Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Cloth Vs Disposable Diapers

I've been meaning to write about cloth diapers vs disposable diapers for a while now, but haven't had the time. Why? It's metaphorically and literally a very juicy topic (I know ewww but its a fact!) so the time has come to break my silence and share my short experience of using both cloth and disposable diapers. Bear with me this is a long post. Warning: Not for the faint of heart!

There are some facts one needs to know when first considering the topic.
Most parents want something easy and reliable for their baby, so they opt for disposables which tend to give dryness, and ease of use, but there are several considerations neglected in this line of thought. As a parent I want something easy to use, consumes less time but also hazard free and doesn't compromise my child's health.
Here are some things one needs to know about disposable diapers:

*All disposable diapers have chlorine ( which is a very harsh toxic chemical that produces toxic fumes) unless they clearly state they are chlorine free.
*All disposable diapers contain super absorbent jell which results in the nice dry feeling your baby feels( there is no scientific proof that its hazardous in any way).
*Disposable diapers are less porous, so they don't air your baby's bum which often times result in diaper rashes.
*Disposables are very easy to use, won't need washing or rinsing even though its preferable to flush the poop in the toilet before disposing. ( Human remains react with the diaper in land fills and produce toxic fumes and disease).
*1/3 of landfills are produced by disposable diapers.

In the early days I used disposables for my newborn, it made more sense as I was recovering and my husband and my mother in law where the ones doing all the diaper changing. I didn't know about the chlorine free diapers so we used Pampers. I noticed all the jell residue on my baby's bum, and she had a long lasting diaper rash, that I didn't know of. I just assumed that this was her natural bum color, until a nurse friend of mine visited and recommended some diaper ointment!

I got interested in cloth diapers and used them for about 6 months, until I moved ( and still currently live) to a building that had one old washer/ one old dryer. Our clothes actually come out dirtier than when we first put them. I also am living in the third and last floor, which meant I had to carry a 9 months old plus a heavy load of wet dirty diapers down 4 flights of stairs. I finally had a nervous breakdown and switched back to disposables ( this time I used and still use the chlorine free brand). I will give my recommendations in a second, but first I need to clarify that I have a diaper fetish. I like to try all the brands out there, from disposables to cloth diapers. Especially cloth diapers.

So here's the scoop for both disposables and cloth:

First disposables:

I tried two chlorine free brands, the 7th generation disposables which were very cute in there unusual tan color, I was pretty pleased with them but I still noticed my little baby's bum was covered in the absorbent jell, I didn't like that even though the jell is nontoxic. I just didn't feel comfortable, so I tried the whole foods chlorine free disposables, which came in the traditional white, but plain color, and left no jell residue on my munchkins bum, mommy and baby happy yipee:)

Second Cloth diapers:

I first bought my complete set( 35 diapers are the ideal number for a complete set) which was a mix, 20 cloth diapers from the brand "Under the Nile", which is made from Egyptian organic cotton, and 15 diapers from the regular non organic cotton kind. I also got them in different sizes for my growing baby. Plus about 6 plastic covers, and snappis ( cool safe thingys that hold the diaper in place instead of pins). I also got hemp liners in different sizes. Looked for wool covers but never got the chance to get one. ( Wool covers are ideal coz they are porous so your baby's bum is less likely to get a rash, plus its cool in summer and warm in winter).
I loved the Under the Nile brand, it came with its own cotton filling in the middle of the diaper so I didn't need any liners, plus they're organic, so no panic:)

Cloth diapers were definitely more work, especially the traditional kind which I used, My husband couldn't help with cloth diaper changing, so I had to do it myself. You soak the diapers in baking soda and a drop or tea tree for two days, then wash them with mild soap, then rinse in the rinse cycle with a bit of vinegar. Line dry them coz its cleaner and healthier than the dryer( takes care of any bacteria). definitely more work, and less dryness for baby. but My baby had less rashes with cloth diapers.

I eventually tried the 'Bum Genius ", which was a one size fits all, came in wonderful colors and was a all in one diaper, so the changing was much easier more like the disposables, except you had to wash it when it got poopy. You didn't need to soak it in water for two days it requires saving in a dry diaper pail( I think so the Velcro doesn't get ruined) so it definitely was smellier than the traditional kind, but much easier. I would recommend the Bum Genius for new mommies who are interested in using cloth diapers for their baby's and our precious earths sake. We definitely reap what we saw and I am totally switching back inshaAllah when we move to a new place. Hopefully this time with and in unit washer/ dryer.

And lastly here's why I didn't use the diaper service.
They wash their diapers in chlorine( defeats the purpose of the extra effort)
They use gas to transport the diapers back and forth ( pollution).
They come once a week, ( smelly diapers kept in house for a week, BIG YUCK)
I am not comfortable using diapers used by other babies pooping in them left and right. It just doesn't sit well with me.

If you choose the service though its a personal choice, its just me no likey!

Sorry for the smelly post, someone had to say this.
Have a good one.


Another Anna said...

Thank you so much for this! It's so nice to hear a real-life story from someone who has tried both kinds.

We're planning to use cloth diapers, maybe with disposables at night (so the baby feels drier and everyone gets a little more sleep)!

David said...

The best way to clean cloth diapers is to pre-rinse them off in the toilet using a Hand Bathroom Bidet Sprayer. So convenient and if you are trying to help the environment (and your pocket book) you can give it a double whammy by virtually eliminating toilet paper use at the same time as you benefit from using it on the diapers, by using it on yourself. I think Dr. Oz on Oprah said it best: "if you had pee or poop on your hand, you wouldn't wipe it off with paper, would you? You'd wash it off" Available at www.bathroomsprayers.com they come in an inexpensive kit and can be installed without a plumber. And after using one of these you won't know how you lasted all those years with wadded up handfuls of toilet paper. Now we're talking green and helping the environment without any pain.