Monday, August 25, 2008

It's Not That Easy Being Green

I've made the plunge, I've done it. I've gone and lost my mind and bought cloth diapers. It's been a hard decision for me. My little sister Mary, who's pregnant with her first, decided to do cloth diapers, and did a lot of research and preparation. She's talked to me for months about this, and her enthusiasm and dedication to the subject sparked me thinking about it. Back before we knew where we would live, I said that if we moved somewhere that we had our own washer and dryer, I would probably do it then. That sentence had enough clauses in it that I didn't really worry about the actualities of what it means to do cloth diapers. Now we have a place lined up - with the miraculous W&D connections. And in a couple of weeks, we're going to buy some nice used ones to place there, and voila, we have an automatic laundry doer-machiney-thing.

And my previous carefree statement began sticking in my throat. Because now I had to face the actual reality of cloth diapers or no.

No longer would it be the careless, free spirited chucking the dirty diaper into a trash can and carelessly taking it to the dumpster. No, it would be the careful dunk into the toilet to rinse out, then place into a forbidden zone of a pail until I had enough to wash and dry and then fold and put away and repeat ad nauseum.

Thinking of all of this, my might chose disposable diapers.

But, cloth diapers are cheaper in the long run, even with the extra laundry.

My mind chose cloth diapers.

My time is worth something, and it's more of a bother to do cloth diapers and I've never changed a cloth diaper in my life and honestly? I'm scared of them and I can't do this, and did I mention I have a fear of toilets? How could I knowingly dunk cloth into it and still use it again later?

My heart chose disposable diapers.

Did you know that every child that uses disposable diapers adds one ton of waste to a landfill? And that these same diapers will still be decomposing a few hundred years after my precious baby has herself already returned to the Earth and completely decomposed? Although cloth diapers do use water and electricity to clean, these are more renewable resources than landfills. I am a steward over this Earth, and have to be accountable for how I treated it, and so....

My strength (also known as my social conscience) chose once and for all cloth diapers.

I never knew that being green ran so deep in my veins. I think I still don't know, exactly, what happened. It's not that I think I was being completely wasteful as a person by using disposable diapers, but more that I knew I could be doing more, and that it was only my selfish desires and fears keeping me from doing so.

Even with this decision made inside, I still wavered on the outside. I talked to Aleatha about cloth diapers, since her mom had a baby three years ago, and they used cloth diapers on her, just like they had done for all previous of their six children. Aleatha told me that she had always planned to do cloth diapers, and since she had never known anything else, she didn't have to make a jump from the seeming ease of disposable diapers. Aleatha pointed out that I would just have to do it, that I wouldn't be comfortable in using cloth diapers until I used them (at least, this is what I got out of what she told me. Her actual words may have been quite different indeed.)

So, I made the jump. Last week while we were out, I bought cloth diapers. Partly what I had hemmed and hawed about before is that there are so many kinds of cloth diapers out there, and I didn't know what I wanted, and more importantly, what I could afford. Some are just like disposable diapers - preformed and everything, while others are the kind that covered your and my little baby bottoms - the basic "pre fold" that's basically just an absorbent cloth you fold yourself. I wanted the fanciest kind for convenience, and because they're slimmer, but then I realized that the basic ones were six times cheaper overall, and so I bought the good old kind.

I still need to buy the plastic "pants" online, since they didn't have them in the Walmart I was at, and then I'm officially ready to go. I'm kind of excited. I feel like I need to put flowers in my hair, and, I don't know, go to a sit-in or something. Because I think I might be a hippie. Or a granola. After all, I nurse, have natural births, like attachment parenting, sleep with my baby, and now I'm going to cloth diapers as well.

After all, as Kermit says, "I am green and it'll do fine, It's beautiful! And I think it's what I want to be."

P.S. If you don't use cloth diapers, do not think I am condemning you. After all, this was a very difficult decision to come to myself, and I completely understand using disposable diapers.


  1. Good for you! That's great. I babysat (4-5 hours a day) for a family that would switch from cloth to disposable, so I definitely had some experience with cloth diapers, and didn't even THINK about using them for my own children. And I'm still not thinking about it. Unfortunately I think that's one of those "tip Lisa over the edge on a bad day" things that would just cause me more frustration than it was worth. I admire you for doing this!

  2. One of my closest friends is superbly green and I often get green with envy over the peace of conscience she feels relative to the majority of parents (not that she expresses that, she's too sweet).

