Cloth diapering: a man's perspective
Several weeks ago I asked people if they had questions about cloth diapering. Oddly, the majority of them were geared towards my husband. So I asked him to sit down when he could and answer them. I was interested to read what he had to say about it after typing up all the questions. None of his responses shocked me, but they were very fitting for him. On occasion I did need to interject to clarify or add info on what he was saying. You can find those in parentheses. Hopefully this answered all your questions and emails. If not let me know and I will be happy to answer them.
Is there a difference between cloth vs disposable for you?
Thankfully, my wife does the hard part, the washing and stuffing. I would do it if I needed to, but I've never been asked to. In that sense there is no difference. I reach into the drawer and there is a prepped diaper for me to use. The additional step for a poopy diapers is simple enough with the sprayer that it doesn't bother me.
If you had to stuff diapers would it make a difference?
Not really, but it is appreciated that she doesn't ask me to do it. She's pretty particular in how the diapers are washed that she prefers to take charge of that. I won't complain!
Were you on board right away with cloth diapering?
My only concern was a financial one. The cost effectiveness for the cloth verse disposable needed to be there. My wife laid it out with logical arguments for it that I was fine with it. I did want to avoid the old fashion pin kind. (He means pre-folds)
Thoughts on purchasing used diapers?
I prefer not to, but I don't have a problem with others doing it. We bought ours new with the purpose of using them for more than one child. I questioned the longevity of the used diapers. If they were on multiple kids already could they withstand many more? It can be a great way to save money or try different types of diapers if you need to cut costs.
What about between your own children?
No problem there at all. It's getting your money's worth out of them. You know the abuse/care that they have endured. Any cloth diaper that is worth purchasing should making it through multiple children if cares for properly.
Concerns prior to cloth diaper...
It is a large output. I questioned if it was going to be as easy as it seemed to be portrayed. Were we going to give up on it because of the extra work involved. If we didn't commit to using them it would have been a huge waste of money even factoring in resale value.
Thoughts on diaper sprayer...
I love the diaper sprayer. Extra benefit of making it easier to clean the toilet.
Do you think we have too many or not enough diapers?
We had the right amount. Maybe even could have used a few more. We didn't go over board. Something I was adamant about when we started this whole thing. I didn't want her buying just to buy or because a pretty one came out.
Do you think a diaper service would have been easier?
That may work for some families, it did for my parents, however doing them at home saves money. You also have more control over the whole process.
Does it bother you that poop goes into our washing machine?
No, it comes out clean in the end so it works. I don't understand why people get so grossed out by it. When a diaper explodes and poop gets on the outfit you don't throw the outfit away. You rinse out what you can, like you do with the diaper sprayer and you wash it. It's not a big deal. (Not that it bothers me either, but for the maintenance of our washing machine, we "wash" the washer with Tide washing machine cleaner once a month. Though we never had any issues with it before we started doing this. I think about 10 or so months into cloth diapering i started washing the machine. We only cleaned the washing machine as a way to hopefully keep the washer working longer because we had problems with it.)
Do you use cloth diapers because you feel a need to be eco-friendly?
No, it is strictly about saving money! The eco-friendliness is a bonus. Not something that was considered when making the decision.
Looking back would you make the decision to cloth diaper again?
Sure, because it's no different to me. We, I should say Jenna, had a few struggles early on with fit, but we had a skinny kid making it harder to get a good fit. We also were without a washer for several months. In the end we still saved money. That was our goal! (We plan to cloth diaper again with this next baby meaning even more savings.)
Thoughts on the brands we have...
I like the leg gusset sliders better than the one with the million buttons. It was easier to use and I felt like it gave a better fit when the other one would leak. (He means he liked the Charlie Banana diapers over the Bum Genius button design.)
Were there any noticeable difference from using them in Bears' development?
Not really. He would seem a bit bothered when he was first learning to walk with the thickness of the diaper. We took the extra insert out and changed him more often and it solved the problem. He seems to know he is wet and wants out of the diaper right way now that he is older. (Bear never liked to be in a wet or soiled diaper ever. When he got older he started to communicate that to us.)
