I was horrified when, at the imminent arrival of our second child, my wife announced she had decided to take the plunge and use cloth nappies. I didn’t even know people still used those things. I mean, why mess with the beautifully clean, efficient and modern system of disposable diapers which so magnificently rescued us from the perils of those awful, droopy squares of white towelling that haunt our childhood memories.
To curb a long story, I reluctantly agreed and overlooked the suspicious entry in my bank statement. My wife was smitten and thus my world was invaded, not just by another delightfully charming bundle of smiles, gob and poop, but by the fascinatingly bizarre world of modern cloth nappies, with the endless rows on the washline, the extra shelf in the clothes cupboard and the continuous, incomprehensible mom-to-mom chatter on this fanatical subject.
To illustrate, I checked a post on my wife’s Facebook one day – bad mistake! (Those FB cloth nappy groups are scary.) Back to the point, the post went something like this: “My latest OSFM hybrid fitted from a WAHM (OTB) arrived in my fluff mail today!! Woohoo!” [Appropriate picture attached]
WTF! I understood the second sentence, the one with one word! The rest was complete gibberish. And ‘fluff mail’?? Please don’t tell me they have cutesy pet names for this expensive hobby of theirs.
Now, before I totally put you off, there’s 3 main things you need to know:
#1. It will make her happy. I have no idea how it works but these things have some sort of magic spell over them and she WILL fall in love with them. She will spend hours lovingly folding and organising her ‘stash’ while you wish you could have the same effect on her. Just remember, “Happy wife = happy life.” Enough said.
#2. These things have resale value! She will show you the numbers but if that doesn’t convince you that it’s worth the upfront cost, then remember this: there is a red hot trade in second hand cloth nappies. Not only does this mean you can recoup some of your capital outlay but it reduces the risk of entering the market in the first place. If, by some small chance, she decides this isn’t for her, you can at least get a chunk of your money back.
A word of advice (warning): when the bug bites, she is going to want to add to her initial collection. This is perfectly normal but I suggest coming to an agreement with her. A functional ‘stash’ should consist of 20 to 30 nappies so, for every nappy she purchases over and above that, she must sell one of the others. This will help keep the obsession (and bank balance) in check.
#3. It IS environmentally friendly. Al Gore may have taken it too far but hey, why not take an easy win. It’s an aweful lot of nasty plastic and miraculously absorbent chemicals that go into 3 years worth of disposable nappies. I’ll let you do the math on that one.
Now, to help you out a little more, I have a short glossary of important terms you might wanna study up on:
Pocket / Fitted / Hybrid Fitted / Hybrid Pocket: These are all different types/classes of cloth nappies (think hatchback, sedan etc from the car world). There really is no reason to know the difference between them, just nod knowingly and make approving noises when she rattles off about them.
Inserts / Boosters / Trifolds / Liners: Same as above except that these go inside said items mentioned above.
OTB: On The Bum – the Facebook pictures always look better this way.
WAHM: Work At Home Mum – these are other mothers that have turned their hobby into a business by making and selling their own cloth nappies. You might see an opportunity here depending on her sewing skills and maternity leave plans.
Fluff mail: A package that arrives with her latest cloth nappy related order. This is the highlight of the week. Don’t, under any circumstance, get in the way and, most importantly, don’t forget to feign interest and bestow approval on the contents.
Poop Sprayer: A simple trigger spray fitted to your toilet – put one of these in and you’ll earn at least a year’s worth of brownie points!
I do hope that this has been helpful. One last tip: it is common knowledge amongst cloth moms that dads just don’t get it, they even have nappies that are so-called ‘dad-proof’ (i.e.. so simple that even dad can change it). As far as I’m concerned, it’s a great opportunity to get out of the odd nappy change by throwing one’s hands up in the air declaring “I can’t figure this out! You better do it…” Works every time ;-)
So you see, you really have nothing to worry about…