Saturday, March 10, 2012

Fluff Love

Just got home from starting my registry at Terra Tots in Fayetteville, and I'm so excited.  As most of my friends/ family know, I decided early on in my pregnancy that I wanted to use cloth diapers on our little one.  Initially it was out of sticker shock at the prices of disposable diapers.  I figured that cloth would suck, but it would save a lot of money, and that was good enough for me.  When I started telling people my idea, most everyone thought I was crazy.  So, as I always do, I did some research.  I became so overwhelmed by all of the brands and types (prefolds and pockets and all-in-ones, oh my!) that I started to give in to the naysayers.  Maybe I was taking on too much.  After all, just being a mom sounds scary and overwhelming.  Should I make it any more complicated than it already is?  But then a couple of things happened that made me reconsider cloth.  The first was my friend and esthetician, Alicia.  Alicia is a cloth diapering, baby wearing, natural child birthing (at home even) mom of three.  I have always respected so many of her thoughts and ideas about parenting and she was eager to tell me more about her experience.  She explained the different types in a way that was easy to understand.  She also told me her "routine" for washing and making cloth just as easy as disposables.  She uses the BumGenius pocket diapers and swears they're the best.  So I thought, ok, I'll just do what Alicia does and that was simple enough for me.  Then my mom chimed in.  My brother and I were both cloth babies and she didn't realize how much times have changed when it comes to cloth (you mean you don't have to pin them and they aren't just big pieces of fabric you fold up all fancy-like?).  She started doing some of her own research, encouraged me to keep thinking about it, and even volunteered to come to the Cloth Diapering Workshop at Terra Tots. Initially she thought the fact that a workshop is needed was completely hilarious, but now she understands.  

So, I was back on the bandwagon.  I made sure to make my research more specific to avoid that overwhelming feeling, and I'm SO glad I did.  Now that I've learned more, my reasoning for cloth diapering has expanded well beyond cost (although that is still a huge factor).  Here are the reasons for me.  If you want to know where I found this research, feel free to ask :)

  1. Cost is still big.  The average baby goes through 6,000 diapers between birth and age 2 - 6,000!!!!  The cost for diapers alone is between $1300 and $1600 per child.  Based on the type of diaper I'm planning to use, my entire stash should be around $750 and can be reused if we have more children.  What a great savings!  And this doesn't even factor in the cost of wipes (yes, we'll use cloth wipes too).  Note that if you plan to use a diaper service, the cost for cloth goes up.  We will be washing our own.
  2. Mother Earth. Those 6,000 disposable diapers that end up in the landfills generate about 1 ton of waste per child and make up about 4% of all waste.  Yuck!  It is estimated that they take between 250-500 years to decompose.  Yuck!  It also takes more resources to make all those diapers.  Some argue that the fact that you have to use water and electricity to clean cloth negates the benefits, but research has found that not to be the case.  And yes, I will have to do a couple more loads of laundry each week, but it's worth it.
  3. Health.  This one is BIG for me.  Have you ever thought about what is in those diapers you are putting on your child's most sensitive parts?  How about Dioxin?  Dioxin is listed by the EPA as one of the most toxic of all cancer-linked materials!  Next comes Tributyl-tin, a pollutant known to cause hormonal problems.  And then there's Sodium Polyacrylate (SAP).  This is that gel-like stuff you often see on baby's bum after a diaper change.  They used to put it in tampons until it was linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome.  All of these things sound pretty icky to me. 
  4. Blowouts!  I was constantly getting questions like, "Isn't that gross?" and "What about the poop?".  I may not have a baby yet, but I'm pretty sure if I want to be a mom, I need to get over any fear I have of poop or other bodily functions.  I've heard countless stories about blowouts and ruined clothes from other moms I know.  The thing is though, this is far less likely to happen with cloth because of the way the diapers are made.  Yay!  Also, the poop goes in the toilet, where poop belongs.  Most people don't realize this, but in many places, it is illegal to put human waste in the trash.  That includes human waste in diapers.  You are actually supposed to rinse out disposables, too!  Besides, I'd much rather have a clean stash every couple of days instead of having poopy diapers in my trash for a week until the city comes to pick them up, but that's just me...
  5. They are so stinkin' cute!  Yes, they are covered by clothes most of the time, but cloth comes in so many fun colors and patterns and is down-right adorable!  Need proof?  I've never seen a disposable that's this cute!

Blueberry Newborn All-In-One (Made in Arkansas!)
Bumgenius 4.0 Pocket in Lovelace
So, I know this has been a long post, and I apologize.  But, I really feel strongly about this decision.  Many people don't even consider cloth as an option, and I hope this opens their minds to some new ideas!

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