Archive for July 27th, 2009

A Greener Mama Part 1: Diapering

How green of a mama are you?  Do you cloth diaper?  Breastfeed?  Use organic products?  Over the years I have become more “green” and more frugal.  I’ve come a long way since my first child was born 7 years ago and I’m excited to see the changes that will take place with the birth of our newest daughter, Layla, this October!

This week, I’m going to be blogging about being a greener mama.  Each day will feature a different aspect of taking care of babies!  Each day I will share what I did with each child and what I plan to do with Layla!  First up . . . diapering!

Here are some interesting facts about disposable diapers:

  • Over 28 Billion disposable diapers are brought to landfills every year…enough to stretch to the moon and back 20 times.
  • 7.5 Billion pounds of untreated body excrement, which may carry over 100 intestinal viruses, is brought to landfills via disposable diapers each year.
  • It takes between 200-500 years for disposable diapers to decompose.

Pretty gross stuff, right?

Not only are disposables terrible for our environment (think about it….can you imagine collecting your bowel movements and throwing them in a trash bag and sending it to the landfill….ugh) but do you know what is in disposable diapers that make them absorbent?  It’s a material called sodium polyacrylate.  It is toxic if swallowed and if you read data sheets on it you will be encouraged to avoid contact with the skin, eyes or mouth.  Has your child ever picked a diaper apart?  I know both of mine have and the thought of them being exposed to a harmful chemical is alarming to me.  Of course, 7 years ago I had NO IDEA!

A lot of proponets for disposables argue that it takes more water and electricity to use cloth diapers.  I think it’s a better trade off though just for the fact that you are not throwing human waste in a landfill–it is being properly disposed of in the toilet where it can be treated along with all other sewage.

Here is how things went with my first two kids and what I plan to do with our third child:

Annagrace:  We started out using name brand disposable diapers.  I didn’t know anyone that used cloth diapers and thought that it was too hard and was old fashioned!  We eventually started using cheaper diapers on her but I would typically buy Pampers without using a coupon and with no regards to sale prices.  If we needed, I went to Wal-Mart and got them.  (Yes, cringe–Wal-Mart!).

Madalyn:  Again, we favored Pampers.  For the first 18 months I would buy mostly Pampers with occasional generic or other name brands if the price was good.  Started couponing when she was in pull-ups and figured out how to get them free or almost free at CVS.  I never paid more than $6 a pack for them.  Still didn’t know anyone who cloth diapered and by the time I got interested in it Madalyn was pretty much potty trained.

Layla:  We are planning to cloth diaper from the beginning.  If all goes well, we will cloth diaper while at home but will use disposables (or gdiapers with flushable inserts) when we are out and about (and when other people are babysitting!).  I now know several people who cloth diaper–a few are friends in real life and several are online friends.  There are so many resources out there and cloth diapers have come a looooonnnnggg way over the years!  I am hoping we can save a lot of money on diapers this go around and I’m happy that we won’t be contributing dirty diapers to the local landfill!

How about you mamas out there?  What did you use/are you using?  Any thoughts on either one?  Most people think we are crazy for using cloth because it still isn’t the “mainstream” thing to do.  But at least I know I’m not the only one out there–and have several friends who have been giving me advice and have been an encouragement to me!

I’ll let you know by November how it’s going!

Here are a few resources for buying cloth diapers.  And you can always check out Mothering magazine’s website and forums and the ladies there are extrememly helpful with answering questions and offering advice!

Jillian’s Drawers (offers a 21 day $10 trial of about 7 different cloth diapers–I am definitely going to do this once Layla gets here!)

Kelly’s Closet

Wildflower Diapers

Etsy seems to be a good place too.  Etsy is a huge marketplace for crafty people to sell their handmade goods.  Lots of handmade diapers there at reasonable prices.  You can also buy both new and used diapers on Ebay.

July 2009