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« Cloth Diapering Challenge: I Accept | Main | Late To The (Halloween) Party »

Okay Internet, You Get A Time Out!

Yesterday I hosted a segment on CBS' Eye On Parenting about cloth versus disposable diapering. It is embedded below. I pitched this segment based on Nathalee's post on why she elected to use cloth diapers with Baby Nic. 

Nathalee's post made me really want to go this route. I went as far as to interview a few local diaper services in New York City. In the end, I elected to use disposable diapers because we have a small one-bedroom apartment and nowhere to store our soiled diapers for even a few days in between pick ups. Also, our washing machine is the absolute pits so I did not feel equipped to deal with the clean up. If not for those hang ups, I absolutely would have followed in Nathalee's footsteps and gone the cloth route. My husband wanted to as well.  

The segment below was meant to discuss the pros and cons of both methods. It was CERTAINLY NOT intended to promote one way as better or worse. Each parent has to make their own decision about this and none of us have any right to judge. This is human poop we are talking about. We are all doing our best to keep it together. 

Despite all efforts to present both sides of the story, this segment elicited more venomous comments than I have ever had from any segment I have done in over 10 years as a reporter - 164 comments and counting. My husband, who has worked in broadcast news for longer than I have, likes to joke that if you want to incite viewer comments on a segment, report on pot or pit bulls. I am going to add poop to that topic list. Nothing makes viewers write in more than pot, pit bulls, or poop.  

Let me just say that a lot of this segment was edited for the purpose of keeping it short. I also know that we did not demonstrate the more modern cloth diapering equipment that Nathalee mentioned in her post. Despite that, I think we did have a sufficient conversation about the preliminary questions you should ask yourself when considering diapering options. Would I have liked to have discussed it further? Sure! I have a 3 month old. I can talk about poop until the cows come home! Unfortunately we only got to say what we said here. Does that mean I didn't do my research? Don't know about this subject? Deserve the nasty comments on my personal Facebook account about this? 

Come on people! We are PARENTS! We are trying to raise amiable and decent human beings. Shouldn't we lead by example? Would you accept it if your child marched up to me and ordered me to redo the segment with rude indignation? Then why is it okay for you to talk to me like that? Now go sit in a corner and think about that for a minute. If you are still steamed after that minute, think about what you tell your toddler when they don't get their way: Be nice! 

Reader Comments (92)

I'm glad you are willing to give cloth a try :) I was skeptical when I was pregnant with my first child, so I only really gave it a try with my second. And you know, I totally fell in love with it! Now I own my own business selling cloth diapers :)

I see you've received a TONNE of information from people, so I won't give you any more confusion! Hang in there, give it a good go, and let us know how it goes! And please, don't read all this advice you got! You'll be spinning. Just rely on those that have offered to outfit your baby in cloth. They will be your best advocates for making it work!

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

I can understand feeling insulted... some of the comments were a bit harsh, to say the least!

I have been using cloth for ten months and LOVE it. I use mostly prefolds and covers, I don't have my own washer and dryer, and I don't own a diaper sprayers -- so I do it the hard way. If I had all pocket diapers (which just go on like disposable diapers), my own laundry machines, and a diaper sprayer, heck, it would be the easiest ride!

I just read that you are going to give cloth a try, and I am very excited! My suggestion for you is this: go simple. If you're trying it for one month, don't go with a bunch of brands. Use a trusted brand, and an easier version, like a pocket diaper. No folding or pinning required. You just stuff the insert in after the diapers are dry and stick 'em on that cute little butt. And <u>definitely</u> buy a diaper sprayer and a wet bag.

BumGenius are some of the easiest, best-rated diaper around. Get about two dozen, which will last you three or four days, depending on how often you change your baby's diaper (we go through about five during the day). Once the diaper is soiled, dump any solids into the toilet and knock off the rest with the sprayer. Toss the diaper in the wet bag. When it's washing day, dump the diapers into the wash and stick the wet bag in as well. Do a cold rinse, one hot wash with detergent, and another cold rinse. Dry in the dryer on medium heat, or on the line. (And yes, the UV rays in the sunlight work wonders for getting stains out and killing any lingering bacteria!)

