Do You Have to Be Crunchy to Use Cloth Diapers?

When a stranger learns that you cloth diaper your baby, do they automatically add you to the “crunchy” category?

Do You Have to Be Crunchy to Use Cloth Diapers?


We all make judgements every day, every hour, every minute.

In a social situation we consciously – or unconsciously – size up the people around us. When I see a woman in a perfectly tailored suit with well coifed hair texting, I assume she is a corporate executive. When I see a man walking barefoot in well-worn board shorts with a tan and a shell necklace, I figure he must know how to catch a wave. When I see a mother wearing her baby in a carrier, especially a woven wrap, I assume this mother practices attachment parenting.

Do all “crunchy moms” use cloth diapers?

Surprisingly, no, they don’t.

Are all moms that use cloth diapers also “crunchy” and into a green, eco-friendly lifestyle, breastfeed their babies until they are 6, and then “mouth feed” them?

Not even close.

Human beings are programmed to assess the people and situations around them. Tuning into our instincts can help keep us safe, so for human beings, no less than for any other animal, emotions are the first screen to all information received.

Some are better at it than others. If anyone comments that they don’t make any assumptions whatsoever about another person based on appearance, clothing choice, the car they drive, or the food they eat… they’re either stretching the truth or extremely unaware.

That being said I do get annoyed at the assumption that all cloth diapering mothers are crunchy! I struggle with the term myself.

I’ll explain myself briefly…

* I cloth diaper
* I breastfeed full-term (also called extended breastfeeding)
* I bed-share
* I practice Elimination Communication on a part-time basis
* I recycle
* I use Gentle Discipline but I’m certainly not perfect with it
* I wear my babies in carriers
* I use (and blog about) reusable menstrual cups
* I don’t use paper towels and instead use cloth unpaper towels

On the flip side…

* I eat meat
* I don’t compost (or have any clue how to)
* I can’t garden or grow my own food
* I wear leather and love it
* I have a lifestyle of indulgence in some areas, such as technology, that isn’t always sustainable

There’s room for all types of parents

When I look at myself from afar I don’t feel very crunchy. If there is a “look” then I don’t look crunchy either.

However I will say that cloth diapering has opened my eyes to a very crunchy world that I get more and more into with each passing day. Many of the natural parenting practices I’ve now adopted were things I learned thanks to starting my journey into cloth diapering.

We all cloth diaper for different reasons. We need to save money, we feel the need to waste less, we want fewer chemicals on our baby, we think they are cute.

I do it for all of these reasons but some people ONLY do it to save money but don’t live a green or “crunchy” life at all. And that’s fine, too.

Things aren’t always what they appear to be. If you identify as crunchy or granola, that’s awesome. And if you don’t that’s cool, too.


Well, I don’t even know. I’m definitely NOT soggy but I’m not too hard on the teeth either. Maybe I’m just crunchy enough, like cereal that’s been in milk for a few seconds. I can totally live with that.

Image via Katie Barrington

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