to choose between purchasing food, or diapers.  Often economic necessity causes these families to stretch the use of their disposable diapers beyond what is sanitary or safe for their babies. It does not have to be this way!

Cloth diapering is a viable and reasonable choice for families, especially for those that struggle to make ends meet.

Cloth diapers can be significantly more affordable than even the cheapest disposable options. The White House blog post estimated a cost of $936 annually per child in disposable diapers. Considering that babies are typically in diapers for at least two years, this adds up to almost $2,000 just for diapers for one child. That is a lot of money!

There are many different cloth diapering solutions that are considerably more affordable.

For example, a full set (2 dozen) of economical pre-folds, water proof covers (6) and fasteners can be purchased for under $300. This money saving system can be used throughout the entire diaper period for a child, and can also be reused for subsequent children.  

For families in extreme need, reusing textiles such as a cotton t-shirt, or simple flour sack towels, in place of pre-folds can lessen this cost even further. While it may seem outrageous at first to suggest this as a viable option, please keep in mind that every diaper, whether disposable, or cloth, consists solely of a waterproof layer, and an absorbent layer.  Knowledge of a simple folding method, coupled with a waterproof diaper cover, can provide families with an effective, and exceptionally economical, diapering solution. Our board member, Janice Roodsari, RN, recently demonstrated this simple method in a video which you may find interesting:  https://www.facebook.com/janice.roodsari/videos/10206593875358523/

The benefits of using cloth diapers are not only economical.

We know that natural fibers are better for infant skin, and cloth diapers are a sustainable and green alternative to the waste of disposable diapers, which remain in our landfills for many hundreds of years. Far too often low income families bear the additional burden of excessive toxic pollutants in their communities due to their disadvantaged economic status. Lowering exposure to chemicals is a benefit to all children, but it is especially important for low income children who are often over-exposed in comparison to their more affluent counterparts.

Recent political efforts to pass diaper subsidy legislation is a good first step.  In California, Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez, (D-Chula Vista)  recently introduced two diaper subsidy bills aimed at reducing the economic burden of CAL-WORK participants. Unfortunately, just like the White House blog post today, cloth diapers aren't even mentioned. The Real Diaper Association (RDA) and the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA), the trade association for cloth diaper businesses, are working to get cloth diapers included in the language of these bills

Advocating for economical diapering options for low income families without including cloth diapers in the discussion, limits money saving opportunities for the families who need it most. 

The Real Diaper Association has many resources available to assist families from all walks of life to successfully use cloth diapers. Families interested in trying out a cloth diaper can attend their local Great Cloth Diaper Change event on April 23, 2016 and see for themselves just how great cloth diapers are. We have tip sheets on laundry troubleshooting, advice for families who use laundromats, hand washing guides, resources for cloth diapering on a budget, upcycling textiles, using cloth in daycares, and much more! 

As the White House rolls out its Community Diaper Program, we call on the administrators of the program to include cloth diapers in their strategy to expand access to diapering solutions for low income families. The RDA is eager to assist in that effort as well. 

~Michelle Dominguez

Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

 


Hosting a Great Cloth Diaper Change Made Simple!

Greenfields WA, 2015 GCDC event2016 seems to be flying by, February is almost over! Registration for the Great Cloth   Diaper Change is currently open, with the event taking place Saturday, April 23rd at 11:00 a.m. local time. April seems to be far into the future, but we have less than 9 weeks before the big day. It takes time and organization to create a successful GCDC event, so the time to get started is NOW!       

With a little bit of planning, you can help us beat last year’s score of 7,441 participants. What does it take to host a successful GCDC event? Honestly, you’ll be surprised how easy it is host this event in your local community. You get to decide how big you want to go. Your event can be large, with vendors and entertainment, or it can be a simple play-date with other families. The main focus is to bring awareness to reusable cloth diapers. To help jump-start you on the path to a successful GCDC, we’ve provided a few ideas that will keep you organized in the months to come.

