Do you have a reluctant-to-cloth-diaper Daddy in the house? Not every Dad is on the same page as Mom when it comes time to decide how to diaper that adorable little baby bum. Here’s some tips for making sure Daddy will be happy to participate in cloth diapering too:
Make it easy
Make sure you have super user-friendly cloth diapers in your stash. For Dads and other caregivers (think Grandma or babysitters) easier is better and the less thinking required when trying to diaper a wriggling baby is always a bonus. So, consider all-in-one (AIO) diapers. AIOs are all one piece with the absorbent layers and the waterproof layer all together with no stuffing or fussing required. You just put them on and take them off. Nothing fancy. These are very intuitive and are the closest thing to putting on a disposable you can get. Generally a big thumbs up for ease of use. Alternatively, if you’re wanting to do a pocket type diaper, look for one that can accommodate Daddy’s bigger hands when it comes to stuffing the absorbent insert in the pocket opening. Applecheeks pocket diapers for instance were designed with the diaper changing Daddy in mind. Their pocket opening is specifically placed at the widest point of the diaper, making stuffing the absorbent insert inside very easy. Plus, if Daddy forgets to pull the insert out before washing, no big deal. Applecheeks and Thirsties pocket diaper inserts will agitate out in the wash on their own anyway. See? Easy. Note: when using pocket diapers, if Mom pre-stuffs them ahead of time, then it’s even easier for Dad.
Address the poop issue and home washing concerns
This can be a big thing for Dads and is one of the first questions that comes up in our Cloth Diapering Workshops. Lots of Dads have never changed a diaper in their lives and have no idea what baby poo even looks like. No wonder many of them balk at the idea of having to change diapers and wash them in the machine at home. When you let the imagination run wild it often comes up with something way worse than reality, so address this issue up front with him. Assure him that newborn poo is hardly scary and barely has any volume at all. It’s all water soluble and can be easily handled by the washing machine in a clean and sanitary way. No scraping, dunking or soaking required in the newborn phase. Just change that diaper and toss it in the wet bag with no further thought for newborn babies up until they start solid foods at about 6 months.
Once baby starts solids, Dad will be getting used to changing diapers, but with the introduction of solids comes some interesting bowel movements. Never fear, that’s where flushable liners come in. Simply show Daddy how to lay the liner on top of the diaper and when the diaper is soiled you shake solids into the toilet, flush it away and dispose of the liner! The rest of the diaper goes in the wet bag for washing. Whatever is left the machine can handle, I promise.
A diaper sprayer can also be of assistance during this phase as an option for easier cleanups. Plus Daddy can show off his home improvement skills by installing it (no tools required and it easily attaches to the water line of your toilet with simple instructions included).
Discuss health and environmental issues
These things are easy to find just with a little ‘googling’ or browsing our website. Daddy may not have time to do all the research, but if you do, then condense some of the pertinent info and share it with him. He may not realize what kinds of chemicals are in today’s disposable diapers. Don’t bombard him with info, but do share the facts and discuss how your family can save thousands of diapers from ending up in landfills for the benefit of future generations (that's 6000 - 7000 diapers before potty training for each child).
Crunch the numbers
Dads often like to see cold hard numbers and facts, so give it to him straight. Show him on paper how much money can be saved for how many children you plan to have and it all becomes quite black and white. Here’s one great cost breakdown to make it easy for you which even addresses the cost of washing machine depreciation, water and heating costs and detergent requirements. As for the up-front cost of getting started, this is a legitimate concern. Depending on the style of diaper you go with, your initial stash can run you a few hundred dollars. But, telling your friends and family that you want to cloth diaper (think baby shower and gift cards) and building up your stash over 9 months of pregnancy can help you get started. In the end, remind Dad that those cost savings can go towards other fun things like vacations, a new car or your kids’ university fund.
Show him how cloth diapering will make his life easier
Mention to Dad that with cloth diapers, he’ll never have to cart stinky trash to the curb every week, or run out at night to grab more diapers from the corner store when you run out. Cloth diapered babies also have way fewer poop blowouts than those wearing disposables.
And if all else fails…
Don’t push Dad into it if he just isn’t there. Perhaps do half and half. When Mom changes baby, use the cloth diapers, when Dad changes baby, he can put on a disposable. Let's just support Dad in helping out with taking care of this new little life in any way he's comfortable. Often, once Daddy sees how easy it really is and that you have cloth diapers that match the colors of his favorite sports team…he’ll come around to cloth diapering too 😉
Do you have tips for getting Daddy on board with cloth? Does your baby's daddy help with cloth diaper changes? Leave us a comment below and tell us about it!