Girls, let’s talk about our babies’ or in my case, my grandbabies’ butterbeans.

What? You didn’t think this journal was all about discretion, did you?

Since I’m awful at keeping my own secrets, you may already know that I was a happy-heiny, cuddle-bun type of mom—cloth diapers all the way.

I think they’re prettier than throw-aways, comfier for tiny, um, assets. They also keep a boatload of paper and plastic from ending up in landfills. But they’re more than green to me—they’re a philosophy of love.

My mother is the one who taught me how to cut, hem, and fold square cloth diapers from bolts of cotton flannel. I’m still grateful for that lesson, a family heirloom of sorts, and for that invaluable time spent with my mother before my daughter Meg was born.

I started folding diapers at an early age using hankies—the perfect doll diaper.

Hey, I was even grateful for the time I spent AIRING my dirty laundry, soaping and scrubbing some true unmentionables before they found their way into my wringer washer. My gratitude is renewed even now, when I do my scrubby chores—how could I fail to appreciate the load of workhorse wash rags I ended up with after my last little bundle was potty-trained? Those were some BATTLE-HARDENED diapers, girls. And they were my favorite rags, just SOAKED with love.

And to make it easy for the moms in my hometown, we have a local delivered-right-to-your-door service,

If you’d like to get started with cloth diapers wherever you are, try or Cotton Babies

Leave a comment 8 Comments

  1. carol branum says:

    Hi,yes,I remember doing that too,I used about 4 doz a day at first I think,washed them all,I also miss those hard white leather shoes babys wore and the drawstraing nightgowns,babys used to look like babies,not grown adults.My baby is 35 now,I don,t regret being a stay at home mom,or washing all those diapers.I did not breastfeed,and I regret that,I would of but,the formula companies were pushing formula then,and I felt pushed at the hospital to get a shot to dry up my breast,bad idea,my entire hip turned black as cole,and I hear now that they have stopped that all together,and that it posibly could cause cancer,I hope not,It was a shame because I had lots of milk.And if I had it to do over,I would breast feed.I was only seventeen,and I wish I hadn,t of been pushed.I was timid and let them walk all over me!They sent me home with four samples of formula,and brand new product,called newborn “Pampers”,they were so new that they were not sold yet in our town.My hospital stay cost $800.00,thats all.have a great dy,blessed be,carol

    • MaryJane says:

      Memories! Yes, it’s good we’re past that anti-breastmilk era. You’re not alone, I’m sure. My baby is 32 and I just returned home from taking her and her little family out for breakfast to celebrate that wondrous day 32 years ago.

  2. Janelle says:

    I’m a cloth diaper mama of 5 – I was given a bunch of the “new fangled” pocket diapers, but have also made a ton of my own in various styles – old Tshirts are awesome as “prefolds”.

  3. Anna Russiano says:

    I miss all the diapers on the line and never seemed to mind the extra laundry. My youngest is only three but I do miss all of the baby things. When you are in the throws of it it seems never ending. I had 4 under the age of 5 and was just tired. Joyful and grateful but tired. As far a nursing I always had plenty of milk and even over-nighted milk to my sister who had a 3 lb baby and not enough milk. It wasn’t all that long ago for me but even several years out I still worry that my milk will come in when I hear a newborn crying. I guess each stage brings new work and new joy. Now its patching holes in knees, tying hair bows and of course still all the laundry! The old diapers are now used on my daughters babydolls. I’m so blessed!

  4. Jeannie says:

    I tried cloth diapers…..I only had ony child, so one would think I could ace it. Nope. The smell, and it seemed I could never get them really clean…..and the time it took me…..was not long before I found myself buying one of those handy bags of diapers. My daughter is 32, and disposables were pretty new then. I kept buying them. I failed. Could not take the smell and thought of all those germs living in that pail….oh, and she got a big rash, which went away when I used the dispoables. Oh well…..

    • MaryJane says:

      You’ll appreciate this quote (by my book editor) that I included in my first book: “As a new mom in New York City, after hauling buckets of soiled cloth diapers up and down four flights of stairs to a community washing machine, I vowed I would never, ever, for the rest of my life, buy another paper napkin or towel as compensation for switching to disposable diapers. Too much is just too much!” -Pam Krauss

  5. Cindy Baugh says:

    Butterbeans???!!! I thought only southern women called their baby’s bottoms butterbeans? Oh how I laughed when I saw that MaryJane! Do other folks also call girl parts “pookahs” Years ago, my 80 year old ob/gyn confided that “pookah” was his non-medical word for the female anatomy. I was so relieved to know that doctors had words like that instead of the awful technical ones, that I immediately adopted “pookah” for my own use. 30 something years later, all the females and most of the males in our family of mostly girl children use this word both seriously and affectionally for all the girl parts. And we are fine with that.

    • Samantha says:

      Mary Jane, I have you to thank for my “stash” of cloth diapers. I read in one of your books how much you loved cloth diapers, and it got me thinking that if and when I ever had a child, I’d use them. Now I have a 3 month old son and the diapers are in the wash as I type this. Maybe you could do a tutorial on making flannel flats, I’d love that!

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