  • Make planning this event a breeze by inviting others to help you plan your GCDC event. Invite friends and family, but also other parents who have cloth diapered or are interested in learning. There are no requirements for volunteers, other than their willingness to help. Delegating some tasks to volunteers can help you plan your GCDC event and eliminate many hassles.

  • Decide on the type of event you want to organize. Committing to a size at the beginning will help make planning easier.

  • Make a list of locations where the event can take place. Look into spaces that have plenty of square footage, ample parking spots. and most importantly are budget friendly. Partner with a local business to utilize a meeting room to avoid the cost of renting a location. If you’re a business owner, start thinking about space you already have. Imagine how you will rearrange your space to make room for the diaper change. Outdoor events are often economical and can provide a great backdrop for pictures, weather permitting.

  • Once you’ve decided where the event will take place, you can decide what other businesses or groups you’d like to invite to the event. You’ll be surprised how many businesses will support this event financially, by renting vendor tables, donating door prizes, or partnering with to cross promote your event throughout their local networks. You should definitely invite local stores that sell cloth diapers, business that make cloth diaper friendly body care products, and groups that support cloth diapers such as a natural parenting group to join your event. But don’t limit your list to only cloth diaper related businesses. Open your search to any business that could benefit by marketing themselves to families at your event.

  • Lastly, make sure to register for the event! Once you are registered, share the news by creating a Facebook event that can be easily shared with friends and local businesses. News spreads fast when people find out that the GCDC is happening in their local town.

To find more helpful hints and to see what other hosts are doing for their GCDC event, head over to the GCDC Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/greatclothdiaperchange/).

As we near April, look forward to more newsletters that are packed full of helpful hints that will aid you in creating a successful GCDC.  Remember, the only way to change diapers is one baby at a time!

- Erica Garvin

Erica has been a Real Diaper Circle Leader of The Farthest North Real Diaper Circle for the past 2 years. This will be her first year hosting a GCDC event in Fairbanks, Alaska, which has a large cloth diapering community. 

(Image thanks to Greenfields WA, 2015 GCDC event)


Introducing Michelle Dominguez: Our New Executive Director!

Michelle Domingues, Real Diaper Association Executive DirectorPlease join the RDA board in welcoming Michelle Dominguez as our new Executive Director! Michelle has been a vocal cloth diaper advocate since switching her two babies to cloth in 2008. She had two children in cloth at the same time for over a year, laundering all their diapers at home, while also working part time. Often when people learned that she had her children in cloth diapers, she was met with astonishment and questions of, “Isn’t that hard?” and, “You wash them too?!” Michelle was always proud to reply that not only was cloth diapering easy, it was personally rewarding to her as well, as there are few things more satisfying during the infancy period, than a pile of freshly laundered diapers, ready to be used on a sweet baby. Michelle was always quick to point out that sustainable cloth diapers are best for babies, and the planet, which in turn means they’re good for parents too.

Professionally, Michelle has extensive event planning and non-profit program management experience, and she enjoys working directly with people through community organizing, education, and advocacy projects. She has worked for a variety of environmental organizations, including Greenpeace USA, and the Environmental Action Foundation, the original organizers of Earth Day. Her passion for civil rights and economic justice were honed through her work teaching English and Spanish literacy to immigrant communities, and during her time working for the nation’s largest Hispanic civil rights organization, the National Council of La Raza.

Michelle began working for RDA in late 2012 as an assistant organizer for the 2013 Great Cloth Diaper Change. Since 2015, she has taken the lead role in coordinating our annual fundraising and advocacy event. She is excited to step into the role of Executive Director for RDA and will bring her enthusiasm, and dedication to our mission of creating a cultural shift to increase the use of simple, sustainable cloth diapers. Michelle’s goals of growing the organization, and increasing our funding, will enable RDA to strengthen our capacity to support cloth diapering families. Like us, Michelle truly believes that all babies deserve to wear real 100% reusable cloth diapers. 

We are thrilled to bring Michelle's depth of experience and expertise to the RDA. 

