Why I love cloth diapering

During my pregnancy, I was a little neurotic.  Okay, I was a lot neurotic.  Some of my family would probably say that I still am.  But, I assure you, it has gotten better.  I know it’s gotten better because I don’t (always) yell at my husband anymore for putting plastic containers in the microwave, I cooked with a nonstick pan last week, and, just tonight, I let Stella lay on a blanket that was dried with a dryer sheet.  See?  Definitely getting better.

I blame my neurosis (which I don’t think is all bad) on the book, “Green This!,” by Deidre Imus, which I read right after I became pregnant.  After I read it, I decided to “go green” with the cleaning products I use in my home.  Though not in detail, the author also made mention of cloth diapering, which sparked my interest.  I was paranoid about all of the chemicals used in disposable diapers being right up against my baby’s skin.  I’m a little bit over that, but I’m still glad I’m cloth diapering for other reasons.

Cost played a big role in our decision to use cloth diapers. Did you know that disposable diapers, on average, cost a family $600 to $700 per year?!  If a child is in diapers for an average of three years, that could cost $2,100.00 in diapers.  DIAPERS.  Diapers that would end up in landfills, which would probably end up making me feel guilty.  Since I’m staying home with Stella and plan to do the same with future babies, we decided the cost factor alone was important enough to us to give cloth diapering a try.  And, I had been trying to green our lives, little by little, for the environment and my family’s health, so that was a plus, too.

I decided that if I was going to do this cloth diapering thing, then I was going to be “all in” from the beginning.  I didn’t want to get accustomed to the ease of disposable diapers and then have a hard time switching to cloth diapers or end up not using them at all.  I made sure my husband was fully on-board — all it took was the line, “It will save us money.”  Then I spent hours agonizing over all of the options that I didn’t even know existed —  all-in-one, all-in-two, prefolds, hybrids, contours — trying to find the diapers I thought would be best for us.  I settled on Best Bottoms and my parents decided they wanted to get us the starter set as shower gift.  Score!  They are AMAZING.  (The diapers and my parents…but I’m talking about the diapers.) Best Bottoms are an all-in-two system and you can go here to see how they work.  I also chose to use the hemp/organic cotton inserts because I figured if I was going green, I might as well go all the way.

My biggest concern, and the one that almost held me back, was the laundry.  I hate laundry.  Everyone says that, but I mean it.  I hate it more than the average person hates it.  I hate, hate, HATE doing laundry.  But, as it turns out, the diaper laundry is actually my favorite laundry to do.  Just toss it all in the washer (generally, every 2-3 days), run a cold rinse, add detergent (I use Charlie’s Soap after having absorbency issues with All Free and Clear), run a hot wash/cold rinse cycle, and pop them in the dryer or hang them in the sun to “bleach” the stains.  No sorting.  No folding.  Easiest. Laundry. Ever.  It’s like laundry for the lazy.

I’m so glad we decided to jump on the cloth diapering bandwagon.  It’s not for everyone, but if it’s something you’re considering, I would highly recommend giving it a try!  How can you resist this cloth-diapered cuteness?!

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Adopting a new definition of “clean”

We all know the basics of what pregnant women need to avoid — alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, etc.  But, we don’t often think of the other potentially harmful things we eat or otherwise come into contact with that could effect our unborn babies.  Deli meat, for example.  Pregnant women are now advised to avoid deli meat  (unless heated until steaming) due to possible exposure to the listeria bacteria which can cause preterm labor, miscarriage, or stillbirth.  I mentioned this to a friend of mine who has a 4 year old and she didn’t remember this being a recommendation when she was pregnant just a short time ago.

New research is surfacing and things are constantly changing.  It makes me wonder what other “common” activities, foods, and chemicals are harmful that we just aren’t yet aware of.  Bringing a baby into the world makes me even more concerned about it.

This concern is what has prompted me to switch to organic cleaning products.  I’m currently reading the book, “Green This!” by Deirdre Imus.  Did you know that some chemicals used in household cleaners have been found in umbilical cord blood and have the ability to cross the placenta?  That really freaks me out, because the placenta is kind of a big deal.  It protects our babies from all sorts of harmful things, but some substances are just too much for it and they can cross it and harm a baby.  These super harmful substances include things like alcohol, drugs, and cigarette smoke, so it’s interesting that we are “cleaning” our homes with chemical-based products that can prove just as harmful as the substances that most of us wouldn’t dream of exposing ourselves to during pregnancy.

I’m beginning by getting rid of all the non-organic cleaners in my home, which, admittedly, is most of them.  I switched to using Mrs. Meyer’s Clean Day products, which I love.  However, while some of the products are reasonably priced, some are a little too expensive for me to buy on a regular basis.  So I am also exploring making my own cleaning products out of all natural products like borax, lemon juice, vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, olive oil, and baking soda.  It’s amazing how much less expensive it is to make my own cleaning products and I have the added benefit of peace of mind knowing that I can clean my home without posing any unnecessary harm to my family.

The first homemade product I made was laundry detergent and I love it!  Here’s the recipe:

1 cup Borax

1 cup Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (in laundry aisle)

1 bar Ivory soap, grated

a few drops of essential oil (optional) – I used lavender

Mix all of the ingredients and store in an airtight container.  From what I understand, this detergent will work in high efficiency washers, too.  You only have to use 1 tablespoon per load, so it lasts a really long time!