My name is Jen, and I’m obsessed with cloth diapers and sustainable products.
I spend money on new prints, new brands, and everything in between even though I’m fully stashified.
If I don’t have enough money to buy that new print I need I sell an older cloth diaper.
I may have also had more babies to continue buying fluff.
Okay, that last bit is only half true.
We did want more babies regardless, but the fluff is just so cute!
The Beginning of My Story
It bears repeating - There was a time where we had to scrimp, save, and sell things on eBay to build up a cloth diaper stash, because we HAD to.
Living paycheck to paycheck was an understatement.
We couldn’t afford our barebones life.
Like- we didn’t have a couch kind of situation.
There simply wasn’t enough money.
Our firstborn was gifted everything he needed for his first year of life through the generosity of our families and friends at the baby shower, but there was something that over the first six months became a struggle.
The Cloth Diaper Need
The specific push that led us to cloth diapering was when my baby had a fever and needed Tylenol.
We were fresh out, just bought groceries, and diapers and our bank account couldn’t cover that expense.
I was too embarrassed to ask anyone for that money.
I didn’t want to hear “you shouldn’t have had a baby if you couldn’t afford it”
The truth is, everyone’s situation is different.
Circumstances change. Budgets change. Life happens.
Not that anyone needs to know, but I was working full-time and made a decent living alongside of my husband.
That job though, sucked. It sucked out my soul, my mental health, and my physical help. It was no longer a viable option.
Sure the money was pretty good, but not for the amount of work I was putting in, the ridiculously swollen feet at the end of the day, nor how I was actually treated by the owner.
I was done. So, I quit.
When My Cloth Journey Began
After all of the aforementioned scrimping and saving (and a LOT of researching later), we bought our first stash - a mix of pocket diapers.
I’d like to say that I bought those from Nicki’s, but I didn’t.
That right there was one huge, costly mistake.
We’ll talk about this later in an upcoming blog, but seriously my friends - skip the off-brand/gray market diapers.
I digress, we get our first shipment and I’m hooked.
My husband proudly proclaimed to everyone that “I convinced my wife to cloth diaper” which wasn’t untrue, but he didn’t do anything more than bring it up…
...I did the research…..I did the things. Do you sense some salt?
It’s salt in the most loving way- promise. I just want him to read this at some point and give me grief.
Our first fluffy mail was colorful, bright, and just lit up my face at every diaper change.
Gone were the days of me walking to Sam’s Club or the convenience store down the road because we were a one-car family that needed diapers while daddy was pulling a double.
The only thing that kind of sucked (read really did suck) was the washing.
I had very bad wash advice from so-called science experts...
On top of that, we had to wash at the coin laundry in our apartment that I had to walk up and downstairs in the next building to do with a newborn in tow.
Or we had to waste hours of my husband’s only day (or half-day) off to go to the laundromat.
Did I mention my husband was working two full-time jobs at this point?
I was not wasting what little time we had together to do the f***ing laundry.
Growing My Wisdom
I didn’t venture much into Nicki’s Diapers or outside of my pocket diaper bubble until about a year into cloth diapering.
I was pregnant with our first daughter and newborn pocket diapers weren’t really a thing.
I was annoyed.
The only system I was comfortable with didn’t exist and I wasn’t going to spend money on newborn disposable diapers.
This lead to me geeking out once again to all of the cloth diaper information I could possibly find on the internet.
This not only led me back to Nicki’s Diapers convinced that I could use flats and covers, but helped me get my ish together and followed the wash routines provided by Nicki’s.
This doesn’t sound like much, but it is.
I was spending the money we were saving with cloth diapers, on detergent and my diapers weren’t always 100% clean.
The Rabbit Hole
I’d say about a month in to using Best Bottom, Nicki’s, and Blueberry on my newborn daughter I was blown away by the quality.
We never had a leak (which we had lots of with our first stash) and the diapers weren’t as bulky!
There was just something about these diapers.
They just worked.
Did they cost me more? Yes, BUT not in the long run.
I didn’t need as many and because they didn’t leak. I didn't need to buy extra inserts or doublers.
I was changing less - diapers and clothes.
I couldn’t stop myself.
I wanted to try all of the mainstream brands!
And slowly, but surely - I DID!
I tried all the things.
I sold our craptastic stuff and bought everything I could get my hands on from Nicki’s and the Buy Sell Trade Groups that I could possibly afford.
If memory serves me I was about 3 years in to cloth diapering when I was approached by the team at Nicki’s Diapers to be their very first (and only) Ambassador.
Living my Wisdom
With the support of Nicki’s Diapers and the team my knowledge of products, cloth diaper manufacturing process, and pretty much everything else my knowledge base grew and grew.
I moved up from store ambassador to leading a team of ambassadors for all of Nicki’s Diapers Brands, to Product Specialist, to whatever my actual title is now (no, I still don’t know what it is-HA!).
The journey from all of those years to now took up a lot of time.
I mean it - a lot.
From researching, product testing, helping others at all hours of the day was a full time commitment- Mind you, I was also perpetually pregnant and my husband was also still working two full-time jobs.
That’s where the mania comes to play.
I enjoyed this! Heck, I still do.
I live and breathe cloth diapers.
If a week goes by that I didn’t have a cloth diaper print idea come my way-something is very, very wrong with me.
I love the community and the friends that I have made along the way.
These friends are what have kept me going over the years and grow the Nicki’s Community into the helpful, judgement-free, and supportive community that it is today.
How is this Healthy?
I know it sounds like I put in a lot of time on my phone and interwebz - and I did.
However; in doing that, we eventually broke out of our cycle of poverty.
My knowledge on how to cloth diaper for less, sell what we don’t need (diapers and otherwise), how to reduce our waste and expenses as we moved to reusable products, and all of the hard work my husband put in (and my new paycheck!) paid off.
No, we’re not rolling in riches, but we have what we need and even things that we want.
Just over the last couple of years we have gone from the kids only having one pair of shoes each, to them being able to choose between 3-4 pairs.
Conclusion-The Healthiest Obsession You Can Ever Have
Sure, our babies butts were healthier and it was better for the environment, but our financial situation improved, because of my addiction.
That’s not to say I don’t spend money I don’t need to on new cloth diapers, because I definitely do.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that, we made it through the struggle and partly due to my obsession, we are now able to support my addiction!
There are worse things we could spend money on.
There are more expensive things we can spend money on. And- there are a million other ways we could spend money that aren’t good for our earth.
Cloth diapers are good for the environment, better for your wallet, and better for your babys booty!
It doesn’t get much better than that! Go ahead, go down that rabbit hole.
One of those rabbit holes that I didn’t dive into until about year 4 of my cloth diapering obsession was wool!