Michelle can be reached at Michelle at realdiaperassociation dot org

Angela Torres
Chairperson, Real Diaper Association


Sharing My Cloth Diaper Love

As a new board member I wanted to write a brief “Get to Know Me” type post, and with today being Valentine’s Day it seems like an appropriate day to talk about why I love cloth diapering.  I have been using cloth diapers for almost 5 years now, starting full time at about 2 weeks with my first baby, and I have loved every minute of it….  Yes even the laundry.  The Big 3 Benefits of cloth diapering are pretty well known and discussed inside our cloth community and beyond.  Better for Baby, Better for Budget, Better for Our Environment.  And I love cloth diapering for those reasons and more!

I love knowing that I am keeping harsh chemicals like fragrances, SAP, and toxins away from my baby’s bottom.  I mean I am not a perfect mom, and my kids have definitely eaten something that was on the floor for longer than 3 seconds, but I love that I am at least doing a little something to keep their skin and bodies healthy.

Top: J at 3 months, H at 3 hours old, Me and My Mom in 1980, A at 3 days old. Bottom: J (2 yrs) with H (2 months) and  H (2 yrs) with A (2 months)I love saving money.  I love having enough money in my bank account to pay for utilities, and groceries, and soccer teams, and skating lessons, and preschool, and even mommy’s occasional Starbucks.  Cloth diapering has saved us so much money over the past 4+ years that we are able to pay for the little extras, and even some necessities along the way.

I love knowing that I am doing a small part to help our environment, even if it just not adding almost 1 ton of garbage to the landfill per child in two years of diapering.  I try my best to remember to recycle, and turn the water off when I brush my teeth, and bring my reusable bags to the grocery with me, but cloth diapering is an easy, no brainer way for me work to decrease my family’s impact on our shared environment.

I am a creature of comfort and I love that I know each time I put on a cloth diaper it will fit and it will work.  I don’t worry about leaks or poopy blowouts.  I don’t worry about him growing out of the diapers and wasting half of a box because I need to size up.

I love the history and family tradition involved in cloth diapering.  I was cloth diapered as baby, as was my mother, and grandmother, and so on.  My mother used cloth in the early 1980’s because they could not afford disposables… and because she has always been a little bit crunchy- extended breastfeeding, baby led-weaning, co sleeping, and even using a handmade baby carrier.  I love that connection we have.  I love that when I had my first child I thought it would be easier to just use the newborn diapers the hospital gave us, but the day we brought him home my mom started putting prefolds on him. I love that when I took her to the cloth diaper boutique, I was so excited to show her all in ones and fancy pockets, and she stood at the demo table in awe of the snappi; such a simple tool would have made her cloth diapering journey so much easier- and she would not have pinned me to my diaper.

I love that my youngest is wearing diapers that my oldest wore, and that I can take adorable sibling pictures with matching diapers.

I love that I can color coordinate my baby’s diaper to their outfits. I love that I can use adorable diaper prints and colors to celebrate the holidays.  I love that my children have a unique keepsake with their themed First Birthday Diapers.

I love that everyone can use cloth diapers.  I love that cloth diapers can be made out of t-shirts and bed sheets and blankets.  I love that families can donate their gently used cloth diapers to other families in need of diapers.  I love that there are several national and local cloth diaper banks that work hard to help alleviate diaper need in our country and provide struggling families with the ability to save money in their budget that would have literally gone in the garbage.

