OK, so you’re going to have a baby (or you’ve already had one) and you’ve decided to try cloth diapers. After the initial shock of information overload, you’ve read everything and watched every video and you think, “I can totally do this.” There is only one problem: The Hubbie. From day one he has been against the idea of the extra up-front cost, the extra work, the poop factor, yada yada. Getting Dad on board can be a very significant struggle on the road to cloth diapering; one people should not take lightly. Believe me, cloth diapering is MUCH easier when Dad is OK with changing the baby, starting a load of laundry, and stuffing diapers! Once you’ve got your family’s routine down and all the kinks are worked out, cloth diapering is a breeze. I began HineyTales and become a cloth diaper consultant primarily to help people to get to that point – as quickly as possible. Below are a few tips on how to convince your husband to cloth diaper:Picture Courtesy of KangaCare
- The Savings: Above all, men are typically concerned about saving money whenever and wherever possible. If Dad is hesitant to take the cloth diaper plunge, this should be your first (and last) way to appeal to your husband. People usually spend over $2,000 buying disposable diapers until their child is potty trained. The average modern cloth diaper costs around $15 new, depending on the brand and style. If you bought 30 diapers you’d be spending $450 that you can use and reuse until potty training age! That is over $1,500 savings! If you have more than one child and reuse them, that’s another $2,000 savings. For the average family, an extra $3,500 can make or break their financial stability.
- The Poop Revolution: If this one isn’t the first objection, the poop factor is always a close second. Historically, Dad isn’t too thrilled about the idea of changing diapers, especially #2. Combine that hesitance with visions of swirling a sopping-wet poopy diaper in the toilet and even the crunchiest husband can get second thoughts. First, make sure to tell hubbie that a breastfed baby’s poop is water-soluble so it can be thrown right into the washer. For formula-fed babies or those eating solids, never-fear! Modern innovations like disposable diaper liners and diaper sprayers have revolutionized the way cloth diapering families deal with poop. Simply remove the liner and toss into the toilet or spray the poop off the diaper into the toilet. That way your hands (and his hands!) stay clean.
- The Convenience: Disposables are convenient when you’re out and about, but when they are all used up you have to go to the store and get more. Not so with cloth! If you’re running low on diapers, just throw a load in the washer and a couple hours later, VOILA, you have a bunch of clean diapers ready for the bum. No need to run out and buy disposables. All in one diapers are also as easy and convenient to put on as a disposable. No stuffing, folding, or pinning. If you invest in these, your hubbie can rest easy knowing he won’t have to navigate a complicated mess of fabric to cloth diaper successfully.
- The Resale Value: The fact that you can resell your used cloth diapers is a unique and often-overlooked perk. Imaging taking an old, used disposable and ask someone to give you money for it. They would laugh at you! Good quality, popular brand cloth diapers retain their value very well. I have heard of someone selling their stash for hundreds of dollars! Now that $450 up-front cost doesn’t seem so bad if you consider the fact that you can make a lot of it back, does it?
- The Health Benefits: A human’s skin acts much like a sponge. It can absorb harmful chemicals that are used in disposable diapers like dioxin, Tributyl-tin, and Super Absorbent Polymer(SAP). Most SAP in use today is derived from petroleum, and therefore may contain chemical components of concern. These SAP crystals can come out of the diaper and stick to baby’s skin and, because it’s a fairly new chemical, there’s no certainty this isn’t a harmful substance for children. Traces of dioxin are a by-product of paper bleaching for the diapers and is concidered the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals (Allsopp, Michelle. Achieving Zero Dioxin: An emergency strategy for dioxin elimination. September 1994. Greenpeace). Many babies have very sensitive skin that cannot handle these chemicals. Cloth diapering eliminates this issue entirely. It’s a win-win!
At the end of the day, most husbands just need to see cloth diapering done before they’re fully convinced it’s a good idea. When he sees that he is not spending $30 on a large box of diapers every 2 weeks, saving gas by not having to run out to the store when you run out of disposables, and not having to take out the trash nearly as much because it’s filled with diapers, he will be converted. With a little patience and gentle coaxing, you’ll get him on board!
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Molly, founder of HineyTales, has been cloth diapering for 3 years. Working 4 days a week and with 2 kids under 3 years old in cloth diapers, she tries to remember that parenting is an adventure with plenty of room for mistakes, short-cuts, and imperfections. Her inspiration for starting HineyTales is to spread the #crazyforcloth message to working mamas. With only a little help needed to get started, it’s one of the best decisions a family can make.