July 16, 2009

cloth diapers

I had a baby in January. Before she arrived I had been thinking about what my choices were when it came to diapers. I couldn't help but think about how many diapers I'd be adding to a landfill [5-10 a day for 2-3 years?!?!]. I also really really dislike the smell of some diapers. They add this chemical fake baby powder smell that makes me cringe. If my nose can't stand it, how could I feel OK putting that up against a newborn's skin?? And don't get me started on the dumb cartoon characters. Why does everything have to be cross marketed that way?? I also I knew I'd be drop dead tired and most likely not up for any sort of complicated diapering plan. What could I do to do my part??

I researched g diapers ... but the thought of standing over a toilet with a wand in the middle of the night or saving those diapers until morning really didn't appeal to me.

Then I hit the gold mine in terms of cloth diaper info. I read ask moxie's cloth diaper posts part 1 and part 2 . OK - so the reality check is that even using cloth diapers isn't the best - but as much as I planned on being in tune with my baby, the elimination communication method probably wasn't going to work for me.

Realistically, I also knew there was no way I'd want to launder my own diapers. But there are some ways to make it easier than you'd think. check out soft cloth bunz or diaper pin for all the possibilities - and for articles and support on how to diaper at home. I wish I could be that hard core and good.

And then we got lucky. One of my friends gave us 3 months of a diaper service as a baby gift. ABC diapers is run out of Sacramento, CA and they serve the entire Bay Area. As Hayley mentioned in her last post - it's easy. You drop a bag of soiled diapers on your porch one night and the next day you get a whole bag of clean ones. [see the above blue bag] YES these services use water - and yes water is a scares and precious commodity in these parts - but I still feel better than if I used disposables. I don't have to contribute to what goes into manufacturing the diapers [if you want to know what goes into making a diaper - read here [eeewww] , shipping the diapers, disposing them. Although when my daughter goes to daycare I'll have to use disposables there - at least that will be only part time. YES ABC's delivery trucks use gasoline, but they are looking into bio diesel.... and at least we're talking delivery of a couple hundred miles instead of thousands of miles.

Sometimes I feel as though it's simply important to do what you can when you can. And trust that every little bit helps.

I do wish there was a good disposable that used recycled content. Seventh Generation eschews the chlorine - which is great - but still uses wood pulp [and doesn't list that it's post-consumer content]. There's also tushies diapers which like Seventh Generation are better for baby. But the magic better for the environment diaper that is convenient could be someone's million dollar money maker. [maybe anjolina jolie or some other celebrity environmentally conscious mom should champion this cause]

The cost of this diaper service is comparable to buying disposables. Maybe even cheaper. If you want to find a diaper service in your area try the national association of diaper services . If you are in So Cal... Hayley used this service.

Don't think it's tough to use cloth diapers out in the world. It's really not. Just keep a few extra in your bag... and be sure and keep some baggies [I like to use the bags that our Sunday paper comes in] to hold the dirty ones until you can get them home and into your pail. I ended up getting the vinyl sleeves to hold the diaper - so there is no pinning - just folding and velcro and snapping involved. Every couple of months I have to get the next size up sleeves. 3 has been a good number for me. 1 to wear 1 that's in some state of wash/dry and 1 as backup. What to do with these sleeves when you are done I still haven't figured out. I'd be happy to hand them down to someone - they are technically cleaned and washed [although no longer white and shiny] -- but I'm not sure I'll find a taker.

Plus having the diapers on hand is really a nice thing. They make great emergency breast pads/burp cloths, they clean windshields on cars like there's no tomorrow, they pick up cat puke incredibly well [and i didn't hear a peep of complaint from ABC about the mystery non baby mess], they are quick to catch the pee stream that always happens once you REMOVE the diaper [don't think this won't happen to you], and you can hand a clean one to the babe while you change them to keep them occupied [who knew a cloth diaper could be so fascinating?]

and the cat likes sleeping on them. How could I take away his favorite spot??


Heide said...

It's great that you found a way to cloth diaper that works for you!

(And just an FYI, you don't have to flush g-diapers. You can toss the inserts just like disposables, and they'll completely biodegrade.)

Tracy said...

Awesome post Lisa!
For those in the Los Angeles area - and still curious about the cloth diaper route, there is a great class being offered at Green and Greener in Valley Village on July 22 (http://bit.ly/2D3IGo)

f. pea said...

Thanks Lisa! I have been struggling with this issue myself, and I'm hoping to write a followup post to yours in the next few days. Fist bump to the new mamas!

cedarstrings said...

I used diaper service until DD was six months old, then I purchased diapers and did the laundry myself ... no biggie since I was a SAHM. We bought disposables for long weekends away from home -- maybe three times until potty training time. I applaud your commitment to the environment and to healthy baby bottoms.
P.S., as DD outgrew the wrappers, we had plenty of younger cousins waiting for hand me downs. I kept a few diapers for polishing cloths, etc., handed down most of them to new babies in the family.