And I am not the only person that LOVES cloth diapering… When I asked my fellow circle leaders and moms why they loved cloth diapering, they shared their many reasons with me:

“I love how timeless and simple they are. My grandmother used prefolds, and so did I. I love the continuity across generations. Every time I pinned a soft cotton prefold on my babe, I felt connected to all the moms before me. (sappy perhaps, but seriously true.)”- Michelle, RDA Board

“I love that by diapering their little sister, I am teaching her elder siblings that even babies can do their part in taking care of the environment. Also I love that I don't have to buy disposables that go right in the garbage. As a single mom, it's important that our one income not go straight in the trash!!” –Tatiana, Círculo de Pañales de Tela Guadalajara

“I love how #realdiapers were the gateway to daily mindfulness of what and how we use things in our home.” -Angela, Northern Virginia Real Diaper Circle

Some were inspired to write poetry to express their feelings:

Ode to Cloth Diapering By Emily (Real Diaper Circle of Butler County)

C is for Convenient; no midnight diaper runs for me,
L is for Laundry; so much easier than I thought it would be
O is for On the Bum; cute prints and bright colors galore
T is for Tree Hugger; adding to the garbage mounds no more
H is for Happy, Healthy, and Home; I have saved some much money and time, I could write this little poem!

Diaper Poem by Kristen (Real Diaper Circle of Rhode Island)

Roses are red and violets are blue,
My diaper does not go in the trash...I have a diaper stash.


Dear Trash Collector by Zoe (Lehigh Valley Diaper Circle)

Dear my trash collector, let me make your load lighter

‘Cos my baby's in her hemp and cotton, makin' our world so much brighter.



And one even wrote a song to profess her love. (Amy of the Real Diaper Circle of Metro Vancouver) 
 

So Happy Valentine’s Day and go forth to spread the love of cloth!

 
Post Written by Emily Kuhn

Circle Leader for Real Diaper Circle of Butler County (OH) & RDA Board of Directors Member
 

 


Laundromat Challenge: What We Learned

Last Fall Real Diaper Association many volunteers and circle members took on the Laundromat Challenge: Wash your diapers in a shared, coin operated laundry facility for one load or more.

But why?  Well for three reasons: 

1. To gain first hand experience, 2. To provide better support to families who wash using shared coin-laundry machines, and 3. Because we enjoy a good challenge!


Our goal was to use the data collected to create a Tip Sheet that would share an evidence based wash routine and advice for/from real families using coin-operated, shared machines. Many times lack of in home, private laundry facilities are listed as a reason that cloth is not a viable option; whether on vacation, during a transition or in daily life. These results will help put these myths to rest.

 

Challenge participants used shared, coin operated machines in various settings: local Laundromat, apartment complex laundry room, and hotel guest laundry facilities. They collected the following information on each wash/dry cycle:

 

•type of machines offered for public wash and dry use

•length of time per cycle

•cost per cycle

•wash routine used

•diaper stash

*thoughts, suggestions, and advice on doing cloth diaper laundry in a public facility.


So what did we find out?


 

•Average wash cycle: 36 minutes

•Average cost per wash cycle: $2.5

•Average cost to dry: 50 cents per 10 minute

•Most people used a combination of machine and hang dry

 

We found that one-week of washing at Laundromat costs: $7-$10 (depending on drying options and local costs) compared to average of $15 per week for disposable diapers  *This does not account for the initial investment into a cloth stash. If you invest in $300 worth of diapers, you will save approximately $500-$900 over disposable, depending on drying style and local costs. 

 

All types of diapers were washed successfully, although flats and prefolds were the most common. All types of fabric were washed successfully, although cotton was the most common.


The majority of respondents found success with pre-rinsing diapers at home in toilet/laundry sink/bath tub, to help reduce number of cycles needed at Laundromat.

Every respondent said using a shared, coin operated facility was a viable option for cloth families and most recommended planning ahead like: knowing your services and machines available, time management, ensuring you have a place to hang dry (if you want to,) and focusing the cloth diaper stash on easy to wash/use flats and covers.

 

We used these results and respondents’ comments to create a recommended wash routine for families using shared laundries. This routine is based on laundry science and the WATCH formula which came out of a collaboration between the RDA and Steven Tinker, Senior Vice President of Research & Development and Marketing at Gurtler Industries, Inc., former president of the American Reusable Textile Association and a founding member the Healthcare Laundry Accreditation Council.


Wash Routine

 

1.Dump solids in toilet.

