When you invest in diapers and wipes from day one, you are only having to pay for your product once. A box of diapers can cost at least 20 dollars each, and babies need up to 5000 diapers in their early years!
In Halton, you need to get tags for your extra garbage bags for the trucks to pick up your extra garbage. That also means that you have to put more garbage bins out on those cold crappy garbage pick up days.
I've been told on a number of occasions from moms that a child will potty train sooner when they are in reusable diapers because they will feel the soiled diaper sooner after they go. If I can get my kid out of diapers sooner, I'm up for anything!
Think about how much garbage one child's disposable diapers are adding to the landfill. Someone is managing the waste you are creating.
It’s not everyday you go to your husband to tell him that you want to give yourself more work to the household chores. Taking on a reusable diapering challenge is one of my least favorite decisions in my sustainable living journey. It’s daunting.
Let’s be honest. I think that diapering is the worst part of becoming a parent. Life has become a world of bodily fluids and stretchy pants. She is TOTALLY worth it though, and I have to give the reusable diaper practice a fair effort. Even if I am partially successful, I will have still reduced my carbon footprint on the world.
Will I though? Is reusable diapering really better for the planet? The more I read up about it, the more I learn that both reusable cotton diaper options and disposable ones have their own downsides to the environment. The water and cleaning resources required to manufacture cotton diapers is much higher them using disposables. Disposables, on the other hand, are made of synthetics. Our hate on for disposable plastics is the current trend among the sustainably focused. The environmentally (compostable) versions of disposables have their stipulations as well. Composting doesn’t work in landfills, so unless you have a compost big enough for all your compostable diapers, much of those diapers will be sitting in a landfill just the same as the Pampers that most people use.
Cotton is not an easy direction to go either. It is linked to excessive water usage, and the chemicals that are used in reusable diaper might be full of chemicals. I read an article a few weeks back that challenged me to think about what was most important when buying products. Purchasing products that are ethically developed is equally important. I read an article (referenced below) that says that Pampers is a pretty good place to work, paying their employees wages that can support two people. If this is the case, then I’ve got some more soul searching to do.
I have to ultimately accept that having a child is resource consuming. My daughter is only 2 months old and I sometimes feel the suffocating symptoms of eco anxiety. I get conflicting frustration with myself every time I purchase a product that I need, but is packaged in an unnecessarily large plastic case. When my children are less vulnerable and older to make more sustainable choices themselves, we will be able to buy less and live with less clutter in the house. Right now, however, my job is to keep my infant alive and healthy the best way a new mother knows how.
I am blessed to live in a community that offers support to moms, and the message among us all is clear. Mothers must do what is best for their families. I haven’t felt any mom shaming, and to be honest, I’m so engulfed in pursuing a sustainable motherhood the best I can that I don’t have time for anyone who wants to judge me for trying to be part of the eco solution. Any informed decision I make will be a good one.
I might come out of this learning curve with a diapering game plan that i didn’t consider before. Regardless, the learning curve will be steep and fest, because I don’t want to spend more time than I need to thinking about dirty diapers.
Note: I will be consulting Max and Zia for all my reusable diaper support. Lindsay, the owner, is approachable and supportive. This local company runs Sustainable Parenting workshops at the Womb in Milton and Burlington, Ontario. Click on the links below to reach both sites.
Online Articles Reviewed prior to the publication of this entry:
To purchase reusable diaper options locally, or attend one of Lindsay’s upcoming workshops, , click on the link below:
I think it is pretty easy to say that everyday disposable diapers are terrible for the planet. One diaper can take up to 500 years to decompose and nobody wants that! But, let’s just take a moment and examine the biodegradable diapers. I was fortunate to be gifted some Naty biodegradable diapers. They are a bit stiff on the bum in comparison to the regular ones, but they are better for the environment because they aren’t made of plastic. Woot woot! the regular disposables have a cute line that turns blue when my baby soils it. That is one feature I really like about disposables. And that reason alone to stay with disposables would make me a super lazy person. A baby will tell you when he/she needs her bum cleaned. You just have to pay attention to them to figure that out.
The problem though, is that compostable diapers must be put in a composting environment in order for it to actually compost. If they are placed in a landfill, they will just sit there like all the other diapers. Compostable items won’t actually compost unless they are put in compost bins. I have yet to find out if Halton allows compostable diapers in their compost system.
Some of us have created their own backyard compost system (and thank you for those who have). But, I don’t know anyone who has enough space in their compost for the amount of diapers that one baby will use in a year. Plus, a diaper with poop can’t be put into a home compost system because temperatures won’t get high enough for it to decompose properly.
