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Saturday, June 26, 2010

Diapers, Diapers, Diapers

Most of you have probably figured out by now that I use cloth diapers on Maddie, and I wanted to write a little something about how and why I got started doing it.

Evelyn and Gillian were Huggies babies. I never thought twice about putting them in disposables because that was what everyone I know did. I didn't even realize that I had other options. I used Huggies because they were better at holding in leaks, and a little bit cuter than Pampers too. I had no idea that they contained things that might not be good for my girls, the thought never occurred to me that companies would be putting out products that we are supposed to wrap our babies in 24/7 that had known carcinogens, but I digress...

When I was pregnant with Maddie, I started to become more eco-conscious. I switched to healthier cleaning products, more natural and organic foods, cut back on waste... it bothered me, knowing that when she was born, that I would be throwing away diapers that would take possibly hundreds of years to decompose and adding to the problems our environment is facing. So, I started doing some research, and it sucked. I didn't know the lingo of the eco-friendly diaper world. When I mentioned cloth, I was told horrible stories of dunking diapers, and my house smelling like baby poop all the time. Before I even gave it a chance, I was convinced that cloth was not for me!

I found a middle-of-the-road alternative, what is referred to as a Hybrid diaper. The brand I chose was called gDiapers, and they were ADORABLE!! They have these cute little cloth covers with a snap-in plastic liner that you put a FLUSHABLE insert into! Sweet! Nothing going into the landfills, totally bio-degradable if you did throw them in the garbage, and you could even compost them (only if there was just pee in it). I was in love!
As we used them, I discovered a few things:
1) they were friggin' expensive!
2) I either had to order the inserts online or drive 35 mins to get more
3) the cute little cloth covers got messy really often and I was constantly washing them.
4) they were hard for inexperienced people to use
5) flushing the inserts was a chore, and sometimes clogged the toilet

I wasn't ready to give up though, I loved them, and no matter how much extra work and money they were, I was being ecologically responsible by using them. I kept some "eco-friendly" disposables in the house for back-up, like when all the little cloth covers were dirty, and didn't feel too guilty using them, but didn't exactly like having diapers in my garbage again. (Speaking of, the smell of diaper garbage was the WORST part of using disposables with my first 2, Adam and I would argue over whose turn it was to empty the diaper genie and stuff it to almost bursting so that we wouldn't have to change it!)

Then, my friend, Kerry, took the leap to cloth for her son. I resisted like a cat being dragged to the bathtub, but not for much longer. It occurred to me that I was constantly washing the outer cloth part of the gDiapers, and wondered if it would really be THAT much more work if I had a few cloth diapers to use at night and when I was out of inserts... so, I ordered a trial pack of cloth diapers. (like this one:

When my package came, I was overwhelmed by how soft and squishy everything was! My first thought was how comfortable it must be to wear them instead of the paper/plastic disposables. And I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to take care of them. I started out just using them at night, and quickly bought more of them to use. I couldn't wait for the day that I used the last of my gDiaper inserts so that I could make the switch over to cloth 100% of the time.

Yes, there are days (like today) when I don't really feel like washing diapers, but it is certainly easier than getting out of my sweat pants, getting all three kids dressed, driving to the store and dropping $20+ on a box of something that is just going to get thrown away. And yes, there is some trial and error to using cloth. I discovered the hard way that Maddie's legs are too skinny for some of the more popular brands; and that, in some cases, the easier they are to use, the harder they can be to clean properly; and finding a detergent that I liked took some experimenting.

But, when I add up what I have spent on cloth diapers, and compare it to what I would have spent on disposables, it makes the little annoyances seem not so bad. Seeing how adorable Maddie looks in her diapers helps too, as does knowing that I am not adding to landfills.
And when I read news articles about how babies are getting hurt by disposables (goggle "pampers dry max chemical burns), I am so glad that I made the choice to go with cloth.

You live and you learn with cloth diapers, just like anything else in life. I just wish I knew then what I know now about them, because I would have used them on all my kids, but at least I am doing it now. Better late than never, right?

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