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.

7 Responses to “A Greener Mama Part 1: Diapering”

  1. 1 Amanda H. Avery July 27, 2009 at 8:18 am

    I was a store bought diaper mama all the way. I think a lot of it has to do with your situation. If I was a stay at home mommy (or even part time stay at home mommy) it may have been an option for me. However, since both of my kids were in daycare or had babysitters, it just wasn’t a realistic option for my family.

    Good luck–I’ll be interested to hear what you think about them!

    • 2 lsaufley July 27, 2009 at 10:32 am

      I agree Amanda. I think that if I was working full time I wouldn’t be as determined to try cloth diapers! Most day cares don’t want to mess with them either so for a lot of moms it isn’t an option at all.

      • 3 Stacey Adams July 27, 2009 at 11:35 am

        We used disposables for my first son (now 20 months). We had considered using g-diapers, but knew we were moving when my son was 10 weeks old, so we didn’t want to worry about it until we got to our new home and got settled. We used Pampers – the very “best,” right? My son would get terrible rashes. Bright red, and so painful. We tried Huggies, Luvs, all the typical brands. Then we tried Seventh Generation. It was the only brand he could use without breaking into a rash because it’s the only one that didn’t use perfumes and chemicals! We started potty training at 13 months, knowing our 2nd son would be arriving when our first was 18 months. At around 7 months pregnant, my husband and I discussed using cloth diapers, and decided to go for it, knowing we could always go back to disposables if we hated them. Well, we LOVE them. My older son still wears diapers for naps and at night, so we bought some cloth diapers for him too. We have not had any of the issues with diaper rash using cloth. And they really aren’t difficult at all. One load of laundry in the evenings? Who cares! We never have to worry about running out of diapers, and we are saving so much money, not to mention the environment. I am a SAHM, so I don’t have experience as a working mom, but I would think it would be worth it to ask if cloth was an option at daycare. Or just use cloth at home. One thing that bothers me is when people that use disposables think it’s gross to “dump” the poo in the potty for older babies. That is what you’re SUPPOSED to do – whether using cloth or disposable!! (And we did, when we used disposables and before my son learned to use the potty.) Human waste in landfills is a HUGE health hazard. Anyway, I could go on and on about the benefits of cloth diapers and I’m happy to be one of your “real life” friends who uses them! I hope you guys love them as much as we do!

      • 4 lsaufley July 27, 2009 at 3:49 pm

        Thanks for the comment Stacey! I agree about the dumping poop in a landfill…it’s just gross. We have a shower sprayer in our downstairs bathroom so I intend to use that to rinse the really dirty diapers in the toilet before throwing them in their designated laundry basket. I just can’t bring myself to swish them around in the toilet so I’m thankful we have a sprayer!

      • 5 Stacey Adams August 1, 2009 at 12:57 pm

        I completely understand!! I don’t think I could swish them in the toilet either!! With Evan and the disposables, we’d just dump the poo in the toilet – it was pretty good about coming out easily. Will is still exclusively breastfed, and that comes out in the washing machine with no extra spraying, etc. We bought Imse Vimse flushable liners for when he starts solids, and before his poo is really “solid” enough to dump out. Hopefully they work well! I can’t really see myself toilet dunking! 🙂

  2. 6 Lindsey July 28, 2009 at 8:56 am

    With Silas we got SOOOOO many disposables from showers. We pretty much used those when he was in a newborn size just because we had so many. Once we ran out of those we switched to the old fashioned cloth diapers with pins and covers (that I got from my mom!). Eventually I discovered the SNAPPI and the pins were gone. The whole time Silas was in cloth diapers we managed to keep track of the 1 snappi we had. I can’t believe we didn’t lose it. I probably order a couple more to have this go around. 🙂

    We used cloth with him a majority of the time….even when we were out and about and traveling. Occasionally we used disposables but they were still ones we had gotten from showers. We rarely bought a package of diapers from the store.

    It made it easier for me because I was a SAHM, had a mom and a mother-in-law who had both used cloth on their babies and were familiar with it and a husband who was very willing!

    Even when we started potty training Silas (introduced at 24months) we used cloth training pants. I never bought pull-ups. At 32 months he was peeing in the potty every time. It took a little longer to get pooping down but we stuck it out. After introducing the cloth training pants we never went back to cloth diapers.

    We plan to use cloth this go around with Savannah too. I still have the diapers and covers we used with Silas that we’ll use. But…my mom and I made several all-in-ones that we’ll be using too. We have 9 of the small size (which I think is 0-3months). Depending on how I like them, we’ll make the next size up. We have been given several newborn and size 1’s from friends and samples in the mail that we will use…probably like we did with Silas.

    Cloth diapers just seemed to be the way to go for us. I don’t think I ever had any doubts…we just jumped into it and they worked well.

    • 7 lsaufley July 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

      If you want to lend out your small sizes…..I’d love to borrow them! By the time Layla gets here, Savannah will probably have outgrown them! 🙂

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July 2009

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