“My plans to breastfeed for a year were cut in half and we were forced to introduce formula, and my recipes for organic homemade baby food purees were shoved in a drawer in favor of easy store bought stuff.”
“I’ve found that the ‘crunchy’ lifestyle requires more upfront investment for long term benefit. Most people know that buying groceries and cooking meals at home is more economical than fast food. But a home cooked meal requires time and money. So if you only have 10 minutes and $10, you might just end up in the drive-thru ordering from the dollar menu. I’m sure a lot of people find themselves at that same crossroads with cloth diapering.”
There is this false idea that moms of color in the natural parenting community are rare or don’t exist. However, Donna Smith (from the advocacy group Black Women Do Cloth Diaper) emphasizes that, contrary to popular belief, this kind of crunchy lifestyle (and especially cloth diapering) IS extremely popular among moms of color. Andréa shares that belief that part of this misconception is due to the lack of representation of parents of color in the marketing and advertisements for natural parenting products. She hopes that strides can be made to improve awareness of the benefits and availability of cloth for all families by making changes in availability, the cloth industry, and in community education within the medical field.
“I’d love to see more ethnic inspired prints, broader advertising campaigns featuring Black and Brown families, educational pamphlets in OB and pediatrician offices, affordable trial packs, and availability in more stores.”
Andréa believes that it’s a combination of upfront cost, too much variation in styles, and lack of cloth education that are some of the biggest factors that stand in the way of a family from trying to cloth diaper.
“[When it comes to cloth diapering specifically,] cost is definitely a factor, plus all the different systems and brands to choose from can be pretty intimidating for new parents (that’s what frightened us the first time around!) Also, there’s a learning curve for cloth. It’s not just a choice for the parents, but every caregiver involved needs to be comfortable with the diapers as well. I don’t know all the statistics, but culturally speaking Black people often operate in village mode: with a network of family and close friends helping each other. So disposables are often easier than trying to give everyone a crash course on cloth. I know that’s limited our babysitting options for Alexa, but my parents who live nearby have been very supportive and have gotten quite comfortable with the diapers. And, me being a stay at home mom allows us to skip the daycare issue. I’ve heard stories of families who only use cloth at home because their chosen daycare won’t/can’t do cloth, or horror stories about cloth diapers being lost, mixed up with another cloth family, or thrown away!”
“I also hope we’re setting a good example for our girls. Long after we’re done with diapers, they’ll still be raised in a home where we recycle and try to choose reusable items, use creativity to solve problems, and are grateful for what we have.”
“There are so many great diapering accessories I’m dying to try! Not to mention the dryer balls that have been on my crunchy list for a while…We’re [also] looking forward to trying some new [cloth diaper] brands too. Generally we lean towards solids more than prints, probably because little girls’ clothes are already so colorful and fun!”
We are so glad to have Andréa and her family as part of our customer familia. Andréa said that for the Senegal’s:
“Familia is everything! I’m extremely close with my rather large extended family, and we’ve created a network of friends who feel like familia. This is our village. We all laugh together, cry together, celebrate together and pray together. During my 6 month recovery from my accident, the village stepped up to take care of me and Perri while André was working. We are so very blessed!”
Thanks for taking the time to let us interview you and learn more about you and your familia, Andréa!