Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why I Made the Switch to Cloth

I started out trying to practice elimination communication (where you listen to your baby's cues and help them potty-not to be confused with toddler training). It was a smashing success for night time and poos, but I never was good at figuring out when she had to wee lol.

Anyways, this meant I just automatically reached for sposies when we had to leave the house. Never thought twice about it. Then my friend offered to give me a Fuzzibunz cloth diaper and gave me some articles to read. I realized several things that made me immediately switch:

1) Disposable diapers are bleached, creating a byproduct called dioxin that is listed as a toxic carcinogen by the FDA and one that is specifically harmful to babies.

2) Disposable diapers contain petroleum-based absorbents, abbreviated to SAP. They are toxic and part of our "oil dependent" culture.

3) Because disposable diapers are plastic with SAP, they can increase genital temperature. This increase in temperature may be harmful to future fertility in males.

4) Disposables take hundreds of years to break down, and currently they are one of the most commonly found items in landfills. Out of sight, out of mind is no longer prudent in regards to our trash. For example, some provinces in Canada are so filled that they send their trash down to America!

There are three disposable options that are a little bit better if you can't immediately switch to cloth or if you want to do a hybrid method.

1) Popular green diapers, such as Earth's best and 7th generation diapers have less SAP and they are not bleached. Downside? They still have SAP and use dyes.

2) Tushies are 100% cotton/wood pulp. Truly the eco-friendly disposable. No dyes, no SAP, no bleach. Downside? They are not as absorbent as other sposies or cloth and they cost a lot...about .50 a diaper at regular price.

3). Hybrid disposables (they go inside a cloth diaper cover). These biosoakers are really flexible because they are made to cover the inside of a cloth diaper completely and are pretty absorbent. Downside? They still have minimal SAP and they cost a lot. (.20 to .50 ea).

As an avid couponer, I admit that the idea of buying cloth diapers worried me. They tend to require bigger chunks of money upfront. But then I realized I can apply my couponing tricks to cloth. Here are things I have done to reduce the cost of creating a cloth diaper "stash:"

1) Ask around. Friends might have a spare insert or cover to share or even lend for you to try out. One of my facebook friends actually gave me my first cloth diaper. :)

2) Check out craigslist, kajiji, garage sales and thrift stores for new and used diapers. I don't necessarily recommend ebay as the worldwide audience can drive up prices, but you can often find deals there, too.

3) Check out deal sites such as babysteals.com, babyhalfoff.com, greenbabybargains.com and mamabargains.com. These sites purchase items in bulk and present them at a steep discount. Most of my stash has come from these deal sites and I've gotten 50-80% off retail price.

4) Enter giveaways! I've won a Thirsties cover, TWO boxes of diaper detergent, a Softbums and Bumglaze so far! Check out Dibs on Facebook to stay on top of giveaways and jump in! Some are very simple to enter, others require more work.

5) Apply for help. Cloth Baby Foundation accepts applications to provide cloth for mamas in need. Mothering.com also acts as a 3rd party to collect donations from mamas who are finished diapering and then give them to mamas who are ready to start.

6) Make 'em. If you already sew and have the supplies, making your own is economical. If you don't have any supplies, I don't think this would be the cheapest/easiest method though.

7) Finally, why not learn about Elimination Communication? Babies don't like to poo and pee themselves and if you learn their signs, you can easily catch those pees and poos in a toilet or little bowl. Each successful catch = one less diaper!

Good luck mamas and thanks for reading. Some things I have learned along the way? Cloth diapering is CUUUTE and addictive. It's not that hard and your hubby will get used to it! Keeping an open mind and looking at all the options available lets you find methods that work for your family. And no, modern cloth diapers do not normally leak! They really do hold it all! LOL

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  1. "Cloth diapering is CUUUTE and addictive." I agree!

  2. http://www.diaperswappers.com/ and http://community.babycenter.com/groups/a69805/cloth_diaper_swap?intcmp=SPGroups_SPPhotoGroupsRelatedModule_textlinks are 2 awesome sites to get gentley used cloth that I have used a lot! Just wanted to share :)

  3. I'm a total blog stalker, and i have NEVER commented on a blog before....but I had to thank you for writing this. I wanted to do cloth diapers with my little boy, but I got persuaded not to by my sisters and mother ("You don't know what you're getting into..." "You'll regret cloth diapers, I'm telling you..." "Make it easy on yourself in the first couple of months, trust me..." etc.) And every time I buy another pack of disposable diapers I want to cover my face in shame as I walk out of the store knowing MY diapers are going to clog up the earth with nasty stuff. Anyway, this was good encouragement to just go for it. Thanks!

  4. we didn't plan on any more babies, so after baby number 4 began using the potty, we sold all of her cloth diapers. When we were surprised with baby number 5 i din't want to buy all new cloths this time around. So decided to make our own, we still bought chinese prefolds, since thise with a cover are actually what i prefer most of the time. But with my limited sewing skills i managed to make all of the diapers we will need, AIO's, pocket diapers, and covers all for a TOTAL cost of $350, this includes buying a new sewing machine! and is FAR cheaper than the cost of sposies over the life of diapering! If i hadn't had to buy a sewing machine i would have only spent almost $200.