11 September 2013

diapers part 1

I'm going to tell you about my adventures with trying to make eco-conscious decisions in diapering my children.  It's not going to be pretty because we are basically going to be talking about poop.  I will cover everything else, but I think the unknown of "what happens when they poop" is what can hold a lot of people back from using non-disposables.

When I was living in the USA and pregnant with child number 1, preparing for the impending arrival included choosing a diapering system.  Before doing any research, I had a couple preconceived ideas about diapers:
1. Cloth= I could remember from my childhood the cloth diaper service that my parents used for my brother.  I only have memories of a very stinky diaper pail and pointy diaper pins.  I don't really remember the service coming to collect the diapers, only that the pail was huge and smelly.
2. Disposables= The first thing that came to mind was an image of the diapers stacking all the way to the moon and back, never to degrade.  I think that picture was one of the first things they showed us in the late 80's at school when we started learning about reuse, reduce and recycle.

To help me decide, I actually set about calculating the costs.  Unfortunately we lived in an apartment complex with coin laundry, so that increased my costs quite a lot.  Cloth diapers were not going to save me any money, but they would be an investment in our environment.  However, I didn't go the cloth route because I discovered gdiapers.

Waterproof liner snaps in to cloth diaper cover, flushable insert will go into liner.
This is my oldest diaper cover (2 kids and 5 years) so note the curled velcro and pilling. 

gdiapers use cloth covers over waterproof liners that hold a flushable insert.  Flushable diapers!  I thought it must be too good to be true, but I was impressed that the inserts really did flush.  I found gdiapers just as absorbable as disposables, and didn't require much washing.  The diaper covers rarely got soiled.  The liners didn't get soiled too often and they dry incredibly quickly.  I chose to handwash the liners in a bucket in the tub, then hang them over the shower rod.  Apparently handwashing can cause the elastic to wear down more quickly, but I didn't notice much issue with the elastics until I used cloth inserts (so different inserts and quite a long time later).

Flushing the inserts never was too much of a problem for me.  You are meant to tear the insert so the pulp in the middle can fall into the toilet, then give it all a swish with a special stick they give you, and flush.  I found that I wasn't too keen on dealing with the inserts that had been pooped on, but you have the option not to flush.  The inserts biodegrade, so you can always just throw them away!

A gdiaper in action, pretty cute
The hubby also did a good job with these, which for us is a sign of a convenient system.  We were gifted the starter kit, then just got new cute covers when they were on sale.  diapers.com seemed to have pretty good prices for shipping new inserts, but usually I picked them up at Whole Foods.  There are also forums online where people sell and trade their gdiaper equipment, some getting really crafty and embellishing the covers.

Unfortunately when our child was 7 or 8 months old he developed a rash which would only get better if he was out of the gdiapers.  We tried to get him back in the gdiapers repeatedly after the rash would clear, but even after only 20 minutes in a dry diaper the bumps would start appearing.  We were bummed to stop using them, but saved all our equipment for child 2.  In part 2 of the diaper blog I'll cover how we were able to convert the gdiaper system into a cloth one.