Beginner

How to Deal with the Naysayers – Getting Others on Board with Cloth Diapers

Did you do a bunch of research on cloth diapers, get excited, and tell others only to find out they thought you were CRAZY? Do people tell you that you won’t stick it out, they’re a waste of money, they’re unhygienic, or any other unhelpful comments? Getting others on board with cloth diapers can be tricky, but I have a few tips for you.

Our goal here at Rocking the Cloth is to encourage you on your parenting journey–I hope you find this post uplifting!

Whose Approval Do You Need?

cloth-diaper-approvalThe first step is to be realistic about whose approval you actually need.

If we are talking about your mom/sister/father/coworker/friend etc., remember that you do NOT need their permission to do this. Do not let their negativity discourage you from trying something you really want to do.

I understand what it’s like to want to desire approval from people or have them think your ideas are cool. However, the older I get, the more comfortable I feel living my own life and feeling confident in my decisions, regardless of what others think about them.

The truth is that while cloth diapering is gaining more traction, it is still far from mainstream. Most people do not really understand it. Give them grace at the moment, and feel good knowing that in a matter of a few months (or whenever your baby comes), you can show them rather than verbally try to convince them.

If we are talking about approval from your spouse or partner, this is a little trickier. Ideally, your spouse/partner will be just as active in changing the diapers as you are, so their opinion does matter. Try the following to get your spouse on board:

Layout the Costs

saving-money-with-cloth-diapersShow the costs of diapering with cloth vs. disposables.

In this post, I laid out some numbers for the cost of disposables in the first year of baby’s life. It was a conservative estimate, too, so it’s very likely you will actually pay more than what I listed.

Cloth diapering is a big investment upfront–there is no doubt about that! However, even when choosing some of the most expensive diaper brands available, you will still come out ahead, especially if you have more than one child.

I’m going to do a couple different calculations to show you the cost of cloth diapering your child that you can use for comparison.

Low End: “Cheapies” (brands like Alva, Happy Flute, or Sun Baby), prefolds/covers

Average of $6/diaper (prefolds are very cheap, but covers may cost a bit more, so I will just use this average).

Recommended amount of 18-24 diapers= $108-$144 for your stash. Remember, this is a one time cost and you can use them for several years! Sometimes, the “China Cheapies” need some repairs after a while, but they aren’t too difficult to do if you know how to work a needle and thread. You can keep these in good shape for years.

Middle Ground Diapers: Average brand pockets or all-in-ones

Average of $18/diaper. Some cost less, some cost more. It varies greatly depending on the brand.

Recommended amount of 18-24 diapers= $324-$432. This is a one time cost and these brands typically hold up very well over the years.

High End: High-end brand pockets, all-in-ones, or fitteds

Average of $30/diaper. Again, it varies quite a bit.

Recommended amount of 18-24 diapers= $540-$720. This is a one time cost and these diapers hold up very well.

There are a couple of accessories to factor in, such as wet bags or pail liners, so it might be good to add $50-$75 to your estimate for those.

If you compare these numbers to the numbers I outlined in this post, you will see that over time it would be extremely difficult to argue that cloth is more expensive.

If you choose the high-end diapers, you might break even after a year. However, the average kid potty trains between ages 2 and 3, so even with one child you will come out ahead. You will come out way ahead with more than one, and you can come out way ahead with the low or middle-end diapers.

An important note is that I did those calculations on disposables based on the cheap or store brand diapers. If you buy a higher-quality brand like Pampers, you will pay even more.

Figure Out Where the Hang-Ups Are

cloth-diaper-hang-upsLots of people can be convinced by cost savings, but if that doesn’t work, figure out what their hang-ups are and try to come up with a solution.

Are they worried about washing them? Show them this post.

Are they scared of the poop? Show them this post. Also, remind them that no matter how you diaper, you will have to deal with poop.

It says on a box of disposables that poop solids should be dumped in the toilet before throwing the diaper away, anyway. Yes, most people don’t do that, but you are supposed to.

Even if you don’t dump the solids off the disposables, you’re still wiping poop off the baby’s butt either way and with disposables, you are washing poop out of clothing far more often. Blowouts almost never happen with cloth because they seal at the top, unlike disposables.

Do they think you won’t stick it out and waste money? Explain that realistically, it’s two to three loads of laundry per week. It really does not take much to adjust to two extra loads of laundry. It’s just a slight routine shift. Your baby will shift your routine ten-fold. The routine shift needed to add in the laundry will be so small in the grand scheme of things.

Do they think it’s unhygienic? Diapers are washed with detergent that rids them and the washer of anything gross. All the grossness gets rinsed away. If you don’t trust that your washer is really getting clean, you can also wash your washer. You should do this occasionally regardless of whether or not you cloth diaper. Check out this post for top-loader washing instructions.

You can also try to figure out what would be convincing and talk towards that. Would they be motivated by statistics of the number of diapers in landfills?

What about the fact that on average, babies in cloth diapers potty train sooner than kids in disposables? (Though I won’t lie, this wasn’t true for me–my oldest didn’t potty train until after three. My younger son is two-and-a-half and is on his way, but not 100% yet. But that’s even more money I saved, then, because they would have been in disposables longer then, too!)

Show How Cute They Are!

cute-cloth-diapersI mean, are they not adorable?

It’s Not All or Nothing

Finally, I want to remind you that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing with cloth diapering. If you want to try it but are afraid of going all-in right away, you can buy a few cheaper diapers to try out and use alongside disposables, and then build your stash slowly if you are interested.

Doing cloth diapers part-time is just fine if that is what works for your family. Any time a cloth diaper is used, that’s one less diaper in a landfill. It may be a slower process to break even, but you will eventually save a little money with part-time cloth, too.

