Cloth diaper disaster

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When I was pregnant with Liam one of the most thoughtful gifts I received was a three-month cloth diaper delivery service. I received the gift from a wonderful friend who is very pro-cloth diaper. The service literally pulled up to my curb, delivered a diaper pail and a stack of cloth diapers and plastic pants. They'd drive away and come back a week later to pick up all the crap-filled cloth diapers. They didn't even require that you rinse them - you could throw chunks and all into the pail, it made them no difference. It was Diaper Service for Dummies. Simple to use, no excuses. 

Except that this was me, and my firstborn shat more than any human baby on planet Earth has ever shat. Whenever he grunted or smelled Chris and I looked at each other in terror. Which one of us was going to change Old Faithful? During one particular episode our firstborn shot a yellow stream of gawd knows what across his room; another time he literally erupted all over Chris as Chris screamed like a girl, held Liam's leg up by a toe, and shrieked that I get him something to wipe himself off with NOW.

I tried nearly every different kind of plastic pant on the market, I varied the way I wrapped the cloth around Liam's bottom, I did everything humanly possible but lo, the dam broke every time. I was at the supermarket when I picked him up to check and saw a pool of nastiness filling the bowl of his carseat. Another time I held him at a friend's house while acid seeped out of the sides top of his plastic pants. I kept this up for three reasons, none of which related to saving the planet:

1. I was going to Le Leche League meetings and they would tar and feather me if I used disposables. When I did start using disposables and I showed up, they all gasped and whispered at my Satan pants consumption. (I have a post about this in my archives which will be fully restored shortly.) It was almost like the women in my group who used cloth diapers believed that they loved their children more than the moms who used disposables. It was fruity. A whole new world of mom politics to which I was oblivious until I had a kid.

2. I didn't want to disappoint my friend or have her think that I didn't appreciate her gift. She was one of the first mom-friends I'd made and I didn't want to come up short in her eyes.

3. I liked the way my neighbors reacted to the diaper service that pulled up to the house. I was using cloth diapers? I must be a SAINT. Selfish and weird, but I wanted to keep up the charade.

After Liam crapped on me during a trip to the zoo I threw my hands up. I was done. I went to Target and bought the biggest package of Pampers I could find (the babies seemed happier on their packaging, I don't know) and the rest of the week was uneventful and I wasn't leaked on once. It was heavenly.

And then Monday morning the diaper service knocked on my door.

I stared at the unused package of cloth diapers in panic. I still had three weeks of service left. So I did what any rational person would do: I told the man at the door to hang on and I changed Liam and wiped him up with every cloth diaper in the pack. I wasn't sure it was entirely believable, I mean, would the diaper people look at each diaper and conclude that I was, gasp, faking? I shook the thought from my head, capped the pail with the freshly dirtied diapers, and handed them to the diaper man.

I did this for the next two weeks because I was too big of a coward to say "You know what? These really aren't my thing. I'm going to roll with the disposables." When the gift ran out I declined to continue the service. My friend asked about it and I told her that while it was definitely appreciated and interesting, I wasn't going to do it. She smiled. "OK!" She said.

That was it? No Le Leche League protest about how I was killing - nay raping - our Mother Earth with my use of disposable diapers?

When the neighbors, who were a talky bunch, saw that I was no longer getting the diaper service they asked if I was still using cloth diapers. "No," I admitted, watching my sainthood slip away.

"Those things are a pain in the butt, literally," laughed one woman. "I was wondering how you did it. Sometimes I wonder if they really do help, if it saves any time, or what." She leaned in to whisper "Sometimes I think it's all for show."

30 Comments

HILARIOUS post! I am cracking up over here. You faked cloth diapers. That's a scream. Hey, I'd do the same thing if in your shoes. Tee hee.. off to tell all my mom friends to come read this one. They have all tried cloth and had the same reaction!

Hah! Hilarious! I have some very pro-cloth friends as well, and was initially ashamed to admit that I used disposables. I'm a big recycler also. But the services cost just as much as Pampers, and washing them myself is 1) gross and 2) impractical. I ensure that everyone in the family has enough socks and underwear for 2-3 weeks at a time because there's just no way to get more laundry done. Add 2-3 loads of diapers in a week? Sure, if we want to eat our macaroni dry out of the box.

By the time the second one comes along, it's so much easier to ignore all that perfect motherhood crap isn't it?

I remember this rant about LLL. I use cloth and really like it. I wash my own and even work full-time. It doesn't seem to be a big deal, but I certainly don't poo poo on anyone who doesn't use them. Personally, I'd rather wash diapers than drive to the store to buy more.

I wonder what caused your poo problems? I found less issues with that wonderful breastfed poop in cloth than disposables.

