Written by Sarah Coffin, Owner (and lots of other things) at Tulsa Family Doulas
Tulsa's Cloth Diaper Service, Itty Bitty Bum Bums, is going to make cloth diapering life so much easier.
I was able to talk with Lori Rivers, owner and founder of Itty Bitty Bum Bums about her cloth diaper service opening here in Tulsa and serving Midtown, South and West Tulsa, Sand Springs, Jenks, Bixby, Broken Arrow and Owasso.
Y'all! A Cloth Diapering Service! You read that right. So snuggle in, this is a good one.
Tell me about a day in your life.
I wake up with Thomas, my son, at around seven each morning. I make breakfast, do dishes, and feed my whining cats while Tom plays with whatever I handed him from the kitchen drawer. Then, we both sit down and eat while I check my email and attend to any immediate website needs. I try to spend the rest of the morning keeping Thomas busy while I work. Thomas takes a nap while I make lunch and hurry to get a few loads of laundry going.
In the afternoon, I spend time running errands for the business or at my Mom’s house so she can play with Tom while I work. At about 4:30 I call a stop to work. (Or at least I try.) My favorite time of day is listening to my husband playing with Thomas while I make dinner. We eat together almost every night. Then, I spend time focused on playing with Thomas until his bedtime. Then I go on a walk, nurse Thomas to sleep, and spend the rest of the evening with my husband and cats.
And seriously, the Oklahoma weather, tell me the top 5 words that our weather makes you feel.
I Relish Experiencing The Seasons.
Walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did (besides have a baby)? Next?
When I was pregnant, I worked an intensive full time retail job. I knew I wanted to cloth diaper, but had no idea how I would be able to manage it when I knew I had to return to work at eight weeks post-partum. I thought about asking for a diaper service for my baby shower, and realized there was no option in my area.
I didn’t give it much more thought until I began to experience a number of different issues at work that I viewed as pregnancy discrimination. My lack of legal options in the face of discrimination fueled a fire in me to develop a business that would support working parents. I remembered the feeling that I had a choice to either work OR cloth diaper. So, I decided to start a diaper service so more parents would feel they had the choice to work AND cloth diaper.
I left my job when my son was five months old. At that point I threw myself into developing a business plan. I’ve spent the last two months working long hours researching and creating this diaper service. And this time, my son is proudly at my side.
Now let’s talk about the process for the poo and pee filled diapers. Your website says to flush the solids and bag the rest for bi-weekly pickup? Is it really that easy?
Yes. It really is that easy. We even give you the bag. The part I don’t mention is the smell. Ha! But we do a bi-weekly pickup for that very reason. If you follow our instructions, there isn’t even much smell.
What is the Real Diaper Industry Association? What did it take for you to work with their recommended method?
Most people know of the Real Diaper Industry Association (RDIA) because they are the sponsors of the Great Cloth Diaper Change. They are the main professional organization of big cloth diaper companies, diaper stores, diaper services, and work-at-home-moms. We aren’t officially compliant with their method. Their compliancy is achieved by less than a dozen diaper services that have a much larger client base than Tulsa can currently support.
We base our process on RDIA recommendations as well as the recommendations by the well-researched team at Fluff Love and Cloth Diaper Science. We also follow recommendations for sanitation, storage, and transportation as recommended by the CDC and WHO.
Talk about how people can rent diapers.
If you sign up on our website, you can choose the option for “pre-fold” service. We bring the pre-fold diapers to you for an in-home consultation. You can also purchase diaper covers from Bottoms and Beyond Boutique in Sand Springs at a special discount and we will deliver them (for free!) right along with your diapers. We’ll show you how to use the diapers, and then we’ll put your diapers in a regular bi-weekly rotation. When you end service, the diapers are returned to us and you can keep any covers you may have purchased.
What are three hard-to-spot pitfalls with cloth diapering that are critical to avoid?
Far too many people invest a lot of money in a certain brand or type of diaper only to find out that it doesn’t work well for them. I began my cloth diapering journey using pocket diapers. I bought thirty of them. Then my son developed an allergy to the synthetic lining in them. We can’t use any of them and had to switch to pre-folds. Bummer, right?
The second pitfall is the wash process. There is a lot of information about washing cloth diapers out there. Many sources claim to be the only “science-researched” option. The truth is you need to test your water and find what actually works for you. Troubleshoot it only if you need to.
The last pitfall is buying too many diapers! The cloth diapering community can get very competitive about top brands, designer prints, and having “the best” stash. Stay true to you, and buy what makes you feel comfortable.
Because being a mom to an itty bitty bum can be exhausting, what are three things you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?
I have five. Can I cheat? During those long newborn days, when the crying wouldn’t cease and nothing seemed to help, I would say to my son, “You are safe. You are dry. You are warm. You are well-fed. You are loved.” I may have verbally said it to him, but it’s a constant reminder to me that I am more than enough. It helps to remember that I am trying my very best, and that is all that is needed.
What tips can you recommend that you’d only share with a close friend (and everyone else reading this blog)?
My grandmother’s advice comes to mind. She said the dishes and laundry can wait, because one day the babies will grow up and move away. Don’t worry that you can’t do it all. Find what’s important to you, and focus on that.
Anything else you would like to add?
I started a cloth diaper service because of business practices in my previous job that discriminated against me as a pregnant and breastfeeding woman. I know what it is like when others empress the opinion that moms are less powerful people. I have a passion for helping moms feel empowered. Cloth diaper if you want. Continue to work (and kick butt!) if you’re pregnant. Take your time postpartum. Go after that job or promotion. You are doing important work at home and wherever you may go.
If you have ever wondered about cloth diapering or have hesitated on doing it because nerves or fear of poo laundry, sign up with Lori at Itty Bitty Bum Bums and give cloth diapering service a shot. You may love it as much as your mom and grandma did.
Let's talk about how awesome life for parents of littles just got.