In 2011, Kim Rosas, who writes the blog Dirty Diaper Laundry, saw a newscast about low income families reusing/abusing disposable diapers in an effort to save money. Rosas, who is a cloth diapering advocate, felt that these families were not being educated about affordable and safer alternatives. Believing that many low income families might feel overwhelmed by the most affordable cloth diapers, flats, Rosas decided to challenge herself. For a week she planned to only use flat cloth diapers with covers and other pinning devises and to handwash them. She encouraged her readers to also participate in her challenge and anticipated that 20-30 people would sign-up. In response 200 people took part in her challenge.
This year (2012), Rosas once again set out to hold her challenge. To up the anti, she agreed to donate one dollar for every participant up to 200 USD to Giving Dipers, Giving Hope, a non-profit diaper lender serving low income families in the continental United States. She asked that participants sign an online petition asking the government program, WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) to include cloth diaper donations. In the United States, there are no government programs that provide diapers to low income families. Kelly’s Closet, an online cloth diaper retailer, agreed to match Rosas’s donation dollar for dollar. Maria, another blogger who writes Change-Diapers.com, agreed to donate up to 100 USD. Close to 500 people signed-up to participate; I was one of them.
I decided to accept Rosas’s challenge because I felt that the more people who participated the more we could learn from each other and disseminate that knowledge to people in our home towns. Prior to the week, I studied how to fold flat diapers and what materials I would need. For the challenge, I ended up spending approximately 30 dollars and used other materials that I had on hand. The week began and I found my biggest challenge was carving out time to wash cloth diapers in my bath tub. I have two children currently in diapers so I had a much larger load than many of the other participants.
The part that I enjoyed the most was reading about other bloggers’ days and interviewing my family. My family is an unusual bunch because both my in-laws and my parents cloth diapered us. I learned that some of the old tricks to using flats are still the best ones.
With the challenge, I learned how anyone could affordably cloth diaper a child from birth to potty training for very little money. It also made me feel guilty about the number of diapers I have on hand but don’t really use. Despite being on WIC, my family is far better off than some families. Fortunately, Giving Diapers, Giving Hope also accepts any cloth diapers no matter the condition.
When the week ended, I was completely exhausted and thankful that I have access to laundry facilities. I was also more educated. Making the transition back to our regular diaper stash has been strange. Flats now have a special place on my diaper changing table, but how I’m going to integrate them will take time to work out.
It’s my hope that when given the opportunity I can educate other low income families about cloth diapering, but for now I hope that you, dear readers, will also consider making a donation to Giving Diapers, Giving Hope. You can mail them your old cloth diapers and accessories or you can give them a monetary donation. The more diapers they have on hand to lend out, the more families they can serve. Diapers are a necessity, not a luxury.
Article by Laura Weirich
Laura Weirich has been married for four years and has two sons. She's been breastfeeding for nearly two years and currently tandem nurses her toddler and infant. A big proponent of breastfeeding, she's been educating her friends and family about the benefits of breastfeeding and helping other women along the way. When she's not nursing, she chases a toddler all day, washes cloth diapers, tries to catch a few zs and reads up on the latest research about children.
Laura has written 33 awesome articles for Natural Family Today.
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