Welcome back to yet another week of cloth diapering myths. So far we’ve covered the fact that cloth diapering isn’t actually complicated as well as the fruitless quest for the perfect diaper. If you are in absolutely no mood to discuss cloth diapering, take a moment instead to let me know what Justin Bieber is up to these days.
Now, on to myth 3.
Myth #3: You can’t cloth diaper a foster/adopted baby
Yep. That’s an actual myth. I’m as surprised as you are. I know it doesn’t make much sense. I mean all babies poop right? It doesn’t really matter who gives birth to them, this is a function of a baby. So why wouldn’t you be able to cloth diaper an adopted or foster baby?
Yet this is a common concern.
There seem to be two (untrue) reasons behind this myth:
1) Babies who are adopted are usually formula fed, and you can’t cloth diaper a formula fed baby.
Number one is a pretty easy myth to dispel. It just isn’t true. I mean think about it. There was a point in time where most babies were formula fed and cloth diapered. Formula was so highly touted that many moms received a shot in the hospital to insure their milk wouldn’t come in. They then went home and forumla fed their babies. Disposable diapers weren’t yet a major thing, so guess where all those formula fed babies pooped. I’ll give you a hint, it wasn’t the toilet.
Breast milk poop literally dissolves in water. So if a newborn is exclusively breastfed it is super easy to wash diapers. But that doesn’t mean a formula fed baby can’t wear cloth. It just means that an exclusively formula fed baby’s poop may not dissolve as easily in water. This isn’t a big shocker. A baby on solids won’t have dissolving poop either.
2) Social services won’t approve of you cloth diapering a foster baby
This one is a little trickier. I had heard it a lot myself, so I actually asked our kid’s caseworker if there was some kind of ban on cloth diapering. She laughed and confirmed that cloth diapering was perfectly legal within our agency. I have personally known many foster parents, throughout many agencies, to cloth diaper and never have a problem with it. Occasionally you might meet a person within a foster agency who says you can’t cloth diaper, but this is likely not an actual rule.
If a specific person within the agency makes a big deal out of it, I would suggest you show them how simple, easy, and clean cloth diapering actually is. If they still aren’t sold, ask them for documentation stating the agency doesn’t allow cloth diapering. I doubt they will be able to produce it.
The place you are most likely to face confrontation is on parent visits if your foster child has them. Many birth parents are concerned about how their child looks. It is important to them that their child looks clean and well put together. Because the visits with their child are so short, birth parents have few ways of ascertaining if their child is well cared for or not. They have heard the foster care horror stories and maybe even experienced them at one point as a child in care themselves. To them, the child’s appearance is an indicator of how the child is treated. They want to see their child in stylish clothes, nice shoes, well kept hair, and skin. Consider this concern a display of love toward their child, and don’t take offense by it. My advice on how to deal with this when it comes to cloth diapering is to simply avoid the problem. Send your child to visits in disposable diapers. This will also give the birth parent a chance to change the diaper in a way they are familiar with. I am definitely not saying to lie, I’m saying just don’t bring it up. Cloth diaper at home and bring them to visits in disposables. Easy.
If the issue does come up and the birth parents have a problem, educate them kindly. Show them how to use your diaper system. Tell them how often you wash them. Let them know that cloth is often better for a baby’s sensitive skin. Remind them that you are happy to send the child to visits in disposables if that is what the parent is comfortable with.
I’m not big on confrontation, so if a birth parent was adamantly against cloth after all that I would probably consider switching to disposables. But the truth behind the myth is that at every agency I have ever heard of, cloth diapering a foster child is just fine.