A few people have asked me for my opinion on diapers lately so I thought I’d do a post about our experience. Even if you’re post-diapers or pre-baby or post-baby or not interested in babies at all (why are you here?) there just might be something you can glean from this post…
First things first. I am grateful to have a few great, what I like to call, “poop friends.” You know, the lovely people with whom you can easily talk about your child’s elimination. You? Diapers naturally come up in conversation with my poop friends. Most of them use cloth diapers and I’m proud of them. I’m a cloth diaper drop-out and I’m a bit self-conscious about it. There I said it. That’s the first step to recovery from deep green guilt, right?
Before I had Wren and had to change my child’s countless diapers, I was convinced (in a very ‘greener than thou’ way) that I would use cloth diapers on her (or his, we didn’t know) precious bottom. I started off using a combination of cloth and several different kinds of eco-disposable diapers and some Huggies that a friend graciously donated to the Wren elimination cause. The ratio went from about 60/40 to 50/50 to 40/60 to 20/80 to 5/95 in just a few blurry months. I just never figured out a good system for it. Why did it seem so easy for everyone else? Looking back on that time, I’ve concluded that the ratio kept leaning in favor of the eco-disposables because they’re pretty damn convenient. Duh. And I didn’t feel that bad about using them because they’re a bit better for the environment than traditional disposables. Or so “they” say. At least they make me sleep (a bit) better at night. I had a hard time with the Huggies…
Want to read more about the debate between cloth and disposables? According to Wikipedia,
an average child will go through several thousand diapers in his life. Since disposable diapers are discarded after a single use, usage of disposable diapers increases the burden on landfill sites, and increased environmental awareness has led to a growth in campaigns for parents to use reusable alternatives such as cloth or hybrid diapers. An estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the US, resulting in a possible 3.4 million tons of used diapers adding to landfills each year.
The environmental impact of cloth as compared to disposable diapers has been studied several times. In one cradle-to-grave study sponsored by the National Association of Diaper Services (NADS) and conducted by Carl Lehrburger and colleagues, results found that disposable diapers produce seven times more solid waste when discarded and three times more waste in the manufacturing process. In addition, effluents from the plastic, pulp, and paper industries are far more hazardous than those from the cotton-growing and -manufacturing processes. Single-use diapers consume less water than reusables laundered at home, but more than those sent to a commercial diaper service. Washing cloth diapers at home uses 50 to 70 gallons of water every three days, which is roughly equivalent to flushing the toilet five times a day, unless the user has a high-efficiency washing machine.
Fast forward a year. I’ve tried a few different eco-disposables including Seventh Generation, Nature Boy & Girl and Nature Babycare. Our favorite is Nature Babycare. They’re chlorine-free, biodegradable, and sport a super cute simple green leaf pattern. I just can’t have my child wearing diapers with licensed characters, sorry…
They can be ordered (in cases is the easiest, most cost-effecive way) through Amazon.com, Diapers.com, Drugstore.com, and even Target.com. I can’t find them in a store in northern Michigan, but if you live in a more metropolitan area, I’m sure they can be found a few different places.
Dear readers, what kind of diapers do you like to use for you babies? Do you have a system for your cloth-diapering that you’d like to share with other readers? Share on, readers!
Just wait – it won’t be long before a “simple green leaf” pattern will be trademarked ….
These diapers are PERFECT as burp cloths and mini-towels. We used them as burp cloths when our daughter was an infant, and we continue to use them to wipe messy faces after meals, as well as to wipe runny noses during teething. We keep them all over the house! Be careful though ‘C there are two types, one with padding and one without ‘C make sure to get the ones without, as the ones with extra padding are useless in this capacity. (They make great car shammies, though!)