This Saturday, April 18th will be the 5th annual Great Cloth Diaper Change. All over the world at a set time parents and caretakers will gather together to change their babies into a cloth diaper. Some families already use cloth full time, some are just getting started, and some have been curious and this will be their chance to talk to other local families and ask questions in person. I remember hearing about the GCDC in 2012 shortly after I found out I was expecting Harper. As I didn’t have a baby yet, I didn’t attend, but as it was prominently advertised at a local science museum I was able to easily look up information on it and check out a lot of the resources listed. It was a tremendous help in getting me started on my cloth diaper journey.
The Great Cloth Diaper Challenge started in 2011, when a Guinness World Record was set for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously, with 5,026 qualified participants at 127 locations in 5 countries. Not all locations were able to meet the requirements set forth by Guinness, or the number would have been more like 6,363 participants in 10 countries. Each year since that number has continued to grow as more families reach out to others in their communities and spread the word about cloth diapering. As of last year’s challenge, we were up to 8,459 qualified changes from 18 different countries. Overall (including unqualified) we had 9,770 total changes.
A popular hashtag I’ve seen referencing this event says #everychangecounts and I absolutely love this statement. It’s so true. Many of the participants still use disposable diapers part time or even most of the time, citing convenience or daycare rules or stubborn caregivers as their reason. And that’s okay. Because every change you make that DOES use a cloth diaper makes a difference. And the more you use them, the easier it gets. You figure out a wash routine that works best for you. You establish a system regarding folding/stuffing/storing your cloth. And even if you only use cloth at home, even if you don’t start until your youngest is almost ready to begin potty training (cloth trainers are SO cute), you’re still making a difference.
This year will be the first year the Great Cloth Diaper Change will not beat the Guinness World Record, because in the last two weeks Guinness has updated their rules and now require video of the babies being changed. The GCDC events have always included a picture taken before the diaper change and a picture taken after, with no pictures allowed during the changing to protect the privacy of these little ones. While I do allow video to be recorded of my own little ones, that is by a trained professional at a specific angle and we both take great care to ensure that nothing private is revealed, if it were the video would be edited or redone. When dealing with thousands of participants it is impossible to ensure that no child’s privacy would be compromised and it is not a fair request to make. Instead, every location will continue to host the change as planned and every change will be counted, although without the Guinness backing.
I am so proud that Harper attended the 2013 and 2014 GCDC events and that this year both girls will be counted. Along with being a fun way to make history (and a great entry for the baby book!) it has also been a great resource for meeting like minded families and there are often great silent auctions, prizes, samples, and treats! I know even when my babies are too old for diapers I will still attend as a volunteer, as the environment is so friendly and I always have a really good time.
You can look up an event near you by going to http://greatclothdiaperchange.com/ and click Find A Location