Diaper Rant: The Case for Plastic Pants and Pins

Cloth diapers are trendy today, especially among the environmentally conscious.  But over 19 years ago, when my first baby came along, I was the only person I knew who was using them.  I wasn’t trying to be a “green” parent; it just really had never occurred to me to do anything else.  Disposable diapers were expensive, and using cloth was no big deal, so why not save the money?
Nowadays, though, cloth diapers are not only gaining in popularity, they are big business.  It was this article in Mothering Magazine that prompted me to write this post.  The link appeared in my Facebook news stream, entitled, “What Cloth Diapering System Did You Use?”  I know people love all these cute and fancy newfangled cloth diapers.  And I suppose that they encourage some would-be plastic users to go the cloth route, which is a good thing.
But I also worry that they discourage others, by making something simple seem complicated, and something economical expensive.  I’ve seen it before with baby items–there are inexpensive car seats that fulfill all safety standards, but parents are pushed to buy pricey ones with bells and whistles, and like as not the coordinating “travel system” that goes along with them.  I had a couple of more expensive strollers back when my “Irish twins” needed a double one, but for the most part we’ve gotten by just fine with the $15 umbrella models.  Breastfeeding is the ultimate baby freebie, but the baby product folks want you to believe that you are going to need bottles, and pumps, and special “privacy shawls,” and expensive vitamins with DHA, and who knows what all else.
I had a few of those fancy new diapers handed down or given as gifts, and I enjoyed using them.  But the “cloth diapering system” that has worked just fine for me through five babies requires Gerber plastic pants (which we still call “rubber pants” around here), trifold cloth diapers that come in packs of five or ten at Walgreens or Kmart, and good old diaper pins.

Baby #4 in his plastic pants


I’m recycling this post by sharing it on the #WorthRevisit linkup, hosted at Theology is a Verb and Reconciled to You.  It’s a great linkup with lots of (mostly) Catholic-themed posts you might have missed.  And while this post isn’t explicitly Catholic, something tells me that Catholic mothers might be interested in diapers. 🙂

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  1. Love this rant! Thank you. And baby in his plastic pants is just scrumptious 🙂

  2. karyl henry says:

    Very interesting! I didn’t even know cloth diapers were making a comeback. Guess that stuff happens when you don’t have kids…

  3. I could never have survived parenting babies without disposable diapers!!! lol I think I had cloth when I was a baby though.

  4. ogilvieronda says:

    I wish I could make the decision between cloth and disposable diapers, but my baby is 8 🙁

  5. Allison (funfamily.vacations) says:

    Love it! My old cloth diapers are dusting clothes now. So many great uses.

  6. You’re a trend setter! And in a good way. The best of luck to you.

  7. Michele says:

    When my kids were in daycare, I didn’t have the option of using cloth diapers. I am the oldest of five, in our house we always had the Gerber plastic pants, cloth diapers and diaper pins!

  8. I love this post, so true. Bells and whistles everywhere!

  9. I find that the cheaper light weight strollers work best for me as well.

  10. Agatha says:

    Hear, hear! Prefolds and the plastic pants for my family too. They are so much cheaper and to be honest, you don’t need to buy that many compared with all the inserts you need in the expensive systems.

  11. poppiesandpinot says:

    Love this! I was totally overwhelmed by cloth diapering this last time. Want to know what ended up working best for us? Trifold and diaper covers.
    There it is.

  12. JcCee says:

    I really wasn’t aware of cloth diapers but I saved a ton of money with breastfeeding all of my kids.

  13. MommyTalk73 says:

    This is sooo true, I dont use cloth diapers, although now on baby #3 I wish I would have. But even all the other things we are prompted to buy, a lot of it is such a waste of money!

  14. Gunjan says:

    Loved this article. I used disposable diapers just for convenience but i always loved the idea of cloth diapers.

  15. Ashleigh says:

    So true! Thanks for sharing your views on this… funny how things change.

  16. rosalie1963 says:

    I put all my kids bottoms through cloth diapers and rubber pants (and yes, with diaper pins)!

  17. Marliss says:

    We have a new adopted 14 year old daughter whom we have had for two months now and we started her off right away in cloth diapers,diaper pins and “rubberpants” 24/7 due to her having wetting accidents day and night.I got the cloth diapers from the web here and also from walmart in the 24x 27 inch size.Her rubberpants we got fro a couple of web sites in adult size and whites and pastels.I got the rubberpants big enough to fit her blousy for comfort.We are baptizing and christening her next month at mass and are going to dress her in an ankle length baptism/christening gown and matching bonnet that is being made for her.She will have a camisole as her top,and her cloth diapers and rubberpants under the gown with lace anklets and white shoes.

  18. It is the same thing when it comes to women’s products – I began using flannel pads when I was 26 and pms disappeared and my monthly flow was much easier. After getting into a routine I didn’t go back ever. I didn’t like wearing a product within that had chemicals of agent orange in it that got toxic when wet. If I had known this it would have been cloth for my girls too.

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