Monday, January 31, 2011

Cloth Diaper Myths, BUSTED!

Are you horrified at the thought of dealing with Cloth Diapering?  I was!  I had no idea what cloth diapering was really all about.  The only regret I have is that I didn't do it with my first, 15 years ago!

Read on to see all these myths busted!


Cloth diapers are too expensive.  FALSE
Cloth Diapering can save you over $2000 by the time your baby is potty trained.  If you use expensive diapers or have a later potty trainer, you can reach a savings of up to even $3,000. by the time it’s all said and done!  You can cloth diaper your baby for as little as $150.

You have to dunk cloth diapers in the toilet.  FALSE
This was one of the reasons I had no desire to cloth diaper.   I've never dunked a diaper in the toilet once since using cloth.  When the poop is solid you can simply plop it off into your toilet.  Any soft waste that remains, can be left in the diaper and tossed in the pail, it will wash clean in the washer.  Our washing machines empty into the same place our toilets do, don't forget that!  If you are not comfortable with the idea of washing any left over waste there are diaper sprayers that attach to the water source of your toilet that easily install in minutes.  They allow you to simply spray off the poop into the toilet.  Easy as pie!  I use one myself and love it.

Cloth diapers are not sanitary.  FALSE
Do you find it necessary to sterilize your underpants?  Probably not.  Cloth diapers need to be clean, of course.  But, washing them in your washing machine is absolutely sufficient and safe. 

Cloth diapers are awkward to put on .  FALSE
Cloth diapers have evolved over the last 20 years.  They are now as simple as using disposables, if you choose the newer styles.  In my opinion they’re even easier, as there are are no sticky tabs to deal with.  Even the old school versions with prefolds and covers have been updated.  They no longer require pins.  Check out all the different types of diapers here:  Cloth Diapers

Cloth Diapers leak, so I will have to change my baby more.  FALSE
I have found to have less issues with diapers leaking since using cloth.   Ever had a blow out poo poo diaper that ended up all over your baby's clothes and up his back?  I haven't since using cloth!  Cloth diapers fit snug around the thighs and waist keeping even the messiest poo poos inside.

Cloth diapers and diaper pails smell.  FALSE
Cloth Diapers don’t stink any more than disposables.  If you store them properly you wont smell them while they wait for wash day either.  Wet Bags are the ideal way to store diapers, keeping the wet and smell inside.  They’re even fashionable and become a part of your nursery and diaper bag d├ęcor!

Cloth diapering is more time consuming and I’ll have to use a diaper service.  FALSE
Cloth Diapering is no more time consuming than adding up to 2 loads of laundry to your week.  Depending on your diaper stash, you can go up to a week before washing! 

Cloth diapering uses more water and energy.  FALSE
Have you ever considered how much water and energy it takes manufacturing disposable diapers?  Not to mention the fossil fuels and trees used to create the paper pulp and plastics.  Then, it continues with the packaging and transportation of the diapers.  And after all that, a disposable diaper is thrown into a landfill, taking up to 500 years to decompose.  It’s literally throwing money, energy and resources into our trash cans. 

I’ll never be able to leave the house in a cloth diaper.  FALSE
They make small versions of wet bags to store diapers in until you arrive home.  You won’t even know it’s in your diaper bag!  I’ve even traveled and used cloth diapers on a 1,000 mile car ride.  No problem. 

Friday, January 28, 2011

My Story of cloth

Sounds nasty doesn't it?  Sounds like a pain in the HINEY!  Time consuming, extra work, and just plain disgusting. 

Those were my thoughts before Bailee Grace was born...I had my mind made up that I was not going to like it....infact, since it was my husband, Chad's bright idea, I insisted that he was going to take care of washing the nasty things.  All the while knowing that I would be taking care of it as well...and resenting every moment.  

Boy, was I wrong, I'm now a cloth convert on a mission!  My mission is to share with other moms just how easy cloth diapering really is!  Gone are the days of diaper pins and plastic covers.  Modern cloth diapering is easy and even fun...yes, I said fun! 

