Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So, Why Cloth?

Why Cloth? Hmmmm...

I'm sure there are many mamas out there that swear by their disposables. I used disposables for my first child and while they were convenient (sort-of) I have since by bitten by the "cloth love bug." I began using cloth diapers with my son when he was 6 months old, thanks to the urging of my mother. I have never looked back.

First, I would like to share some facts about disposable diapers:

(the following information is compiled from The Real Diaper Association ~ http://www.realdiaperassociation.org/diaperfacts.php , and from several other cloth diapering resources, including goodmama ~ http://shop.thegoodmama.com , Kushies ` www.kushies.com , and The Canadian Cloth Diaper Association)

Disposable diapers contain Dioxin ~ which is a known carcinogen, recognized by the EPA as one of the most toxic cancer causing chemicals. It is banned in many countries, but not the US.

Disposable diapers also contain several other toxic chemicals known to cause hormonal disruptions, asthma, eczema, and a laundry list of other uncomfortable ailments.

The materials used to produce diapers create massive amounts of industrial pollution and waste. These materials are specific to disposable diapers and other disposable hygiene products (another topic for another day!). I am still looking for a reliable resource to put numbers and statistics to this statement.
Disposable diapering of one child produces over TWO TONS of used, non-biodegradable waste. Nearly 30 billion disposable diapers are consumed every year in the US alone. This does not include any other country!! Of these 30 billion diapers, most end up in the landfill, where they will sit and rot for at the very least 500 years. Think about it. In 5 years, that's 150 billion diapers rotting in the landfills. In 10 years, that's 300 billion dirty diapers. And a lot of those diapers contain human waste, even though the diaper manufacturers recommend dumping solids into the toilet. Do you know anyone who does that? I do on the extremely rare occasion that I use a disposable diaper. Anyone else?

I, for one, washed a LOT of clothes while using disposable diapers. Both mine and my baby's....every time she had an "explosive" poop (and it seemed like every poop the first year was explosive), her clothes would have to be washed...poop up the back and out the legs...ick. And if she was sitting on my lap at the time, well, you get the picture.

Disposable diapering is expensive. For one child, the average American cost to diaper with disposables is between $2000 and $3000 for 2 years. If you have another child in disposable diapers, add on another $2000 to $3000. And so on, and so forth. Let's say you have 3 kids in diapers for 3 years each; that's $9000 - $13500!!!

Now, let's compare those facts with some facts about cloth diapers:

Cloth diapers, especially those made with organic materials do not contain or off gas any chemicals. Any plastic component of the cloth diaper, if there is any (and there are a lot of options that are made of completely natural materials), does not touch baby's sensitive skin. Therefore, there is no risk of exposure to harmful chemicals. I read somewhere (and for the life of me I can not locate the source) that we are exposed to something like 98% of cancer-causing elements before the age of two. I will continue to search for that resource.

Cloth diapers are made with fabric. There are many fabric choices that are not processed using chemicals. The materials used to make cloth diapers are also used to make other clothing items, so, in general, the manufacturing by-products, pollution and waste would be less than that of disposables. Again, I am still looking for the numbers to back this up.

Cloth diapers do not end up as non-biodegradable waste in a landfill. They can be used over and over, passed from one child to the next, one family to the next, and when they are no longer usable as diapers, they make great shop rags! Solid wastes do not go into the garbage, they go into the toilet, where they belong.

Cloth diapers do make laundry. I honestly do not feel like I do any more laundry than I did before. I no longer have to change my child's outfit after an "explosive" poop, because the cloth contains all that. I've never had to change my own clothes after a poop. For the most part, I wash a large load of diapers every 3 days (of course, I have a lot of diapers in our stash!). On the other hand, I do a regular load of laundry almost every day, so there's really no more work involved.

Cloth diapering CAN be expensive....(especially if you get bitten by the "cloth love bug"). It can be addictive. it can also be a LOT less expensive than disposables. For example, for the lifetime of your one child in diapers, if you purchased Kushies brand diapers, you would buy about 30 infant size ($330) and 20 toddler size ($225) and for $555 you'd be done. No more buying. If you have another child, you can pass these diapers on to him. And so on, and so forth. Let's say you have 3 kids in diapers for 3 years each; that's $555. Compare that to the disposable numbers at $9000 - $13500!!! Yikes!

In my next post, I will focus on prices in Baja and how my mission will work.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

How It Happened ~

Currently, my Cloth Diaper Mission is in the infancy stage....still in diapers, so to speak (and yes, they are CLOTH diapers!!).
I am but one mama, with two little ones to attend to, so I do need some help! As in my first post, I have had many generous mamas donate diapers to my mission. I have also had many more mamas sell their gently used diapers to me free for shipping (or FFS) or at a reduced price. I know there are many more mamas (and daddies, too) out there that are interested in helping spread the love of cloth near and far.

For right now, I am focusing on Bahia Asuncion, Baja California Sur, Mexico. Why there? It is an amazing community full of the most wonderful people I have ever met. My family and I were fortunate enough to stumble across this remote coastal community and instantly fell in love. It came to our attention that a young mama-to-be there was very interested in cloth diapering her soon-to-be-born baby boy, but was lacking the resources to do so. In a nutshell, the Cloth Diaper Mission was born!!

I began to put my "mommy feelers" out into cyberspace, reading all the for sale or trade (FSOT) threads on my mommy forums and adding a plea for help into my signatures. The offers actually started to trickle in, and soon, I had a pretty hefty newborn stash for this lovely mama-to-be!

So, now that I have had such a great experience with this mama :) I feel inspired to branch out and help every mama in the community of Bahia Asuncion reach "Cloth Diaper Nirvana"!!!

In order to do that, I am asking for the continued support and help from everyone I know, whether on the computer or in real life. I will keep collecting these items so that on every future trip to Baja I will have a lovely stash to pass on :) My ultimate dream in to open up a diaper shop in Asuncion, where I can provide a cloth diaper service to the community at a minimal cost ~ so that even mamas who are intimidated by the "ick" factor of washing can enjoy the benefits of cloth. But, that's another story for another day.

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Cloth Diaper Mission

Because my mission to help cloth diaper one young mama in Bahia Asuncion, Baja California Sur, Mexico was (and is) such a huge success, I have been inspired to continue my mission and cloth diaper the entire community. My hope is to provide enough cloth diapers for every family, alleviating the need for disposables in this remote coastal town. Not only will this help to clean up the town and surrounding areas by elimanating the trash caused by disposables, but it will also help these families save money so that they will no longer have to chose between buying disposable diapers or buying the food necessary to feed their children.

My heartfelt thanks to all the mamas out there that have either donated diapers or sold them to me at a reduced cost to help support my mission. Thus far, there are so many, and there are more out there!! I already have a couple more packages coming for the next stage ~ from as far away as Canada! Eh!!! Your generosity and kindness will be appreciated for many years to come.

I have always hoped to be able to help change the lives of others, and I have finally found a way to do just that. To be able to provide this community with a healthier, more sustainable, and more economical way to diaper their babies is one of those small changes that can make a HUGE impact.