Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Path Less Travelled

So it's been a few weeks since I have posted, but two more schedule changes threw me for a bit of a loop, and now I'm back and better than ever.  But I promise that you all have been on my mind.  I want to write a little bit this week on a sort of educational topic, one that my most avid readers know is something that I am pretty passionate about.  But I want to take it in a more personal direction and also include a few more little factoids, especially one that piqued my curiosity earlier today.  I'm talking about, yep, you may have guessed it, Cloth vs. Disposable diapers.

If you go back in time about a year, you will see my very first blog post, appropriately titled My First Blog.  In it I talked about the beginning of our odyssey into cloth diapering.  I talked about the chemicals that are found in disposable diapers.  I also posted a video of what happens to disposable diapers when they are deposited into a land fill (or, as the video suggests, composted in your own yard).  And my view on this subject has not changed.  I realize the convenience factor associated with disposable diapers.  It's the main reason we used them for almost 2 years.  It's also the reason, and I'm almost ashamed to admit this, that we used them again on our vacation back in December.  But the Laundry service on a cruise ship is expensive and we had to be cost conscious.  And we also now go through one (or less) disposable "night-time underwear" as we complete our potty training process (we're almost there).  So I don't condemn anyone who uses them, I just encourage you to be more open-minded.  Seek education and guidance in regards to which is better.  Make a decision based on what is best for your child.

Recently a friend of Mama Bird's (and mine) announced that she is pregnant with her first child.  Soon after, she sent Mama Bird an email asking for help with cloth diapering information.  See, she only knows one other person other than us who used cloth, and another who is expecting (any day now) that will be using cloth.  That is why this post is titled as it is.  While cloth diapering is on the rise, the majority of people still have a tendency to turn their noses up at the mention of it.  What do you think is the number one reason?  People "don't want poop in their washing machine".  They are uneducated when it comes to cloth diapering, and I'm here to dispel some myths and rumors.  And, the truth of the matter is, we were the same way.  This was a BIG topic of discussion before Little E was born.  And Mama Bird and I really came to the conclusion that we just didn't want to deal with it, we thought cloth would be more work.  We were wrong.  It's way easier, and much, MUCH more cost effective.  When I actually think about, for the first 2 years of Little E's existence, we went through probably an average of 10 diapers a day, that's about 7300 diapers.  At an average cost of $.25 per diaper, that comes to $1,825.  Ridiculous, right?  That's how much money we threw away, and it makes me sick to think about.

My sister is also expecting, but she plans on using disposables.  Again, no condemnation here, everyone has the right to make their own choices.  But it nearly sickened me to see a picture of her trunk on Facebook with 4 cases of diapers and a caption reading "You know it's a good day when you can spend less than 14 cents per diaper!"  Let's do the math, shall we?  Let's just take the last 9 months before we started potty training to start.  We spent roughly $300 on all of our cloth diapers and accessories.  At five changes per day for nine months that comes to 1,530 changes.  That's  just under $.20  per diaper, so you can see we saved money, just not as much as her.  But, average that out if we had started from the day she was born and you get about 8,800 changes for $300 for an average of about $.03 per change.  Wow, I just worked that out for the first time and I'm even more sick than I was earlier.  Sure I like seeing people save money, and I'm glad she got a deal, but you just can't argue with that math.  I know it's an investment up front, but it's well worth it in the end.

It's definitely a scary avenue to travel down, but, once you get past the first block (the mental one) things start to go really well.  I hear a lot of "But I don't want to put poop in my washing machine!"  Don't be silly.  You need to clean it off and flush the poop before you wash them.  Or, "I'm not washing my clothes in the same machine as pee."  Are you going to throw away every pair of pants your kid has an accident in?  Somehow I doubt it.  I'll admit, they do start to smell after a while, but there are fixes to that.  You can, occasionally, wash them with a small amount of bleach (just the inserts) to kill any bacteria that may be causing a smell, then line dry them in the sun (this does wonders!).  There's also this awesome detergent made especially for cloth diapers, and, if you're a fan of rock music as I am, you're going to want to check them out even if you don't buy any.  It's called Rockin' Green, and it's 100%  natural, right down to the scent.  And yes, you can wash your own clothes with it, it's not strictly for diapers.  But, again, it's not cheap, as is nothing else organic.  We chose Rage Against the Raspberry, and I'm almost as big a fan of it as I am the band it was named after.

So we've now gotten to the point where we are big-time advocates of cloth diapering and we refuse to buy disposables as a Baby Shower gift.  We've debated just giving a starter kit as a gift to anyone we know who is expecting, even if they aren't thinking about it, but I'm a firm believer that you shouldn't force your beliefs on others.  They need to be truly interested and standing on the ledge, ready to jump.  We want to educate and help people make the decision that's right for them.  If they're asking, we'll push for cloth, but we won't disrespect whatever decision they make.  In the next few posts, although we're a year removed from our foray into cloth diapering, I'll be posting reviews, including comments from Mama Bird, for the cloth diapers that we tried and either liked or disliked.  I hope that they will be very informative and help people understand that it's really not as bad as they think.  It's actually easier, not to mention safer, greener, cheaper.

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