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Cloth Diapering with an Unsupportive Extended Family

This post is included in a series of posts about real parents cloth diapering in a variety of life situations. You can read about parents that work full time, cloth diaper without a washing machinecloth diaper part time and more! Stay tuned for more Real Life Cloth Diapering Stories from parents like you!

“You know, babies just aren’t cheap no matter what you do, and there ARE things that are worth spending money on.” My father’s raised eyebrows and utterly dubious voice quite convincingly indicated his belief that, at least in that moment, I must be insane.

My grandmother chimed in, “I mean, at one point we all did it, but that’s because there was no choice, and there were services to help. I would NEVER do it on my own.”

As for my mother, she just looked at me with the face that said Mmmm-hmmmm, we’ll see how long this lasts!

No, I hadn’t told them that we were about to sell all of our belongings and build a log cabin in the woods or anything. I had informed them that we intended to use cloth diapers. My primary reason was saving money. I had other reasons, but that one was the one that was the most “relatable” to my family. I was a little disappointed. My 6-months-pregnant self was very excited about all things baby, and after doing a bunch of research (and realizing how utterly adorable fluffy butts are!), I was super excited about cloth diapering. I wasn’t necessarily expecting my family to share my enthusiasm, but I was hoping they would at least support our decision.

In that initial conversation, I explained to them that cloth diapers have become very easy to use, almost as easy as disposable diapers, they are WAY cuter (too cute-I have to exercise a lot of self control or I want to buy every cute fluffy diaper I see!!), and save quite a bit of money, especially since we hope to have several children and use the same diapers for all of them.

We persisted in our decision to cloth diaper, and I can honestly say that now I am addicted! I love everything about cloth diapers and wipes-even the laundry (yes, it’s possible I may be insane. I should note here that this is the only load of laundry I like doing).

There is something about becoming a parent yourself that severs that last inkling of childhood and forces you to (once again) redefine your roles and relationships with your family and parents.  Because of this, I had to make the decision that, while I would listen and take their advice under consideration, I was not going to be offended if they didn’t agree with me, and neither was I going to just do what they wanted simply because they wanted me to do it. It is okay if I make some parenting decisions that are different from the ones my parents made when raising me. I also decided to take the approach of “win them over by showing them.” I also decided this was not a hill I wanted to die on. So if the topic comes up, I enthusiastically gush about my enjoyment of cloth diapering and happiness over our decision to do so, but if it doesn’t, I don’t push it. We did purposely get some all-in-one diapers so that family would have something that looked familiar if they were ever babysitting.

At this point (6 months into our parenting endeavors), I think my father still thinks I’m crazy, but if I want to do the extra work and deal with my child’s bodily excrement, so be it (I think he has forgotten that you deal with it with disposable diapers too!); my mother supports us by giving us cloth diapering stuff as gifts, but uses “paper diapers” when she watches our son at her house (which is fine by me since she also buys them and it’s only once a week for a few hours);  and my grandmother is shocked by how much cloth diapers have changed since she was using them. I do have to say that I have discovered that disposable diapers and wipes have a distinct odor that I find very unpleasant-not something I have ever noticed before, and something that further affirms my love for the cloth booty!

Oh, and as for that initial conversation…

Yes, Dad, there are some things worth spending money on-heartstoppingly adorable fluff!!! Although I don’t “need” anymore, it takes every ounce of self control to not jump all over some of the cuteness I see on cloth diapering pages!

Grandma, I love doing diaper laundry. There is something very rewarding about washing the diapers, then putting them out to sun and watching the stains disappear like magic.

And Mom, I just may be crazy-crazy about cloth!

Jennifer Stone has developed a deep love for cloth diapering. She enjoys writing as a hobby, and her other newfound hobby is creating wool diaper covers and garments for an affordable price. She can be reached at,, or her wool blog:
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