Decisions, Decisions…

These last few years, I’ve gotten comfortable.  I know the environmental impacts of the ways I choose to live my life, and for the most part I think I make eco-friendly decisions.  All of those little changes have become routine, and there’s not a ton of research and thought that goes into my everyday lifestyle.  But then something changed: We decided to have a baby.

Now, I’ve got questions, questions, and more questions.  I’m the oldest of three, but never really did a lot of babysitting.  I’d consider myself to be an unofficial expert on teenagers, since I know all the cliques, the slang, prom etiquette, and can spot a lie a mile away.   When it comes to diapers, nursing, baby food, clothing, toys, and furniture, I’m clueless. 

How am I supposed to make sustainable choices when I’m not sure if I even know the questions?  Maybe it’s good that I don’t know what I’m doing, since I won’t have bad habits to break.

Overall, I’m doing a lot of research.  And I plan to write a series of posts about our eco-friendly baby decisions.  The first post will be about diapers! If you’ve written a post about your diaper decisions, or have a site you’d like me to check out, please leave a comment, as my research at this point is still ongoing.

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19 Comments

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19 Responses to Decisions, Decisions…

  1. I’m so glad you’re going to do this series, I was hoping you would. I read Raising Baby Green awhile back. It was a good read if you haven’t picked it up yet. It is the kind of book I would buy to have on hand as a resource as I didn’t retain a lot of it. Of course, you have to pick and choose how far you’re going to go with it.

    Some of my friends like the Dappi cloth diapers. I couldn’t find the site I wanted just now but I can get it for you if you’re interested.

    No eco-friendly diaper talk would be complete with “soakers” or wool diaper covers. I’m not sure how well they actually work but I love the idea!

  2. I haven’t written a post about it , but I would like to offer my encouragement to you to use cloth diapers. I used them for four children of my own, plus a foster child. For a while I had two in diapers. We owned 7 dozen diapers, just the regular kind that you can fold into different sizes depending on the size of the baby. I rinsed the poopy ones in the toilet, and put them all in a soaking pail. Then I did a load of diapers every day or two, and usually I line dried them (sunlight breaks down the amonia).
    It sounds like a lot of work, and it kindof is. If I had been working outside the home, I might have succumbed to the disposables, but, frankly, they weren’t that good when my children were young, so, since I had the time, I stuck with cloth. I can’t even imagine how much money we saved by doing this! Nor can I imagine how much gabage we did not send to the landfill. There is, of course, some water use involved, and you do need to use HOT water to wash them.
    I really am amazed that more women on tight budgets don’t use cloth. Ideally, you could use disposables for outings, travelling, etc., and just use cloth at home, and it would still save you tons of money and natural resources, but allow for some convenience.
    Anyway, that’s my two cents. It’s not difficult to do at all, just a little more time-consuming.

  3. if you have access to a diaper service, cloth diapers are just as easy as disposable.

  4. I wrote a post about cloth diapers which you can find here: http://www.strocel.com/cloth-diapers/

    I also wrote about making the diaper decision the day before that post, it’s linked in the first sentence. I’m not including the link directly here, lest WordPress think I’m a spambot. ;)

  5. goatldi

    Cloth diapers last forever and I do mean forever!

    I still have diapers in my possession that were used on both our children now 35 and 32 that is years not months. My husband decided early on that diaper duty was his thing (after all I provided all nutrition for a long time) and he did so well I think he missed his calling “diaper service”.

    In fact disposable diapers were just coming round with my first and he was such a sensitive soul that he couldn’t use them.

    Saved a ton of money, a bit of earth,water and still have heavy duty dust, barn clothes today. Talk about recycling!

  6. We were talking about diapers here. I’m not convinced one can make a decision on type without experience in each, so my plan is to purchase several different types of cloth diapers for my daughter initially and see which accommodates the weirdnesses of the baby she has better. Disposables will be gotten at her shower from others and I won’t say a word about using them. With any luck, she’ll be using a newborn disposable for the meconium stool and then switch to cloth.

  7. Now that it has been 3 whole months, I can still say that I love my cloth diapers! http://beansproutitaly.blogspot.com/2009/09/cloth-diapers-101.html As Liam gets older, I do the laundry less frequently since he goes longer in between eliminations, so I’m not doing laundry every day.

    One thing that I am hugely fond of: no diaper rash. And he doesn’t leak at night. I do have to make sure I buy clothes a tad bigger for him so that his heiny fits into them, but it’s worth it.

  8. Hey, Ab, you may know that I started off with cloth diapers for you because I wanted the best for our baby and at that time, I thought cloth was the best!

    Somewhere along the way, I switched to disposables and used them for your brothers, as I found the cloth just not absorbent enough and also didn’t like the covers available at the time. I didn’t want to use rubber pants, so used a “breathable” alternative.

    I was washing the diapers myself, no diaper service, so that might might a difference, too. Plus when you add in hot water, soap, etc. (and possibly a dryer), is that a better environmental choice?

    I would definitely check into the G-diapers that seem so popular, or ones where a liner only is disposable. Would make the laundry a lot easier.

    I know that you will make informed choices along the way that are just right for you and your baby. I’m sure they are people out there who are making diapers out of old rags . . . do what’s best for you.

