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I just spent $19.97 on a package of disposable diapers.
January 4, 2009 8:23 pm | by

I realized a few days ago that I’ve done nothing – absolutely nothing – to prepare for this baby. Most women spend nine months “getting ready”. I’m eight months pregnant and just haven’t had time yet to engage with the fact that yes, indeed, this bump that keeps me awake at night is a baby. It needs some basics like clean clothes, diapers, a place to sleep and a place to ride in the car. I need to get with it or Jimmy is going to be out shopping instead of hanging with me after the baby is born! So, I made my list of things to do this morning…

1. Buy a carseat. Cotton Babies is sold out of the Britax Companion, so now I have to order this and pray it gets here in time.
2. Write a birth plan. I don’t believe in detailed birth plans, but it really helps to have some basic things written down so the nurses have some idea of what is important to me.
3. Find my Moby Wrap and my Medela Pump In Style.
4. Make an iTunes playlist for labor.
5. Move Oscar’s clothes around so we have a place to put the baby’s clothes.
6. Wash the baby’s clothes.
7. Find the swaddling blankets… they have to be here somewhere.
8. Put the pack and play in my room after I figure out some way to clean the mattress. It’s been used by several staff babies at Cotton Babies and is probably overdue for a good cleansing experience. Any thoughts about how this could be done?
9. Pack the boys to go to Grandma’s house.
10. In our dream world, we’d get the Honda Odyssey. But that’s just a dream because I seriously couldn’t live with myself for spending that much on a car. Sigh. I’m cheap to a fault, but we really do have to buy a car. The Outback and the Civic just won’t accommodate three carseats. Andrew is still 40 pounds and 6 years from being allowed in the front seat and driving two cars everywhere just isn’t practical. We’re going used, but the big question is whether we get a minivan or a medium-sized SUV. I’m leaning SUV, Jimmy is leaning minivan.
11. Pack me to go to the hospital.
12. Make sure that I have all the right tea and vitamins for the last couple of weeks of pregnancy. I usually at least drink red raspberry leaf tea and take evening primrose oil. I’m adding fish oil to that cocktail and also want to be sure that we have a good stock of Emergen-C for labor.
13. Buy diapers.

This last point is the whole reason for this post. I paid $19.97 for a package of disposable diapers. And it made me sick to do it… $19.97 for 92 diapers that are all going to end up in the garbage. You’re probably wondering (for good reason) why a chick who owns a cloth diaper store would go out and buy disposable diapers. When Andrew was born, I came home with a hemoglobin level of 8. I was a first time mom, anemic, exhausted from 20 hours of labor and trying to pump around the clock for a newborn who refused to breastfeed at birth contrary to every book I’d read. When Oscar was born, I developed double mastitis within two days. It took two more days before they figured out what was wrong with me and two weeks before I was back to being myself again. For obvious reasons, both boys were in disposables for a period of time immediately after we brought them home. I’m hoping for a different experience with this baby, but, the nesting thing is kicking in and, when I was making my “list”, it seemed important to be at least a little prepared.

Now why am I so bothered about a silly thing like diapers? I know that $19.97 buys a 24 pack of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese that I can leave on the food pantry table at church – or that I can have send to someone we know struggling with grocery money. We’ve all seen stories on the news during the holiday season about “letters to Santa” from parents who just wanted to have enough money to put a Christmas dinner on the table for their children. We haven’t lost our income and it really isn’t that much money in the grand scheme of things. I just bought one package of diapers and I’m probably justified in spending the money given our history. But am I seriously THAT lazy that I can’t walk to the washer with a diaper pail full of cloth diapers? Would Jesus have bought the diapers or would He have fed someone hungry? At some point, I’ll dig into the heart issue behind this… but right now, I just have enough energy to pray for an uneventful birth and post-partum experience that leaves our baby in cloth diapers from the beginning. Then I can just take the package back to the store and be done with it.