So back to the reusable diapers option. We live in a region of the world where water scarcity isn’t a concern for us, so going the reusable route is very viable for us. We can wash our fabrics without concern of losing water supply. Hold on though! We really should be mindful of the cleaning products that we put down the drain. I really don’t like the idea of using Oxyclean to remove stains. I used it once for a pair of my baby’s pants and the gold star design faded off of it. Thankfully, she doesn’t have a strong fashion sense yet, so I dodged that bullet. I would greatly appreciate any suggestions on what all natural stain removers you use. Please send me a message and let me know.
Visit Max and Zia for a local approach to reusable diapers.
The Laundry situation is where the environmentally friendly factor fits in if you want to keep it a sustainable habit. You can find laundry detergents that are not full of harsh chemicals and dyes. When choosing laundry detergents there are two main reasons to keep it chemical free. First you want to keep the crap out of the water pipes, and second, your baby is sensitive!
I get my laundry detergent from Costco in bulk to limit my plastic packaging. When a local store sells refillable laundry detergent, I'll get that. I haven't used soap nuts yet and want to give them a try. Apparently they work fine. For the dryer cycle, I use wool balls. They have lasted a few years now and I don't miss those disposable dryer sheets that are covered in chemicals. I sometimes put drops of lavender onto the wool balls for a fresher smell. It doesn't hurt the baby and I like the smell of lavender.
If you are thinking of using reusable diapers, you probably also wonder how reusable wipes will work. The best way that I have done it is to have a little basket that has a lid on it inside of another basket. I like the lid because I can put dirty wipes in here after I have used it and it won't be in my face for the rest of the day. Then, at the end of the day, I just bring all my used wipes to a tub that I have in the laundry room. It's pretty easy.
For an easy baby wipe recipe, go to the DIY link section. I got this recipe from Lindsay, at Max and Zia. She told me that she got this online and it can also be used as an eye make-up remover solution for your reusable eye pads.
I have a love affair with coconut oil. It's been ongoing for a really long time. Recently, I began using it for my baby as well. She seems to like it. Here are a few things that you can use to make baby bum maintenance a breeze and it won't break your bank.
1) Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a fantastic way to keep your baby's bum hydrated. I haven't used it all that much, but when I see a red spot, I dab some coconut oil on it and it goes away on it's own pretty easily.
2) Olive Oil
Olive oil isn't just for the first few days of baby's birth. After every bath, I slather some olive oil on her. It was a bit odd at first, because it felt like she was getting marinated. She is so soft and all that flaky skin that was created after she was born went away so quick.
4) Castile Soap
While I haven't had a need to use a Castile soap solution for baby wipes, I do have a solution already made and it also seconds as an eye make-up remover product. Check out the DIY recipe under the DIY tab. Is there anything Castile Soap can't help create around the house?
I use distilled water in my spray bottles to keep the bacteria at a minimum, but I have found that I go through my spray water bottle every few days because I am constantly wetting my reusable wipes. Sometimes you don't need such a fancy way to wipe a baby's bum!
*I was talking to my physician today about my reusable wipes practice and she told me that using all natural products are great, until a rash forms. When you see a rash forming, you need to create a barrier between the inflamed skin and the diaper. She recommended using something with zinc dioxide. Zinc dioxide will create a barrier, and it will help reduce the swelling.
After the first month, here is what I have learned:
-the velcro version diapers are better for smaller babies. I understand why Max & Zia sells a diaper set for new borns and another for all other babies
-Poop and pee doesn't smell all that much, and it's not as gross as I thought it would be while I am still breast feeding with some formula top up
-Lindsay was right, she recommended you dressing your baby in clothes one size up. cloth diapers are bulkier, so you will need more room for them under the clothes
-when you snap up the universal sized diapers, they get bunchier and uncomfortable in certain situations. I've been using the velcro diapers for car seat trips and my extra ones are kept in my day bag fo the same purpose
-wet bags are fine. I can put them in my bag with dirty diapers and there is no smell or leakage from the bag
-when my baby got her first diaper rash, I had to use Penaten cream. This product comes in a metal tin. The rash went away in no time. I had to use disposable diapers during this time, but used reusable wipes (for some reason). I am still noticing the cream has remained on the wipes after one washing. This confirms that it will stick to fabric and should be avoided on your reusable cloths.
-I haven't actually used the reusable wipe solution containing essential oils and Castile soap. I've just been using water and it has been fine overall
-I have tried using the baby wipe solution as eye makeup remover. It works, but if it gets into your eyes, it will sting the eyes. Keep that in mind if you choose to make your own eye makeup remover.
Overall, with the exception of the diaper rash, using reusables is not that big a deal. I have been warned that poop will start to stink when I introduce food into her diet. I'll be making a post when I am at that stage of this process.
Zero Waste Canada has an excellent resource to help new moms and moms to be explore Zero Waste Options. Click on the link below to read their online book.
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