To be clear, it’s not good etiquette to demand those attending your baby shower, sprinkle, etc., buy you cloth diapers, or to tell them any disposable diapers they buy you will be trashed or returned. If your friends and family gift something to you, even if it’s unwanted, the proper response is to be grateful for their generosity. That’s just our society’s idea of good manners.
But that doesn’t mean you can’t steer your friends and family toward choosing to gift you cloth diapers. Here are my top 5 ways to ask guests to bring diapers to a baby shower, without actually asking them and making it awkward.
1. Make it Clear, As Soon As Possible.
Share the news about your choice to try cloth diapering as early as possible. Spread the word in conversation and on social media about how excited you are about your decision to use cloth.
It’s possible that sharing your choice with close friends and family will cause some negativity — everyone loves to tell a new parent they are doing it wrong — but letting them know you’re serious as soon as possible will help.
Getting ahead of the “are you sure?” and “are you crazy” questions early will also give you the opportunity to make it clear that you don’t want disposables as gifts — if you don’t — without it being a rude demand tied to the baby shower itself.
In other words, saying in conversation that you hope you’re not gifted disposable diapers weeks or months before any invitation is sent is much less awkward and much more polite than demanding they not give you disposables on an invite or when discussing the party itself.
Giving them the heads up early will also give them the opportunity to ask questions and learn about cloth diapering!
Sending them to this cloth diapers vs. disposables article could be a good introduction for friends and family with no cloth diapering experience.
2. Make it Easy.
Making cloth diaper shopping as easy as possible for your friends and family is vital. You can’t just tell your auntie that you want to use a combination of all-in-ones and prefolds with covers and expect her to know what you’re talking about much less run over to Walmart or Target and grab a set off the shelf.
You’re going to have to guide everyone to the specific items you want to have any chance of receiving a cloth diaper at your shower. I recommend setting up an online registry at MyRegistry.com if you haven’t already.
MyRegistry.com is a free online service that allows you to add items from any website to a single registry. You can add things like baby toys from Target, a rocker from buybuy BABY, that newborn photo session outfit you love so much on Etsy, and of course diapers from your favorite local cloth diaper shops or online retailers.
Your shower guests will be much more likely to buy you specific diapers when they see them on your registry.
3. Add a Note.
Although it’s skirting the line of etiquette, the person throwing the shower may include a small, personalized, and handwritten, note explaining the parent[s] desire to use cloth diapers in more detail if you’re worried several guests will ignore your decision to use cloth diapers and buy disposables instead.
A simple example might be:
“Hi [Guest’s Name], We are so excited to have you join our celebration for [parent(s)] to welcome their new baby! A quick note here to explain that [she/he/they] have decided to cloth diaper and so we request guests do not bring disposable diapers as they will not be needed. Thank you for supporting the new parent[s] and we can’t wait to see you soon! Cheers, [Host’s Name]”
If you’re throwing your own baby shower, it’s probably best not to do this unless you are very close with the guest and know it will be received with an open mind and heart.
4. Have a Cloth Diaper Raffle!
Even better than telling someone to bring cloth instead of disposables is offering them a reward to do so!
Consider a twist on the traditional diaper raffle by asking your guests to bring at least one cloth diaper. Guests will get a raffle entry for each cloth diaper they bring.
All you need to do is include a “raffle ticket” in the invitation for your guests to see and fill out. Here is an example that I created, which you can feel free to download and use:
5. Set Up A Cloth Diaper Fund.
Cloth diaper funds are a great way to ask for cloth diapers without putting the responsibility on your guests to know what types to buy or try to understand what your registry items are for.
Basically, you’re just asking guests to make monetary contributions to your cloth diaper stash. By doing this, you will be able to fully control diaper purchases and ensure that you get what you need.
Even better, you can set up a fund right on your Registry.com baby registry by setting up a “cash registry” that goes right into your Paypal account. (info here).
What Happens if You Get a Ton of Disposables a The Shower Anyway?
Remember that in most cases unopened diapers can be returned at big-box stores without a receipt, or you can pay it forward and give them to a family in need, or donate them to a food bank or charity.
And if you didn’t get the cloth diapers you were hoping for, and can’t really afford a whole stash, you can always have a diaper party!
Have a Cloth Diaper Party Too!
Traditionally, a diaper party is a sort of baby shower for dads that’s basically a barbeque that everyone brings diapers to, but you can make it your own to match your own family and friends.
The great thing about a diaper party is that it can be thrown in addition to a baby shower and diapers are the whole focus of the gifting side of things.
Making it a “cloth diaper party” makes it crystal clear that only cloth diapers are wanted.
I have more info here about cloth diaper parties if you’re interested in learning more.
What if You Don’t Know What Cloth Diapers to Register for?
If you’re just starting to register for cloth diapers and need a place to start, I have some suggestions for you in this post listing out the Best Gifts for Cloth Diaper Showers, Sprinkles, and Diaper Parties, here.