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Saturday, February 17, 2007

A tirade-by me.

I stated in a post a while back that I have started cloth diapering. Like most people, I used to just associate a white folded cloth and pins with it. Because that's all you ever see in stores, and all that is ever talked about.

I frequent the message boards over at babycenter.com. I don't remember exactly why or how, but one day last October I ended up on the diapering board, and began reading. And reading. I found out there is a whole world of cloth diapers I had never even imagined. Diapers that really aren't that much different than disposables, velcro and all. I even found out you can wash and dry them at home.

I then started discovering facts about disposables. Facts that noone ever talks about. Like 15% of a disposable diaper is petroleum. And that a child goes through between six and nine thousand diapers from birth to potty training. That is the part that really got me. I mean, every parent knows they use a lot of diapers, but we never think about how many it really is. People who know me know that I am definitely not a tree hugger. But I sat there and envisioned a pile of six THOUSAND diapers in a landfill somewhere and just could not get past that. I decided that day to switch. (by the way, it takes something like 500 years for a diaper to decompose)

I have to say it's going pretty well. Hannah used to be plagued with diaper rash. Since the switch, they have become really rare. (did you know that the chemical the gel stuff in disposables is made of has been linked to toxic shock syndrome? It is the same chemical that was removed from tampons in 1985 because of that.) And the laundry aspect has really been not that big of a deal. It's added less than a load a day. And that's with 2 of them in diapers.

Where am I going with this? Since I have started doing this, I have run into lots of people who see my diapers and go "Hey those are cool, what are they?" And when they hear about it, they decide they want to do it for their kids as well. There is no overall awareness in our society. Everyone still thinks of white folded cloth and pins. And part of why this is, has me a bit peeved.

Why is it that you don't hear much about them? It all boils down to one thing, money. The disposable diaper industry is a multi-billion dollar one. And they have become very influential. They pump lots of money into parenting magazines and such. Recently on a message board, we were discussing the fact that a small blurb about cloth made it into a major magazine for parents. But it was a tiny blurb and was very biased against cloth. It basically said "yeah we know cloth diapers suck but here's what they look like now." It was discussed that some people had contacted this major magazine (and others) about doing a more in depth article, to help raise awareness, and help people make a more informed choice. The answer was no. Why? Because the disposable diaper companies are their biggest paying advertisers. I don't know about you, but that really made me think.

The companies that make cloth diapers cannot compete with that. They don't make that kind of money. In fact, a majority of cloth diaper makers are stay at home moms. Which to me is an added benefit. I feel good knowing that by purchasing them I am helping a mom stay at home with her kids, instead of just pumping more money into some huge company. But in a war of money and advertising who is going to win? Proctor & Gamble/Kimberly-Clark, or the mom making diapers at home in her sewing room? Think about how many more people might be willing to at least try cloth if they saw their options in their local Walmart/Target, or in a huge ad in a major magazine.

I know people might still choose disposables. And I think that's fine. Like breastfeeding vs. formula, it's a personal choice that each family should make for themselves. I just want people to be able to make a more informed choice. Oh, and I know what you all are thinking. The poop factor. It's really not that big of a deal. With solely breastfed babies, you don't have to do a thing, it's completely water soluble and comes out in the wash. And they contain that breastfed poop better. I lost count how many times I had poop go out of Hannah's diaper and up her back when she was still in Pampers. With cloth, it's a rare occurance. And with Logan, whose poop is much more gross, I use flushable, biodegradable liners. If he poops, I just dump it in the toilet, flush, and it's gone. And then I just throw the diaper in the pail. An added bonus is that if he just pees, the liners will last going through the wash a few times before they fall apart. And there is no more stink of poopy diapers sitting around in the trash!

I am a lazy person, so trust me when I say if it wasn't easy, there's no way I'd be doing this. I love the security of knowing I'm not going to run out of diapers and have to do a midnight run to the store. I love not having to remember to take the trash out every day because of the smell of dirty diapers. I just wish I had known about this with my other kids. I would have done it with all of them.

P.s.-There's the added bonus of them being wicked cute too. Check out this diaper that was custom made for Hannah by the host of our diapering message board:
Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

How cute is that?! (by the way, her site is here: http://clothdiaperoutlet.com Her name is Heather, and she is a great person. She makes high quality stuff, and has outstanding customer service.)


Michelle said...

That is cute :)

greeblemonkey said...

Good for you Meghann! When I looked into it for us, it came down to an environmental issue at the time of land vs. water and since we are a drought state, I chose water. But if I had things like those, I might have chose differently. Good post.