I know you'll probably receive advice from dozens, if not hundreds of mamas, but I hope this helps some, at least!

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterWhitney C.

All I have to say is I'm jealous. I wish I did that segmant and was offered all of those cloth diapers! :) Good luck with your CDing journey..just remember, it's a diaper, not rocket'll quickly find how similar to using a disposable it really is. (and if you decide cloth diapering is not for you, you can send all those diapers my way :) )

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterI's Mommy

I am so sorry you caught some flack for the diapering segment! I cloth diaper and love it, and hate that some fellow cd moms have shown a little crazy over it ;) So glad you are going to give it a try though!! With all of the new boy friendly prints that have come out in the last month or so, I think you will be totally hooked...I was from the minute I started when my son was 10 months old and have remained ever since! (The new boy prints certainly aren't helping matters!!!)

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBrittany P

All I want to add here, as I feel it's unnecessary to repeat over and over..."biased, one-sided, disrespectful to the CD'ing community...." ya ya. I hear everyone. I agree, but hey, it's done. Natali you're a journalist, and although this segment was, well, kinda crappy (no pun intended), it will also do wonders for your media exposure IF you redeem yourself and 'learn something' on live TV. We'd all love to see that. I think you are very commendable for the way you are handling the comments from people. I think you have a lot of talent as a journalist. I ALSO think that at the end of this month, the cloth diaper community will have a new member (you) on its roster, and it will be done in the media spotlight, and that will do WONDERS for the cloth diapering industry. People are talking!!!

So, thanks. In advance. and good luck!

Might I recommend adding on Facebook? I am in no way affiliated with them, but they post daily questions about washing, wearing, selections, struggles, sucesses, where Cloth Diapering moms respond? It has been a huge help to me.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAlison

This is ridiculous. Extreme sided woman being catty.
I am thankful that parents have options. I support any parent's decision to diaper their child.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I am shocked at some of the comments directed at you. I don't think the insults were necessary nor were they appropriate. The cloth diapering community is passionate, you can't deny that. Although some of the passion turned to ridiculous anger, but whatever.

I cloth diaper and love it. I hope you have a fun month and learn a lot. I also hope you try several different brands/types and not just one. I love prefolds/covers, but there are amazing All in Ones by companies like bumgenius and pockets by Fuzzi Bunz. Different kinds fit different kids/families. So be willing to experiment.

Diapering a child is hard- that's why there are so many choices (cloth or disposable) out there. To each their own.

Enjoy the month and if you don't like cloth, no big deal!! You tried and we thank you for trying.

November 5, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTiffany

I did post on cloth, but I don't think I was "mean" just mainly thought it was a little one sided. I am very happy your going to try cloth. I highly recommend a trail pack a little bit of everything. I will say the 1st ones I tried didn't work for us either me or baby, but I now have a good stash of diapers that will work for us. I like pockets the best, but the friend I got to do cloth likes prefolds with covers the best. Good luck!

November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTamara

I have used both cloth and disposable diapers, as well as some of the hybrid options. All have pros and cons, though I do prefer cloth diapers for my daughters. Odd as it may sound, I've actually found cloth diapers to make diapering sort of, enjoyable?? They can get kind of addictive. Maybe you'll enjoy it too :) Either way, I am impressed that you are willing to give it a try. Good luck!!!

