Tuesday, June 9, 2009
Cloth Diapers. Yes, you can!
One of the givens in my mind when I contemplated motherhood and then later became pregnant was that I would use cloth diapers. It seemed a no-brainer to me. I'm an environmentalist, I love this planet and I don't want to add thousands of diapers to fill up the earth. 500 years is too long to wait for them to decompose. Not to mention that raw sewage is being left to rot inside them.
Not only did I want to do this for myself but I also wanted to be able to look my son in the eye and say: Your babyhood did not put thousands of diapers into this earth. That is important to me because I hope that he will care even more about living lightly on this planet than his father and I do.
Besides researching what was going on in my own body as Kyan grew, I researched cloth diapers extensively. I asked people I knew about them and attended a free workshop put on by a local mompreneur who has a wonderful selection online. I hummed and hawed but finally decided on Bamboozle's with snap closures. Now cloth diapering has a whole language. I don't intend to get into that here. At the end of this post will be links for many wonderful sites that can give you basic to advanced information about cloth diapering. What I want to do here is relay our experience of diapering and be brutally honest about it.
Often when I am around other moms they comment when they see that we use cloth diapers.
"Good for you."
"Oh, you're so dedicated."
These statements are always laced with guilt. I hear in their voices that they know they should have done it but they didn't. To be clear I do not judge the choices other parents make concerning this issue but I do believe, from my experience in talking to other moms about it that they wanted to use cloth but convinced themselves otherwise. So consider this a little kick in the pants....just do it!
Some of the excuses I hear (and of course considered myself) are:
-I do enough laundry as it is. Yeah, you do. This load that you will do every 2-3 days saves approximately 5,300 disposables per child from filling up landfills. Disposables use 37% more water in the manufacturing process than cloth do despite needing to be washed several times a week.
-We are always on the go. Disposables are so convenient. Yes, they are convenient. So is Styrofoam, fast food and paper plates. Do you use/have these every day, multiple times a day?
In the essence of moderation using disposables for travel or a swimming day only, is taking advantage of the convenience while reducing your impact on the earth.
-My child goes to daycare and they won't use them. This one is tough. But if your daycare provider understood the ease that many styles of cloth diapers provide they may be convinced to try it out for a day or two. If they reject them still then at least you tried.
Beyond excuses, beyond the fact that we do the best we can as moms for our kids, it does come down to lifestyle choices. What is important to us as individuals in this world.? We chose cloth diapering because we liked that it was cheaper, it has saved us approximately $1000.00. And at this time in our life that is a lot. It is healthier on Kyan's skin. The bamboo diapers we use have anti-bacterial properties, and absorb up to ten times more than cotton.
We are not putting raw sewage into landfill sites. This one is really important. I did not know this prior to our research but it is technically illegal to wrap up your child's disposable diaper when it has feces in it and put it in your regular trash. You are supposed to shake the feces into the toilet so it can be treated as all raw sewage is. That is something they don't tell you about in baby books. What happens if you don't do that? The sewage chemicals seep into the ground and into the food chain. It's all connected after all.
There have been some downsides, having a bigger than average child the cloth diapers added so much padding that he often didn't fit into the slim clothing made for his age. He has slimmed down now so I find that to be less of an issue.
We use a dry diaper pail system and it does get smelly the day before washing day. We don't use deodorizers but they are readily available and you can always avoid it if you wash more often.
-As we begin potty training removing his pants, diaper cover and diaper is tricky. I'm considering other options and not putting too much pressure on him or myself to speed the process along. So far, so good.
I'm trying to think of other downsides but there aren't that many for me. This choice has really worked for us as a family.
It's great to not have to run out to the store for more diapers, we just throw a load in the washing machine. One other side note...we all know about the "blow outs" that happen to so many babies and leaves parents cleaning up poo in areas where we didn't want to see it. I can only recall once or twice that the diaper covers we use did not contain all the poo. Yes, you heard it here folks....no scrubbing stains out of baby shirts over here...well at least not poo stains...
You can use cloth diapers from newborn to potty training. It is a viable option. Please consider it and think of the earth and potentially your kid thanking you for making that choice. Here are some links for helping you in your research.
New and Green Baby Co. Online Cloth Diaper Store with great tips and ideas for making cloth easier for you and your family
Mother-ease A cloth diaper manufacturer with a truly green approach
Getting Started with Cloth Diapers - Mothering Magazine online
Real Diaper Association Why Choose Cloth Diapers?
Cloth Diapers Exposed-The Facts & the Fiction
*cross-posted on Mom Blogger's Network and PaganSpace.net