Friday, April 4, 2008

The Great Diaper Debate

As a soon to be mom, and an eco-concerned adult a great big question mark in my future has been 'What diapers am I supposed to use?' You have the convenience of disposables ('sposies) vs the "eco-friendly" cloth diaper. So I turn to Dr. Greene (his real name as I understand it) and "Raising Baby Green" to help me decide what is best. Well the research is in, they tested all kinds of traditional 'sposies as well as cloth to see which were the more environmentally friendly option...the results... they both SUCK, they just suck for different reasons.
Aside from the fact that 'sposies sit in landfills for 500+years, the manufacturing of them is a very non-eco friendly process involving lots of chlorine, nasty chemicals and plastic, not to mention shipping them all over in planes, trains and automobiles. Cloth diapers on the other hand have the problem of actually having to be washed on a very regular basis and thus wasting gallons upon gallons of fresh water. I should also mention that neither one is a great option for baby's sensitive skin. Cloth diapers often have problems with diaper rash because the absorbency isn't as good as 'sposies, but 'sposies are made with tons of chemicals that are yucky to put next to baby's skin and rumored to have negative side effects on male reproductive health (although I can't find any solid evidence of this).
So what is an eco-mom to do? Well, there is always elimination communication which essentially means I potty train a 3 month old and thus eliminate the whole need for diapers, but I'm a little skeptical of this process. What happens when your at the grocery store and you notice that lil nugget has to use the potty but you can't communicate with him to hold it? So I'm not sure that's a viable option right now. Although I'm willing to hear what people think of it.
For me cloth would be a nightmare, I already have to battle the smell of a litter box. I really don't want to battle the smell of dirty cloth diapers sitting around until I can either wash them or have a service to pick them up.
So whats the plan? A new little diaper is on the move folks! It's a hybrid, so to speak, of cloth and disposable. They are called gDiapers and they are like cloth on the outside, but on the inside they have snap in liners and flushable inserts. When baby soils, you just flush the insert, and put in a new one or for major soilage remove and wash the liner. The outside needs only be washed occasionally (as often as babies normal clothes) and therefore reduces laundry. So I'm very enthusiastic about the whole thing and can't wait to try them out. As an added bonus they are super cute! Way cuter than either cloth or disposable.
For occasions when a 'spoise would be much more convenient (i.e. childcare, and travel) Seventh Generation makes a low chemical, more enviro-friendly 'spoise (as well as great chlorine-free wipes) that I plan to have on hand as well.

So that's the plan!! Now you know!


Tiffiny said...

OH MY GOD!!! Becky, the research you have done is AMAZING and puts other mothers who just reach for the Pampers half-asleep to shame! My jaw actually dropped when I read that there are actually flushable diapers out there (so to speak). I'm curious to know how long they have been around. And to also know that there is a better eco-choice for 'spoises is really cool as well. I'm not even nearly pregnant yet and yet I still feel the urge to say thank you thank you THANK YOU!! You're going to be an awesome mom!

Becky said...

You crack me up. I'm not sure how long they have been around but they are on their second generation so imporvements have already been made to limit leaks. I should say they are a little more expensive to start up, but the inserts are comparable to brand name 'sposies. Oh and Wegmans recently started carrying them! I miss Wegmans.

Anonymous said...

I am not sure the combo diaper sounds better than either choice- it almost seems worse. The flushable part is no better than a disposable in that you are polluting the water system and adding beach debris. (I am a little bias against anything flushable)The website also states that each insert takes 2 flushes and they recommend doubling the insert at night. Wipes need to be flushed separately as well. And if the flushable part leaks in any way you have to wash the cloth outer part and the liner the way you would a regular cloth diaper. With all that water use for 1 diaper, might as well just use cloth diapers. Nice to see someone is trying to find an alternative to the plastic though!

Becky said...

I have to disagree with you anonymous, for a few reasons. First, the flushable inner core almost(if not)completely disintegrates when flushed. As for the two flushes the website does not say that, they claim it is a 'know thy toilet' issue, and my toilets are industrial so I have the force to flush something into outer-space and have no reservoir tank so our toilet flushes use much less water than standard toilets. In addition, wet liners are compostable if that's an option, or they can be tossed and will break down faster in a landfill than regular 'sposies, so they definitely are not worse even if you don't want to flush them. Second, these are better for baby than either cloth or 'sposies. Frankly, that's first and foremost in my book. No chemicals (or bleach/chlorine) have to get near baby's skin, and hes less likely to get diaper rash by sleeping in a wet cloth diaper. Diapers are a personal decision and it really comes down to doing what works best for your family. No choice is perfect and you just have to accept the good with the bad.
Finally, anyone who as ever used any kind of diaper knows they all leak at some point and you're going to end up washing everything baby was wearing or near. So I don't see this as a valid argument against gDiapers. This was a longer response than I intended but your concerns were valid and things I've thought of along the way so I wanted to address them.

Tiffiny said...

Awesome response Becky!

Kristeen said...

I looked for gDiapers in Wegmans today and I didn't see them, even though they supposedly carry them. Maybe they just got them? They had all sorts of stuff that made me think of you... all sorts of organic lotions and potions for Baby. I wanted to buy them all but Brian kindly remembered that you don't have a baby to rub them on yet. Maybe in a few months :) He can't stop me.

efalcone said...

These diapers are amazing. I wish I could go back and do it all over again! They're so cute, too! When I think of all the diapers I used with two babies at once (and who were potty trained REALLY late mostly because of my own laziness).... What are you going to do about baby wipes? I also used A TON of these, and they are very expensive, too.

efalcone said...
This comment has been removed by the author.