So, here's my story.  I put it off as long as possible. I used every last disposable diaper we got as gifts, dreading running out.  Then it happened.  She was almost two months old when I put the first cloth diaper on.  My first thought was, okay, at least it's cute. The first wet diaper went well.  Take OUT the insert, toss diaper and insert in the laundry basket.  No big deal.  Then came the first poo poo.  I'm thinking, God help me please. :)  He did!  He gave Bum Genius the idea to make a diaper sprayer (I insisted we put this on our registry, and thanks Zach and Katie for getting us one!).  The diaper sprayer attaches to the water source of your toilet and allows you to simply spray off the poop into the toilet.  It's very easy to install, just ask Chad and Grandpa Davis!  So, in spite of my visuals of getting poo poo all over my hands trying to clean a cloth diaper by swishing it around in the toilet (yes, some people do this!)...it's as easy as standing in front of the toilet and spraying it off. If you have a "good pooper" alot of times it's as easy as just "plopping" it into the toilet!  DID YOU KNOW that it is actually ILLEGAL to put human waste into landfills?  Yes, its true!  Check it out.  It is recommended that you dump solid waste out of disposable diapers before putting them in the trash.  Who does that?  No one I know. 

So, really, there is one extra step to cloth diapering in my opinion if you are using disposable diapers "legally".  That is washing them.  They make special additive free detergents for cloth diapers.  Normal detergents leave behind a residue that, over time, reduces absorbancy.  We are currently using Charlie's Soap for all of our laundry and have used and love Rockin Green.  We have enough diapers to last us three days, so we only do a load every 3rd day.  The  Charlie's Soap allows us to do this without having stinky diapers from amonia build up.  So, we also can save water by waiting instead of doing a load a day.  It's a fact that using cloth also uses less water!  This is a common misconception, no one considers the manufacturing process of disposable when they use this as an argument against cloth.   We also try to hang dry them outside as much as possible.  Saving electricity as well.  Again, consider the manufacturing process, and transportation process of disposables.  AND, DID YOU KNOW that the sun is a natural stain remover?  It's amazingly true!  No racing stripes in Beeger's hiney covers! 

Leaving the house is easy with cloth as well.  They make wet bags to store them in until you arrive home to take care of them.  We've even used cloth while traveling.  When you don't have access to your diaper sprayer, you can use liners.  Diaper liners allow you to line the diaper so it catches the poo poo.  Then, you can simply pick up the liner and flush it down the toilet with the solid waste.  You can also use resuable fleece liners.  As long as you have access to a washing machine, why not? 

The money we save is unbelievable. Our supply of diapers (including gifts) was about $250. We got a great sale on some new Fuzzibunz...but they're normally about $18-$25. depending on what type of diaper you choose.  We prefer "one size" FuzziBunz cloth diapers and they are $19.95 each.  These particular diapers will fit a larger newborns through potty training.  If you use disposable diapers, do the math and see how much you spend a year and compare.

Lastly, for the fashion conscious....they're just so stinkin cute!  Disposable diapers are plain ugly, droopy, dirty looking, and no fun what-so-ever.  Lets face it.  Cloth diapers are adorable.  The diaper to the left is a Bum Genius One Size Print.  They also fit larger newborns through potty training.  And they are $19.95.  ($17.95 for plain colors.) They can even last through two children or more, depending on how they're taken care of.  And they're easy to use.  This is my favorite Cloth Diaper How To Video.  She's a real mom, showing you how to use them.  Or you can watch a short version with Constance Marie (George Lopez's, Angie).  Cloth diapers these days are easy to use, with snaps or Velcro....or you can use "old fashion" prefolds with covers.  The options are unlimited it seems.  Keeping it simple with FuzziBunz works best for us. 

In closing, I'd like to say that all my reasons for being against cloth were selfish misconceptions.  I am so thankful my husband was convicted to push this issue, and that I respected his decision.  My prayer is that I can inspire others to try cloth through sharing my experience.   

****All the product links are to merchandise I sell (with the exception of the diaper sprayer).  Please contact me to place an order. 