How do you think the best way to approach a husband/spouse about cloth diapering?
Lay out a logical argument with numbers and stats, possibly print outs, and make it simple for him. possibly take him to see the cloth diapers in person or show him a you tube video of the modern ones. There is still the thoughts of using the rags you fold and pin. (he means prefolds with diaper covers)
Thoughts on Pre-folds?
We never used them, but because of the more complex nature it could likely be harder to get a guy to use them. I for one did not want any part of them. If we couldn't afford the ones we have (I believe he means pocket diapers) I might have a different outlook on this.
Do you think cloth diapers are a lot of work?
No, because Jenna does all the real work. I just put the diaper on the kid and spray off a diaper as needed.
Would you recommend cloth diapering to others?
If it fit their lifestyle. I would explain why I cloth diaper and how it works for us, but I wouldn't tell anyone what they should or should do for their own family. It's a personal choice that isn't for everyone. I would recommend really looking into them. It isn't grandma's cloth diapers anymore. (I completely agree!)
Do you Pre-stuff diapers or do them as needed?
I would recommend pre-stuffing them to present everyone with an equal to a disposable, especially if your husband or family member is barely on board. It's my personal preference that they are pre-stuffed. One less thing to concern yourself with when you have a kid on the changing table.
Poopy disposable vs poopy cloth which is worse?
Neither is fun to deal with, but its part of life. Both seem equally as easy to deal with to me. The extra step for the cloth isn't a big deal to me. Being able to use the sprayer helps.
Preference on style of cloth?
No preference, but I like the pocket style ones that we have. The ones that are like disposables (all in ones) aren't bad either.
Favorite pattern for the diaper?
Solid colors I prefer. I wanted all white but my wife wanted some colors so we compromised. They all needed to be gender neutral because when we bought them it was with our first kid and we planned to use them with the next child as well. (The color ones were cheaper at the time or I wouldn't have had an issue with all white especially looking back on it. Some colors, specifically the dark ones, would show thought when the kid was wearing lighter color clothing.)
Women tend to get excited for new patterns. Did you like any specific colors or patterned diapers?
No, I am a jeans and tee shirt kind of guy with little to no fashion sense. It's all lost on me. I just want to make sure that if we have a girl next she could also wear them which is why I wanted all white. It's the ultimate in gender neutral.
How long did it take you to figure it all out?
It was pretty easy to pick up on. It is just about remember what snaps my wife wanted them on once she found a fit she liked. If I ever forgot she had made a cheat sheet for me that she put in the basket. Whenever it changed she was good at letting me know. I didn't need the cheat sheet as much as I thought I would.
Is there anything your wife/SO could have done to make it easier for you?
No, but if it was a concern you could always write it out to remove some of the thought process. This wouldn't be a bad ideal if you have other family members that want to help out with diaper changes. Jenna did this for the fit of the diaper, but you could put up a how-to for wash directions if multiple people were washing the cloth diapers. It would ensure they got the correct wash.
Have you had any issues with cloth diapering?
I would have liked to use them more, but because we had a preemie he was super small. The more use equals more cost benefit. We were also without a washer for a decent period of time. None of these issues has anything to do with the diaper itself per say. We did end up saving money, but that number could have been higher.
Newborn diapers...Yay or nay?
Nay... I don't know that the cost benefit is there at least with pocket diapers anyway. When you are already tired the last thing you want to do is extra laundry. It's not impossible, but I know myself and that's just not an added task I would want to take on right away. UPDATE: After my wife found some crazy sales we did purchase a few sets of newborn pocket cloth diapers for the next baby. The numbers for this made sense so i'm on board with it. If they weren't so cheap there is no way I would have agreed to it!
What advice would you give to someone interested in cloth diapering?
Listen to your wife... Really make sure the research is done and make the decision that is right for you and your family. If you both hate doing laundry, it may not be the best option. Every family is different so talk about it and be open minded thought out the discussion.
What helped you make the decision to cloth diaper?
I never had a desire to do this. My wife did. She laid out a graph and showed me the number of diaper changes we would do and the cost of that. She did the same with cloth diapers. She showed we could break even at "x" number of diaper changes while including the cost of all the extras in there as well. That was important to me. With the facts laid it the choice was easy.