In the meantime, I have to focus on getting the rest of my list done… none of it is really optional and, once again, I’m sitting here with contractions four minutes apart (don’t worry, this is normal for me at this point) and a baby due in five weeks.

About the Author

Jenn is the founder of Cotton Babies & creator of bumGenius, Flip, and Econobum, worldwide leading cloth diaper brands. She has four children (Andrew, Oscar, Elsie and Louis) and holds an MBA from Washington University. When she's not working full time, she enjoys teaching business leaders how to implement sustainable economic & social change.



  • Anonymous said...
    May 12, 2009 at 9:11 am

    I am a Labor and Delivery nurse. If a patient asks me for an extra pack of diapers, I don’t ever have a problem giving them some. If someone told me they needed diapers for the first few days to get through I would certainly help out. I believe that most of the nurses I work with feel the same way. The first few days are hard for everyone! You need to make sure you take care of yourself also. Labor and delivery is an absolutely amazing experience, but it is also exhausting. Congratulations on the new baby!

  • Ali said...
    February 5, 2009 at 11:11 pm

    I don’t know about cleaning the pack n play mattress, but I use a Babesafe Mattress Cover on mine. Not trying to freak you out or anything (not what you need right now, right??), but have you heard of the toxic gas theory concerning crib mattresses? It is a theory on the cause of SIDs. This also can involve pack n play mattresses and bassinet mattresses. My blog has some info about it or just google Babesafe Covers. Good luck and congrats on the new baby, that is so exciting! =)

  • Jen said...
    February 2, 2009 at 2:28 pm

    We are 41 weeks preg with #7. I just paid about the same for a pkg of dipes for the youngest while I’m in the hospital. I’d rather not come home to 3 day old nasty diapers ya know? The others in my family don’t want to wash them. When my husband saw how much they cost he about had a heart attack! I totally understand how much it ‘hurts’ to pay for paper diapers. Yikes! I only bought dipes for the almost 2 yr old though, not for baby. I just couldn’t pay $40 for dipes that day.

  • Laura said...
    January 30, 2009 at 7:50 pm

    First off, congrats and good luck! I’m sure you’ll pull everything together with time to spare.

    We’re planning on using the fabulous Bum Genius diapers with our first this May, when she finally hatches, but have heard for many reasons that disposables are better for the first few weeks. So, we have registered for the Nature Babycare diapers, which are eco-friendly. The reviews seem decent, from what I have read, but I’m still unsure. Has anyone used these or have any additional info they may want to share???

  • Jennifer said...
    January 22, 2009 at 3:41 pm

    Wow! Congratulations on your new LO to be!!! It is so good to see you post about buying disposables. We are due with DS#2 in May. I will be having a repeat C/s and I have left it up to my husband to decide whether or not to use paper or CDs at the hospital. We won’t be buying any for home b/c we have a HUGE stash of BG 3.0s plus fitteds, AIOs, and Pfs galore (and liek a pp said, you can bring some home from the hospital)!!! LOL

    Congratulations again!

  • Amy said...
    January 19, 2009 at 10:59 am

    hmmm.. thats the story of my life… I always THOUGHT cloth might be a good idea, but with 3 kids under 2 and all three in diapers, I just couldn’t hack it… Now that I am on baby five (and the first girl!) we FINALLY bit the bullet and switched to cloth… I am on my way to target to return several HUNDREDS of dollars worth of diapers and wipes… we figured out we have spent roughly in the neighborhood of 16,000 in diapers so far, let alone the waste… It is so much easier then i expected, i wish i had known that from baby 1! best of luck with the upcoming delivery!!

  • Valerie said...
    January 13, 2009 at 12:04 pm

    Congrats on your pregnancy! I too used a pack of disposables during the first week of my last pregnancy. My first child was very demanding and left me exhausted so I like you wanted to be prepared. I also break down about once every few months and use disposables for a day or two… usually if I’m sick. Washing cloth IS much easier than a store run with two kids but sometimes we all deserve a little break. Now that I’ve used your superior product though I find myself buying the unbleached diapers which cost even more, but don’t irritate my baby’s skin like other brands. Yet another reason to go cloth.

