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04 November 2008

Do you want paper or plastic?

That question has always been so hard for me. Paper is bulky and if it's not recycled, then it fills up landfills. Plastic bags can't be recycled, but are a little less bulky and can be reused for other things like bathroom trash can liners, pooper scoopers, etc. That problem has been solved since I found these cute Envirosax bags that hold what two plastic bags would normally hold and can be reused over and over again.

So, now that that dilemma has been solved...on to my new one. Cloth or disposables? A couple of months ago, Dave approached me with the, "So, you're going to use cloth diapers, right?" To which I promptly laughed in his face. Yeah, Mr. I Don't Plan on Changing a Diaper, I'm going to swirl poopy diapers in the toilet and try to fold and pin some archaic piece of cloth onto a squirming baby. No thanks.

About two weeks ago, my friend (and other birthing partner) Michele attended an Aveda conference in Los Angeles. She called me on her break and said, "I only have a minute, but I really want to urge you to use cloth diapers." WHAT?? Was this some sort of conspiracy against the new mother? Have they forgotten that I'll still have to wait on my husband hand and foot? She called back later that evening and tried to plead her case.

I'm sure some of you have thought about the difference, at least environmentally, on cloth and disposable diapers. The debate is ongoing. Disposables can take up to 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill and the fecal matter in the diapers can leak into groundwater. The manufacturing of the diapers also causes pollution and uses natural resources. Cloth diapers, however, have to be washed and sometimes have to be run twice through the rinse cycles. Also, some of the detergents that are used may not be good for the environment. And, if you use a diaper service, the trucks on the road use fuel.

So, that's just the environmental aspect of the diapers. The cost for cloth diapers, especially the ones that aid in convenience, are very pricey. Trying to find information online as to which is cheaper, however, cloth usually comes up the winner.

Another factor I learned about during my research was about all of the chemicals that are put into the diapers. I scare easily. Really easily. And, the thought of scary chemicals being so close to our baby's skin scares me. But, many people out there wore disposable diapers as babies and turned out just fine? Probably A LOT. I know I did! (Well, part of my research was asking my mom what she used and it was both, in case you were wondering.)

Ugh, but what about the poop? Seriously folks. I will be the one changing all of these diapers and my big question was what to do with the poop. Turns out, there are some creative ways of disposing of that nasty stuff. There are biodegradable inserts that can catch it and can then be flushed down the toilet. There are also little hoses that you can attach to your toilet that allows you to hose off the diaper before washing. Now, I know, neither of those sounds like picking daisies, but it's definitely better than swirling a dirty diaper around in toilet water.

Hearing Dave and Michele (two people who had never had kids) push the cloth diapers, I had to go to a couple of experienced moms.* Dave's sister Marissa pretty much said no...and with TWO kids, I can completely understand. My friend Amy's response when I asked her if she considered using cloth diapers? "#^#& no!" So, there we had it. The vote was two to two!

So, after A LOT of thought, and a lot of research, I have decided that I will use a combination of both cloth and disposables. As long as we are around the house, we'll use cloth.** When we travel or are out and about for the day, we'll use disposables. (Sorry, no amount of scare or love for the environment will get me to carry poopy diapers around town with me.) And, if the Grandmas and Grandpas will allow it, when we stay in Arizona and Oregon for visits, we'll use cloth there too.

So, if there are any moms (new or old) out there reading this who can give me some advice on diapers (cloth or disposable) I am willing to take it! As far as disposables go, what's the best? And, the cloth diaper industry can be extremely confusing. There are all types out there -- ones that are all encompassing and have the covers built in so there is no need for both the diaper and the protector. Most are even made with velcro so there is no need to fuss with the old pins. Did I mention that some of them are REALLY cute?!

An example of an all-in-one cloth diaper.

An example of a super cute cloth diaper cover.

*I am in no way, shape or form judging the moms out there who only used disposables.

**If Peanut doesn't like cloth, we may have a whole new dilemma!


Lauren said...

