Marriage vs. Cloth Diapering

When my husband and I decided to start a family, I had just been introduced to the world of natural birth, natural family planning, cloth diapering, home birth, etc. I was pretty obsessed and reading frantically. He got on board with everything I wanted to do, including home birth and breastfeeding, not using a crib, not using bottles, co-sleeping, etc.

As time went on, and our traumatic home birth was followed by a very tough infancy. We had a colicky baby, my painful non-anesthetized lateral episiotomy took weeks of healing (google at your own risk),  and PPD reared its ugly head. We had to start letting some things go. I was emotionally invested in some of the decisions we had made about how we would raise our kids. The thought of weaning or buying a stroller or crib was terrifying to me (it seems very silly now, but at the time it made me feel like a failure. Now with three kids, survival is more obviously the healthy decision, and what works for our marriage, our family, and the baby).

sage chillin on my lap

our first baby in 2006, with a fitted diaper as a cover over a prefold: we thought it was a waterproof cover!

My mom encouraged me to stop cloth diapering. I wasn’t getting any sleep and had PPD. Breastfeeding was extremely painful for 6 weeks. I couldn’t sit up straight because of the healing. My mom thought that using disposables would lessen my stress and exhaustion. I followed her advice and we took a break from CDs.

Obviously, I eventually got back into cloth diapers. I realized that my husband and I have different priorities for many things, CDs included.

My husband found the prefolds tricky. We were always losing snappis. He would never put the prefold on snug enough and there would be a blowout 5 minutes later. We both thought that our cotton fitteds were actually covers. We had a European washer/dryer that took 8 hours to do a load of laundry. It was a bad scene. Since then, the CDs have been my priority, with my husband being mostly very willing to participate. Through three kids, he has been willing to do his part and try to remember which diaper goes in what, how to put it on, how to remove it, where to put it when it’s dirty, and even how to wash the diapers!! Unlike me, he feels no shame about using disposables when he feels like it!

We initially CD’d our third baby from day one (we had a package of disposables for the meconium days). After he got a terrible diaper rash that wasn’t cured with any of the creams we had (even Rx), we started disposables at night. His rash cleared up in a day or two. Since then, we’ve used disposables at night. I’ve asked my husband if we could switch to cloth, and he is resistant.

During infancy, my husband couldn’t nurse the baby. His way of helping was changing diapers and caring for me. When I would constantly look over his shoulder while he changed the baby, or corrected his snappi skills, it caused tension. For him, it was easier to help out by using a disposable diaper.

I think it’s better for our marriage and family to just let certain things go. My husband loves paper towels. I push my green propaganda on him every day, but I have accepted that sometimes I need to let it be. We have much larger issues that need tending. Issues that have to be resolved over the screaming of three small kids, or late at night when we both want to watch stupid TV shows and eat Ben and Jerry’s.

I like to be right. I like to be in control. That is not conducive to a healthy marriage, and a healthy marriage is more important to me than what is on my baby’s butt.

Wool Longies

our second kid, in wool longies, when I first started wool covers, 2009

There were periods of time when we didn’t CD at all. Stressful periods, medical emergencies, times when the kids were in day care. The diapers sat in a box in our basement and weren’t opened for months. I’m okay with it now, but at the time, I felt like I was letting myself down.

Coming soon: new photo prop. For now: balance beam splinter emitter

third kid, in a woolie wrap and prefold or fitted

Looking back, I wish I had had a postpartum doula, a lactation consultant, a diaper service, and a cleaning service for my first baby. There should also be a Mom-of-Colicky-Babies Support Group. Where you feel free to come with your screaming baby and just listen to how much all the other babies scream, and sit around and cry together. Maybe pass your screaming baby off to another mom while you hold hers?

What has caused you to stop doing something you really wanted/intended to do as a parent? How did you make your goals a reality? Did they end up being the right goals for you and your baby? Was it hard for you to let go?

PS: big love to my husband for putting up with my insanity and bearing with me in love.

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3 responses to “Marriage vs. Cloth Diapering

  1. Oh I want to join the Baltimore chapter of Moms-of-Colicky-Babies Support Group if there ever is one! Your description of it makes me cry with relief at the mere thought. Thank you for being upfront about flexible and changing priorities. The evening colic has all three of us (me, my husband, and our 10-week old) in tears eventually most nights.

    • Amelia– so sorry to hear you’re in the thick of it. It WILL PASS, as impossible as that may seem at many moments. It will get better/different/easier in ways.

  2. I love this! Sometimes you just have to realize what is best for your sanity and your marriage. And the fact that you can always try again later is a great thing too. Great post!!!

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