It's been a few years since Milwaukee had a locally-based cloth diaper service, but as of recently, the option returned. Abigail Austin, the mother of twins, launched Wholesome Diaper Co. at the end of August.
"The community support I've received since launching has been incredible. So many people are really excited to have this option back in Milwaukee," says Austin.
Wholesome Diaper's main service is cloth diaper subscriptions which include the rental and washing of 100-percent cotton cloth diapers and waterproof diaper covers. The cost is $20 a week for weekly drop off / pick up.
Wholesome Diaper's service area includes Milwaukee, Wauwatosa, Brookfield, Elm Grove, New Berlin, Greenfield, St. Francis, Cudahy, Hales Corners and Butler. They charge an extra $1 a week to deliver to Waukesha, Pewaukee, Hartland, Franklin, Oak Creek, South Milwaukee and Whitefish Bay.
Wholesome Diaper also offers cloth diaper cakes, gift cards for baby showers, reusable trash bags and waterproof laundry bags.
For Austin, the cloth diaper choice is an important one on many levels – first and foremost because non-disposable diapers have different and potentially lesser impacts on the environment.
"On an environmental level, 3.4 billion gallons of crude oil are used to make single-use diapers in our country alone. And they sit in landfills for an estimated 500 years," says Austin.
Austin says she originally got the idea to start the business when her son had sensitive skin that kept breaking out in a rash.
"After only a few days of switching from disposables to cloth diapers, my husband remarked that my son's skin looked better than it had in a long time," she says. "Also, since we've switched over my boys have had about about eight big poop explosions. Seven were in cloth diapers and didn't leak out. That had me convinced!"
Austin understands firsthand the need for diapering to be as convenient as possible for new parents because taking care of a newborn is overwhelming enough.
"Our goal is to make cloth diapers every bit as convenient as disposables. So we don't require parents to do anything to the diapers at home. Just toss them in your diaper pail the same as you would any other diaper. We do all the dirty work for them," says Austin.
When Austin found out she was pregnant, she was confident that she wanted to cloth diaper her baby. But then she found out she was having twins and she felt daunted by the prospect. She also lived in an apartment where the only laundry option was on a different floor with coin-operated machines.
"This opened my eyes to many other parents who were in the same predicament as myself - wanting to choose a healthy sustainable diapering option but finding cloth diaper laundry extremely unsuitable for our situation and active lifestyle," says Austin.
Wholesome Diaper partners with a local commercial laundry service to wash the diapers. They are hand sorted before and after washing, washed in high-powered machines with multiple rinses and water at temps of 170 degrees. The process also pH balances the diapers to the skin of a newborn baby which works to eliminate rashes and irritation.
"It's not fair that parents are forced to choose between today's convenience or our children and grandchildren's future environment. With a cloth diaper service, parents don't have to," says Austin. "I'm excited for more families to jump on board. It's also been amazing to be able to support other local and woman-owned businesses through my business. "
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.