last thursday, I got my May/June issue of Mothering. as always, it had some awesome articles, and really great encouragement for alternative parenting. but what I was most excited about was the article about cloth diapering. now, we’ve been toeing around with cloth diapering since before The Squid was born. the first couple months of her life, we weren’t able to do much, as we had just moved and didn’t yet have a washer and dryer. once we did, we started switching back and forth from the few fitted cloth diapers we had, and a few Gdiapers, which we’d gotten at our baby shower, as well as the occasional disposable.
now, it’s been primarily, “well, we still have Gdiapers left…” and “oh, we can’t really afford to get a bunch of cloth diapers right now…” but after reading the Mothering article, which made a few points about Gdiapers that I hadn’t known about (A. they still contain SAPs, which are toxic, petroleum based, and one of my issues with disposables in the first place, and B. while they claim “compostable” they shouldn’t be used on vegetable beds, due to the SAPs, which never completely break down. however, they are making cloth inserts now, good for them, check ’em out at www.gdiaper.com), so, I ran to the compost bucket, pulled out the inserts, which were by then covered in coffee grounds and veggie scraps, and threw them in the trash. then I sat down and had a talk with The Husband, about our diapering options. which went fairly well, til I mentioned ‘carcinogens’ which he’s been teasing me about since the first few months we were together, when I spoke of them so frequently. every time he asked me “why don’t you use…” the answer was usually “carcinogens!”, now he breaks into song, listing off various things and following them with “carcinogens!”, as in: “deoderant, carcinogens! sunscreen, carcinogens! diapers, carcinogens! william shatner, carcinogens!”
eventually, though, we agreed it was time to switch over, and I went to do some research and try to track down some semi-affordable cloth diapers online. all we’d encountered up til that point was fitted cloth diapers, which are wicked expensive, and the random store-bought prefolds pinned together and covered with plastic pants, which wasn’t really the route we wanted to go either. so, during my internet search, I discovered a diaper store in Olympia! Simple Cloth.
my friend Danielle had mentioned it to me before, but we had no money to spare at the time, and so I promptly forgot. this time, however, I was going to Olympia with my mom the following day, and so we stopped by. we had a limited time frame, since the Wizard gets home from school at about 3:30, and we were at the store at about 2:20, and it’s more than a half-hour drive away.
Store Review: Simple Cloth gets 5 out of 5 for Badassedness!
in the short amount of time I had there, they were incredible. the woman who helped me make my selections was thorough, friendly and demonstrated everything to make sure I would know exactly what I was doing. also, now that I know they’re there, I’ll be in more frequently, because they offer, not just a huge selection of diapers, baby carriers and cool natural toys, but also nursing areas, changing areas and a play area, which are available for use whether or not you’re doing diaper shopping that day. how cool are they? they also have an online store, so even if you’re nowhere near Olympia, WA, you can experience their awesomeness for yourself!
Diaper Review: Econobum gets 4 out of 5 for badassedness!
and a huge vote of badassedness to Bumgenius, who started their new line of diapers, Econobum! they’re prefolds and covers, made with the bare-minimums, not trying to be fancy or shmancy, with plain white adjustable covers and prefolds that fold two ways to guarantee they grow with your kid. and, you can buy a diaper and cover together for just $10, or a box with a dozen diapers and 3 covers for $50. I was a little nervous about going the prefold route, especially after she warned me that the Econobums, aren’t quite as easy to use as some of the others (most of the other covers have pockets on either side to hold the prefolds in, while the Econobum covers just have elastic), but I haven’t had any kind of issue with them, or with putting them together. obviously they’re not as easy as the fitted diapers, but the covers fit just fine over the fitted diapers as well, which is great. I did get two Flip diaper covers as well, which work with the Econobum prefolds and our fitted diapers, and they do have the flaps, so they’re a little easier to use, and still have the adjustable snaps. …they’re also wicked cute.
all together, I got the Econobum pack, 2 Flip covers and a little hemp pad to go over the diaper at night to increase absorbancy. which came out to almost $90. it sounds like a lot, until you think about the fact that we could probably get by without having to buy diapers again. (that’s a lot of laundry though, so I’m thinking I’ll probably get another Econobum pack when we have some extra money.)
now to commence the rant. most kids go through about 6-7 diapers a day (roughly evened out. more when teenie, less when a bit bigger), until they’re at least two and a half (The Wizard decided he was thoroughly potty-educated on his 3rd birthday, and never looked back). so, that’s… 2,520 diapers a year, for 2-3 years, which is between 5,040 and 7,560 diapers. holy shit. so, disposable diapers are about 25 cents apiece. that works out at… $630 a year? and up to $1,890 before your kid is going to be using the toilet regularly. (unless you opt for Elimination Communication, which sounds brilliant and I’m going to try to implement part-time. upcoming blog, probably. for now check out www.diaperfreebaby.com) all of a sudden throwing down $100 for cloth diapers doesn’t sound so bad, does it? a family with just one child in disposable diapers throws down over $50 a month anyway.
plus, not only are you paying money for these things, these toxic, plastic things that you’re strapping on to your childs most vulnerable places, each and every one of those 7,560 diapers ends up in a landfill. a baby in disposable (what a stupid word. we don’t “dispose” of anything. we just bury this toxic SHIT in our already overloaded earth, and then try not to think about it.) diapers has an ENORMOUS carbon footprint. diapers are petroleum based, made with 7 billion gallons of oil each year.
they’re a non-renewable resource, that we’re taking from the earth, and the closest anyone can figure to how long it’s going to take these things to actually break down is HUNDREDS of years. the children who’re wearing these diapers aren’t going to last as long as they do. why the HELL are we making a “disposable” product with a longer lifespan than it’s consumer? just for the purpose of catching shit?! god. check out the video at www.gdiapers.com to see just how well disposable diapers break down.
we live in a disposable culture. there is so much we throw away. if we want to be revolutionaries, if we want to dream of a future, any future at all, we need to man up and stop throwing stuff away simply for our own convenience. the biggest reasons that people give for not using cloth diapers are: “it’s gross.” and “it’s too much work.”
come on, people. this is our kids we’re talking about, and our planet. honestly, it’s NOT that big of a deal. it’s not that gross and it’s not that much extra work. diapers are small. throwing them in with the laundry you’re already washing is not that terrible of a hassle. what’s REALLY gross is letting our non-biodegradable shit-catchers pile up for hundreds of years. once you throw a disposable diaper in the garbage, you can’t take it back again.