Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Cloth Diapers, Part I

Boy have I been planning on writing this post for a long time! I get so many questions about Avery's cloth diapers, and I think a lot of people are genuinely interested...but I also know a lot of you out there think it's ridiculous, or you're just astounded that I would even try it.

I can explain!! First and foremost, I sincerely care about reducing my
environmental footprint, and I have for many years. That's not to say that I've changed my entire lifestyle for it, but I have tried to do small but significant things here and there for the better. And I think that's an important point: you don't have to give up your car/electricity/meat/baths and move to Seattle to be green. It's all about doing the best that you can. If that means you can go without all those aforementioned things, more power to you! In my case, I started small and then I've slowly but surely increased my efforts every year.
I started by recycling paper and plastics in high school, and then asking(perhaps forcing :) my family, college roommates and friends to do also. I even offered to take their recycling to the plant most of the time! After college, I bought a car with more efficient gas mileage (although certainly not the best--it's an S.U.V.--but I do dream of the day I can afford a hybrid). I made a concerted effort not to buy clothes that needed dry-cleaning. I completely stopped buying bottled water and invested in a Brita.

With all the recycling developments in the last ten years, I was able to cut my trash significantly by recycling an increasing amount of products. Especially electronics! Bub the hub and I started buying CFLs instead of incandescent lightbulbs and we even installed programmable thermostats (highly recommended). I also stopped eating red meat for a number of years, although that wasn't just an environmental decision, but it helps folks! Poor Bub the hub hardly ever got any red meat at dinner for a very long time! Now we make it every so often, but rarely more than once a week. Ok, I think you get the picture.

So, in the past year, my focus has shifted more toward buying organic foods from local & sustainable farms, buying and mixing more simple, non-toxic cleaning supplies, and of course, CLOTH DIAPERS!! These have all probably been the most expensive decisions, so it took me a lot longer to come around. But I'm so glad I did. That brings me to my other reason for doing all this: I want to help protect the world that Avery and future generations will grow up in, and I want to protect our family's health. You can roll your eyes, it's ok. But I do mean it.

So back to cloth diapers. Here a five excellent reasons to use cloth diapers:

1) The chemicals found in disposable diapers are not cool. We are talking sodium polyacrylate (for absorbancy-- it forms those little gel like crystals you find sometimes when changing), dioxin (found in bleaches- it's a carcinogen), and tributyl (a toxic pollutant that can mess with hormones).

2) The environment: over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby each year. That's staggering right? And I don't think I really need to explain much about how they impact the earth after they are used. I'll just tell you that disposable diapers make up the THIRD largest source of solid waste in landfills and they can take 500 years to decompose.

3) COST!! Although they start out as a bit of an investment, cloth diapers will save you money in the long run. Here's a good chart:

Kushies is the brand of cloth diapers that we have used the most, and they provided this chart. 25-Infant, 20-Toddler refers to how many cloth diapers they recommend you buy.

4)The little's so much more gentle on their little bums. Diaper rashes are like, non-existent! Blow-outs are much fewer and far-between.

5) Umm, don't you know they are ADORABLE!!?!?! Case in point:

Some of you eagle-eyed readers will notice that this is NOT lil'bub! You are correct! This is actually sweet Elizabeth Peterson, daughter of one of my oldest friends--> Rachele! They are here visiting us all the way from Tucson, Arizona. Rachele is also my cloth diapering partner-in-crime, which is why this post is so timely!
Unfortunately, we have to go play, so you will have to check back for Part II (and I KNOW you want to!) because I will discuss our particular journey with cloth diapers, including pictures of lil'bub's adorable lil'bum in her clothies. Also, how it's next to impossible to rely solely on them all the time, and no need to be upset if you use disposables now and then. Especially while traveling. ok, OK, I'll save it for the next one :)



  1. From one greenie to another, I loved the post! Can't wait to get my little nugget in some clothies! :)
    Love ya!


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