I hope this article helps you know how to approach the negativity in your life surrounding cloth diapers. Any tips to share with convincing family members to be open to cloth? Share them in the comments below!

getting-others-on-board-with-cloth-diapers

Holly Lee

I'm Holly and I'm the mom of two awesome young boys. We have been cloth diapering for 5 years. My family and I live in Minnesota with our dog, Ruby, and cat, Gherkin. Outside of Rocking the Cloth, I am also a middle school teacher. Thank you for visiting Rocking the Cloth--feel free to email me at holly@rockingthecloth.com if you have any questions or concerns. I'd love to help!

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16 Comments

  1. Definitely diaper cloth is a money saver. One who moves from regular diaper to cloth diaper can realize it. Great way of explaining about saving money as parent. Love it!

    1. Thanks Kavitha!

  2. Julia Kossowska says:

    Hi,

    Yes I do think the older we get the less we need other people to approve what we’re doing, will convince them that they should be doing what we are doing.

    Cloth diapering does seem to save an awful lot of money.

    I had wondered about how hygienic this would be,  but as you say it probably is just as hygienic as using disposables.

    For me, not filling up landfills is definitely a major consideration.

    1. Hi Julia–yes, there are many things to consider. Diapering is always glamorous either, lol!

  3. Don Herman says:

    Thank you so much for your work on this!  The volume of disposable diapers is drowning us!  But giving good, helpful advice on how to buy and use cloth diapers is so valuable – especially to new moms who – like you – get barraged with negative reactions.  I remember my mom saying that she actually LIKED washing diapers.  She said she liked getting them clean and the smell of the fresh cotton as she folded them up was rather calming in a hectic, baby-driven life.  So bravo to you and keep helping save our environment!

    1. Thanks Don! I actually love doing laundry, too. I don’t love putting it away, but that’s one reason I don’t mind diaper laundry so much–I just keep my diapers in a basket, no hanging or folding involved!

  4. Donald says:

    Refreshing post.  There was a time when iit was cloth diapers or nothing, and people were happy with it.  Cloth diapers are definitely much cheaper over time than these current ones on the market these days.  I must admit though that the disposables are a bit more convenient, but as you basically said poop is poop and it’s gonna happen whether it’s a cloth diaper or a disposable  🙂

    So why not save a bit and stick to the more economical model. 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks Donald! You’re right that sometimes disposable are more convenient. We do use disposables when we travel, for example. I don’t think it has to be all or nothing! 🙂

  5. Holly,
    You are very persuasive in your argument. Are you a lawyer? Maybe you should be. However, You make some good points in how the money savings comes over time. To a logical person this works. But to a generation that has been conditioned by McDonalds and microwave popcorn, it may be a little hard to convince them.
    But the idea of not filling our landfills with plastic diapers is a good point. After all, cloth is a natural product, most diapers made from cotton which is a nonallergenic plant and the diapers are relatively inexpensive.
    Though I am a grandparent and have no babies or grand babies in diapers I shall be glad to preach your message to the young parents that I know.
    Thanks for the informative article.

    1. Thanks Tom! You’re right that it’s not always easy to convince my generation to do something that might be an extra step, lol!

  6. Juba HADJAL says:

    Hello there, my name is Youba and I am a father of two boys (3 and a half years old and 4 months old.) My problem is that we live in an era where it is no longer possible to use Cloth Diapers, of course I am not judging anyone and I understand the need to save money, but they are not very appropriate, even if they are more ecological. 

    I also understand your point of view when you talked to your audience about being judged by others’. There are people who don’t understand and who will never understand. We are now used to use trashable diapers and it works just fine. that’s why they think it is dirty or something similar. 

    I believe that the most interesting aspects of cloth diapers are their power to save you money and to save the planet at the same time.

    Thank you for you interesting article and I hope to see your answer soon 🙂 

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Hi Youba! I definitely understand your concerns. I would argue that there is nothing about this era that makes it impossible, though. 🙂 If anything, it’s easier than ever with how easy they make modern cloth diapers to use and the washing technology we have nowadays. I understand it’s not a choice every family is going to make, though. No judgement here, we are all doing our best. We all do what we can to try and make our world a better place.

  7. Thomas Harvey says:

    Holly,You are very persuasive in your argument.  Are you a lawyer?  Maybe you should be.  However, You make some good points in how the money savings comes over time.  To a logical person this works.  But to a generation that has been conditioned by McDonalds and microwave popcorn, it may be a little hard to convince them.But the idea of not filling our landfills with plastic diapers is a good point.  After all, cloth is a natural product, most diapers made from cotton which is a nonallergenic plant and the diapers are relatively inexpensive.Though I am a grandparent and have no babies or grand babies in diapers I shall be glad to preach your message to the young parents that I know.Thanks for the informative article.

    1. Holly Lee says:

      Thanks Thomas! You’re right, I do have some work cut out for me in convincing this generation. 😉

  8. Erin says:

    When we first started cloth diapering, both sides of the family needed a few explantations on them. My mom was totally supportive and on board but had an outdated thought on how they worked (she thought I would need pins and rubber pants) but now thinks they’re pretty cool with all the snaps and such. My mother in law was totally against them and continuously made comments like how I wouldn’t save any money. She got on board one day when she made the comment that she wouldn’t babysit our daughter if we left her in cloth and I responded that that was fine because my parents and my friends were willing to watch her instead.

    1. Haha, sometimes grandparents just need a bit of tough love I guess! 😉 I understand people who are unfamiliar with modern cloth diapers feeling skeptical, but it’s best to keep those comments to themselves.

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