This month Theresa Rodriguez Farrisi, mother of six and author of the award-winning book Diaper Changes: The Complete Diapering Book and Resource Guide answers questions from StorkNet.com.
StorkNet: What motivated you to write a book about cloth diapering?
Theresa: I had two small children at the time and wanted to produce something marketable that I could do while at home full-time. After writing some parenting articles for a parenting magazine, the idea came to me to write an article about diapering, specifically cloth diapering, since that's what I had always done, right from my first baby's cloth diaper and wool cover. I was amazed to discover I had not just the material for an article, but a full-length book.
StorkNet: How many of your children have been cloth diapered?
Theresa: I have used cloth diapers almost exclusively on six children, sometimes two in diapers at a time, at one point three in diapers at a time.
StorkNet: Are you a cloth diaper purist or do you also use disposables?
Theresa: I am a purist in that I want what is best for my children, which at times might mean due to Mama being very busy, or going on a trip, or running out of clean cloth diapers, that disposables are used. It also means that I want the softest, loveliest, most touchable, and cheapest way to diaper, which for the majority of diapering over 12+ years has been cloth diapers of varying kinds.
StorkNet: What do you dislike about disposable diapers?
Theresa: The fakeness of it. Reminds me of those scratchy paper gowns they give you at the doctor's office. I do not like the questionable chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate, which has yet been proven to be safe on a baby's genitalia over time; dioxin, which although present in very small amounts is still one of the most toxic substances known to man; and I question whether the increased overall heat of the disposable is responsible for damage to the sperm inside the male scrotum, leading to lowered sperm counts.
StorkNet: What's your main reason for cloth diapering?
Theresa: As I mention in the chapter of Diaper Changes entitled, "The Aesthetics of Diapering," I use cloth diapers because they are things of beauty and diapering can be a joy this way. This is something I said long before the idea was stolen by less creative minds and used in other parenting articles and web sites.
StorkNet: How do you wash your children's diapers and what do you use for stains?
Theresa: Like I say in my laundry chapter of Diaper Changes, I do not worry about stains. I worry about clean, fresh-smelling diapers with no bacteria present. I like to use natural products like baking soda, Borax and vinegar to keep my diapers clean and fresh. Avoid fabric softeners and line dry when possible. Laundering every 3-4 days keeps things very fresh and clean.
StorkNet: How many diapers do you recommend that parents buy when stocking up?
Theresa: This depends on how frequently you plan to wash, but buy a dozen more than you think just so you will have enough not to run out. 3 dozen minimum.
StorkNet: What would you tell an expectant parent who was undecided about whether or not to cloth diaper?
Theresa: I say, give it a try. It is a nice thing to do and it is great for your baby and wallet!
StorkNet: Some parents are hesitant to use cloth diaper services because they're worried about germs. What would you tell these parents?
Theresa: All the germs are killed during the 13 washes and rinses used by diaper services (and they are tested regularly for pH as will). If you still have one in your area, I would definitely use their services, especially right after the baby is born. Those fresh clean piles arriving every week are a true joy, and no washing for tired and busy new mom!
StorkNet: You've tried tons of cloth diapering products on your babies. Which diaper and which cover is your favorite?
Theresa: I have found that simplest is best. The more bells and whistles a product has, the more things to rip and wear out. I would go for sturdy, dependable products that have been around for a long time. Avoid anything sold at the big chain stores. You are wasting your money. I have lots of sources in the Resource Guide of Diaper Changes which can help moms find what will work for them. I really do not have a favorite, but I do not like contoured diapers, covers with weak Velcro, vinyl anything, and diapers with polyester or fleece. Blech!
StorkNet: Thanks so much for taking the time to share your diaper views with us!
Theresa: Thanks for reading! Happy diapering and happy mothering!
© Copyright 2002 Theresa Rodriguez Farrisi. All rights reserved.
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