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The Final Frontier: Cloth Diapers




OK, it's not the final frontier. And I actually do have bigger fish to fry when it comes to becoming greener, but I never even considered cloth diapers until this past week.

We are in the midst of yet another heat wave (people tell me it's unusual for the area, but don't they ALWAYS say that about extreme weather? and then they say it again a month later?). Our small house (exposed on all sides with no tree cover) is apparently an adobe oven that has almost no air flow despite the ceiling fan in the kitchen, all the windows open and 3 fans going. I usually feel 10 degrees warmer than everyone else since I began nursing, so I get hot easily. So I have a lot of sympathy for my baby who also gets hot and sweaty a lot.

And I've been thinking, do I want that impermeable piece of plastic who-knows-what on his bottom all day every day? I've read stuff about the scrotum being slightly hotter in disposables (than cloth) and it affecting fertility. I don't know if that's true or how legitimate those studies are, but it seems plausible and it sure must be uncomfortable regardless. So I'm considering cloth diapers for the FIRST TIME EVER.

Despite my green efforts beginning a year ago (when baby #1 was born), I had never previously reconsidered my choice to use disposables, although I've practically reexamined every other choice that affects the baby. You see, I have a sister with many kids who uses cloth, and she dunks them in the toilet with her bare hands and I just think that is GROSS! Maybe I'll end up doing that someday, but that cannot be the defining image in my mind as I embark on this endeavor.

Luckily for me, there are so many cloth diaper alternatives out there, and many people say they have NEVER dunked a diaper in the toilet (music to my ears). My sister expressed skepticism that I would switch to cloth (based on my squeamishness about toilet dunking), but I have risen to the occasion about many other things, and I dearly want to make the change. I understand well the water vs. landfill issue, especially since it was our first practice case in my public policy program, but I definitely believe cloth is healthier and more natural for the baby. Also, it just feels more self-sufficient to me. Plus, it's cheaper!!!

Most of all, I am inspired by women bloggers who say using cloth is no sacrifice and no big deal. However, the information on cloth diapers and the millions of options out there is completely overwhelming. More on what I discovered in my next post.