 

2. Rinse/wring out soiled diapers in tub/sink prior to going to facility. Adding little detergent to your rinse can help lift and release top layer of soiling. We suggest 25% of amount used in main load it rinsing all diapers at once. 

 

3. Wash on warm with enough detergent to clean your load size. Industrial washers sometimes heat water internally and may heat above 150* on Hot. Choose the largest capacity washer that will fit your load. Adding a couple of towels can help increase agitation.
 

4. Rinse: Most industrial machines will do 3-4 rinses for each wash cycle, so no need for additional rinses. If you are using a standard machine, like could be found in an apartment complex, add an extra rinse.

 

5. Hang dry at home to save time (and money.) If you choose to use a machine start with 20 minutes on low heat and add time as needed.
 

SEE OUR NEW SHARED FACILITY LAUNDRY TIP SHEET HERE!

 

Our challenge respondents had some additional tips and advice for those using shared machines: 

 

  • If rinsing after each change, store diapers in open pail or open wetbag to help prevent mold. 

 

  • Use a bath towel or two to help bulk up the load and increase agitation in front loading machines. 

 

  • Check the detergent dispenser. If you can see residue you might want place detergent directly in drum, even with liquid. This helps to prevent residue and gunk from other detergents and laundry additives transferring to your diapers.

 

  • Wiping out the inside drum with damp cloth before wash cycle may reduce the transfer of unwanted detergents or soaps used by others. 

 

  • Build a diaper stash with diaper fabrics and styles that are easier to wash: like cotton and hemp, and flats or prefolds with covers. 

 

  • Wool covers and boosters are a great addition to your stash since they do not require machine washing. 

 

  • Be sure to build a stash with enough diapers to last between trips to the laundry facility. 

 

  • Use everyday household items like t-shirts, flour sack towels, or other cotton items to help increase your stash size and stretch time between trips to the laundry. 

 

  • Some facilities offer Top Loading machines: HE Top Loaders (with reduced or no agitator) can hinder creating an adequate amount of agitation. Refer to the RDA’s Watch Formula to see how to make possible adjusts to your routine. 


Many families wash in shared laundries successfully on a regular basis, in emergencies-like when your washer breaks- or while on vacation. If you find yourself in using a shared machine, we hope these findings will help you clean your diapers.

If you have washed cloth diapers in a shared facility, what tips or advice do you have for other families?

 

- Emily Kuhn

Real Diaper Circle Leader & RDA Board of Directors Member


Lead in Water Crisis

The Real Diaper Association is deeply saddened by the ‪#‎FlintWaterCrisis‬ in Michigan where the water has been tainted with lead. After seeing a post from a mother, questioning if it was safe to use their cloth diapers, the RDA quickly took action to see how we could help. I reached out to my friend Tamara Rubin, founder of the Lead Safe America Foundation, to see what we could do. 

 We are asking families to bring diapers they believe are contaminated with lead to Tamara's film screening, so that she can test the diapers with her XRF lead testing gun. The film being screened is "MISLEAD America's Secret Epidemic". I have been lucky enough to see a screening myself and it is imperative that families learn about the dangers of lead exposure - espeically to young children. 

 

Location: Flint Institute of Art at 7 pm, 1120 East Kearsly Street, Flint Michigan 

Monday January 25th, 2016 at 7PM

It's FREE and open to the public and the theater has 300 seats! Doors open at 6:45 pm

RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/special-engagement-preview-screening-of-mislead-in-flint-michigan-tickets-21013369554

Free lead test kits and water testing kits will be available on a first come first serve basis.

  

We are also asking cloth diapering families that have lead poisoned children currently eliminating lead (with clean water) to attend the event and bring their diapers for testing as well. Please comment on the event page if you will be bringing diapers for testing and which circumstance you fall under. We want to do everything we can to make sure you have safe diapers for your children. 

  Please see LeadSafeAmerica.org for further information on how Lead Safe America will be helping the families of the #FlintWaterCrisis.

