Paper or plastic? Pepsi or Coke? Romney or Obama? Being a Vikings fan or sanity? These are some of the choices that people have to decide about these days. Raising a baby requires many choices as well, and one of the bigger choices is diapers.
Since she has stubbernly decided not be potty trained at birth (how selfish of her), diapers were needed right away. The hospital provided them at the start, but when we got home it was on us. What choice would we make?
The choice of diapers is between disposables and cloth. We try to be a bit green in our house, so on top of recycling plastic bags and drinking soda from cans instead of bottles* we researched cloth diapers. Now at the beginning I listed a number of choices. You may have looked at them and chose a third option. Canvas Bag, Store Brand Cola, not voting, or crazy Jets fan. Or no bag, RC Cola, Ron Paul or depressed Vikings fan. No matter how nice it is to put things into two choices, our choices in life are far more varied.
* Aluminium cans are 100% recyclable, bottles are 60%, this fact was provided by one of those “Did You Know” facts at the movie theater before the trailers started, so you know it’s reliable
Disposables themselves are a number of choices. Which brand? Natural? What kind of disposal system will you use? Cloth is even more nuanced. There are multiple different types of cloth diapers, some with inserts, other not. Are you going to use a service, or wash them yourselves?
Up until birth, our choice was a cloth diaper service. The benefits of cloth are numerous. It’s green(er) than disposable, cheaper, and we get to avoid washing gross diapers. We get a gold star, and I’m pretty sure that somewhere in Dayton they are naming a street after us for saving the planet. Since we didn’t know when we would need to start the service, we decided to wait to call until after we got home.
Those of you who have children know how this is going to turn out. Two days of using disposables at the hospital and two days at home (it was Christmas after all) was all we needed to change our mind.
Now wait a minute. Let’s make a chart. On the left, benefits of cloth, on the right, benefits of disposable:
|Cheaper in the long run||Less bulky|
|No plastic bags||Everyone else is doing it|
|Less diaper rash|
|All natural fabrics|
|Less waste for the landfill|
|Toilet train faster|
How could this happen? How could we be so weak? Well, we only needed to have one benefit on the disposable side to tip the scale to them.
So flipping easy
As first time parents, this benefit is the trump card. After a number of sleepless nights, the crying that isn’t easily diagonosed, and the overall feeling that someday your child will end up on a talk show explaining about how you ruined her life, you gravitate to the easy and known. Disposables. You used them at the hospital and they did the job. With everything else in your life in disarray, why change that horse mid stream?
After a while when the rest of life slows down, the star that is disposables begins to dim. What do you mean we’re out of diapers? Didn’t I buy them last week? What do you mean she’s out grown them? Oh, and we’re out of bags for the diaper pail again? Still, it’s easier, right? Right?
If it had been up to me, we’d still be rocking the disposables. I may pound out this post touting our greenest, but really I would have kept on disposing in the name of ease. What really happened was that I was pulled in reluctantly. I’m glad I was.
There are two more things you can add to the cloth diaper side. First, we have friends who’s daughter is a mear 5 months older than ours. They use cloth diapers. Add Peer Pressure to the list. Don’t get me wrong here. They applied no pressure what so ever. The pressure was self applied, in the form of “If they can do it, can’t we?” Secondly, and probably most importantly, they let us borrow a few sets to try out on our own. This let us test some different types of cloth diaper, and affirmed the answer to the previous question with “Yes, we can do this“.
So if you’re contemplating using cloth over disposable, feel free to ask for advice and know that “Yes, you can do it.”
One little fun note, actually this entire post was generated for this. With the purchase of the diapers from this particular website, you received a free gift with your order. A bar of soap.
Yeah free stuff! You see the problem though, right? No? Well, let me add an object for scale:
Careful not to sneeze around it, lest it might fly away.