Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Cloth Diapers in the Media

This post is part of Cloth Diapering Bloggers’ and Dirty Diaper Laundry’s Cloth Diaper Carnival VIII: Cloth Diaper Awareness. Please visit the other bloggers participating by following the link at the end of this post.

I'll admit I don't watch a lot of TV. And the TV I do watch is generally commercial-free (Netflix). But I know how effective commercial advertising can be in influencing the consuming masses.

Are there cloth diaper commercials on TV? I've heard about the "cloth-like" imitation jean booty-short Huggies commercials. But what about real cloth? Billboards, print commercials in magazines, most importantly, television commercials: these are ways to increase exposure for cloth diapers.

Photo shoot at six days old in a
WAHM-made prefold and Snappi
The fact is, most people don't know about the modern cloth diaper. When you mention cloth diapering, people picture prefolds, diaper pins, and plastic or rubber pants. Even if you cloth diaper with prefolds these days (as I do!) there are Snappis instead of pins and cute, breathable PUL, fleece, or wool covers to make changing a cloth diaper much easier. And if you use pockets or all-in-ones (AIOs), changing a cloth diaper is just as easy as changing a disposable!

The families I know who cloth diaper their babies do so for at least one of the same reasons we do: saving money, helping the environment, and keeping harmful chemicals away from baby's sensitive skin. I also like to support companies that participate in giving back to their communities and to those who are in need.

Napping with kitty at six weeks in a
prefold and Thirsties Duo Wrap cover

Advertising should appeal to the money-saving consumer by showing the cost savings of cloth diapers. (This cost calculator is useful for figuring out when your cloth diapers have paid for themselves.) There are tons of sites comparing the cost savings of cloth vs. disposables, but here are a few of my favorites: Cloth Diaper Blog compares cloth vs. disposables in an easy-to-read article. Diaper Decisions has a comprehensive cost comparison of diapering with prefolds and covers, fitteds and covers, AIOs, pockets, an assortment of cloth, and disposables in a series of charts. Everyday Diapers simply compares Fuzzibunz to diaposables. While the up-front cost of cloth diapers is often a discouraging factor for people who end up buying disposables, you can't argue with simple number crunching: over time cloth pays for itself. Even taking into consideration the costs of laundering them, if you use the same diapers on a subsequent child (or more than one), you're even better off!

Advertising should target the eco-conscious consumer by explaining the hugely negative impact that disposable diapers have on our environment. Provided you use eco-friendly diaper detergent, cloth is the obvious choice if your aim is to help save the planet. It's hard to argue that throwing away thousands of disposable diapers (per baby) is the better option. I read on The Cloth Diaper Whisperer recently that human poop is never supposed to be thrown away in the regular garbage (after the child starts solid foods) because of the risks of leeching into our groundwater. The poop is meant to be flushed down the toilet—even when using disposables. I don't know anyone who does that. So, if you're going to be flushing poop anyway, you might as well be using adorable, reusable cloth!

Waking up this morning in a
Bumgenius organic AIO

Advertising should impress the altruistic consumer by showcasing companies that look out for the greater good. Envibum is a great example of a company that's doing things right. When you purchase their mom4mom diaper cover, a cover is given to a mom in need, and for each of their AIOs purchased, $2 is donated to a charity. We all know that helping low-income families (especially those who have access to laundry facilities) by providing reusable cloth diapers is much more cost-effective and, well, more helpful than giving them disposables.

Some cloth diapers diapers can be recycled by the company they were made by, or even composted (clean) when they wear out. You can trade or resell them on forums like Diaperswappers, or they can be given away on sites like Freecycle to someone who will give them a second life. For the ultimate in reusable recycled cloth diapers, check out the many work-at-home-moms and other fiber craft-makers on Etsy selling cloth diapers and diaper accessories they've made from upcycled clothing!

Finally, word-of-mouth is powerful advertising. If a company makes a good baby product, responds to feedback, and has excellent customer service, parents will talk. We will tell our other parent friends how awesome a certain kind of cloth diaper is, and along the same lines, what diaper hasn't worked for us.

We can get the word out about cloth...with just a little help from the media!

Check out the other carnival submissions at Dirty Diaper Laundry!


  1. I like your ideas! Believe it or not, I actually do know a few people who use sposies & flush the poop. Odd enough! I do think word of mouth is really the best advertising. Who better to get advice from than those you know?

  2. Yup, word of mouth is best. I love the other ideas as well. They need to get on board.

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