  Here is what we know. We need your diapers tested to see if there is, in fact, lead remaining on the diapers after washing.

  The diapers in question are either:

  A) Diapers washed in lead contaminated water or

  B) Diapers contaminated with lead from babies currently eliminateing lead from a previous lead poisoning

  If the diapers do have residual lead in them, they are not safe for use until the lead is removed.

  How do you remove lead from diapers? This is a great question. We reached out to Mr. Steven Tinker Senior Vice President Research & Development, Marketing Gurtler Industries, Inc., a laundry science expert, for his advice. The following is his response:

  "Lead can be 'isolated' in water by a chemical process (called chelation) in which specific chemicals will react with the Lead, keep it soluble, preventing it from precipitating, so that the Lead can be rinsed away, rather than precipitate (react with other chemicals and form a solid) that will adhere to the fabric.

  EDTA is a well known lead chelant.
 
  ... I would suggest that you instruct your contacts to search for a consumer water softening additive that contains EDTA. ..."
 
  Unfortunataly, we have not yet been able to find a confirmed consumer product that contains EDTA. We are still researching other ways that we may be able to help. Please reach out to us at the Real Diaper Association with questions and testing results from Monday's film screening and diaper testing at: info at realdiaperassociation dot com.

  Here are some RDA blog posts that will help if you find yourself in need of new diapers:

  USING CLOTH DIAPERS ON A BUDGET

  CLOTH DIAPER BANKS - HELPING FAMILIES IN NEED GET STARTED 

  What can you do?

  Share this post so that more families in Michigan will know about their resources and the film screening!

 

  Our thoughts are with you. Everyone deserves clean water and every baby deserves toxin free diapers.

  With love,

  Janice & the entire Real Diaper Association Board of Directors


Meet our newest board member!

Emily Kuhn, Real Diaper Association Board Member

Please join us in welcoming Emily Kuhn, Circle Leader for the Real Diaper Circle of Bulter County and newest member of the Real Diaper Association Board of Directors. 

A former elementatary school teacher, Emily holds a BS in Early Childhood Education, MEd in Curriculum Development and Teacher Leadership and began PhD research before deciding to stay home with her children. 

Emily lives in Ohio with her husband and three cloth diapered boys. Before starting their family, Emily and her husband knew that they wanted to limit their children from being exposed to unnecessary chemicals. It wasn't long before Emily was educating others about the value of cloth diapers and reducing diaper need for families with financial burdens. Her current passion is teaching, 'Found Diapering: how to use household items to diaper for free' to help families save money and time while using cloth diapers.

In 2015 Emily saw a need for more cloth diaper support and education in her community and became an RDA circle leader. We are excited to see how Emily's talent, enthusiasm, and creativity helps us grow!

Angela Torres
Chair, Real Diaper Association

 


“Every Little Touch Counts” Remembering Judy Aagard

Remembering Judy Aagard

 

Earlier this month we learned that the cloth diapering community lost a very special, long-time member. Judy Aagard owned Tiny Tots diaper service and baby boutique. The Real Diaper Association continues to benefit from her contributions to the real diaper community, most notably through the Great Cloth Diaper Change. Judy’s vision to have a record breaking cloth diapering event has grown exponentially to include communities all over the world and has become our largest advocacy and fundraising event. Her passion for cloth diapering and supporting new families will continue through her vision for years to come.

Judy once shared with us that “Every Little Touch Counts”. We will continue to honor her contributions by building local Real Diaper Circles around the world in order to support and “touch” our communities, face to face. We are grateful she touched us all.

 

Board of Directors
Real Diaper Association


Potty Learning With Cloth

If you didn’t use cloth diapers on your baby, you may think that it’s too late to take advantage of the many benefits of cloth. If you are just entering the potty learning stage, you’ll be glad to know that using cloth training pants will offer you both cost savings and decrease your negative impact on the environment!

