Tuesday, January 18, 2011

OT: A note on diapers

I couldn't say my blog on babyfood was complete until I covered all points of the infant digestive system, so I thought I'd post a note on diapers.  Or, maybe it will just be fun!

Having a baby is, generally, a pretty environmentally unfriendly thing to do.  Reusable cloth diapers have been a manageable way for us to reduce our load on the planet, since disposable diapers have a big "footprint." 

Sam in his handknit wool soakers, 5 months old.
We started out with simple "prefold" diapers (Gerber) underneath plastic pants (Prorap seconds) or wool "soakers" that were knit for us by Sam's crafty grandmother.  These were inexpensive and didn't leak, but we had some problems with diaper rash, and they took more time to put on than disposables.

Later we tried something called a pocket diaper (Fuzzibunz) that had a waterproof outer part sewn to a soft fleece inner part, and between them you stuff a prefold diaper or special absorbent insert.  These were wonderful for quite awhile--very soft on baby, comfy and no rashes, easy and quick to put on--but once he started moving, they were a little bulky.  Sadly, the fleece eventually got some kind of buildup presumably from our hard water and now they repel the pee, and I haven't figured out how to "strip" them to make them absorb again.

After the repelling problem we started using Gdiapers, which are a sort of fabric undies with a little waterproof sling inside that holds something absorbent, either a washable insert or a compostable absorbent pad.  (There are a small truckload of these in my compost bin right now; we will see how well they degrade.)  The Gdiapers have been great--no leaks, quick and easy, and slim and unbulky for my crawler/walker.  Downsides: probably a pricier option than some, they still use resources to make the compostable inserts, and I sometimes worry that the velcro or snaps on the "Gpants" are uncomfortable for him.

I also made my own baby wipes from cut squares of old cotton baby blankets and a solution of water, shampoo and olive oil.  The wipes work better than store bought and get washed up with the diapers.

As for washing, all the diapers go into a separate laundry bin and get washed in hot water, one or two extra loads per week, no soaking or dunking or spraying.  And we keep a pack of unbleached disposables (I like Seventh Generation) for moments when the clean diapers haven't made it to the drawers.  Cloth diapers have been easy, especially compared to other parts of being a new mom, and I would do it again in a minute.

A great resource on cloth diapering is Karen's Cloth Diapering site.

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