Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Parents in Poverty: A diapering dilemma

It's an astounding statistic and it really fires people up-especially people who cloth diaper. 

There are many disposable diaper companies that raise money and awareness to donate diapers to this cause, but it's like the saying: 

If you give a man a fish he will have a single meal.
If you teach him how to fish, he will eat all his life.-- Kuan-tzu (Chinese Philosopher)

I say this because giving one family here and there disposable diapers isn't helping them to diaper their child for 2 1/2 years, the average amount of time a child wears diapers. 

There are many debates that go along with this. Some people say if you can't afford to have a child, you shouldn't. Well, that may be true, but surprises happen. Others think the government should provide diaper programs similar to WIC or welfare, which stirs up a whole different type of controversy. Then, there are those who say if a person can't afford to use disposables, they can't afford to use cloth.

I disagree. 

There are many types of cloth diapers, the cheapest being prefolds and covers-basically what our parents and their parents used, but nicer than plastic pants-which are still available.

This chart shows a breakdown of the cost to use cloth. Basically, it costs $0.06 per diaper change to use cloth vs. $0.25 per disposable. With the average baby going through 6,000 diapers before they are potty trained, the difference is significant-$1,140. Personally, I can think of many ways to use that money!

Many people don't  have access to a washer/dryer in their home, however. The cost of doing laundry in a laundromat is expensive at $4+ per load. What should these parents do?

Growing up, I remember my mother doing laundry in the bathtub. It was something we needed and it had to get washed one way or another. There are parents that choose to cloth diaper and wash each diaper after wearing. That may not work for everyone, but it is an option. If families have to use a laundromat, I would definitely air dry my diapers to save the dryer costs. 

People then argue that parents who can't afford disposable diapers, probably don't have time to hand wash cloth ones. We are really assuming here. I know many people who choose to stay at home because they have multiple children and it wouldn't make sense financially for them to put their children in daycare-they would pay more than they would make. It's a lose-lose situation. 

I don't know what the answer is here. My point is that if a parent can't afford to use a new disposable each time they change a diaper so that they have to 'wash' it out, they might as well use cloth because it will actually become clean when they wash it.

I would love to hear other people's thoughts on this sad issue. 

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Children Are Our Future

The title is kind of a tongue twister isn't it?

As a teacher, I have said this saying many times, but now as a parent, it means even more to me. 

As a newbie in the world of blogging, I joined a writer's workshop hoping to improve my skills so people will actually want to read what I'm putting down. 

My first assignment: Write about a quote that means something to me. Well, there are tons of quotes that I have enjoyed over the years, but I wanted something that would pertain to my topic on this blog. I asked my friends on Facebook for their favorite quote, and out of my 200+ 'friends' I got three responses. Okay. So I turn to someone who is always there for me, my good friend, Google. I searched for environmental quotes and read through only a few before this one gave me goosebumps:

Because we don't think about future generations, they will never forget us.  ~Henrik Tikkanen

Deep, isn't it?

Anyone that knows me personally, knows I'm a bit of an environmentalist. I try my best to make good choices so that our Earth remains in tact for our future. 

Do you remember that movie, Wall-E? I took my nieces to see it in the theater and I am one of the only people I know who really enjoyed it. I was entertained and it opened my eyes even wider to the problems we are facing if we continue to abuse our Earth like we do now. 

When Jaelyn was two months old, we went on a two week vacation to visit family and friends in Oklahoma and Texas. I was nervous to use cloth diapers and travel so I decided that it would be easier to use disposables. Boy, was I mistaken!!

Almost as soon as I got to my aunt's house, Jaelyn had a blowout-her very first poop outside of the diaper experience. Disgusting, dirty and embarrassing! This was some of my family's first time meeting our baby and she was a stinky mess!

During the week, the trash was overflowing with used diapers and I could see how much actual waste paper diapers cause. Taking out the trash once a day and making sure I had enough diapers on hand so that I didn't have to run to the store was very annoying. 

The following week was more of the same-blowouts, washing little baby outfits in the sink, and taking out the trash. I was so ready to go home and use my cloth diapers again by the end of the trip.

I wonder if parents who use disposable diapers because they think the laundry is a hassle, or the poop will be too gross, or they are scared of leaks in public look into the future to imagine what the world will be like for their children. Most people say they want what is best for their kids' future, but it seems that's true as long as it's not an inconvenience today.

What would you rather look at? 

Disposable diapers at a dump

Jaelyn's diapers line dried on our second vacation in Oklahoma

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Lazy Launderer?

A common reason people say they won't use cloth is the laundry. The laundry is already piling up, spilling out over the basket, covering the floor, and a host of random missing items have made their way into the mess. Why would anyone want more laundry to do?

Diaper laundry is not in the same category as your regular laundry. 

First, you don't have to sort it. You take your pail liner or wet bag, put it in the washer and turn it inside out. You don't even have to touch a dirty diaper. You wash your diapers-there are many ways to wash cloth, and most people have their own routines, so we won't get into that now. 

Once your diapers are washed, you dry them. I personally like to dry my diapers outside. This is a little extra work for me as I have to lay them out instead of just shoving them in the dryer, but it makes me feel better about my carbon footprint. Luckily, I live in the desert, and my diapers dry faster outside anyway.

After my diapers are dry, I have to stuff them. That means I put the microfiber insert (absorbent part) into the diaper (waterproof part.) This may take a few minutes, but I do it when my daughter is playing in the room and sometimes she helps. 
Jaelyn sitting in the basket of clean diapers 'helping' with the laundry-4 months old.
When they are stuffed, I put them into the baskets which are under her changing table and they are ready to be peed and pooped in again.