Many parents choose to make a clear transition out of diapers and into underwear when it’s time for their child to use the toilet. It’s nice to have a backup plan of some sort when you first start leaving the house after your child has started to get the hang of using the toilet. This is where cloth training pants can come in handy. I really liked cloth trainers that had stretchy side panels so that my twins could pull the trainers up and down on their own. (This is where clothes that are easy to get on and off come in mighty handy also!) Many children in the potty learning age range have strong feelings about wanting to do things themselves, so getting a training pant or underwear that they can pull up and down by themselves is important.


Cloth trainers and/or cloth diapers can really come in handy when children are learning to hold their bladder overnight. This night time learning can take longer for many children and some children are much older before they have the ability to control their bladder while sleeping. Choosing a cloth diaper or trainer, depending on how much absorption is needed, can be a great way to transition your kiddo into “big kid nighttime underwear.” If your child is in underwear throughout the day, but still needs protection for overnight, you can save quite a bit of money by making the switch to cloth!

Who knows…. maybe using cloth trainers or diapers overnight, will lead you to using cloth diapers full time on your next baby!


Dudes Love Cloth Diapers Too!

The following interview is from Kristen Columbo. Kristen leads the Real Diaper Circle of Rhode Island and interviewed her husband for this post in our School of Cloth blog series.

Kristen & Joseph Columbo live in Rhode Island with their 2.5 year old twins, a boy and a girl.  They feel like they won the lottery when the babies were born and stay at home with them.  Kristen is a teacher and Joseph is a videographer and a CNA.  Their twins were born at 36 weeks 3 days weighing 6lbs 4oz and 5lbs 8 oz.  The babies have been wearing cloth diapers since they were 6 weeks old.  Kristen & Joseph never purchased a disposable diaper and are now helping their twins through potty learning.

Kristen: “When did you first start thinking about cloth diapers?” 

Joseph: “I watched a news show with all these diapers in a landfill.  It was 2012 and I think you were pregnant.  We didn’t even know we were having twins yet.  The news said that the diapers never decompose or it takes something like 400 years for them to go away.  That’s awful, so I thought about cloth diapers.  There had to have been improvements on them since we were kids.  Cloth diapers today could not be just a piece of cloth and a safety pin with a giant plastic bag over it.  I just wanted to not have to throw them away and make all that garbage.  It had to be easier than it used to be. If anything, it could be better than throwing them in the trash.  It seemed like a good idea, so I told you.” 

Kristen: “How did I react?” 

Joseph: “You brushed it off.  I don’t want to make you seem rude for your article, but you had an attitude.  You thought it was a stupid idea.  Ugh, Joey, you said….  You and your crazy ideas.  You always think I come up with something that will never work out.  You let me worry about those things, Joey, you said.  Cloth diapers...  For TWINS?  What is he thinking now, you said.  My husband is so cheap. You said those things.”

Kristen: “When did it change?”

Joseph: “After you looked cloth diapers up on line, you were sold harder than I was.  You were like, OMG these diapers are so CUTE.  I felt like oh no, we are really going to do this.  Maybe we shouldn’t.  I was talking about them and I was thinking oh no, I have a lot of bad ideas and now she is actually listening to me… oh no.  You showed me pictures of the diapers and they were cute but I was not as nuts as you were about them.  Look at this one its pink.  It’s green. You went up to the diaper store and saw them. New cloth diapers surprised me.  I knew they would be newer and different than a pin and a piece of cloth, but those ones we got are nice.  Snaps.  That was nice.”

Kristen: “When did you start using them?” 

Joseph: “The cloth diapers we had were way too big when the babies got here.   We used disposables at the beginning.  Is that bad?  We had a baby shower and no one knew about cloth diapers. People gave us diapers plus the hospital did too.  We had twins!  It was crazy!  I do not think I was quite ready for the cloth when they came home.  They were basically pooping water and mustard seeds anyways, so it was messy.  I wanted to make sure we had our heads wrapped around everything before we started cloth diapers but, I did not want to buy any disposables.  Once we ran out of disposables, that was it.  We were going to start cloth.  We started cloth diapering when the babies were just a few weeks old.  We never bought a disposable diaper ever.” 

