Would YOU Reuse a Diaper?

Before you answer that question let me share a few eye-opening statistics with you.  Did you know that 1 in 3 families struggle to afford diapers for their baby?  {source}  Did you also know that there are no federal and/or state assistance programs that provide families with diapers?  There was a story a few years ago that circulated about how some families actually resort to cleaning out and reusing their disposable diapers because they can’t afford to change them every few hours.  It’s not uncommon to hear of families leaving their baby in a disposable diaper for 8-12 hours either.

Now ask your self the question again, “Would you reuse a diaper?”  What if I told you there was another option?  Reusable Cloth Diapers!  Yes, cloth diapers like your mom or grandmom used!  Not sure if that’s for you?  Stay with me for a few more minutes and let me see if I can change your mind…or at least enlighten you a bit.

When my (now 4 year old) daughter was born I knew that we were going to use modern cloth diapers.  Cloth diapers have actually come a long way since the 1970’s and are really cute and easy to use.  We used them on my daughter until she was potty trained and I fell in love with the cloth diapering community.  Yes, there is a large (mostly online) community of cloth diapering families all over the world.  Some of them even have local moms group, meet ups, and diaper swaps.  I began blogging about our cloth diaper journey back in 2009 and now I’m working full-time in the industry.  I’ve been blessed to meet and network with some amazing women (and a few men) who blog, make, and sell cloth diapers.

One of my friends (and a local Tampa mama herself), Kim Rosas started her blog, Dirty Diaper Laundry, back in 2009 and creates video reviews of the different cloth diapers on the market.  She’s also on the board of directors for Giving Diapers, Giving Hope – a non-profit organization that helps by providing cloth diapers to families in need.  The organization was started by a friend of hers, Kristen McCarrthy, who was one of those families in need.  Based out of Gloucester, MA Kristen and Giving Diapers, Giving Hope have helped hundreds of families diaper their babies with cloth diapers.  Here is a short video that tells a little more about Giving Diapers, Giving Hope.


The Story of Giving Diapers, Giving Hope from Giving Diapers, Giving Hope on Vimeo.

For the past 3 years Kim has organized the Flats and Handwashing Challenge.  Flat diapers can be store bought, made using flour sack kitchen towels, tshirts, or any absorbent fabric and can be use as the absorbent material inside a diaper cover.  Why flats instead of the modern cloth diapers?  With the average price of a single modern cloth diaper at around $17 many families just can’t afford the initial investment.  With flats and diaper covers you can diaper your baby for FREE using donated items or for as little as $50 if you need to buy supplies.  Since many families in need don’t have access to laundry facilities it is very helpful for them to learn how to handwash their diapers.  With just a few basic supplies (and quick lesson in cloth diapers) a family can now use the money that they bought disposable diapers with and spend it on rent, gas, insurance, groceries, or whatever other bills that need to be paid without having to deprive their baby of a fresh, clean diaper!

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5cWCa1suS3k&w=560&h=315]

With the Flats and Handwashing Challenge, Kim provides tips and resources on how to use flat diapers, how to make diapers using tshirts and other fabrics around the home, how to make a camp style washer to handwash your diapers, and how to handwash your diapers.  Families all around the globe participate in this online challenge by only using a small number of flats and covers and handwashing their diapers for 7 days.  Many of the participants are bloggers, educators in their local cloth diaper communities, or families who want to learn how to diaper on a budget  – some even struggling to provide diapers for their own babies.

When my daughter was still in diapers I participated in the first Flats Challenge and learned just how easy it really is to use flats and handwash my diapers.  I quickly realized just how many times in my own life that using flats would have been helpful.  When traveling flats are easy to pack and compact.  When you are staying at a hotel, camping, or when no laundry facility is available; flats can easily be washed and tried in the bathroom.  Living in a hurricane prone area knowing how to use flats and handwash can come in very handy if we were ever left without electricity after a storm.  In devastated hurricane areas such as Katrina and most recently Hurricane Sandy, families can be without power for several days if not longer and local stores may not have stock in disposable diapers if you can even get there. I wrote some tips on How to Prepare an Emergency Kit When You Cloth Diapers (or Diapering in a Disaster) on my blog.

Do you know a family with small a baby who is struggling to pay the bills?  Want to learn more about cloth diapers or the Flats Challenge?  Below are some of my favorite resources to help get you (or them) started.    

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