Do you help out with the wash?
I would if she asked me to, but typically no I do not. She did at one point have wash instructions posted on the cabinet in laundry for if I ever HAD to wash them, but then again she has instructions for everything there. Laundry is more her territory. I do some when I need to if she asks me, but its normally not the cloth diaper wash.
Was there ever a time looking back that you regretted cloth diapering?
Not really. There were time we couldn't cloth diaper because of a broken washing machine, but that's not the cloth diapers fault. It meant we had to cloth diaper longer before breaking even which I wasn't thrilled about. There was nothing we could do to change that.
How many cloth diapers do you own?
My wife says we have 18 Charlie banana one size diapers and 12 bum genius 4.0 diapers. Update: This number increased when she picked up some newborn and size small diapers. What we are at now I have no idea.
Is there such as thing as too many?
YES, if the reason is to save money then you would want to buy just what you need to get the job done with ease. This shouldn't be treated like a collection. You don't need every new print or style that comes out. Thankfully my wife understood this.
What is the perfect amount? We see women that have huge stashes of cloth, was your wife that way?
No, but she was super excited about it in the beginning. She held back on picking things up until she saw how many she actually needed. The older they get the less theoretically they need.
Thoughts on cloth diapering just your last child?
Again, it's all about the cost benefit analysis. If that's what your focus is, like mine, the numbers have to add up. If you're doing this for other reasons then that's different. These other reasons weren't why we went into cloth diapering.
How would you recommend budgeting for cloth diapers?
Take a look and really find the ones you want. My wife dragged me to shops to look at the diapers until she found what she wanted. I had some say, but really it was on her. We put money aside so that when they were on sale we could pick them up. Buying in bulk helped too. We didn't get them all at one time. A set here or there until we had what we needed. We were even given a box of new ones at the baby shower.
Do you cloth diaper outside the house?
I'm grossed out by the idea of carrying around a dirty nappy in a diaper bag all day. Nothing really keeps in a poop smell no matter how hard they try. We don't, but for just pee diapers I am not opposed to it. This is also more of a convenience thing than anything else. We have a relaxed view on cloth diapering. It isn't all cloth all the time in our house.
How much of a factor does the ecological benefits weigh in your decision to cloth diaper?
I viewed them purely as a bonus. We were doing this to safe money. If there were other benefits like less waste or less diaper rashes then great, but it didn't effect my decision one way or the other. After all we still use disposables we just don't use as many as we would have.
What are outsiders (family, friends, day care, etc) thoughts on your cloth diapering?
Well it doesn't bother me what others think about our cloth diapering to an extent. Our daycare (on post) doesn't allow cloth diapers, but we don't mind sending him in disposables so it's a non issue. We have some family that is on board and others that don't like dealing with it at all. If they are babysitting we switch to disposables regardless of their thoughts. It's easier that way. (Side note: we do have one family member that is very grossed out that we wash them at home in our washer. That's their own problem.)
We cloth diaper to save money, are there any other ways you save money when it comes to your kids?
Off the top of my head, Homemade baby food... We didn't make everything, but we did make the bulk of it. It helped cut down the cost of jar food significantly. Once again more control over the process and what went into it.
We also used hand-me-downs which we got a lot of. Kids go through sizes quickly when they are little. Buying all new or high end stuff seemed like a waste. My wife dragged me to yard sales and the clothes looked brand new for a fraction of the price of it new.
What advice would you give a new father?
Listen to your wife... She is going to be pissed off, hormonal, stressed, tired, etc., she doesn't need to argue with you on top of it all. Discuss any issues as they arise, but do so privately. Talking is better than storming out or being angry. This goes for marriage in general too.
What other green things do you do as a family?
We have Reusable shopping bags that we use most of the time. We utilize hand me downs and save clothes for the next child. It's small steps like that that we do. It's not going to make a huge difference in the grand Scheme of things, but it is a step in the right direction. It's also cost effective!
There you have it folks, a man's perspective on cloth diapering and then some! What do your husbands think about cloth diapers? Do they work for you?