Cookin', Critters and Chillun

Remember cloth diapers?

Remember cloth diapers? They’re making a comeback. And a group of young mothers are holding the Great Cloth Diaper Change on Earth Day, April 20, hoping to set a Guinness World Record – again.

I definitely remember cloth diapers. With our firstborn, Rex, that’s just about all we used 37 years ago. As a first-time mother, I remember debating with other young mothers the merits of cloth or disposable, hour-glass shape or regular, and finding the best diaper pins that wouldn’t impale either you or the baby.

Since our first baby was a boy, I also learned the wisdom of whisking a cloth over the naked baby immediately when taking off a diaper and reaching for the necessities to get him clean. Baby boys certainly can make fountains!

Of course, I also learned to hold a squirming baby with one hand and with the other, reach for wipes, powder, Desitin diaper rash ointment and whatever else I needed.

We had a diaper service in those days, so cloth diapers didn’t mean washing loads and loads and hanging them on the line. With second child and No. 1 daughter Meredith, we used the diaper service with fewer diapers per week because the home delivery and pickup charge had gone up, and washed diapers, too.

By the time No. 2 daughter Haley arrived, I’m pretty sure we were using disposable diapers. Having three children under the age of 4 does that to you.

Although there were diaper covers in those days, they were little more than rubber pants covered with cloth that you had to pull over the baby’s cloth diaper. Sometimes they kept everything contained, sometimes they didn’t. I remember stepping over the threshold of an elevator in an office building with a baby with diarrhea just as the door opened. Thank goodness, there was no one else in the elevator, and I had plenty of wipes as well as a change of baby clothes with me.

Today’s cloth diapers and covers are a whole different story. The covers come in hundreds of different cute patterns and have Velcro closures. Maybe the diapers do, too. It’s been awhile since I diapered a baby with anything except a disposable diaper.

Cloth diapers save money, though, and are better for babies and the environment, Katy Hening of Salem and Nicole Mutter are convinced. They co-hosted the Great Cloth Diaper Change last year and Mutter is hosting the Great Cloth Diaper Change this year on April 20 in Roanoke at Crossroads Church.

The idea of the Guinness record is to get thousands of babies all over the world changed into cloth diapers all at the same moment. Last year, Salem was one of 256 locations in 15 different countries.

But it’s the message of how much money families can save, and helping the environment by keeping disposable diapers out of landfills, that is their big goal. There will also be people at the event talking about “natural parenting techniques,” said Mutter. More details will come later. Meanwhile, if you want to take part in setting a record for diapering babies in cloth, contact Nicole Mutter at

Editor’s note: the location of this year’s cloth diaper challenge was recently changed from Salem to Roanoke, to Crossroads Church, Mutter said, because of “huge interest this year.”

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