Why do I cloth diaper?

There has been much ado about my choice to cloth diaper my kids. I've had to field weird questions and surprisingly ignorant remarks from many people, although now that I've found many other parents who share the same passion (some of whom I helped convert to cloth diapers ;p), I've found that I've needed to explain  myself a lot less. That being said, I hope this post helps to educate at least one more person about why I, as a mother, have chosen to cloth diaper my children.




A little background on how I came to know about cloth diapers. My brother & I were fully cloth-diapered when we were babies. The only reason, according to my mother, was financial constraints. So I grew up knowing that I was in cloth once all those years ago. When I was pregnant with Aqil in the US, my mom sent over a box of baby stuff - including old-fashion flat cloth diapers (also known as lampin in Malay). When she came over a few months later, she showed me how to fold them...and I promptly informed her that it takes too much time, I'm lazy and I will just use disposable diapers.



Come August 10, 2007, I became a mother. Between a difficult start to breastfeeding and my baby's short stay in the NICU, I could not be bothered to think about researching diapering options. As far as I knew, the flat diapers are cloth diapers, and all other diapers were disposable. Boy, was I ignorant!

Cut to four months later. My kid was having to endure frequent diaper rashes, despite my strict 2-hour rule (baby must be changed every two hours and cannot be allowed to stay in a diaper for any longer than that). Add to that the huge expense that we incurred from the use of high-end disposable diapers, and the amount of trash we had to throw out every single day. I knew there had to be a better way! Coincidentally at this time I was active on the TBW forum. Many of the mamas on there practiced other natural parenting techniques, including cloth diapers. I couldn't fathom why these mothers would put themselves through the inconvenience of folding flat diapers at every change...so I started doing some research.



I was so surprised by the huge range of options when it comes to cloth diapers. Prefolds, pockets, all-in-ones, wool covers, PUL covers...my oh my! After a week of researching, I ended up getting more and more confused. So I turned to my friend, Jess, for some clarity. To this day, I credit her for converting me to use cloth diapers :) So around the time Aqil was 5 months old, he was in cloth diapers. Afraz started as soon as he got back from the hospital, at three days old.



So why do I use cloth diapers?
  • I am no longer literally throwing my money in the trash bin. If I were to calculate the price-per-use of my cloth diapers (which gets LOWER with every use) versus the price-per-unit of disposable diapers (which always stays the same), the clear winner would be cloth! CLICK HERE for a basic comparison of dispos VS cloth in terms of $$$, and CLICK HERE for a personalized calculation for dispos VS cloth.
  • I've noticed that the frequency of diaper rashes in my kids are much less when wearing cloth diapers. I change them every 2-3 hours no matter what diaper they are wearing, so there's no difference there. I admit that this might have something to do with their sensitive skin, as opposed to the inferiority of dispos, but its one of the main reasons I stick to cloth.
  • On a similar note, I think that cloth diapers are more comfortable against my kids' bottoms that disposables. There are a few reasons for this. I used to use disposable pads during menstruation. For that one week that I am menstruating, I have to put up with major discomfort on my va-jay-jay - disposable pads caused rashes, made me feel hot (in a bad way) and always felt scratchy, no matter what brand I tried. So the thought of putting my kid in disposable diapers always brought back memories of that, and they have to put up with it for much longer than I do - I can't imagine going 24/7/365 for 2-3yrs with that feeling. YUCK! Also, Aqil is old enough to tell me that he finds dispos really uncomfortable. And apparently it gives him wedgies (which happened to me too).
  • It really is better for the environment. Ever since I became a mother, this saying has held a lot of importance to me and has become a profound influence on my life: "We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors; we borrow it from our children". I'd like to do my best to make sure that my children and grandchildren don't end up living amongst landfills full off feces- and urine-filled disposable diapers that they had themselves used as babies.
  •  Cloth diapers are SO CUTE! They come in myriad patterns, and allow for customization of your baby's style ;) Disposable diapers are so...generic. Anyone who likes to flaunt individual style would love the stylishness of cloth diapers. Plus their cuteness makes diaper changes a little more exciting (which diaper shall I put him in this time?)
  • I don't have to worry about running out of diapers. If I see my "inventory" is low, I just wash a few diapers and I'm ready to go. When I had a dryer, it was even easier because I knew that within an hour (half hour to wash, half hour to dry), my kid would have diapers to use. No need to go out in the middle of the night and/or during a blizzard or a thunderstorm to find diapers at the supermarket only to find out they've run out of stock for your kid's size! Plus I use mostly one-size diapers (that can be used from newborn-to-toddlerhood), which means I never have to worry about wasting unused diapers when my kids get bigger and move up a size (I had to give away a whole carton of newborn-sized disposable diapers because Aqil grew out of them so quickly and I didn't get to use them).
  • Using one-size diapers means my kids can share diapers. Having two babies in diapers could've done a lot to my wallet, but since they are both in cloth diapers AND they share most of their diapers, I've saved a lot of money. 