    If you don’t use them, you could always donate them to the Crisis Nursery here in St Louis. I know they always need diapers. I know they also take partially used packages.

    I wish you a fabulous delivery!

  • Kimbrah said...
    January 5, 2009 at 5:53 pm

    I don’t know what number this is for you, but I just gave birth to my fourth child, my fourth son a little over 5 weeks ago and I had much the same experience. When you described your relationship with your baby bump I laughed out loud because this was so me! I was such a procrastinator that I didn’t even have my birth kit fully put together (we had a home birth) or my bathroom cleaned until I went into labor with our son (and also went into a panic attack because of my procrastination, might I add!). I had hit up my brother who uses disposables on his baby for their left over newborn diapers, so I was set for those (I like to not have to wash meconium out of diapers, I know I am a horrible person). Our kids are terribly sensitive to sposies, so when my son started having a reaction to the cloth diapers, too, I turned to Tushies, my good friend from our last sensitve baby bottom. After spending nearly $40 on those (it broke my heart, at Christmas time no less!), we tried the cloth again and it had been just long enough to heal the awful yeast infection the baby got (I have a great recipe if you need one!) and now he’s just fine in his Kissaluvs and Thirsties.

    All that to say, life happens, so don’t beat yourself up. Sure, it was horrible to realize that my kid’s Christmas presents just got pooped on and thrown in the trash, but we are trying to de-commercialize Christmas for them anyways, and with all the presents from relatives, they never even noticed that all we had to give them was sweets I had made. You’ll be just fine. No guilt needed. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for a great post. You’re not alone. πŸ™‚

  • Christina Joy said...
    January 5, 2009 at 2:12 pm

    You have to do what keeps you sane in those first few new-baby months! I felt the same way with #2! I felt SO guilty for buying disposables for two, for the diaper bag, as we’d always done cloth. Now that #1 is potty trained I think I might be able to hack the cloth in public again. It was just making me crazy to have a day’s worth of wet, stinky diapers floating around the bag, the car, my purse. Paper in public kept me from giving up cloth all together. Just do your part…its all you can do! πŸ™‚ Way to go, for using cloth, much more than most of us other cloth-diaperers probably do!

  • Morgan said...
    January 4, 2009 at 9:33 pm

    Exciting that you have a new baby coming soon!
    On the disposables- with my last baby, I asked the nurse for an extra pack of diapers (they provide Swaddlers during the hospital stay). She gave me a pack. The next day, I asked the next nurse for another pack so I could have extra to take home. I went home with 2 1/2 packages of diapers! For $15k, I figured it wasn’t too much to ask for them. The diapers got me through about 2 weeks!

    So, you might try asking your hospital as well and leave the box of ones you bought un-opened for now. Maybe your nurse will send you home with some extras and you can return the ones you bought!

  • The Harris Family said...
    January 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

    Jenn — I am currently 37 weeks pregnant — our first child was born at 28 wks gestation after a grisly emergency c-section that left me very anemic and unable to cope with much else. I had major guilt issues during my recovery period over “imaginary perfection” (perfect breatfeeding, cloth diapers, clean house, etc etc) which quickly turned into full-blown postpartum depression. Ultimately, he ended up passing away due to his extreme prematurity. When we found out we were expecting again, we stocked up on BG 3.0’s, but also bought a few packages of disposables to get me through the recovery as we’re required to have another c-section. I was glad to read your post, it reminded me that I’m human and don’t have to be super mom when I’m already doing the best I can πŸ™‚ My friend recently told me a story about when her daughter born, she ran out of disposables and all her cloth diapers were dirty — so she used two ultra-sized maxi pads and plastic cling wrap in a pinch. Hey, you have to do what you have to do to survive — and the last few weeks of pregnancy and the post-partum period are THE definition of “survival mode”! πŸ™‚ Good luck on the home stretch and thanks for your post!