November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmy

While I'm glad that you're giving cloth a "try", the segment was extremely biased and there is absolutely no way you can skirt around that. Cloth diapering saves you "a little bit" of money, or you only have to have "a few less" diapers? Please. I have 32 diapers in my stash. They are all one-size diapers and will be good until my little one potty trains. A parent who uses disposable diapers goes through more than 32 diapers in one week. "A few less"? Really. I think that the response from cloth diaperers was fully warranted. I'm sorry that there were personal attacks about your parenting but after watching the segment, the reporting was definitely questionable at best. Had you honestly wanted to offer a segment that addressed the questions that people have when deciding between cloth and disposables, you would have chosen to showcase modern cloth diapers, not diapers that were used 40 years ago. I also think that you should have been honest on your segment about why you didn't decide to use cloth yourself. Your response to the question, "What did you personally decide to do" was quite snarky. Perhaps you were nervous while filming but it came across as being very condescending.

That said, I hope that you give cloth diapering an honest try and that you find a way to issue a better report with less biased views on the subject. Perhaps your next guest should be someone who cloth diapers if you decide to go back to disposables.

November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSummer

As a father of a now 4 yr old, disposable diapers were a must for me. My son was a tough baby, and anyway to ease anything concerning him was the way to go. Never considered cloth, and would not now.

For you that use cloth, great. But no need judge, or try to convert, others.

November 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterDave K.

I would say terms like "nazi's" "no-nothings" and "talking heads" is completely unfair. And why does she get to use THOSE terms but CD'ers not get to have their say as well. And, I'm a CD mom who also gets her child vaccinated. So... way to make huge assumptions Nancy.

Yes, people should be a little more even handed... hard to do sometimes. There is usually always a "nicer" way to say things! :) I know I don't always get it right on the internet either b/c it's so easy to just shoot off a comment you can't take back!

Well - looks like you have some space challenges but... honestly I believe you can overcome them. This weekend I had to use disposables b/c of an infection my baby had that required a cream that would've ruined my cloth diapers. And honestly, the baby's room smells the WORST it's ever smelled b/c I have to keep the dirties in the room instead of putting them in the wash right away. So... I continue to be sold on Cloth! And if you're worried about time spent washing - think about the time you'll save NOT having to run to the store for diapers when you are out, NOT having to waste the half package of too-small diapers you still have when the baby has a quick growth spurt. :) There are perks on the CD side too! :)
I agree the segment could've been a little "deeper" and better titled. But either way you choose, you are not a VILLAIN for choosing one way or the other... Good luck to you! :) I think I may have already mentioned it but... feel free to check out my blog - I am doing an event right now where I am featuring a lot of cloth diaper companies a few times a week so it's perfect reading for this trial month for you! :)

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJulieK

I am a mom of 2 who has chosen to CD 95% of the time. I like to consider myself open minded and easy going - it really doesn't matter how you diaper or don't (Elimination Communication) Since you are taking on this challenge of CD, I would reccomend meeting with a full time CD parent. Have them show you their "stash." Also ask about their system of storing, washing, and cleaning. As you stated, it can be overwhelming at first, however, the diapers are not only super soft, but super cute. If you can afford to, get a few one size pocket diapers or AIO in your favorite colors and patterns. What makes the cloth diapers more eco and $ friendly is that the diapers can be used for more than 1 child and can be dried in the sun. Last, but not least ,I do think you need to have a follow-up video with a pediatritian or other professional that is pro-cloth, as I think you were asking good questions, just not the best questions for this particular debate. The good news, is that you have people thinking and talking about it =)

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda


As a cloth diapering mom, I am sorry that you received any nasty comments from the CD community. Its uncalled for, and if we thought the segment that aired on CBS shed a negative light on cloth diapering - well how about a group of nasty devotees to put the icing on the cake? It doesn't compel curious moms and those new to CD to ask questions of us more experienced folks, does it?

Believe it or not one of the biggest deterrents to me getting started with cloth diapering was the enormous amount of choices. It was really intimidating and everyone had such strong opinions about what to use and how to use it. Personally, I ended up using just the basic flat prefold diapers inside a cover. Its so easy and so inexpensive and so simple. I wish someone has shown me how simple it could be long ago. Until I had attended a cloth diapering workshop and saw real cloth diapers in action, however, I was totally lost.