These are just my own personal reasons for using cloth diapers for my two sons. Other people may have different reasons to use them, or even NOT to use them, but for our family, cloth diapers work. And plus, cloth diapers are way more glam than disposable diapers, and no one can argue with that! ;)

Vacay!

I just got back from vacation, which should explain my absence. It was wonderful, albeit tiring, to travel across continents with my two lil ones (sans husband). I must admit it was definitely more difficult being a glam mama when I was jetlagged and exhausted from getting zero sleep on the flights. That being said, I'm glad I took the time to put my face paint on for vacation pics!

Here are a few choice pictures of me doing what I love most - breastfeeding and babywearing...and mostly doing both at once ;) My other passion - cloth diapers - aren't pictured because, sadly, we didn't use any the entire duration. There was no convenient laundering solution, and there was also very little space in our bags to put them. I was kinda sad about that since I was planning to blog about how to cloth diaper on vacation :/

Anyhoo, onto the NIP (nursing in public) pictures!




That's me feeding Afraz his lunch at Garfunkel's while the
adults (and his big brother) were eating our lunch.

My tips? While on vacation, make life easier by wearing comfortable, easy-to-use, nursing tops. Also, practice nursing discreetly at home - figure out how big the nursing opening needs to be for your babe to nurse comfortably, and also how to prevent your baby from getting too distracted by other things (and subsequently unlatching frequently). The weeks before your vacation is also a great time to introduce nursing manners, if you haven't already. This means teaching them not to bite, pinch, lift your shirt, etc. Anything that has been annoying you will lead to an all-out meltdown when you're stressed out by other things on vacation.


That's me nursing Afraz in his carseat
and protecting my putera lilin's (a boy who doesn't like
being exposed to the sun's rays) eyes from the sun.

I am a firm believer that babies and toddlers need to be in carseats for their safety and the safety of others in the car, no matter what the legal status of carseat use is in a particular country.So what to do when your baby is in the carseat and needs to nurse? This is something I do often, not just on vacation, so I had it mastered already. As with other things, practice makes perfect. Nursing tops or loose tops that can be lifted easily, are ideal for this. Just perch yourself onto the side of the carseat, and latch your baby on! For older babies in front-facing carseats, you could probably distract them with other snacks, which brings me to another important thing for traveling with kids: BRING FOOD. Lots and lots and lots and lots of food.



That's me nursing Afraz in a sling in a couple of locations in London.

First of all, babywearing while vacationing in a big city is a no-brainer. It makes life infinitely easier and much more convenient. Learning to nurse your baby in a sling makes vacation an absolute breeze! Practice nursing your baby in your sling of choice (find pictures and videos of how to do this on TheBabywearer and YouTube) before you go on vacation. If you'd like some privacy while latching on, just turn away towards a wall or something, and once your baby is latched on, go on and walk around knowing your baby is being nourished while you spend all your savings on shopping.



Thanks to Iva for pointing out this statue! Its a statue in front of Buckingham Palace.

This statue is mentioned here (thanks, Julie!). During my research, I found a quote on this blog:
"...I sat at the steps of the statue facing the palace, if the Queen had chosen to look out of her state balcony she would have seen not one, but two breatfeeding mothers one alive and kicking and the other? A statue, for the one above me is of a women breastfeeding her toddler!!! If the Monarch of our realm can look out at this everyday if she so wishes why can't the rest of this prudish country get over it and stop harassing women for doing the natural, most beneficial, most wonderful thing for their children..."
Couldn't have said it better myself!

So, go on and have a glamorous vacation with your babies. If I can do it, any glam mama can!