What to expect (with cloth diapers) when you’re expecting…

What to expect (with cloth diapers) when you’re expecting…

One of the 2010 Real Diaper Association annual goals was to update our research related to diapering. Our Diaper Facts page continues to be the most frequently accessed page on our site, and I am proud that it is the most thorough, and thoroughly-cited, compilation of research on cloth diapers out there. But it doesn’t stay up-to-date on its own. So, what have I been up to lately?

Working with a couple of librarian volunteers who have found dozens of published research papers related to diapering, I am reading and compiling useful information that we will eventually make public via our WhatAWaste.info site. In the meantime, I’m immersed in papers on diaper choice and the health and environmental implications of diapers. I honestly haven’t seen anything really new in the latter two categories, but there is some really useful information regarding diaper choice out there. I’m hoping we can use it to design and focus future studies on how to effectively influence diaper choice.

One thing that seems clear is that most cloth diaper decisions are made prior to a babies’ birth1,2. In fact, cloth diaper choice is usually one made earlier in pregnancy, with disposable diaper choice being made at the end or after birth. While this makes sense based on the amount of conversions I seem to get when talking about cloth diapers in childbirth classes, it is still somewhat revealing as I also hear many anecdotal examples of people switching to cloth diapers months (or even years) after their baby is born. This suggests that it would be most useful for Real Diaper Circle Leaders and volunteers to work with childbirth educators, midwives and OB/GYNs to reach the prenatal crowd when they’re still in the decision-making process.

If you know someone involved in the prenatal business in your community, you too can reach out and offer to teach them or their clients about reusable cloth diapers. Many times, all it takes is a personal connection/resource to get people started! Good luck!

Heather McNamara
Executive Director, Real Diaper Association

Rockney RM, Culpepper L, Figueira GC, et al. Diaper Choice: Too Costly to Bury. Clin Pediatr 1991;30:472. http://cpj.sagepub.com/content/30/8/472 

2 Uzzell D, Leach R. The Implementation and Evaluation of Cotton Nappy Provision at East Surrey Hospital Maternity Unit. 2003. http://www.surrey.ac.uk/Psychology/EPRG/files/Nappy%20Study.pdf

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