Y’all are all aware that I’m Ms. Conservation and many of you have probably been subject to one rant or another about how we can make the world better by using less, recycling, caring for wildlife and being conscious about the impacts of our behaviors and shopping habits. So here’s a little post about a few of the things that we’re trying to do to so that the Critter will have a nice planet to have his own kids in.
Picture first, then the rest of the post is below…
First – and I’ve talked about this before – we pained the nursery with paint that has no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – that’s what causes that lovely “new paint smell.” VOCs may be passed along to a growing baby in the womb, and can be found in breastmilk. There’s a great section in Sandra Steingraber’s book “Having Faith” about all of the chemicals and compounds that may be passed along in breastfeeding – and how breastfed babies really are the top of the food chain, not adults.
Second, we reckoned that we’d be doing a lot of laundry with the little one, so we replaced our old-and-busted washer & dryer with new, energy-efficient front loaders. Of course, there’s no such thing as an energy efficient dryer, but it’s better than the old one.
Third – and this is the one that I’ll write most about in this post – we decided to cloth diaper the boy. I had always heard the basics of the cloth vs. disposable debate and believed the conclusion that it all kind of evened out in the end: that disposables were a huge component of landfills, but that washing cloth diapers took up lots of resources in washing and sanitizing. So I have to hand it to my youngest sister, and mom of the Mooselet, for getting me started. She is cloth diapering (or CDing, according to the lingo) in rural Alaska, in part because of landfill considerations (I think they can see their local landfill/trash heap from their house) but also because she is one thrifty mother. Seriously – if anyone ever needed some fast cash when we were growing up, you knew she had it. You just had to grovel to her to get your hands on it!
Anyway, in the long run, it does work out that CDing is cheaper than using disposables. [Side note: I almost typed “regular diapers” rather than “disposables” there – it’s amazing how ingraned it is that we should all be using disposables!] There are various online calculators that give a comparison of what you would spend over the “lifetime” of diapering your child – 2-3 years! It’s pretty striking.
We’re using two kinds of cloth diapers now – and they are VERY different from the old-fashioned pins and plastic covers that our mothers had to deal with (assuming that few fathers changed diapers back then if they could help it – I know mine didn’t!). One kind is called FuzziBunz, which we bought from a friend. We’re using size small now, but I think the Critter is going to grow out of them before too much longer. We’ve got 9 of these and they’re very trim for a cloth diaper. These are great to take along in the diaper bag.
We have about 15 bumGenius! diapers, and look forward to using these for a loooooong time. They’re one size, and will grow along with the Critter. So the money we spent on them will last as long as he’s in diapers. These are a bit bulkier, but they’re really great for overnights. The downside is that once he learns how to use his hands, he might be able to rip the velcro tabs off and run around naked as a jaybird. I fully expect this.
“But what about the poo?” you may ask. It all comes out in the wash. We’ve got a bag lining our diaper pail (just a trash can with a lid) that also goes in the wash along with all the diapers. For breastfed babies, it’s not a big deal to wash the poo. Once he starts on solids, though, we will likely get a sprayer attachment for the potty that helps to get big stuff off. In the washer, the diapers get a pre-soak and an extra rinse on top of the regular load, and just a bit of detergent. Too much clogs up the absorbent layer, and that’s not good for diapers. And everything goes in the dryer. Piece of cake.
Unfortunately, there aren’t any stores around our home where you can walk in and buy all of this stuff. Babies R Us certainly doesn’t have it. It’s very much a niche/online market right now. We’ve used www.wildflowerdiapers.com and have been very happy with them. I’m hoping some some enterprising person in our area will see how many people are interested in CDing and will start an actual store. Fingers crossed!
That’s my testimonial/encomium for cloth diapering – hope you enjoyed it!