Thursday, August 25, 2011

Cloth.... what??!

I blame my editor friend for introducing me to the world of cloth diapers. Indirectly, of course, as she has no kids, and I'm pretty sure she thinks my new obsession with cloth is weird. But she did introduce me to the world of mommy blogs. And that is where I discovered cloth diapers.

To give credit where it is due, it was Jessica who really got me intrigued. Amy also got my attention with her plans to cloth diaper her newborn. And then I discovered the store websites selling these darn things. You may be one of those people (like my mother) who categorically refuses to associate anything that comes in contact with poo as cute. Fine. But JUST LOOK AT THESE! I mean, seriously. How can you not go gaga over that?

So, there you have my number one reason for choosing cloth. The cute-ness factor. (Face it my friends, plastic has never been fashionable.)

To people who question my sanity when they learn that I am going to cloth diaper, that is the only answer I give them.

"why are you cloth diapering? are you crazy?"

"Because cloth diapers are SO CUTE."

Hey, if they already think I'm crazy, why not let them think I'm even crazier so we can end the argument before it begins?

But if you want to know the other reasons - and show a reasonable openness to the idea of cloth - well then, I'd tell you that I'm also doing it to prevent ONE TON of disposable diapers being put in landfills from my child going from birth to toddler-hood. And that one ton of poo-filled plastic can take anywhere between 250 to 500 years to decompose. So when I say I'm doing it for the environment - pleeeease - don't retort that the enivornmental impacts of washing all that cloth negates the benefits*, because come on! really? do you want your grandkids building on top of your kid's waste? I think the answer is no.

(*Unless you live in the desert where water is scarce and land for landfills is abundant, then maybe you can talk to me about environmental equanimity.)

The second real reason I'm using cloth is just that the mere thought of putting disposables on my newborn baby's most sensitive areas makes my skin just crawl! While disposables do have wood pulp in them, what really makes them super-absorbent are water-absorbing crystals called super-absorbent polymers - a substance which can hold 300 times its weight in water. There have been no studies at all that I can find which examine whether SAPs can be harmful to a baby. However, SAPs were banned from use in tampons because there was a correlation between tampons with SAPs and increased incidences of Toxic Shock Syndrome.  So why then, is it okay to put this substance next to my baby's skin 24-7?? Another chemical used in disposables is dioxin, which according to** is "a highly toxic carcinogen and endocrine disruptor."

(**okay fine, not an un-biased source, but still!)

There are a lot of other chemicals involved in the process of disposable diaper making - known carcinogens included. Even if you want to debate that these levels are trace and nothing more than everyone is exposed to every day - which fine I can see your point - there still remains the fact that there haven't been any long-term studies on the potential health effects of disposable diapers. There probably won't be either, because there are just too many variables involved, and ethical issues involved. So, why take the chance?

My last reason to choose cloth is money, money, money! The average child goes through about $1,500 in disposable diapers from birth to potty. (And if you want to avoid chemicals and buy Seventh Generation diapers, then you can count on spending almost twice that.) I've spent about $200 on cloth so far and figure I will need to spend another $200-300 to complete my stash of birth to potty size diapers ( that depends on whether baby shower attendees jump on my cloth diaper bandwagon and buy me some cute fluff)! I'm buying gender neutral colors so that this will last me through multiple babies. Right now our water and electric bill is included in our rent, but the cloth diaper loads won't make a significant difference once/if they aren't. Basically I figure, over several children, using cloth will save us a few thousand dollars. And that makes me smile almost as much as the cuteness does.

Here's my latest purchase....

... just the right colors for a Christmas baby :)

and wow, I'm getting huge! (24 weeks pregnant)

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