I follow a number of cloth diaper blogs including the Cotton Babies blog. Cotton Babies was one of the first cloth diaper retailers I worked with when I was assembling my stash and is still one of my favorites, especially thanks to their free standard shipping. Around Thanksgiving, they featured a blog post highlighting their own alternative to the Kimberly Clark “Every Little Bottom Campaign”, called “Trim a Tree, Trim a Budget, Give Cloth Diapers.” I thought this was a fantastic idea. Customers can use their site to donate cloth diapers to low income families. These diapers will last much longer than a pack of disposables donated to a diaper bank. It left me wishing I could give cloth diapers more often.
My local MOPS chapter at New Covenant Christian Community Church is collecting donations for our local crisis pregnancy centers, CareNet of the Lehigh Valley. I keep staring at the pack of disposable diapers I bought to donate and thinking about how long those diapers will last; a few days at best. Or could I could have invested in an Econobum Trial pack and given a single mom at least partial freedom from the prison of continually buying disposable diapers. But as of now CareNet doesn’t accept cloth diapers as donations. Most of the moms they help probably haven’t been taught how to use them anyway.
When I peruse a baby shower registry for yet another young mom at my church I find myself wishing I could buy her cloth diapers instead just another pack of onesies or a cute little outfit that will be outgrown in a month. I feel the pull of cloth even more when I see friends returning to work because they can’t afford to stay home and that equals boxes of disposables, and hundreds of dollars spent on bottles and formula. How can I show them the financial freedom that cloth could give them without offending them? I honestly believe that I have friends who will never quite look at me the same way again because I breastfeed, cloth diaper and make my own baby food. Yes, I love to do these things, but I mostly do them because they are near financial necessities. Because I cloth diaper I can stay at home with my daughter.
The best I can do is offer to explain the ins and outs of cloth diapering to interested friends and hope that they will pass the knowledge on. But when I can, I want to commit to give cloth more often. Giving cloth means giving independence, self-reliance and sustainability; things that last longer than a pack of disposable diapers.