I recently received an e-mail from a fellow mama who was inquisitive about cloth diapers. Her questions were simple and straight forward, "I see that they now have snaps, but can you tell me how it works?," "I cannot imagine cleaning a cloth diaper and I'm curious why would you do it when you could throw them away. More specifically, how do you clean those things?" I appreciate her questions- most people don't even bother to ask before they just assume that I must be crazy or a glutton for punishment! Quite honestly, I completely understand that mind set though. Ya know why? I used to think the same way! In fact, if you asked anyone who knows me they would undoubtedly tell you that I was the least likely person on the planet to EVER use cloth diapers! When I first had my son I didn't care how much disposables cost me or what they did to the environment- there was NO WAY I was going to cloth diaper! You couldn't have paid me enough money to use cloth!
So what changed my mind? First of all, I started meeting mamas who used cloth and I was totally surprised at what I saw! These moms were cute and trendy, nowhere near the hippies I had envisioned! And then there were the diapers themselves- they didn't have pins or plastic pants- they were actually cute! They had snap or velcro closures and were as easy to put on as a sposie! However, I still wasn't convinced that cloth was for my family. I mean, after all- you still have to wash them and deal with poo, right? Although I was intrigued (much like the mama who e-mailed me), why were mothers putting themselves through "all the work" of cloth diapering?
So I started doing some research. I found DiaperPin.com, which has lots of product reviews, information and helpful forums, and used their Cloth Cost Analysis Calculator to find out how much I would really be saving. To my shock, over just one year I would save more than $1000, and thats not including how much I would save by using the same dipes on future kids! Compelling, but not the final straw. The thing that really tipped the scales and convinced me that cloth really was the way to go was RealDiaperAssociation.org- they promote the awareness of what you are really putting on your babe's bum when you strap a sposie on them. I read their article about how disposable diapers can actually effect your child's health. This is some of what the article has to say:
"Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1
Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) - a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2
Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbancy tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome.3
In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.18"
Now, as a mama who was using disposables this article horrified me! I couldn't believe that I had unintensionally been exposing my son to such toxic chemicals 24 hours a day since he had been born! That did it! I was convinced! I couldn't in good conscience put my son in disposable diapers any more. I bought my first stash of cloth diapers that night.
I thoroughly believe it is my job to protect my child however I can, including by removing harmful chemicals that are in their environment. Sadly, diposable diapers are packed with toxic chemicals but parents have no idea. We figure that if it is on the market and says it is gentle enough for my baby then it must be okay, but that just isn't the case. For instance did you know when a bottle of baby shampoo says "Tear Free" it is not because it is so gentle that it won't hurt your baby's eyes, but rather that it contains a numbing agent so they don't know they are being burned?
My research opened up a whole new world to me that I needed to protect my family from. Just as you lock cupboards to protect your child from what is inside, I made the decision to remove toxic chemicals from our home any way that I could. We now use only non-toxic, natural cleaners and all-natural personal care products (like soaps, toothpaste, lotion, etc..) and eat organic when we can. I now rest easy, knowing that by being an informed mama I am making the most healthy choices for my family. You can just call me a non-hippie natural mama! I am good with that!
So now you know why I Cloth Diaper, stay tuned for the "hows" and learn that it really isn't as much work as everyone thinks! You can also go to my website to learn more: Chic & Savvy Mamas.