Now, lets face the facts.  (Facts are numbered, and sources are listed in the link provided below)

Health:
Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1

Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2

Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.3

In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis (causing infertility issues).18


Environment:

They've concluded that disposable diapers create 2.3 times as much water waste, use 3.5 times as much energy, use 8.3 times the non-regenerable raw materials, use 90 times the renewable raw materials and 4 to 30 times as much land for growing raw materials.  The Landbank Consultancy even took into consideration that when wearing cloth diapers, there are more frequent changes - they assigned a 1/1.72 ratio to offset the difference.  Procter and Gamble did not submit a legal challenge to this report. (www.slonet.org/~scoward/poop.html).
In 1988, over 18 billion diapers were sold and consumed in the United States that year.4 Based on our calculations (listed below under "Cost: National Costs"), we estimate that 27.4 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the U.S.13

The instructions on a disposable diaper package advice that all fecal matter should be deposited in the toilet before discarding, yet less than one half of one percent of all waste from single-use diapers goes into the sewage system.4

Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.4

In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags.4

No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.5

Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5

Disposable diapers generate sixty times more solid waste and use twenty times more raw materials, like crude oil and wood pulp.3

The manufacture and use of disposable diapers amounts to 2.3 times more water wasted than cloth.3

Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.6

In 1991, an attempt towards recycling disposable diapers was made in the city of Seattle, involving 800 families, 30 day care centers, a hospital and a Seattle-based recycler for a period of one year. The conclusion made by Procter & Gamble was that recycling disposable diapers was not an economically feasible task on any scale.17


Dryness and Rash:
The most common reason for diaper rash is excessive moisture against the skin.19

Newborns should be changed every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing.20

At least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years.20

Diaper rash was almost unheard of before the use of rubber or plastic pants in the 1940s.21

There is no significant difference between cloth and disposables when it comes to diaper rash.22

There are many reasons for rash, such as food allergies, yeast infections, skin sensitivity, chafing, and chemical irritation. Diaper rash can result from the introduction of new foods in older babies. Some foods raise the frequency of bowel movements which also can irritate. Changes in a breastfeeding mother's diet may alter the baby's stool, causing rash.19


Cost:
We estimate that each baby will need about 6,000 diapers7 during the first two8 years of life. The following estimates are based on prices in San Francisco, California.

Disposables. For these calculations, let's assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week. In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month9.

Diaper Services. Subscribing to a diaper services costs between $13 and $17 each week depending on how many diapers a family decides to order. Let's assume the family spends roughly $15 a week for 60 diapers a week. This equals $780 annually and averages to $65 a month. Over the course of two years, the family will spend about $1500 per baby, roughly the same cost as disposables, depending on what type of covers are purchased and what type of wipes are used. If one adds in the cost of disposable wipes for either diapering system, the costs increase.

Cloth Diapers. For cloth diapering, each family will probably need about 6 dozen diapers10. The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefolds and covers11, to $1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables12, and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels & T-shirts).

National Costs. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 19 million children under four in 2000. We could probably assume that there are about 9.5 million children under two and therefore in diapers at any one time. Based on previous studies, we estimate that 5-10% of babies wear cloth diapers at least part time. We will average these figures to 7.5% of babies in cloth diapers and 92.5% in disposables. This means that about 8.8 million babies in the U.S. are using 27.4 billion disposable diapers every year13.

Based on these calculations, if we multiply the 8.8 million babies in disposable diapers by an average cost of $800 a year, we find that Americans spend about 7 billion dollars on disposable diapers every year. If every one of those families switched to home-laundered cloth prefold diapers, they would save more than $6 billion14, enough to feed about 2.5 million American children for an entire year15. Coincidentally, the 2002 U.S. Census reveals that 2.3 million children under 6 live in poverty16.

Tax Savings. In some specific circumstances, when cloth diapers have been prescribed for the treatment of a disease, tax savings may be available through the use of flexible spending accounts and medical expense deductions. This could represent a 10% - 35% savings on the cost of diapers depending on the family's tax rate.23

realdiaperassociation.org - sources