This post is a continuation of my ramblings on the future of cloth diapering. Check out The Future of Cloth Part I if you missed it.
My big hope for cloth is that it will become more widespread, more accepted, and more commonplace. I think there are a lot of things that can help that happen, but the first would be to make cloth more readily available.
I do not have a cloth diaper store nearby, and I’ve never gotten to see a diaper before buying it. That’s part of the reason why I take so many photos for my reviews, I’ve been surprised by items when I got them sometimes.
I noticed that online, Target sells Grandma El’s products and also a few cloth diapers. I’ve seen Kushies at Wal-Mart online, Buy Buy Baby has a couple of cloth diapers, and my local Organic Market sells gDiapers. Other than the gDiapers, the only “cloth” I’ve seen in a store near me is the Gerber prefolds people use as burp cloths.
So, what if Target sold cloth diapers? What if they could be added to baby registries along with all the other necessities? It sure would be great to see “Bumgenius 4.0 pocket diaper – Zinnia – Aisle A14” in black & white on a baby registry! Not only would it get modern cloth in front of more mommy-to-be eyballs, but also the eyes of Grandparents, Aunts and friends. I’d love for the choice of cloth to be as common as Huggies vs. Pampers.
I just don’t think it would work. Stores don’t have the space for the huge selection that online cloth diaper retailers have. Even if they carried just one or two brands, I don’t know if the demand would be high enough to justify keeping them in stock.
The other big problem is support. If you call or email any one of my favorite online CD stores, you will be connected most likely to someone who has cloth diapered her own babies, knows the inventory inside and out, and can help you understand the differences between diapers. They can help you choose the right brands and styles to start with, and help you troubleshoot, suggest detergents, diaper creams and help with wash routines. Sure, I guess “big box” stores could put a few employees through a crash course in cloth diapering, but sometimes you need experience behind the advice. From my own experience, cloth diapering can be overwhelming and frustrating at first, and you really need information and support to keep you from giving up.
So, in my dream world, there would be a successful brick and mortar cloth diaper store in the busiest shopping center of every town. They would partner with hospitals to do cloth demos at new parenting classes, maybe host La Leche League meetings or baby wearing classes in their stores also. Everyone would know about the cloth diaper store, and it would be the place to go for diapers, slings/wraps/carriers and safe toys. Lots of online cloth diaper stores offer baby registries, but many people I know would be far more likely to shop at a local store than to order a gift online.
So should cloth diapers be in big box stores? What do you think? What do you think we can do to make cloth diapering more “oohh” and less “ewww” to others?