    Oh, all those cloth diapers did make wonderful burping pads and dust cloths as the years went on.

  9. I didn’t read all the comments so someone else may have already said this but Jeniffer over at The Smart Mama has written a book you should read-
    http://www.amazon.com/Smart-Mamas-Green-Guide-Chemical/dp/1599951517/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1256494239&sr=8-1

    Also you won an award at my blog-
    http://retrohousewife05.blogspot.com/2009/10/another-award.html

  10. My children are now 21 and 24. With my second I used Dydee Diapers / cloth . I loved the blog about Diapers on Yonderway Farm blog last week.

  11. Aunt Sara

    As I mentioned to you earlier, I used cloth diapers because Shan had really sensitive skin. I was also working, as you may be, and it became routine to bring the diaper pail to my mom’s each morning, and back each night. You do need to wash them each day, until the child is a little older…but it sort of becomes routine.
    I would just do the laundry each night, so that we were ready to go the next day.

    I don’t know anything about diaper services or the newer type of cloth diaper, so I can’t contribute much here. But I think it must be exciting to have so many decisons to make about your little one! Enjoy each and every one of them.

  12. Thanks for the tips everyone! Looks like I have a lot more research to do! At first, I thought I’d use disposable, since that’s what everyone seems to do. But cloth seems much more do-able than I had originally thought. Again, decisions decisions!

  13. Rob

    Diapers? Never use them. I have looked for diapers forever to polish my car with but no luck. Don’t these kids come potty trained?

  14. Sarah Heaston

    My friend is currenlty doing cloth diapers…I have been observing her to help with my decision to use them come Feb. when my baby is due…..here are two websites that she found helpful, and registered on one of them for diapers….

    diaperpin.com and abbyslane.com

    I am using disposables in the hospital and at home for the first weeks until the cord falls off, and then hope to switch to cloth. Hope those websites help! My friend has said that she has found using cloth very easy thus far, except is having a hard time getting on a laundry schedule, but the baby is only four weeks old right now, so some things just take some time!

  15. Tia

    While I realize cloth diapers use a lot of energy & water to clean I still think they are the best choice. Those disposables are going to be around for a LOOONNNNGGGG time. I put my daughter’s cloth diapers into a diaper genie (blocks the smell) until wash day. If they were dirty rather than wet I would swish them in the toilet to get the solids off. I washed them with regular detergent (I didn’t make my own then). I usually dried them in the dryer and if they had a stain a couple of hours outside in the sun bleached them back to a dazzling white. :)

    The other thing I did: not buy any formula (I pumped when I went back to work) and it is easy to make baby food rather than buying it. Personally, my daughter was eating what we ate, pureed in blender, except for meat & eggs as soon as she was ready for solids. I would give her lots of fresh fruits/veggies with every meal. Carrots, squash, bananas, pears & apples were her favorites. Mix up a big batch & freeze them in ice cube trays. Once frozen pop them out & into a plastic bag (I used vacuum sealed that I reuse).

  16. I wrote a whole pamphlet on the different types of cloth diapers, and the differences between each. Note that it’s not between the different brands of diapers, as there are SO many new companies. It discusses covers & prefolds vs. fitted vs. pocket diapers vs. all-in-ones. I also put a section in about G-diapers, as I used those a bit after my son was born. I also talk about how to wash them, as I was too cheap to do a service. I offer it to all my friends who are interested in cloth diapering, since I spent HOURS researching it all when I was pregnant. Email me if you’d like a digital copy: dawn dot s dot martin at gmail dot com with the subject “Cloth diaper pamphlet”. I’d be happy to save you some hours of research. Your post has inspired me to do a few blog entries on choices we’ve made to be more environmentally friendly in raising our kids (now 5 and 2).

  17. Karen Moser-Booth

    This post made me smile because I remember having the same thoughts–I have no experience with babies, just older kids! Now my daughter is almost 17 months old and I hope I can help you a bit.

    We went with g-diapers (www.gdiapers.com) because they are pretty earth friendly. Basically, there is an outer pant, a plastic liner that snaps into the outer pant, and a cloth (yes, they now have cloth!) or disposable liner that goes inside the plastic liner. Three layers. It sounds complicated but it’s definitely not. What I like most is that it has the convenience of disposables (you can throw away the inner liner or compost it), but it’s much more environmentally friendly. Occasionally you need to wash the outer pant (maybe twice a week) and we usually wash the plastic liner every night, but just in the sink, quick and easy. We’ve had very few leaks and almost no diaper rashes. Plus, when babies wear cloth diapers, they potty-train slightly quicker than babies that disposables because cloth-diapered babies feel the wetness more (there are harsh chemicals added to the plastic in disposable diapers to make them more absorbant). I hope this helps!

    Also, I agree with the above commenter–breastfeeding is best, and formula is not needed. You can easily make your own baby food. We always did for our daughter, and once she got out of the pureed food stage (about 6 months old to 8 months old), it was even easier. There’s nothing to it, really, just blending what you are eating so long as you avoid certain foods, extra salt, etc. Very healthy! But seeing the delicious recipes you post up here, I’m sure you won’t have a problem making your own baby food! :)

    Sorry for the rambling here! I realize now it’s quite long …

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