Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prenatal classes and cloth diapers

We attended prenatal classes this weekend. The educator was Lamaze-based, but the course went way beyond the "breathing" which is what most people think of when they think of Lamaze. That was about 5 minutes out of the two-day course.

During the diapering part of the class, there were a few cloth diapers available for people to try on the baby dolls, but 7 out of the 8 couples went straight for the disposables.

We were that eighth couple.

The instructor gave very little information about the cloth diapers, and I ended up actually giving a demo to some of the couples, and then sharing information about cloth diapering to the whole group for a few minutes. Me, a first time almost-mom who has NO hands on experience with it (though I have done two year's worth of research and feel that I have learned a lot. I can talk knowledgeably about the different types, different materials & absorbencies, various brands, how to do laundry and stain removal.).

Two of the men seemed interested and actually came over to see me demonstrate the different types that were there (they had some fitteds and covers, and AI2's). NONE of the women were remotely interested and several said they didn't consider cloth diapering for a second.

We could see on their faces that they had no interest in the cloth. My husband and I mentioned the environmental benefits, the financial savings, the possibility of using a diaper service if the extra laundry was a turn-off, the reduction in diaper rashes and earlier potty training. That you never need to do a midnight run to the store for diapers - because you've always got them handy.

We talked about how you are supposed to empty poo out of disposables into the toilet, too, so there's really no difference in a diaper change, only instead of the CD's going in the garbage, they go in the wash (everyone seemed shocked that you are supposed to do that with disposables. RTFM, folks). We talked about the chemicals in disposables, and the fact that even though they go in the "Green Bin" (municipal compost bins), the diapers end up separated from the compost stream and head to landfills. We talked about baby knowing when she's wet and letting you know, so you actually change the diaper when it needs to be changed and don't have baby sitting in a chemical soak of urine-saturated gel. Which means you can keep better track of baby's wetting and ensure she's meeting the goals for adequate feeding - and leads to that earlier potty training.

I really found it disappointing that they seemed so closed-minded about the idea. I guess I should have expected it, but the community of bloggers and tweeters that I read and relate to are so pro-cloth diapers - so I guess I've surrounded myself with like-minded people - and it came as a shock that the instant reaction to CD's in this group was "NO" even before they knew anything about them.

Anyway... I don't mean to rant about it, it just made me realize how prevalent the convenience factor is, and how resistant people are to "new" ideas - not that cloth diapering is a new idea, it's just been pushed so hard and fast out of the media in the last, say, 4 decades, by the money that goes into marketing disposables. Even though there are so many pros for cloth and so many cons for disposables. Ugh.

Otherwise, the classes were good - I think we already knew much of the information, though. My husband did a lot of care of his younger siblings in his youth, and I did a heck of a lot of babysitting, and spent one summer as a nanny in my youth/young adulthood. I think I've read about 14 pregnancy/labour/birth/baby care books in the last 8 months. (One of these days I'd like to do a comparison review of the books I read, and talk about which ones were the most helpful and informative, and which were not so great. I've linked to a couple of my favourites in the Amazon widget at the left.)

So, if anyone in the York or Durham Region is looking for prenatal classes, I can recommend one to you (just leave me a comment, I'll email you with the deets). It covered from labour through to aftercare. The instructor was good and even took the time to email me some info outside of class based on a conversation we'd had. It's a good overview of what to expect, if you haven't read a zillion books already :)


  1. Sounds similar to our childbirth classes with our first! Except there was NO mention of cloth diapers at all. All the other women were talking about being induced early because their doctor was totally ok with it. They were all getting epidurals and pain meds as well. The instructor only covered the breathing LESS than 5 minutes, which was basically lamaze based. I don't even think the other women paid attention. I thought the class was pretty much a waste of time. Like you I had read several books. I'd really like to hear what you've read! I don't mind reading another book or two :-)

  2. I think its sad how closed minded people are but I think a main reason for that is lack of info and actually good info. People are just scared and really I think just don't want to be inconvinced, sad but true (I think). There are a lot of people around me that have recently begun to experiment with CD and are loving it. I am so thankful for this b/c now I won't be like the black sheep :) We are actually pretty excited about it and they are SO stinking cute! :)

  3. It doesn't really surprise me that people were so closed minded about the cloth diapers. It's too bad.

  4. Good for you for being informative. Cloth diapering is one of those awesome life choices that feels good all the way around.

  5. The classes we attended with our first gave no mention to cloth diapering either.
    I am constantly amazed at how many people are so misinformed about cloth diapering!!
    I don't think it is really all about convenience though because, depending on which diapers you use, they're just as convenient to use as disposables!!

    But kudos to you for trying to share. It's all we can do...


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