Unni Strand said...

I used cloth diapers the first year for both my children, and it is something I feel strongly about. I felt I had to quit when they started in nursery, because it wasn't allowed there.
I have just kept the diapers in a bucket until I wash them. No problem. Disposable diapers actually smell terrible in the bin, but not the cloth diapers. Why?

Some facts I came over some time ago:
Cloth diapers are better that disposable IF they are washed on 60 degrees celsius and if they are air dried. With higher temperature and use of tumble dryer, it's actually worse...

bugheart said...

great info...
can't wait
to hear
fpea's follow-up.
i am so glad
i will have
smart green
ladies to advise me
if i ever
have a
little one!

Hayley said...

I love my cloth diapers! I even adored Jose, the cloth diaper delivery man. When my child went to daycare I cut the service down to 30 a week, for evenings and weekends- but splitting between disposable and cloth was not at all economical, so I went disposable.

Oh, and my daughter never once got diaper rash until I switched.
I also used the vinyl velco covers [and have a bag of assorted sizes in my closet if anyone is interested- email me!].

Lisa- Greatlinks/ resources and your pictures make me nostalgic; I miss that huge stack of diapers.

Yvonne said...

Have you heard about Nature Babycare disposables? They're a compostable diaper (though unless your'e vegan you'd probobly not want to put em in yourcompost bin) They are a bit pricey, comparable to Seventh Generation, so I use cloth mostly and the disposable for naps and bed. It costs an extra $20 a month. So worth it!

Anonymous said...

check out http://www.bundlebabyshop.com/
for a great selection of modern cloth diapers. Based in Colorado if you need a service or cloth diaper store out that way. ALSO they have a great breakdown of the environmental analysis of cloth vs disposable, and some great tips for cloth diapering on the go! And they ship Nature BabyCare disposable diapers...

Lizard said...

Thanks for this post! I am about to have a baby and we will be using Tiny Tots out of Campbell, CA serving the Bay Area.

brady said...

Just reinforcing what pp said about Natures babycare. They are awesome and are actually cheaper tan Seventh Generation and more enviro friendly. They are 36 per shipment on amazon when you do subscribe and save. We get a shipment every 2 months. We also use cloth, but my son has grown out of all of our cloth dipes... so now it is pretty much all natures babycare. LOVE Em!

Anonymous said...

You know, I thought I wouldn't be able to do the EC thing either, but then one day I just tried it out of curiosity when my daughter was 5 mo, and from that day on I was sold. You can do it part time and realize great benefits (even once a day), although for those who wash there own diapers, you may not have enough dirty diapers for a full load before they start smelling... I hope I don't sound "preachy", it's just I find ECing so amazing, and so few ppl know about it, or they're are intimidated by it. But it's really a very natural process that uses so few resources.

Linnea said...

We also have been quite happy with Nature Babycare. I was curious about actually composting them, so I tried it, and yes- they do compost in my super no-work compost hole. :)

Molly said...

we used this same diaper service when my daughter was born (many moons ago). you brought back memories of jumping out of bed on friday morning to put out a bag of dirty diapers for that poor delivery man that had to pick them up.

lisa solomon said...

wow everyone - thanks for such great comments!!!

and the nature babycare tip. i'm DEFINITELY going to check those out
[and for the info that g's are bio-degradable, i think when i first looked into them many moons ago you had to put them down the toilet]

Olivia Jean said...

I used cloth and loved it :)

There is also G-Diapers, Flushable and/or compost-able....

Anonymous said...

I have been using Dydee Diaper service for the last 14 months and have been really happy with them. After a slow go with the dDiapers- happy to have made the switch.

Unknown said...

I have been CDing my son for a little over 2 years now, an then we also use Baby naturecare out - I just can't get into toting dirty dipes around - they do compost, except of course you probably do not want to compst the poopy ones - http://www.natyusa.com/products/diapers.php

Nicola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicola said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nicola said...

oops, i am the one with deleted comments, sorry!
i love cloth diapers!
congrats on the new little one.
i am sure you know, but you can make wonderful covers from old wool sweaters.
hmmm i might have just made thrifting competition for myself locally! ;)

Anonymous said...

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Unknown said...

Thank you so much for your link to Soft Cloth Bunz. We have just changed our name to Diaper Junction. Would you be willing to change your lik(s) from Soft Cloth bunz to www.diaperjunction.com? I'd be truly grateful.


Pauline - Now Free of Diapers! said...

The diaper collection service sounds great - not sure I would like to work there though...ughh!
Unfortunately we have nothing like this where i live but hopefully these services will expand over time.

nature babycare diapers said...

You could be very old fashioned momma, or modern cloth diaper Diva, if you use cloth diaper  but it is better to use for the health of your child: D