During my oldest child’s first year I spent countless hours researching cloth diapers. Since the entire process is initially overwhelming, I was back and forth with the idea of cloth diapering until one day I finally took the plunge and I am so pleased with my decision. My oldest has now learned to use the potty , but I now I have tiny little one using them, thank goodness because I don’t know if I will ever be able part the cuteness on his little tushy! I am also very proud to say I successfully converted two mamas (Hi Katey and Erica!) to use cloth diapers in my time with the amount of information I have gathered. It really is SO EASY and I have wondered why more families are not a part of the cloth diaper business.
I have collected so much information about cloth diapering in this brain of mine over the past couple of years that I feel the need to share! Fair warning: it is a bit long. So here is part one…
THE JUNK THAT MAKES UP A DISPOSABLE DIAPER
Many parents are completely unaware of the risks come with the use of disposable diapers. I will admit that I was quite oblivious myself! Disposables are made up of paper, plastic, and a variety a chemicals. A deeper look inside the disposable diaper is quite alarming (no not a dirty diaper).
1. Dioxin, which is used in the bleaching process, is a carcinogenic known to cause cancer.
2. Polyacrylate is what makes the disposable diaper hold pretty much a gallon of baby pee. This particular chemical was banned from feminine care products in the 1980’s when studies revealed that it was a primary cause for a deadly illness known as toxic shock syndrome. This chemical is still being used in disposable diapers and has yet to be tested long term. If you are familiar with diapering, then you have seen it cover your babies bellies before…when the diaper just couldn’t hold any more.
|This is straight from a sposie...gross right?|
3. Tributyltin, another dangerous chemical, is added to disposable diapers. It has been known to cause hormonal issues in humans and animals and may play a role in obesity due to its ability to trigger the growth of fat cells.
4. Perfumes and dyes (that are a chemical mess on their own) are added to the majority of disposables on the market. Now any sane parent would not spray their baby with perfume or dye their little baby hairs, so why should we wrap their baby bits in it 24/7?!
These chemicals play a role in the rash of rashes and diaper area infections that could ultimately be avoided with the use of cloth diapers. Also general exposure, such as touching the diaper or opening a new package has shown to cause irritation to the skin, eyes and throat. Now, don’t get the wrong idea…I am definitely not a “snob” by any means given that I do on occasion use the dreaded disposable. Cloth diapers do not impose any such risks when they are being used and cared for properly!
THE ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
Disposable diapers are not recyclable and many attempts have been made in order to make it happen, but it has proven impossible. Cloth diapers are used 50 to 200 times before they are retired to be used for other tasks such as swim diapers or cleaning. In a home where disposable diapers are used, they take up 50% of household waste. It has been difficult to come up with a specific number but it takes an estimated 500 years to fully decompose. That means our great great grandchildren will be sharing the earth with all the disposable that are being thrown so carelessly away today. Since disposable diapers are not biodegradable, millions of them are added to the already large pile in landfills every year. Even the brands that boast being all natural, are incapable of decomposing in a timely manner. Additionally, many diapers and being sealed tight in plastic bags before being thrown away, which adds to the hundreds of years it already takes for a disposable diaper to decompose. Cloth diapers have had very little, if not any impact on the environment, and we are quite sure of that seeing as how they have been in use for centuries.
What is INSIDE the diaper before it is tossed away that is extremely hazardous. On most disposable diaper packaging it instruct parents and caregivers to dump solids into the potty before discarding. Now, how many actually do this? ...Exactly
This means a poopload (A.K.A. millions of pounds) of poop is being sent to the local landfill each year. The fecal matter that sits there becomes a breeding ground for bacteria that is then released as toxic gas into our earth’s air and harms our ground water supply. Alternatively, cloth diapers are rinsed and cleaned in a way that does not impact the environment.
MONEY TALKS…well it does if you are me.
The amount of cash that a family can save should be enough to convince anyone to switch to cloth…but unfortunately it is not waaaahhh. If disposable diapers are being changed at the rate they should be, immediately after they are soiled, then a child should go through 10 to 12 diapers each day, which adds up quickly. Since diapers are often purchased one or two times a month, they amount of money being spent can often go unnoticed. Parents also forget that diapering can often go into additional years if their child is less then interested in toilet training right away. With the average cost of a disposable diaper at twenty-five cents, it adds up to a MINIMUM of $1600 for just two years, this does not include the expense of wipes and trash bags. Alternatively, cloth diapers will cost an initial $300; more money can be spent if a parent is interested in expanding their collection beyond the basic necessities. When cloth diapers are used on subsequent children it will save even more money! I did the math and I will have saved a minimum of $2,000! Now I am not rich…so to me that’s a decent amount of money!
And there you have it; these are the main reasons behind my decision to cloth diaper. Stay tuned for the next post where I will be laying out the EASY process and different types of diapers as well as some pics! :D