Hi Amanda! I too am with Dave and Michele that chucking hundreds upon hundreds of plastic diapers per baby is terrible for this poor environment. And I am with you in agreement that cleaning and washing dirty cloth diapers is gross. Have you considered a diaper service? I know I haven't had babies yet, but my mom used one for sure with my sister Emily and it's so great and convenient. They deliver the diapers to your door, give you a scent proof container to put the dirty ones in, and then pick up the dirty diapers, clean them, and bring back fresh ones each week! You don't need to scrape, rinse, or wash a SINGLE diaper!!! True, it's more expensive- BUT I'd rather buy less shoes for myself if it could guarantee a safer and healthier world for my baby to live in AND maintain my sanity!

There are a zillion companies that do this, but here's an example of one I found in California:

Marissa said...

I think the combination sounds like a good idea. As for which diapers are best, I've found it depends on the baby. For example, with Mister, I LOVED Pampers and Huggies didn't contain anything for him. It was the opposite with Pumpkin. He did great with Huggies and leaked everywhere with Pampers. Luvs is probably my favorite brand (and they smell so wonderful, seriously), and I've found that they always work and never leak, no matter which kid it's been. Also, the Costco brand (Kirkland) has worked great for both boys. You get tons of them at a time, but you can only get them at Costco, so that's a drawback if you don't live near one.

Amanda said...

Hey Lauren,

I too looked up delivery services because I thought it would be much better than washing the diapers myself. Unfortunately, there are no diaper services that service our area! Maybe something will change in the next 5 months. If not, I think I will be okay with washing the diapers here. We just are wishing that when we got the new washer a couple of years ago, we had gotten a front loader!

Jillian said...

helooooo, as a mother of one poopin and peein little toddler maniac with another one on the way, let's just go over one word again: cost. I probably spend over a thousand dollars a year on diapers. And yeah let's all give the enviornmen a big hug , but first let's hug our poor wallets and say yay for cloth! This time I'm going with cloth. Plain, cheap cloth with the liners. And I use tide dammit cuz it smells good.

Coco Stiletto said...

save $$$ on baby wipes too. Use "Yes on 8" flyers to clean Peanut's bum bum!

Amanda said...

Marissa - Thanks for the tips! All the sites say to "stock up" before the baby arrives. I guess we better just have a variety pack available!

Jill - I commend you for using the plain cloth ones. I'm a sucker for the cute ones!

Sandee - I'm sure you will have gone through all those flyers by the time Peanut is born!

Everyone - Anyone notice how my mom didn't comment? She almost always comments on my blogs...I guess I know the answer to whether or not we can use the cloth at her house! ;)

Mom Cooper said...

Hey Girl -
You can use whatever kind of diapers you want at Grandma's house. I used to use cloth on your little tush when you were a baby. In fact, I used to put you and the diaper pail in Ryan's red wagon and cart you down to the community laundry room. (For those of you who don't know, we were at Ball State when Amanda was born.)

And I was thinking. Since you guys call your baby "Peanut" maybe Tara and Cash should call theirs "Cashew"!!

Tara Moter said...

You are too just straight up wrote a paper on diapers!

I can tell you that here in Louisville, I'll be sticking to good ol' Pampers. In fact, I plan on buying them by the BULK from Costco:)

I don't have the time or energy to spend cleaning anything else...especially nasty poop. Plus, I don't want baby Quinn to have to wear dirty, stained diapers all day. Do you know how much Spray and Wash you would have to use to remove those nasty poop stains??

I'm sticking to what millions of moms have done for years. There are plenty of other battles to fight!

nikianna said...

So...please tell me you're kidding when you mention that you'll be the ONLY one changing diapers. Seriously?? Do you need me to talk to Dave? :)

Amanda said...

NIKI - You may just have to have a chat with him!, he will be changing them too. I will probably have to work him up to the "poop" ones though! I told him that we were going to have to get a newborn doll so that he could practice different things (like swaddling, diaper changing) with it!