In the past year I’ve found myself in the unusual role of cloth diaper guardian. As I introduce cloth diapers to other moms I feel a heavy sense of responsibility. This is not like recommending that someone check out a certain thrift store or the new discount food mart. It can be a serious investment of time and money. I try to help overwhelmed moms and moms-to-be narrow down their choices and find a system that works for them. But when they face serious problems that I can’t find the answers to, I feel a level of guilt. One of my cloth diaper converts recently confided in me that she switched to disposables at night. I felt awful. I had been trying to help her combat the smell and rash problems she had been having with her bumGenius diapers, (which I still think may be a result of her detergent) and apparently the only thing that seemed to work was to give up nighttime cloth diapering. While this was something we considered with my toddler daughter due to leak and smell issues, I was able to find a cloth solution that worked for me. I told her that it was good that she found a working compromise.

I enjoy talking about cloth diapers and I love the look of wonder on a mom’s face when she discovers that cloth diapering can be easy and save a ton of money. But at the same time I realize the power of my words. I’ve been on the other end. Sometimes it’s hard to try something new, or even harder to say no to a well meaning mom who is trying to help. (I can’t tell you how many moms tried to convince me that a bottle of formula at night would help my daughter sleep, but I wasn’t willing to give up exclusively breastfeeding).

So I’ve learned to hold my tongue rather than jump in and suggest cloth diapers as a solution for everyone. It can be hard to keep silent when I see a mom struggling to feed her kids and buy diapers. Usually the opportunity presents itself when I’m asked how we manage our own financial situation. I usually credit it to breastfeeding, frugal and healthy cooking, and, of course, cloth diapers. But until I’m asked I try not to volunteer the myriad of information available on cloth diapers.

I didn’t have a cloth diaper mentor. I read articles, perused blogs and haunted online retailers until I felt comfortable enough with the lingo to take the plunge. But it would have been nice to have a friend to talk to when I was having problems or someone to help me narrow down the options. So I take my own role as cloth diaper guardian very seriously. I am the human touch, the voice of encouragement, the man on the ground who can get in the trenches with moms new to cloth diapering and help make sense of it all. But the responsibility doesn’t end with the first big order from Cotton Babies or Kelly’s Closet. It continues on as long as they need me.