There is a debate going on all over the internet. It’s been going on for a while now. To cloth or not to cloth, that is the question.
Those of you who know us or have been around Inked in Colour for a while probably know that we are big cloth bum fans. I don’t write about it much, in fact I think we’ve only really written about it once or twice in the past seven months. I don’t write about it much because I really don’t see it as a big deal. There are a few reasons why we decided to use cloth instead of disposable nappies… and that’s that.
But, as I was trawling the internet in the early hours of the other night, I came across an article that made me sit up and take notice. The article, Nappy Days: Ditch the Disposables,written by Robin Barker, was interesting. I’ve never been a Robin Barker fan, I greatly disliked Baby Love (her very famous Australian baby book, it wasn’t my cup of tea. Her opinions in this article however, I agreed with. She has a very even, academic approach to the cloth debate and has some extremely practical suggestions for those considering cloth. It wasn’t the article however, but the comments that really got me riled up. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but there are some pretty ignorant, self-absorbed and completely ludicrous opinions out there that I find… upsetting, for lack of a
less profane better word.
So, instead of writing a post about why I think cloth nappies are awesome, and I do, I thought I’d bust a few of the cloth-nappy myths that were brought up in the comments on this article. Myths busted by a mama who is using cloth nappies right now, every day, not an armchair parenting expert who used (or chose not to use) cloth nappies in the past.
Here we go:
Cloth nappies are expensive: They can be, like everything there are expensive and inexpensive options on the market. I buy second hand. Always. It’s better for the environment and better for our budget. I have spent less than $300 on our nappy stash and it is big and diverse and perfect. We won’t need to buy any more, ever. This lot will do Bo and any babies to come in the future. Cost effective? $300 for the entire nappy-life span of my babies? Can’t argue with that.
Cloth nappies aren’t better for the environment: They are… to think they are not is just foolish. There is not much extra energy used to wash/dry the nappies. They do not go to landfill (please recycle, reuse and buy second hand – this makes ALL the difference too) and they do not get left in mothers rooms, in waterways, dumped on buses or trains – there is nothing worse than seeing disposable nappies discarded and not disposed of properly. If nothing else, using cloth stops people from doing this… Use disposables if you want to, but use them responsibly!
Cloth nappies use heaps more water: I don’t think so. Nappies are an extra two washes on average a week in our house. I wash them with the soiled bibs and baby clothes as well, which are loads of laundry we would have to do anyway. We wash only in cold water and we have NEVER had a problem.
The pins are a pain (and dangerous): There are no pins! Modern Cloth Nappies (MCN’s as they are known here in Australia) have no pins at all. They either have snaps or velcro. No sharp or stabby bits to speak of. Same goes for plastic pilchers etc. You can still use them but there is absolutely no need any more… all MCN’s are made with a waterproof lining already built into the nappy.
Cloth nappies leak: They only do if you haven’t fit them properly on your babe. We have had very few leaking problems. We use them on long car trips, in remote places, etc. And haven’t had a problem.
You will pay a fortune in extra detergent costs/chemical soakers: Wrong. You do not. Cloth nappies require plant based, natural detergents which are both inexpensive AND environmentally friendly. Win? I think so.
You need to use a dryer (hence more electricity etc.): You do NOT need a dryer. Cloth nappies dry better in the sun. The sun acts as a natural steriliser AND bleach. Sun removes stains and smells. Easy as. Dryer is only necessary if you live in a very wet climate or your nappy stash is very small. We have NEVER used a dryer as we have never had one during our nappy days.
Cloth nappies are inconvenient: Well, I guess that depends on your definition of inconvenient. For us, we try to live as simplified a life as possible. So taking a bit of extra time to wash, fold and put away nappies… it’s really not a big deal.
What about nappy rash? The few times we have used disposables are the only times Bo has ever had a nappy rash. Cloth clears up nappy rash within a few hours. It’s much kinder on her skin with no nasty chemicals.
Child care won’t do cloth. Wrong. They will. I know lots of cloth mamas who send their munchkins to childcare along with a stash of nappies without any issues at all.
So there you have it. Cloth is pretty awesome. But if it’s not for you, then it’s not for you. I don’t care what you do as long as you love your babies and take good care of them. Parenting is not a competition… if you think you are winning because you use cloth (or because you think cloth is stupid) then maybe you should take a good hard look at yourself in the mirror. If you honestly think you are winning at parenting… everyone else probably thinks you’re an asshole (I tried to find a better word… there wasn’t one). Just saying.