I have been cloth diapering for 35 plus years, but I still, regularly, have conversations with people who hear “cloth diapers,” and they instantly picture pins, rubber pants, and trying to figure out how to fold a flat. While flats and prefolds are still an excellent and inexpensive option, cloth diapers have changed drastically in the last 20+ years.
After having several friends convert to cloth diapers after asking me questions, I’ve realized people are interested and willing to learn about modern cloth. Modern cloth diapers are just as easy to use as their disposable counterparts. There is a wide range of styles, fits, and brands. Still, you have to be ready to talk about them in a way that doesn’t make them feel less for having questions.
So let’s chat about how to convert a friend to cloth.
When I was first looking into cloth diapers, I assumed I would use pins, prefolds, and rubber pants. I had never heard of a Pocket, AIO, AI2, or a Fitted diaper, and I had tons of questions. Honestly, blogs were intimidating at the time, and I just wanted someone to explain how they worked to me. However, most of the time, I felt like I was being childish for having questions. I wanted to know how well aplix held up or if snaps were a better option. I wanted to ask about laundry detergents and washing routines. But most of the time, I was met with the feeling of being back in high school, and I wasn’t one of the cool kids.
Don’t fight the mommy wars.
Listen, there are so many “mommy wars,” and I’ve realized how petty most of them are as I’ve gotten older. Before you fight me on this, hear me out. I am so very passionate about a lot of those hot topics. I love talking about cloth diapers and breastfeeding, but if I spoke to you like MY way was the only way, would you be able to hear anything I had to say? When we get so stuck on what we have to say is heard, we are silencing ourselves. I guess this could go under being approachable. You have to keep in mind the choices you’ve made and what works for your family might not work for everyone. We’re all moms and dads just trying to do the best thing for our children.
I know how busy life is and can be. But you make time for the things that are important to you. Maybe you can’t take the time right that second to chat for an hour about cloth diapers, but setting up a time later will go a long way. This happened to me recently as I had a friend looking for information on cloth diapers. We live about 15 hours away, so we set a time for a skype date. I was able to give her time frames that worked well for me, and she could figure out when it would work well for her. Even five minutes of a simple description of how easy cloth is can change someone’s thoughts about cloth and open up more conversation later.
I’ve found one of the best ways to talk about cloth diapers with non-cloth diapering friends is to listen. I had a friend talking about how her newborn had what looked like a heat rash, but it was only where the diaper covered. She had tried all sorts of creams, but nothing was working. I was able to bring up cloth diapers and how maybe her baby was allergic to something in the disposables. Another friend talked about how fanatically taxing it was to have to buy diapers every couple of weeks, and I was able to talk about how cloth diapering has saved us tons of money. If you take time to listen, you may find an easy way to bring up cloth diapers.
Show off your stash.
Come on; you know, this is the enjoyable part of talking cloth diapers. It’s fun getting to show friends and family the different colors, patterns, and styles of cloth diapers. We live in a visual world. People like being able to see and feel before buying. It’s the same way with cloth diapers. If someone can see and feel the options upfront before investing in a cloth diaper stash, they’re more likely to find something they like and will work for them without as much frustration.
This requires no explanation.. Just tell it like it is!
Offer a test drive.
I know sometimes you look at your stash and a little Gollum comes out with “MY PRECIOUS!” But maybe you could somehow find a way to let a friend who’s contemplating cloth diapers borrow a few of yours to get the feel of them and the chance to see just how easy it is.
Give the gift of information.
If I know, I have a friend contemplating cloth; I love giving them the book “Changing Diapers The hip mom’s guide to modern cloth diapering” and pairing it with one of my favorite diapers for a perfect shower gift. It’s full of helpful information for those getting started and help troubleshooting tips for cloth veterans.
A friend of mine said there was no point in her using cloth because their daycare provider wouldn’t accept cloth diapers. After chatting for a while and talking about how it doesn’t have to be all or nothing, my friend decided to cloth diaper part-time at home. Even just using cloth half the time is still saving them money and is less impact on the environment than using disposables full time.
So there you have it. My tips for how to convert a friend to cloth. Have you had the chance to talk to a friend or a stranger about cloth diapers? How did it go? Have you had anyone change their minds on cloth because of the time you took to explain to them just how easy it is?