When I was pregnant, I was determined to use cotton diapers at home. I couldn’t really tell you why I wanted to go cloth, but I think it had a lot to do with my growing environmental consciousness at the time.
I wasn’t a complete tree hugger though. I compromised a bit by using disposables when we went out and at bedtime, and made sure that they were the eco-friendly sort in which 60 percent of it fully decomposed. A pack of 30 diapers were on average 2 euros more expensive than the non-biodegradable sort, but because they eased my guilty conscience, they were worth it.
I bought a used set of 10 cotton diapers, and bought about 12 more. Diaper liners made solid waste disposal easy. Since they were biodegradable and flushable, they were easy to dispose in the toilet. A kitchen towel folded in half would do in a pinch, as I discovered during a trip to the US. Soiled diapers went immediately in an IKEA Garbage can, and I had enough diapers that I only did diaper laundry once a week. I soaked them in wash soda overnight in the can, wrung them out, flushed the water into the toilet, and washed with soap nuts.
Since safetey pins scared me, I used a Snappi Diaper Fastener. What was problematic for me was finding the right waterproof diaper covers. Those made in the Philippines were not sturdy enough to withstand the tougher laundry cycles of German washing machines. Fuzzibunz were great, but expensive. I would definitely invest in similar covers and inserts if I ever have a second kid.
I was surprised at myself for being so adamant about it, and actually following through before my son expressed to me at his seventh month that he did not want to wear cloth diapers by pointedly removing them every time I put them on him. He was fully potty trained by the time he was 2 and a half, and was dry during the nights two months after that. His early (for Western standards) potty training could have resulted from a combination of the cloth diapering and the reward/motivation-based system that I used, as was suggested to me by a friend’s mom.
Reflecting on my parenting style, I’ve discovered that my grandmothers had a huge influence on my mothering. Both my grandmothers were ahead of their time since I never called them Grandma, but “Mommy” on my mother’s side, and “Nanay” on my father’s side. Both grew up in the provinces during the war, both experienced poverty and hardship.
It was no surprise to me to discover that my paternal grandmother thought nothing of nursing a baby openly in a jeepneý, after reprimanding my cousin for using a nursing cover-up. She is a very natural, maternal sort, and no-nonsense. She is a very neat person, and hates it when things go to waste.
My maternal grandmother was very much into herbs and fruits and nature. She had a green thumb, and we always had fruit trees in our yard. She also liked to cook, and had a taste for the finer things in life, and learned how to make fantastic meals from simple ingredients from her.
Although I started using disposables exclusively by his 8th month, it didn’t mean that his cloth diapers were no longer used. They made for excellent burp cloths, emergency blankets, sun shade, picnic blanket. They don’t get much milage from me now, and I am still reluctant to re-purpose them as rags. Who knows? I might need them again in a year or two.