We talk about all the amazing benefits of cloth diapering in a die-hard attempt to convince other people to embrace the cloth lifestyle. Let’s be real, cloth diaper parents are their own breed of amazing. But there is a dark side to cloth diapering.
It’s one I’ve participated in and I’m ashamed of my behaviour over the past few years, and of my actions to come.
But while cloth diapering is amazing and deserves all the recognition it has a dark side that some people talk about, and some people don’t. The dark side of cloth diapering is often oversimplified, and I’m not even sure I’ll touch upon all the evils that linger within the cloth diapering community
Cloth diapering is not perfect and there are pitfalls to cloth diapering that many of us fall into. Some of this matter a lot, and some of these don’t.
Cloth Diaper Excess & Cloth Diaper Shopping Addictions
When you start cloth diapering everyone tells you that you need a perfect stash of 24 diapers, and that’s it. However, that’s not where it ends. In the depths of new motherhood, the pleasure of online shopping, and the need to fill the emptiness in your identity, many cloth diaper parents spiral into a cloth diaper shopping addiction.
It sounds innocent enough, but buying cloth diapers doesn’t solve postpartum depression/anxiety. It doesn’t fix the baby blues or alleviate the loneliness of motherhood. I feel that, I feel that every day as I post pictures of cloth diapers in an attempt to garner someone’s attention after a long day of being ignored, screamed at, and emotionally destroyed as a mom of 2 under 2.
I get it. Waiting on Fluff Mail, sharing memes and jokes about new cloth diapers and the excitment is fun and part of the community, but it’s not always the answer to finding out who you are post-baby.
But excessive stashes and making friends with the mail man isn’t the solution to depression, anxiety, or maternal mental health challenges. It just covers it up.
What good is a stash of 200 diapers if you can only wash 24-30 at a time?
If you’re shopping because you feel like crap and you want to be a better mother, or a better person, then I would encourage you reach out for help. Connect with friends or family, or maybe your doctor has some local resources for you including counselling services or local mom groups.
There is so much more to this conversation…. you might also start with this video from Jay’s Nest.
Cheapies & Enabling a vastly unknown textile industry.
Cheapies impact the North American cloth diaper marketplace. Maybe that’s important to you, maybe it’s not.
I don’t have any facts to back that because this isn’t an industry closely studied but we can see it as each year another retailer or brand shuts their doors. Behind closed doors in secret chats, it’s all people are talking about as they wonder and question how they can even compete.
Cheapies fuel a vastly unknown textile industry. It’s largely accepted that fast fashion and textile processing is a dirty business that costs lives and takes a toil on the environment. For the most part we don’t really know what’s going on in overseas factories. We are told small snippets of a story, but nobody’s seen a cheapie cloth diaper factory to give us the first hadn’t account, instead we are making assumptions based off other reports coming out of China about the working conditions (or lack thereof).
Many cloth diaper brands work hard to provide transparency and learn about their factories and working conditions, but not all do.
This is a dark side to cloth diapering that we don’t know much about and we do make a lot of assumptions.I’m making the assumption that cheap cloth diaper manufacturing is equivalent to other cheap textile and toy manufacturers because that’s all I can compare it to.
When you think about how someone can make a cloth diaper for $3.50 USD using 20 snaps, a piece of PUL and multiple complex pieces, then you can only kind of deduct what that could be like. That’s not fair working wages. It takes a North American brand 20-30 minutes per diaper on a good day? 2 Diapers per hour —- $6/hour plus the cost of materials, building, profit…. hmmm what are those people making on a cheapie?
And yeah, I did order cheap diapers from the internet this year in an attempt to get to learn the product better. This was an eye opening experience. I was disappointed, but I’ve started building relationships with manufacturers to learn about their factories and improve product quality.
Mama Catty-ness & Drama
Now that we are over that really dark moment, there’s another internal darkness within the cloth diaper community where brands, retailers, and other parents block each other in their fear of being questioned.
The online space of cloth diapering is amazing, but it also comes with its downsides. Don’t question a brand in their own branded space or you will likely be banend and blocked. I know from first hand experience.
And while many of us love the cloth diaper friends we have, many of the Facebook groups are big and have their own clique’s. It can be hard to fit in, find friends and build relationships when people have been there forever.
We’ve also seen store drama, brand dram, and blogger drama over the years. It sucks and it consumes more time than I care to admit to.
That’s the Dark Side of Cloth Diapering for me.
What’s the dark side of cloth diapering look like for you, I’d love for you to share you story, and share a link below in the comments if you write it out somewhere.
Cloth diapering does come with its own baggage.