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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