Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cloth Full of Details

Recently, we made the decision to switch to cloth diapers and I submerged myself into the realm of cute baby bottom covers and research covering all things cloth diaper related and supporting evidence for this parenting decision.

Prior to having Ruby, Jimmy and I discussed the cloth diapering option a couple of times, but we never scraped more than the surface.  I had lazily looked up some information on them and selfishly decided they were too much work.  And like many, I decided that the washing and maintaining the diapers was much too scary of a process.  Jimmy's big bugaboo was with the washing machine too-we can't wash dirty diapers in the same place we wash our clothes.

Disposables it was.

Until I recently found myself researching again.  And I found out some seriously scary things that end up in the 'sposies:

What should be of serious concern to all parents are the toxic chemicals present in disposable diapers. Dioxin, which in various forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, skin diseases, and genetic damage, is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in manufacturing disposable diapers. Trace quantities may even exist in the diapers themselves! Dioxin is listed by the EPA as the most toxic of cancer related chemicals. Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals. Disposable diapers also contain sodium polyacrylate. If you have ever seen the gel-like, super absorbant crystals in a disposable, then you have seen this first hand. Sodium polyacrylate is the same substance that was removed from tampons because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. No studies have been done on the long-term effects of this chemical being in contact with a baby's reproductive organs 24 hours a day for upwards of two years. Studies have also been done to show that the chemical emissions from disposable diapers can cause respiratory problems in children.

That along with adequate research regarding the diapers themselves (how to change, care for, and generally use) was the push I needed; I decided it was time to make the transition.

And I sat on edge the first week she was in them, dreading the idea of cleaning a dirty diaper.  And as luck would have it (or something), we managed to get the dirty diapers caught when she was in disposable diapers (we don't have enough yet to wear all the time-this usually happened at night).  But my luck was short lived.

And I didn't die. 

Or even gag.

In fact, it was quite simple to take care of.  Please don't take this to mean I enjoy working with poop-it's not as if it were fun.  But I had come to dread the time that I would be learning about taking care of the dirty diapers so much that it was nothing...hardly worse than changing a 'regular' diaper.  And I have to admit: it feels especially nice to know I am not doing my part in throwing nasty diapers into a landfill where they will sit for hundreds of years before decomposing, and subsequently running into our water.  Ew.

And two days later when all diapers were washed, that particular one (along with the others) had no signs of ever being used-they looked and smelled perfectly clean!

So obviously, I also figured out the washing recipe and routine that works for us.  Which is good, because I had all these visions of me trying hundreds before I ever found one that I liked.

I have since [more than] doubled my stash which means cloth all the time and less washing time.  Everyone wins!  You know, except for the wallet.

Sometimes, I do get lucky with the whole fly by the seat of my pants theme.  It seems to have worked out well for this particular adventure.

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