I do keep some disposbled on hand for those days when I'm not feeling it on the laundry front.

What the heck is up with the LLL group you attended? I would be appaled by that sort of behaviour. Geez, it's hard enough to encourage women to breastfeed without nit-picking all their other parenting choices.

I am dying laughing about the "pool of nastiness"..I could relate to all of that. Yikes..I don't think it matters what kind of diaper you use when they are that little..it's so runny and disgusting and their little behinds just slide around in it I guess. GROSS! Breastfed or not..pooh stinks. They do seem to smell a little better on breastmilk until they start consuming other foods. But Huggies were my best friend..I'll do other things to save the planet. I'll teach my kids to run only a small amount of water as they need it while brushing their teeth..and have the re-use towels. I've decided that while my children are young..I'm not going to be overly paranoid about my constant use of paper towels and Glass Plus and other consumables to survive in a home where I have more careers than a cat has lives. Let the people who get sleep and have no children save the earth...we are diligent in other ways and will become improve in this area as we are able.

Disposable diapers aren't fool-proof either! My 4th baby decided to "let loose" at my husband's brother's wedding. So there I was, sitting by my husband on the front row. Three small children next to me, and #4 on my lap. Anyone sitting close to us, heard it coming. Up, out, and over the back side of his diaper, forming a pool on my new dress that I had bought for the wedding. It was so gross, and I had to sit there until the ceremony was done, and everyone else had left the chapel before I could get out of there!
As you can imagine....I looked and smelled great, and had nothing to change into. We didn't stay long!

So, a combination of the two would be a what...a #3? I need something good that I can tell my wife so when there's an "occurrence," I don't stand there and say, "It's a poo and a pee, I guess." Just a quick, "#3."
This will also work when we're in our 80's.

I tried using cloth diapers for each of my four daughters and I hated it. Even with diaper service. Even with fancy-dancy diaper covers. The babies fussed every time they peed a little, so I was changing them every half hour or so. I didn't have any problem with moms bugging me about it at LLL meetings, though. I was one of the group Leaders, so maybe that set the tone a little.

I sometimes think that if the only cloth diapers out there were the prefolds (like what a Diaper Service uses) and plastic pants then NO ONE would cloth diaper their kids at all! Thank goodness that's not all there is out there.

On the flip side, my daughter has what I call "Epic Poops" and her cloth diapers are the only thing that contains them. Every time she had worn a disposable she would blow out of them. GAH. You pretty much just gotta do what works for your kid, right?

Ah yes, the Satan Pants post. Good times.

I don't miss diaper days one little bit.

Hah! This is a great entry--I never even bothered to try disposables, but yeah, there is a huge holier-than-thou political scene to early motherhood that was a real shock to me, also. Now, it's not just cloth diapers, but if you actually are going to use disposable, you have to use the "green" version. They are more expensive and not very good. Ugh. Like being a new mom isn't hard enough!

My daughter was 8 weeks premature and breastfed. There was this short (yet somehow it seemed like a long time) period of time when she was about 4 months old that she would go 8, 9, 10 days without a BM. She was NOT fussy, her tummy wasn't hard, her Dr. told me not to worry about it. I tried not to, but then she would literally EXPLODE all over everything. There wasn't a cloth diaper, a disposable diaper, anything I could find that would hold it. It was horrible. I would clean her up, and she would go back to 7, 8, 9 days before it happened again. My favorite memory was when she let loose on her aunt (on her father's side)...the one that I couldn't (and still can't) stand.

Ha, this is so funny. I would have done the same thing w/ the diaper service, just to save face!!!

I use cloth diapers and have never had an issue (actually my only leaks have come with disposables!!) but yeah, leaks are not cool. and I didn't use the cloth the first 6-ish weeks of motherhood--too much adjustment, I had no interest in LAUNDRY as well.

Your LLL group sounds terrible! I don't think mine would be like that (would they? hmmm). My son is usually in disposables when we are 'out and about' especially now that he's eating solids and things are...stinkier...so I'll have to test the theory!

You went to the City LLL meeting, I'm guessing? Very, very nice and helpful ladies, but I know what you mean about the cloth diapering. Satan Pants, LOL!

I agree that the diaper service diapers don't work with breastmilk poop. But I absolutely loved the cloth diapers I used (all-in-ones, like Pampers, but cloth.) The worst blowouts DD ever had were in Huggies - I'm glad her pediatrician moved, because I will never live down the first visit where my mother, baby, and I all showed up covered in yellow poop that had leaked out of the Huggies. Ugh! And I thought my baby was the only one who ever did projectile poops. I screamed when it happened, because in my sleep-deprived state, I thought she'd shot a missile out her butt!

