How to Convince a Friend to Try Cloth Diapers
Most families don't care what kind of diapers their friends use. Parents who love Pampers don't try to convince Huggies-lovers to switch. But for those of us who love cloth, diapers are far more than just a way to catch poop. They are our world of inside knowledge and expertise, our favorite fashion statement, and our contribution toward saving the planet. And when you start to feel like using cloth diapers is more a lifestyle than a way to deal with poop, you may find yourself wanting to share it.
The trouble is, a lot of your mom friends may not be thrilled with your new found delight in cloth diapers. For someone who's used to thinking of diapers as something to use once and then throw away, the idea of enjoying diapers--much less loving them, reusing them, saving them, and reselling them--is a little hard to understand. When you start sharing your excitement about diapers, some of them may even feel a little offended by your enthusiasm. But it is possible to become a cloth diaper evangelist without losing all your friends. With a little luck and patience, you may even convert a few--and then you'll have someone else who enjoys talking about your diaper obsession. Not to mention the fact that you'll have added a few more gold stars on your personal contribution toward saving the planet.
Here's how to introduce a friend to cloth diapers without driving her away.
1. Start when she's pregnant. Once a mom has established her routine with disposable diapers, it's harder for her to switch to cloth. But if your friend is pregnant with her first child, then she's probably still in the process of figuring out what's best for her baby. She'll be much more interested in hearing about your perspective (and drawing on your expertise) now, before she's made a decision about what kind of diaper she wants to use.
2. Show off your stash. Will one glimpse of your baby's fancy limited-edition one-size pocket convince your friend that she just has to use cloth? Of course not. But many parents, when they think of cloth diapers, still think of safety pins and ugly rubber pants. Seeing how convenient and trim today's cloth diapers are--not to mention cute--may help your best friend rethink her resistance to reusable diapers.
3. Talk about it (but not too much). If you are constantly gushing about how awesome your diapers are, your friends will quickly get tired of the topic and tune you out. But that doesn't mean you can't occasionally mention the benefits of cloth--especially if your friend is struggling with some of the downsides of disposables. If she's been cleaning up poop blowouts five times a day, it's okay to tell her that the gussets in your favorite covers mean you've never had to deal with one. As long as it's true.
4. Offer to let her borrow some of your stash. Of course you should never push your diapers on a friend who's not interested! But if your friend seems intrigued but hesitant, trying a few diapers for herself may be just the impetus she needs to make the switch. You don't have to give her all your favorite; just lend her a small sampling so she can experience for herself what she's been missing.
4. Share your expertise. If your friend is considering buying some cloth diapers of her own, then your knowledge will be her most valuable resource. Tell her where you bought your diapers, the types you like best and why, and the details of your wash routine. Translate the cloth diaper forums for her (remember how confusing it was when you first started reading about AIOs, pockets, OSs, and covers?) so she can research for herself.
5. Respect her perspective and decisions. If your friend decides to stick with Pampers, don't give her a hard time. She has every right to make the decisions that are best for her family--just like you do. In the long run, diapering decisions are just a small part of your babies' lives. When your kids are in middle school, you won't remember which of their friends wore cloth diapers--but you and your kids will both love and value the friends that they've known since they were babies.
Lisa C. Baker is a full-time mom and part-time writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She writes about green parenting topics at Organic Baby Atlanta andteaches workshops on cloth diapers and elimination communication. She's been a mom since 2008 and has never bought a disposable diaper; she hopes she'll never need to!