    I admire you hugely!

  3. They have the plastic pants at Babies r us. I got some for my daughter to wear over her panties while potty training.

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  5. Yeah for Thora!!!
    I appreciate that someone else will be taking the plunge with me. By the way they say that you don't have to dunk the diapers in the toilet anymore. The reason why our parents did that was because their washers and dryers were not as efficiant as ours. Also they do sell handy sprayers that attach to the toilet that you can spray any solids in to the toilet if needs be.
    I love you and If you have any questions at all feel free to pick my overly researched brain.

  6. Well, I'm proud of you too. If I had to do it over, I still think I would use cloth diapers. Maybe you got some green from me.

  7. Hey, I have been using cloth diapers for 8 months now. too bad, I just gave away a whole supply of bummis diapercovers. I use Gdiapers, I made my own cloth inserts and use gdiapers as a cover, that way they are very thin. as far as the poop goes they do sell thin paper liners that you put in the diaper when they poop on it you take it out and flush it, that avoids the dunk. Course they wont work for breastmilk poops because they are too watery. pee just passes through the paper thing. If you get a good quality one (not Kushies) then you can throw the peed on only ones through the wash and hang them and re-use them :) yup, Im that cheap. and Kaliyas diapers when she poops I take them out to our garden and rinse them off with the hose, then leave them in the sun to dry/bleach and then throw them in my diaper pail to be washed. I love cloth diapering, everyone should do it! oh, and you only need to use half the amount of recomemded soap, and NO BLEACH< EVER

  8. one of the families i lived with in manti used cloth diapers and one of my duties staying with them ( they had 7 children all younger than me at age 15) was to change the babies diapers and wash and fold the diapers. Its really not so bad. Althoughi would recomend if you can gettinga clothes line as sitting in the sun helps the diapers whiten and also smell better.

    I have turned out much more hippy than i thought i would too. I breastfeed on demand, cosleep, no circumcision, make my own baby food, and also no immunizations ( i get the most interesting looks for these things, i guess i dont look like someone that would make these choices?)

    i dont cloth diaper though. Their are a few reasons. First reason is i am really really cheap. And the start up cost is alot for cloth diapers. Also the cost of running my washing machine and dryer enough to keep two kids in diapers seems like it would be too much money and in the end its cheaper for me to use disposables. The other reason is that sadly i am lazy.. yes its true. I can barely keep the regular laundry caught up and make sure we have garments and the kids have clean sheets ( i swear they always are peeing the bed or throwing up in the bed etc.) I am afraid if i did cloth diapers i would not keep up with them and would just resort to disposable anyways after investing the start up cost into the cloth diapers. I know, I know i should just make time to do things like be a good homemaker and stuff... but the truth is I know myself and I know i wouldnt!

    Anyways good luck and I hope you find you love it!

  9. Congrats for taking the plunge. It's not that bad.

    I gave away all of my cloth diapering supplies after our fifth potty-trained. And then...surprise! I hated to spend the money for one baby, but when she outgrew size 6 disposables at 18 months, I invested.

    Skip the swishing in the toilet thing. It's really gross. I just sort of shake the big stuff off into the toilet. Then I put them in a dry pile (as opposed to soaking them). Every morning (because we do laundry every day around here) I toss the diapers in the washer and run them through a HOT wash using the highest water setting and a small amount of detergent. Then I toss them in my regular laundry and run the whole load on cold with an extra rinse. It works great.

  10. Oops. I meant I toss in my regular laundry, then run the diaper/regular laundry load on cold.

  11. I and all my siblings were raised in cloth diapers, so I can fold them and pop them on babies almost without thinking about it. It's really easy. (If I could handle the fold-and-pin at eight years old, really, it's really easy.) And I think the same bunch of diapers lasted through all four of us. In fact, some of our old cloth diapers are still used as cleaning rags around here.

  12. If I knew I was going to have more kids, and if I could some how convince Todd that changing a cloth diaper wasn't that bad, I'd have done cloth as well. But Todd said that if I chose cloth he'd never change a single diaper, and anyone who knows him knows that he's suborn enough to follow through on that oath. So I chose the convenience of disposable because it meant that Todd would help with diaper duty. I still change probably 90% of the diapers, but it's nice knowing that I can go somewhere by myself, and not come home to a 3 hr old poopy bum.