I'm sure someone has already suggested this, but has a great product review section on their website and you can research different options for yourself and see what other CDers thought of the products.

Good luck and THANKS for accepting this challenge!

November 7, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJanie

I just wanted to share this information with you. Each family make the decision that is right for them. This is why we chose to cloth diaper our child.

Why Cloth Diaper?

1- Cost

An average baby is in diapers for about 3 years (36 months) and uses an average of 7 diapers a day through that time (more as a newborn and less as a toddler) about 7500 diapers changes in 36 Months.

Disposable diapers average $0.40 a diaper. Diapering the average baby in disposable will then costs about $85 per month or about $3025 per child over 36 months

Cloth diapers are completely reusable but have to be bought ahead of time. If a newborn uses about 12 diapers a day and a parent washes them every two days and air dries (machine drying speeds up cloth disintegration) to prolong the diapers lifetime. You need to have about 36 diapers on hand in order to allow for some diapers to be available while the others are in the wash. A cloth diapering system with 36 diapers costs about $720. With an average of 24 changes per washload for a total of 315 loads in 36 months. Laundry costs are estimated at $1.12 per load including detergent, water and electricity or $353.80 over 36 months. So the total cost of diapering a baby in cloth diapers is about $1075 per child over 36 months.

Disposable - Cloth = Savings
$3025 – $1075 = $1950

2 – Environment

Everything we do has an environmental impact. The difference in the environmental impact between disposable diapers and cloth diapers is enormous. The amount of negative effect that cloth diapering has on the environment is minimal. But there is an impact. Rinsing and washing of diapers uses water and puts some detergent by products into the environment. However disposable diapers have a much larger environmental impact. If one baby can be diapered for 36 months in a total of 36 cloth diapers that used and reused many times. If that same baby is diapered in disposable it will take about 7500 disposable which can only be used once and then thrown out. It is believed to take 450 years for disposable diaper to decompose.

3 – health

Some medical professionals’ caution that nothing is known about the potential health risks of the chemicals used in making disposable diapers and the effect of chemicals off gassing but disposable diapers. This includes potential links to increased risks of Asthma and SIDS. Also because cloth diapers are more breathable cloth diapered babies as less often affected by diaper rash and other skin aliments.

4 – Toilet Training

Babies raised on cloth diapers usually make the transition from cloth to toilet trained more easily and quicker then babies raised in disposable diapers. This is because cloth diapers allow babies to feel some wetness.

November 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I watched most of the clip that everyone seemed to get all fired up about. I know that what was shown was more of editing than anything. Also, even experts can only really talk from experiences. If there was an expert in the field who had cloth diapered, it may have even come across differently. Who knows.
One thing I do know is that, like you said, we are all parents trying to do our best. While maybe cloth wasn't shown in the best way it could have been, I didn't really see a reason for any truly rude remarks. To be honest, I didn't read any of the comments you got from that clip because I already knew where they were going, as I had only learned of this clip from cloth diapering sites on my facebook page.
I am more than thrilled that you did decide to give cloth a chance in your own home. I know that with the restrictions you have mentioned, it can make parents hesitant, but also know that I personally know a mom who uses cloth and only has access to a laundromat, and hands washes most of her diapers because of it.
I can't wait to see how your cloth trial goes, and I hope that by the end we have a new lover of cloth in our midst. We are here for you, as a community. Though the comments may have made things seem otherwise, the cloth community can be a tight knit and very helpful one. :)

November 11, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I'm a late commenter on this one, but it seems to me that this piece was pretty balanced. I'm a cloth diapering mommy, and so I do think it would have been really great if- rather than just mentioning that there are easier cloth diapering options out there- you could have shown some of the modern cloth diapering options as an example. I didn't think the doctor who was your guest was negative at all. Sorry you've experienced so much negativity stemming from this report! And, I'm so happy that you're trying the modern cloth options and finding just how easy they really can be! :)

November 19, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

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