Kristen: “How did the diapers work on little babies?”

Joseph: “I was surprised at how small they snapped up for little babies.  Sammy’s chicken legs did not quite fit at first, but that is because she was skinny.  Remember her chicken legs?  Mason had a problem with his butt for about 2 weeks when he was in disposables.  He liked the cloth diapers better.  They made his butt less red and I oiled him up with the coconut oil.  The diapers worked a lot better than I thought when the kids put on a few pounds.  Sammy was little.  She rolled over a lot and it was tough in the beginning because she pooped all over the place.” 

Kristen: “How was cloth diapering when the babies started eating solid foods?” 

Joseph: “Solid foods make poop firmer and less like watery mustard seeds.  This is what you do.  Hold the diaper up and shake the poop right off.  The bigger they get, the easier it is.” 

Kristen: “How is it to manage illnesses with cloth diapering?” 

Joseph: “Diarrhea is really hard.  Well, it is watery, but hard to manage.  You know what I mean.  It is probably hard with disposables too.  It must be terrible with disposables.  One good thing about the cloth diapers that I can say is that they really can hold a lot of diarrhea.  Wow, the diarrhea.  Make sure you write that.  You really don’t think there is any poop in there until it hits maximum capacity and then wow.  Sometimes, it overflows and I have to make a sprint for the nearest changing area.  Then, I have to go on a scavenger hunt looking for poop in the house.  Disposable diapers I don’t think those are the same.  You know when they are wet because they gap when they are full and babies look like little gangsters walking around the house with saggy pants.  Stay dry layers are great, no saggy pants and they keep babies from getting rashes.” 

Kristen: “What is your laundry routine?” 

Joseph: “I don’t mind helping with the laundry at all.  It makes me feel more responsible. My routine is actually the best.  I use my rubber gloves and a bag and make sure I clean the diapers really well before they go into the machine.  Once I learned to dump the poop before washing the diaper, it washed much better.” 

Kristen: “How do you troubleshoot problems with cloth diapers?” 

Joseph: “I follow my wife’s lead on this.  She does the research and development.  I‘m the guy who said ‘take a plane’ and my wife says, ‘Jet Blue.’  That’s what we go with.”

Kristen: “What type or style of diaper do you prefer?” 

Joseph: “I don’t like Velcro because the kids can get Velcro off easier and there is nothing worse than cleaning poop off from behind the couch.  Leave the diaper on.  Snaps are convenient.  Cleaning poop off the couch is inconvenient.  I only like pocket diapers.  Nothing else.  Those flippy diapers (all in ones) drive me nuts and take forever to dry.  The pieces are all over the place.  The stay dry layer is great because you can leave babies in the diaper for a long time before changing them if you add extra adsorbent layers.  That’s a dirty look.  I change them frequently.  That stay dry layer keeps them DRY.”

Kristen: “Do you have advice for dads regarding cloth diapers if they are unsure?” 

Joseph: “They will save a ton of money.  You do one load of laundry every 3 days for twins.  After you baby is done with them, take the diapers and sell them or use them again on another kid.  Learn how to sew and fix them.” 

Kristen: “You learned how to sew diapers?” 

Joseph: “Fixing diapers, yes.  It is a piece of cake.  They sell these little kits.  I bought a giant spool of elastic for way cheaper at the craft store and I can fix diapers now.  I do the pocket ones and the flippy ones (all in ones).  Watching TV, I am doing nothing anyways, so I pull out the thimble.  Then, I don’t have to worry about loose diapers. After, I fix them with my wife, I can sell them for a good price or hold my kids without getting wet from pee.” 

Kristen: “Any last words?”

Joseph: “Sometimes, I come home and I see that my wife just did a whole load of diapers start to finish and she is the hero.  Other times, I do a whole load of diapers start to finish and I am the hero.  It really is a team effort.” 


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