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Wholly Canadian Blog

Monday, August 25, 2014

Why We Cloth Diaper

He's responsible for this! Yup, this little baby, who we affectionately call "stinker" some of the time, is responsible for the contents of this  laundry line!  But at least there's a story of goodwill here. The diapers on this line include two aspects of Wholly Canadian’s Shopping Paradigm of Goodwill: 1)Buying Local, and 2) Buying used/re-purposing


1. Local/Canadian:

2. Second-hand/Re-purposing:

  • I've purchased used organic prefold diapers
  • Wool inserts (I purchased a vintage wool blanket on kijiji for $5, and had it re-purposed into inserts)

But that's not where the goodwill stops. Shopping locally and buying used is great. But there's more good news on this laundry line! Wholly Canadian is all about whole-life local living. . .

Why we cloth diaper. . .

People choose to cloth diaper for a variety of reasons.

Here are some of mine:

  • Healthy baby’s bottom: our baby has never had diaper rash. We've chosen natural fibre diapers for our babies (cotton, hemp, bamboo, and wool).  Would you want plastic tight wrapped around your bottom? That's essentially what disposables are. It's quite unnatural, really. No wonder rashes, and other ailments develop.  Baby's bottoms needs to breathe! If there is any area that needs breathable fabric--it's their bottom! It always amazes me when parents who cloth diaper choose synthetic fabrics (fleece, mircofibre, etc).  Synthetic fibres (made of petrochemicals) are akin to wrapping plastic around the bottom. So here's to natural fibre!
  • Sustainability: As a farmer’s daughter I have a heightened appreciation of land.  I understand land is a fixed resource. One cannot reproduce more land.  Water, on the other hand, is a perpetual gift (where I live). Even though I pay for it--it's a renewable resource. Thus, it’s a simple choice.  One professor of mine once shared that there is no “away.” When you “throw away” --there is no “away.”  When we travel, we use non-bleached disposables--and each time I dispose of the soiled diaper, I am reminded of the preciousnesses of land and that there is no “away.”
  • Cost: yup, we’ve saved a ton of $. I rarely need to go down that baby aisle.  I’ve got my own baby aisle blowing in the wind. {Giggle}
  • Simplicity: I blogged earlier about the tension between convenience and simplicity. Cloth diapering is the way of the simple life. It is not convenient. It is simple.

Why I hang dry the diapers in summer:

  • It keeps the diapers white:  The sun is a natural whitener for those stains.
  • It keeps the diapers fresh: We've never had yeast in our diapers.  The sun is a natural disinfectant, and boy do the diapers ever need a freshening after a long Manitoba winter!
  • It keeps the diapers in optimal condition. Dryers make the diapers soft, but they also destroy them--slowly and gradually.  What do you think all that lint is in your dryer? Yup, that's the fabric being gradually worn down. Dryers weaken the fabric's fibres, and if there's any item in our household that needs to retain all its strength and fibres for optimal absorbency, well, it's the diapers!  That's why, in winter, we also hang-dry most of them inside.
  • It keeps me in tune with nature: We wash and hang the diapers in summer based on weather. "Today is a sunny day--so, let’s make the most of it!" "It’s going to rain the next few days--let’s see how far we can make these diapers stretch!" {wink}  We work with nature. There is an understanding of cyclical pattern nature gives of work and rest. I can keep abreast the weather by simply looking at my smartphone. Our ancestors did it with merely their intuition and intelligence.  This is a lost skill indeed. . .
    • Just recently I saw dark clouds gather, and heard some distant rumblings. As I had nearly-dry diapers on the line, I looked at the weather on my smartphone to ascertain my next actions. It stated sunny skies all day.  Well, I thought, the storm must just be passing by.  The skies got darker, and the thunder rolled. My intuition (or just common sense at that point) told me it was going to rain and get the diapers off the line. Maybe, I thought, I looked at the wrong city. So I checked the weather report again.  Sunny skies it said--for Winnipeg. I made a split-second decision to believe the technological report.  A minute later the nearly-dry diapers on the line received a heavy 5-min soaking--I considered it a free second rinse.  The freshly rinsed diapers then proceeded to to dry in the sun. . .again. {smile}
  • Sustainability: The sun is a gracious gift, and renewable. Unlike running water (which is also renewable), I don't pay for the sun! But I do pay to run my dryer.  But more than cost-efficient, it's a way of living sustainably and living in tandem with the bounty around us.
  • Simplicity: As I mentioned with the reasons I cloth diaper, the reason I hang out diapers in summer, is that it is the way of the simple life. It is not covenient. It is simple. Do you know the difference? I find myself yearning for simplicity more and more . . .
  • Smiles: My neighbour told me this May (after a really long winter), I know spring has arrived because I see diapers on your line. Yup, we air out all our dirty I mean, clean laundry for our neighbours. . .and I get many a smile.  My dad told me recently that’s how it used to be. You would see a laundry line of diapers and know that family had a baby--and smile. Just the thought of babies make people smile. Sure, go ahead and smile at the thought. . .
  • The Joy of Living in the Footsteps of Those Before Us: What a joy it is to hang diapers. Hanging laundry is one of my favourite chores. It always reminds me of my late mother who hung her laundry out in summer. . .and in a way is a keeping of tradition with my mother, my grandmother, my great-mother, etc. My mother never got to see me as a mama. . .I sure wish she could see this laundry line of diapers now {Tears}.

And here’s a rather organic opportunity to thank my husband who is a vital member of "Team Diaper." He washes them once every 4-5 days, daily brings down the soiled diaper pail to the basement, and then sets us up with a fresh diaper pail (water, vinegar, borax, and a couple drops of essential oil) every day.  Did I already mention, daily? And never complains. And when he’s home, we take turns changing diapers (or we employ "paper, rock, scissors"). The reason I mention this is because he is not as passionate about the reasons behind this as I am.  A few months ago I asked him, so if you don’t feel so strongly about it, why do it? He said something that caught me off guard: “I do it for you.” {Heart melting}

If you have a baby, do you cloth diaper?

Posted by Wholly Canadian at 4:12 AM


I cloth diaper for many of the same reasons as you. Saves money... can't stand the thought of all those disposables sitting in a landfill... don't have garbage pickup... cloth diapers are WAY cuter... i love the fact that i never "run out" of diapers -- just wash and reuse! as you said, it isn't necessarily more convenient -- it does take time to wash/prep/put away, but it is so much simpler and just makes sense to me. (And I'm enjoying our great Manitoban summer while I can b/c winter is too long and I miss being able to sun my diapers!)
August 28, 2014 10:54 PM By tara e
I love that I cloth diapered when my kids were young and now all my 3 children also cloth diaper their kids. No chemicals and save the land fills. The closest thing to cloth diapering I am doing today is using mama cloth. So good for the body without all the chemicals and no garbage.
September 4, 2014 9:00 PM By Diana Z

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