Polite way to let people know we aren't using disposable diapers?/Returning diapers? — The Bump
Baby Showers

Polite way to let people know we aren't using disposable diapers?/Returning diapers?

Hello ladies.  My grandmother and mother are planning two showers for me in the next two months (my extended family and in-laws live about 10 hrs away). My husband and I have decided to cloth diaper our baby.  I've mentioned this to my mom and mother in law, and put some cloth diapers on our registry (even though we're not buying our stash until trying out different brands through a local baby stores trial program first) to try to clue people in, as well as wrote in our BRU registry note online that we're cloth diapering and thanks to a friend already have a full year worth of clothes.  However, at all of my friends baby showers in our local community and in my family, people get diapers and clothes almost exclusively. The clothes aren't a problem--even if we don't need them they will still get used and adored as intended. But I'm talking hundreds of dollars worth of diapers--almost enough for a full year--in piles over multiple tables per baby shower.  I'm sure having some disposables on hand will be helpful, but I doubt we'll use even 10% of what I've seen others receive. 

I totally get that you shouldn't tell people what to buy or what not to buy for your shower.  On the other hand as a guest I'd be pretty pissed off if I spent $50 on diapers, thinking that they were a super practical gift and found out that they were not going to be used at all by the recipient, particularly if I could have been given that info ahead of time. Considering it seems like about half the people in my social circle buy diapers and probably don't look at the registry (because "who doesn't need diapers?"--which is true in most cases), I could have a lot of upset guests on my hands when they hear that we're only using cloth, particularly if this comes up during the shower itself (i.e. if my MIL who is really into the cloth idea buys us a big cloth diapering kit or something, or it comes up in conversation before we open gifts). Is there any way to spread this kind of info around in a way that isn't rude other than what I've done?  

P.S.--Also: How should I handle a situation if someone finds out we're using cloth for the first time during the shower and is upset because they bought a bunch of disposables? It might sound silly but I could see it happen with some of my relatives.  Does anyone have any recommendations about returning/exchanging for store credit disposable diapers? I'm guessing I could always donate them as well, but again that might upset my family if they ever found out. 

Re: Polite way to let people know we aren't using disposable diapers?/Returning diapers?

  • I can't help you with you dilemma much except to say that I think you've done all you can other than asking your family to verbally spread the word to avoid a situation.

    I've returned diapers for store credit before (got too many newborn, not enough stage 1). I was surprised though that different stores have different packs and barcodes for seemingly the same pack of diapers which makes it difficult to return. Pretty much all stores will take back anything on your registry so I waited till after the showers were over and added the items to my registry online that I wanted to return, then returned them. This also helped me figure out where the items came from for the most part.

    I hope everything works out and I guess if you do recieve disposables just be gracious and say how handy they will be for travel etc. good luck!
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  • If you register for items like diaper covers, prefolds, wet bags, a diaper sprayer, etc, hopefully people will pick up on the fact that you plan to cloth diaper.

    We also added a nice, simple note to the top of our registry explaining some of our registry decisions, including that we plan to use cloth diapers.
  • edited August 2015
    Edited: double post accident (see below)
  • VOR said:
    You can't control them.  You've done all you can.  If they get upset because they bought something you aren't going to use, that's really ultimately on them.  You have a registry - you didn't register for diapers.  If they aren't going to look, that's really ON THEM.

    At your shower, though, if people figure it out then, still be gracious and say what you said here "Oh- I expect we will use disposables sometimes, so we'll be holding on to these!" with a smile and then move on.

    And in the end, we're talking about disposable diapers.  I would really hope that your family doesn't place SO MUCH EMPHASIS on an item that catches poop and pee that they really get all that upset over it.  We're not talking heirloom family item passed down for generations!
    All of this, especially if your Mom/MIL spread the word that you're cloth diapering.  

    Also, I very much doubt that family will hear through the grapevine that you've returned the diapers they purchased for you.  How would they ever even know this?  Diapers get used so if a guest ever came to your house and doesn't see the box of diapers they bought for you, I'd just assume they would figure the diapers got used.  It's not like clothing, where it sits around in a drawer.  Diapers come and go.
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  • Thanks guys. That all makes sense. I just really wanted to see if there was some point that I was missing.  In relation to @VOR 's point that people really shouldn't get that worked up over diapers... 

