Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Alex's "Green" Bum

All right. If you survived that last post, the one where I vented all my frustrations, I'm impressed. I would think you'd have clicked the red x in the upper right corner and never come back to this blog.

Let's move on to a happier subject. At least it makes me happy.
Cloth Diapers.

Yep, I love 'em. I'm slowly "going green" and making more environmentally friendly choices. It's better for us, and it's better for God's world.
I'm about to ramble on for about 16 hours, so here's your warning...stop now if you don't really care! ;)

Many people thought I was crazy to attempt the cloth diapers, but I truly, truly love 'em. I know some of you thought I'd give it up after a few weeks, but I'm pretty confident that won't be happening. Now, before you throw me in the looney bin, you should know what a cloth diaper looks like these days, outside and inside:
This is all one piece, and it's just as easy as a disposable in almost every way. Instead of sticky tabs, it has velcro tabs. The outside is a thin, waterproof, breathable, nylon-like material called PUL. The inside is either fleece or suedecloth. There's a middle layer of microfiber or hemp inside of the diaper. They're a bit thicker than you're average disposable, but hey...what's a little extra padding gonna hurt, especially on a little one who wil be crashing often as he learns to walk? Because the microfiber absorbs the moisture, the fleece against baby's skin stays dry, so there's no need to worry about wet skin & rashes.

There are no rubber pants. There's nothing to swish in the toilet or soak in a bucket of bleach water. In fact, I take the diaper off of Alex and dump it straight into here:

Every other day, I take the hamper, dump it over the washer, do a cold rinse & then a hot wash with another cold rinse , then hang the diapers to dry. (If I'm in a hurry or feeling lazy, I'll toss them in the dryer). There's no bleach involved; you just use a mild detergent. When he's bigger, you just shake any mess into the toilet, put the diaper in the hamper, and continue like above. I tried it with the little girls I babysat before Alex was problems whatsoever.

We currently have 18 diapers and 24 cloth wipes. I wish I had 24 diapers, too. 18 is cutting it close for washing every other day. I'd really like to buy 2 more diapers each month for the next 3 months.

Here are the cloth wipes, in case you're curious. They are flannel on one side, velour on the other. I just keep a squeeze bottle with water & a little bit of Baby Bees baby bath, spray a little on the cloth wipe, and use that. I actually truly HATE the disposable wipes now that I've tried these! I keep the cloth wipes in the small basket on the right hand side of this picture. (The disposables & disposable wipes in the big basket are for Daddy diaper changes, by the way. He hasn't attempted cloth yet, and that's okay. We just like that he is a good, helpful Daddy. I often put a disposable on Alex at bedtime, too. Thanks, Grandma Purdy, for the disposables! They DO get used!)

I decided to use cloth for three reasons: environment, cost, and... ya just can't forget cuteness!

Environment If you "Google" disposable diapers, you'll find a ton of statistics on disposable diapers. For example, it takes 500 years - Yes, 500 - for a disposable diaper to break down in a landfill. Multiply that by an average 50 diapers per week for each baby in the US. That's a lot of diapers! That's a lot of space in the landfill! As far as water usage, water is used in the manufacturing process for disposables. To my understanding, it's comparable to the amount of water used to wash cloth diapers.

Cost I figured that the minimum amount you can spend on diapers/wipes per month is $50. That comes to $600 per year. Multiply that by 2.5 years, and you're spending $1500 on diapers. I've spent $350 on diapers and wipes that can be reused indefinitely. I might spend another $100 over the next year. That's less than the cost of one year of disposables! They can be reused for future children, too.

Two kids in disposables = $3000
Two kids in cloth = $450 (plus the cost of detergent & electricity)

Cuteness Okay, there's nothing wrong with a disposable, and I use them from time to time. Cloth diapers can be oh-so-cute, though! I love to look at Alex's cute little heiny all covered in fluff! :) You can choose colors for the outside & inside fabric, choose to put a print fabric on the outside, or choose to have a picture embroidered on it. Right now, Alex's diapers are all plain colored on the outside, but I want to have one or two "fun" diapers.

Go to to see how to make your own "fun" diaper.
We also use "BumGenius" diapers and "FuzziBunz" diapers.
Google either of those if you're curious...
(or if you want to support our "green-ness" and buy us some cute dipes! Ha ha!)

Thus ends Dawn's public service announcement on the benefits of cloth diapering.
We now return you to your regularly-scheduled programming *Ü*

Edited: By the way, I'd LOVE to hear people's comments on this one! :)


Allison said...

We've gone green & organic in pretty much everything, but diapers is one that I just can't bring myself to switch. It would have been fine when my girls were only on breastmilk, but I just can't imagine washing Eboni's dirty diapers now. Yikes! Good job for the switch though. I wish I was more brave in that area, because it makes me feel bad. However, the thought of washing them just might gross me out more. :-)

basketkat said...

Matt tried to get me to use cloth with Sami (Debbie used the old school ones with the swishing in the toilet...)

But...since Sami was formula fed it wouldn't have been as easy...

I'll admit I did think you were a little crazy (not really crazy, but you know) for using "real" diapers (as my mom refers to them as) but the more I've heard you talk about them I think its really cool. :) Good for you!

So...I'll just keep driving my SUV, and buying water bottles...and let you save the earth. :) Just kidding...I do my part too!!!!

This is getting long, but I wanted to let you know that I love reading your blog! :-)

Sara said...

I wish I would have done all that research with my kiddos, I'm so impressed how easily it's going for you to use cloth! I'm so impressed with you following through with what you believe in!