Thursday, August 14, 2008

Cloth Diapers #2

I've learned so much about cloth diapering this summer. We are extremely content having finally made this much-needed change. My first day to cloth diaper was June 19th--approximately two months ago. For the week following that first diaper I was asked by friends and family how the diapering was going. My response at that time was inevitably, "Wet!" There was definitely a learning curve on folding, fitting, and watching for wetness. But since then we've been all over town, to special events, and even out camping with only cloth diapers. It's become the norm and I can now even diaper a bottom WHILE I'm nursing. And snappis have been awesome--no more diaper pins, no more pokes to baby, and it really makes fastening quick and easy.

If you'll recall, our first post on changing to cloth was shared with much enthusiasm (CLICK HERE to view that first post). I'm happy to say, we are just as excited about it today, if not more. We're still learning so much. And since we only bought 24 diapers originally, I'm now looking at either purchasing some more or making another dozen by myself (to help space out washes so I'm not doing them daily). I'll have to post on that adventure once I get there.

I recently was shopping and while passing down the diaper aisle, I happened to check the price-per-diaper of the various disposable diapers. I couldn't believe that I was seeing .50 cents and .60 cents PER DIAPER for many of the brands. Luckily there were some sets on sale that were as low as .20 per diaper. But still, I was surprised to realize just how much money we were throwing away (literally) on diapers. a summary update on our purchase and early experiences. The nice DSQ diapers we bought were roughly $1 each. I do one small load a day--sometimes I'll skip a day if I'm busy or out of the house. I set my washer to "small" (I'm usually only washing about 10-12 at a time) and use only cold water and a little vinegar (and occasionally I'll add some baking soda). I'll set the machine to soak overnight with the vinegar water and then I'll restart it the following morning (we later learned you're not supposed to soak pre-fold diapers). I like to put a few drops of lavender oil in the rinse cycle, too. Mmmm... Then I always line dry them so that the sun sterilizes them and naturally bleaches out any breast milk yellow poopy that might be lingering (no need for harsh soaps or bleach against baby's bottom). It's been cheap, cheap, cheap for us and saved us probably over $100 since starting a few weeks ago--not to mention all of the other health and environmental benefits.

I found this wonderful older post on The True Face of Birth where many moms offer up suggestions on cloth diapering. They cover just about anything from sewing to purchasing to cleaning to using that you could possibly want to know if you're considering going to cloth. CLICK HERE to read her post. She has another couple posts in April 2008 if you want to look those up, as well.

I'll end here with a few tidbits about disposable diapers that you may not be aware of. (For example, I didn't know the APHA and AAP both require parents to remove all poop into the toilet before throwing a disposable diaper away.):

* A child needs 6,000-10,000 disposable diapers prior to toilet training. Soiled diapers are usually tossed into household, hospital or roadside garbage.

* In the US alone, 18 billion diapers end up in landfills every year, adding 5 million tons of untreated human waste to the soil.

* Each diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose. Almost 30 percent of each diaper consists of non-biodegradable products such as absorbent vinyl layers, elastics, Velcro, absorbent gelling material in addition to plastic packaging.

* As many as 100 viruses can survive in solid diapers for up to two weeks including live polio virus excreted by recent-vaccinated babies. The germs constitute a potential hazard to sanitation workers and garbage handlers.

* The American Public Health Association and American Academy of Pediatrics have advised parents that ‘fecal material and urine should not be allowed to be co-mingled and disposed of as regular trash and thereby contaminate ground water and spread disease.’

* There is no safe way to dispose of single-use diaper. Flushing them down the toilet causes 95 percent of clogged sewer lines in the US and create 43,000 tons of extra sludge per year.

* Each baby in single-use diapers consumes 4.5 trees (for making paper used in diapers) and puts two tons of solid waste into our environment (based on 2 years in diapers).

* Disposables pose safely concerns for babies, who can pull these diapers apart and choke on plastic and pieces of lining.

* A US environmental Protection Agency scientist concluded that rodents and vectors pose a health hazard if human waste is mixed with garbage.

* Many doctors claim there is a rise in infections, especially in baby girls, as parents tend to change single-use diapers much less often than cloth diapers.

* Studies by a leading US manufacturer of disposables show the incidence of diaper rash increases from 7.1 percent to 61 percent with the increased use of their products. The reasons for more rashes include infrequent changes, allergies to chemicals, bacteria and ammonium form accumulated urine and feces.

* Sodium polyacrylate is the chemical that makes disposables super-absorbent - it can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water. It can stick to baby’s genitals, cause allergic reactions, and when injected into rats caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death! In the US, this chemical was removed from tampons in 1985 when it was linked to toxic shock syndrome.

* Dioxin is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers and is the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It causes effects like birth defects and liver disease in laboratory animals.

Quotes above from Green Diary at:
Green Dary's listed sources:
Healthy Child Healthy World
Journal of the Indian Academy of Pediatrics
Down to Earth: Science and Environment Magazine

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