    I am one of the first on my mom's side of the family and in my small town community to go to college, and went to a pretty prestigious (and more "liberal") school at that.  Sometimes it seems like when I make (completely personal) decisions like cloth diapering that are a little out of the norm for our town or my side of the family, people assume that because I'm doing something different I think that they way they do things isn't good enough. Forget about the fact that my husband and I are a team and in his family it IS the norm.  That totally isn't the case--frankly we're just trying to save some money and not throw away as much but no judgement on people who use disposables. Like I said, I'm sure we'll use a few, just not nearly as much as I expect to receive. I explicitly try to stay away from explaining the benefits aside from price so I can't sound judgmental.  It's been a strangely contentious issue--my own dad keeps trying to send me articles about how cloth diapering isn't really cheaper or environmentally friendly and my mom keeps saying how daycare centers won't take them (true in her state, but not in our neighborhood up here).  You'd think they just wouldn't care so much about a poop/pee container, but it seems to be a deeper issue than that, which is why I'm worried. 
  • VORVOR member
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    As much as you can, you have to realize that the diaper "issue" is THEIR issue, not yours.  They can try and talk you out of it all they want, they can buy you a million diapers knowing you plan to cloth diaper... THEIR choice. 

    It sucks, though, that they won't simply respect your choice on this! 
  • Also, thanks for the tip about registering for the diapers after your shower so you can return them @designermomma !
  • You can always donate the disposables if you get a bunch you can't return.

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  • MrsFL2015MrsFL2015 member
    500 Love Its 100 Comments Second Anniversary First Answer
    edited August 2015
    I think you're overthinking this situation.   Yes, I would be a little upset if someone didn't use my gift that I bought them for their shower.  On the other hand, I would only have myself to blame if I bought that gift when it wasn't on the registry.    I would have your closest family (mom and MIL) let guests know that you're cloth diapering and that you will not need disposable.   If people bring them anyway, then that's a decision that they made on their own. Plus, most woman are aware that not every diaper brand is going to work for every baby.  There are plenty of babies that can't wear specific brands due to allergies. So, when guests bring diapers, they should know that it's possible they might not always get used.   

    If you receive any disposables, I would donate them.  You could also sell them online.  I belong to a local "garage sale" page on Facebook where people sell all kinds of things.  Unopened diapers at a discount price always get sold.   

    If someone asks why you didn't use the disposables, all you say is that you decided to use cloth diapers for health/environmental reasons.  You DO NOT need to elaborate more or justify your decision to do so.     
  • Thanks everyone.
  • You are completely overthinking this.


  • I would like to add that eventually, people will probably start asking what brand you prefer. A few members of my extended family have and aren't offended in the least when I let them know we are using cloth.
    They're just diapers and I figure worst case scenario I can keep a couple packs for myself for long car rides and donate the rest to shelters/food pantries. People are always in need and the diapers gifted to you could be very useful to them.
  • My friend was a bit worried about this, and unrelated to the shower, she posted on Facebook asking for people's favorite cloth brand, tips and suggestions for cloth diapering.  They truly did want to know what people thought, but it also did the job of subtly letting their friends and fam on FB of their plan.  She received no disposable diapers. :)
  • The thing with diapers, I mean what if people get you a size 2, are you not allowed to go exchange it if you run out of 1's and are low on cash? Just thank them, and return, or find someone on craiglist or FB groups to buy them. 
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  • I'd keep a package or two for emergencies. If baby gets a diaper rash or you are stuck out (with blow-outs and no fresh cloth) then it will save your life. You don't have to use them all if you get a ton, but donation and keeping some around for emergencies is wise.

    Also, if you have some that you don't want consider donating the unopened package to airline customer service areas. You can drop them off at the airport. I can't tell you how many times I've helped other moms on the fly at the airport who run out of diapers or go through them all.

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  • I am agreeing with the others that said you should just register and let whatever happen, happen. Your mom and MIL can pass on the word, but I think that it would be kind of crappy to bring it up again during the shower, because there may be a few people that didn't get the memo or didn't noticed, and then might be embarrassed that they bought you some. 

    And as someone who cloth diapered, I totally recommend keeping some of them around and waiting until after you have your baby to decide what you want to do with them. For quite a few people that I know that were going to cloth diaper, it didnt work out how they thought it would and ended up switching to disposables. A friend of mine had to switch her son after he was constantly peeing through every insert imaginable after less than two hours of wear. So you don't know 100% that you will always cloth diaper, when you haven't started yet. The disposables are awesome to have around if you haven't had a chance to get the diapers in the wash, or your kid is sick and has non-stop diarrhea (so much easier to clean up than in a cloth diaper!), if you are traveling and know you cannot wash the cloth diapers, if someone is babysitting and they are at a complete loss when it comes to cloth or they just don't want to deal with them, etc. 
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  • I believe there are websites that do baby exchanges and things like that where you can sell items you don't need. A lot of times the baby will outgrow a certain size while halfway through the pack, or develop a sensitivity to a certain formula that's already been opened. So these exchanges are good for selling and trading things like that. Otherwise, maybe whoever your guests are rsvping to can remind people as they hear from them.
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