One thing I have never come to understand is how our son (who is now turning 7) managed to have teal poop @ 3 months of age. Good times.

I wonder if some of the newer plastic covers for cloth diapers are better at containing leaks than they were back then. I've considered cloth with Anna, but um... no. It's too important that I get out the door every morning with no leakage running down my clothes. It's bad enough not having a spit up bib that will contain a large amount of hork a child diagnosed with reflux is capable of.

Hey, AJ's first weekend home he, too, shot some yellow gunk across the room!
Let me ease any lingering guilt any of you may have. He wore Pampers or Luvs from day one (they had the best coupons in those days). He was never breastfed. The only people who made me feel somewhat guilty about that were the Lamaze instructors from my doctors office. We were 200 miles from family and although I think they visited everyone else from the class as babies were born, they didn't come to see me in the hospital. With no family - except my husband - to visit, that hurt a bit. I think because I wasn't breast feeding they didn't feel the need. I'm over it now, and quite proud of a very healthy, happy 21 year old. My only regret is that he was potty trained just as Pull Ups were coming on the market. I had to use "big boy pants".

I was laughing SO HARD at your description of Laim and his "shat".

I pretty much used cloth diapers for all three of my boys (except for Mother's Day Out and visits to other houses in the babysitting co-op) because it saved a ton of money. Disposables would have come out of *my* food budget, but the extra water, electricity, etc to wash and dry cloth diapers didn't!

That takes commitment!

I have used disposable with all three of my babies. The cloth thing, while better for the environment, wasn't for me. And, I figured a sane and clean mommy was better for the earth than saving a few (thousand) diapers. But, that's just me.

In a weird way I think it's sweet that you faked using the servie the last few weeks so that your friends feelings weren't hurt.

I used cloth diapers in sort of a rotation with Pampers. Two of my boys had super sensitive skin and required more frequent changing. Cloth just worked better during the day and we had less rash. We used Pampers for bedtime though.

I could never use anything made by Huggies though, all four of kids broke out in a rash all over anytime I used a Huggies wipe or diaper. I even got itchy just from holding the wipes in my hands.

Pampers wipes were great, and on the occasion I was feeling particularly ambitious I would make my own disposable wipes for the diaper bag using Viva paper towels, a wipe box, some tea tree oil, and water. During the day we had little washable cloth wipes that just got tossed in the diaper pail with the cloth diapers.

I did all-in-ones though. I couldn't ever figure out how to wrap those darn prefold thingies the right way! LOL

This was hilarious, especially since I just read Wendy's blog about her new fascination with cloth diapers. We'll see how long it lasts. LOL I never tried them as I had used them with my baby brother. I never had any illusions that they were worth it. I just comforted myself with the idea that all the washing was just as bad for the environment. LOL

I really like my cloth diapers but I know they're not for everyone. I do it to save money...not to be a hero. Yes, the poo ones aren't fun. I did use sposies for a while and they leaked CONSTANTLY!!! No fun to have a newborn wake up all the time due to wetness. I too had the pool of poo in the carseat which my Liam promptly smeared all over the seatbelts beofore my other germaphobe son noticed and then promptly started screaming as I was driving down the highway....good times!

I liked the satan pants line. Those LLL types can be pretty militant about everything. Just calling a leader was enough to send me into a corner in the fetal position. I never went to a meeting.

Good for you, at least you tried them!

I never got past thinking about using the cloth diaper service, and then, quickly passing my gift certificate on to someone else. Like I would intentionally make my life a helluva lot more difficult than it already was with triplet newborns!

I babysat in high school during the mid to late 1980's, and the half a dozen or so mothers I babysat for used cloth diapers on their kids.

One of the mothers used diaper service, while the other moms home-laundered their diapers. I found both methods easy, and washing diapers (which I did sometimes) was easy peasy. Empty out the plastic diaper pail into the washing machine, wash the diapers and rubber pants, and pin everything up on the clothesline to dry.

Back then it was old-fashioned pull-on rubber pants and safety pins, and for night-time/overnight I would fold two diapers together (double diaper) for added security. The part about the rubber pants I remember most, is when they'd get stained after a kid messed really bad.

I have 5 kids of my own, 3 biological, 2 step, and I used cloth diapers, pins, and rubber pants on them all.

My nephew likes diapers that are soft and some diapers has rough edges and he doesn't like it and he always cry when he thinks his diapers are not soft enough.

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We have a newly adopted 13 year old daughter whom we have had for a little over a month now and we have her in the cloth diapers and rubberpants 24/7 due to her wetting accidents.I buy the cloth diapers and diaper pins at Walmart and get the rubberpants from a couple of websites.so far the cloth diapers and rubberpants are working for her.

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