The important thing to remember about diaper laundry is that if you don't do it, you don't have diapers readily available to put on your child. You can leave clean socks, shirts, underwear and pants in a pile on top of your guest bedroom bed for a week, and nobody will be inconvenienced too much. If you run out of clean diapers, you might have a naked baby running around the house. That's okay here-I have tile.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Going Bananas!

A couple of weeks ago, I went to change a stinky diaper and I found the grossest poo since my daughter first began solids. It was almost a blowout which made me so glad I use cloth! 
After cleaning up the bombed area, I had to go use the diaper sprayer for the very first time. I had been so lucky for the last three months of solid food and now I had to face the inevitable. Disgusting, but necessary. Before cleaning the diaper though, I decided to take a picture and send it to my husband, Lee, at work-just so he knew what I was dealing with at home. 

Lee and I debated what could have caused this. We decided it must have been the black beans I gave her when we went to Chipotle for dinner the night before. Sure enough, she had another explosion, and after a quick inspection, those little black beans were there. 

For a couple of days, these types of diapers appeared and had to be dealt with. I got worried it could be some sort of illness, so we called the doctor and took her in.

What an interesting experience to say the least! Trying to explain baby poo to the doctor was not an easy task! 

Dr: Was it more like water or peanut butter? 

Me: In between.

Dr: Was it like apple sauce? 

Me: Kind of, but not that runny. 

Dr: What do her normal poops look like?

Lee: Twinkies

Dr: Are they soft or are they hard?

I answer soft and Lee answers hard.

Dr: If you squished them with your finger, would they crumble or are they more like peanut butter?

Me: They would squish if I were to stick my finger in there.

Dr: So her poops are normally...
Lee: Like a Snickers

Me: Could we please stop using food I like to eat to describe her poops?

Dr: If the poops aren't watery, it's not diarrhea.
Lee: Show her the picture.

I bust out my phone and find the picture of the very first explosion our baby had. The doctor is very excited we took a picture and upon inspecting it she tells us this is in the normal range for bowel movements. This is not diarrhea. If we want her to stop having these types of bowel movements, we needed to go back to the diet she had previously eaten. 

So I thought: What has changed in her diet?? I came to the conclusion that, among other things, she hadn't had as many bananas as usual lately, so I decided to buy some.

As soon as she had a banana, her diaper changes were normal again! I didn't need to use the sprayer, I could just plop that thing in the toilet and flush it away. This was good. I was beginning to worry about what to do because Jaelyn was starting to take an interest in the toilet, and I cannot be having that!

The bad thing is, I'm out of bananas again. Time to go grocery shopping!  

Friday, March 18, 2011

The beginning of Bum Luxury

After eight months of cloth diapering my baby and sharing all about cloth diapers online and to friends at parties, gatherings and mom’s groups, I finally decided to get paid for these advertisements.

When I first got pregnant I had many questions, and like many people who have questions, I turned to Google. Through my wanderings and wonderings (yes, I know it’s not a real word) I came across Babycenter, a website that became a close friend of mine and stuck with me even after I ventured into the world of motherhood.

Who knew there were so many debates on parenting? I always thought you tried your best and that was that. Boy, was I wrong! Breastfeeding vs. formula, co-sleeping, cry it out, vaccinations, circumcision, inducing labor, epidural vs. natural childbirth, and on and on. I have my own opinions on these topics of course, but the debate that I was undecided about for most of my pregnancy was the disposable vs. cloth diaper argument.
Cloth diapers? Who used those? Nobody I knew had used cloth in the last, well, since I was a baby. Why would people use cloth now? What had changed since I was a child to fuel such a debate?

Now, I must tell you, I consider myself quite the environmentalist. Reducing my carbon footprint is a huge factor in how I live my life so finding the answers to the questions was a huge priority during my pregnancy. How could I, the Green Team teacher, be a hypocrite and use disposable diapers if there were cloth options available?

My research began on the Babycenter Cloth Diaper Board. And then I was lost. Completely lost. What in the world was a BG, FB, BSRB, HH, OS, AIO, AI2, fitted, flat, etc? It still seems a bit foreign to me. So I started at the beginning and asked a ton of questions. When I finally started to understand what all the acronyms meant, another woman I worked with started talking about using cloth with her baby! I was so amazed. Someone in real life knew about cloth diapers!

She introduced me to a local store and my husband and I took a cloth diaper class. It was so important that my husband went because he looked at me with the same look everyone else gave me when I mentioned that I was thinking about using cloth on my baby. He thought I was crazy. That all my years of making him recycle had really turned me into some crazy environmentalist lunatic. Well, he sure has changed his tune now!

Not only was he impressed that we would save hundreds if not thousands of dollars using cloth, he was glad he wouldn’t have to ever go to the store and buy diapers again. After learning about all the types of diapers, he was the one in the store trying the diapers on their teddy bear. He loved how soft the Fuzzibunz diapers were and we were both amazed at the adjustable elastic in the legs and waist. We were sold. I had finally committed to using cloth with my child.

I could not be happier with my choice. My husband is an advocate now too. I love that he defends our choice to his coworkers and comes home to tell me about it. The lack of blowouts and last minute rushes to the store are his favorite points to make. I think with a little more encouragement, we will have some friends in cloth soon!

Bum Luxury was created to share the love of cloth diapers and show people that they can be just as convenient, if not more, as today’s disposable diapers. We hope to educate others about the choices available today and convert more homes to cloth.