Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Baby Green Series: Diapering

Happy Earth Day! Today I'm launching a weekly series about how to raise a green baby!

My decision to 'go green' began a few years ago with a desire to help the environment, but in the past two and half years, it has grown into a more personal reason. After discovering research that showed a link between checmicals and endometriosis, a disease that brought so much pain into my life, I decided to dig deeper. Even more importantly, I wanted to make sure that I kept my children far away from as many toxins as I could. I have learned so much in this past three years, and while I haven't made the right choice every time, I feel confident in my efforts. Since I know how daunting of a task it can be to do research on green choices, I've decided to share what I have learned to hopefully save you a couple hours and a few dollars!

The first post is all about diapers and wipes because of the sheer number of we go through in a child's first few years of life!

There are so many options when it comes to diapers, and everyone has a different opinion. Cloth vs disposable? Name brand vs store brand? Sure disposable diapers are easier and more convenient than cloth diapers, but they are bad for the environment (~500 years to decompose!) and often contain synthetic ingredients such as chlorine that aren't good for a baby's sensitive skin.

The green solution- Obviously, I'm going to say cloth diapers, but I know that is not an option for everyone. If cost is the reason, Alva Baby pocket diapers are only around $6. I have one (free shipping, so you can actually purchase one to see if you like them or not), and it keeps up with some of the other more expensive diapers I have. Aside from cost, some people are afraid that it is just plain gross (like my husband). It really isn't as bad as you think. When we are using cloth diapers, I change my son's diapers every two hours instead of three, and throw the liner (and cover if using pocket diapers) into a wet bag that lines a trash can. On the second day, I dump everything into the washer, run a rinse cycle, fill with either towels or clothes and detergent, wash on hot, and rinse the diapers again. Since we live in an apartment, I can't put my inserts out to dry in the sun, so I throw them in the dryer with everything else and hang the covers in the bathroom (I learned not to put them in the dryer after discovering one was starting to peel). Plus, I use bamboo flushable liners so I don't have to deal with rinsing poop.

 If start up cost isn't an issue, Bumgenious diapers get awesome reviews and usually last through many kids! I've ordered my cloth diapers (besides Alva Baby) from The Diaper Junction because they have competitive prices and an awesome reward system.
If you want to cloth diapers but are too squeamish about it, gDiapers might be a good option- reusable diaper covers with flushable inserts.

As far as disposable diapers go, there are some green-baby friendly options out there, and Baby Gear Lab's 'Battle for the Best Disposable Diapers' has a lot of great info. Bambo Nature and Earth's Best are recommended, thanks to their environmental-friendly qualities and lack of chemicals. However, these diapers aren't an option for everyone due to their high price points ($.30- $.45 per diaper). Up & Up (Target Brand) received the Best Value award because of their low price and high performance, plus they are chlorine-free and use wood-pulp fluff for absorption instead of synthetic materials.

We use a combination of cloth and disposable diapers in our house. Since we are on a somewhat limited budget for diapers, I have a mix of cloth diapers that were on the lower price range (Alva baby, Blueberry, Fuzzibunz). For nighttime, when we are out and about, and when Daddy changes diapers, we use Target disposables. While I would love to use Earth's Best diapers, we purchase the Target diapers because they have many green features for a much lower price point. Especially when they are on sale, plus buy two get a $10 gift card, plus on cartwheel, plus a printed coupon!

Have you ever flipped over the back of a package of wipes and read the ingredient list? A majority of the ingredients are things you can't even pronounce i.e. chemicals. This chart provides a great overview of the chemicals found in different brands of wipes, although it may not be up to date since it was created in 2008. I purchased Target wipes for the longest time, assuming they were of the same quality as their diapers, until I realized they contained chemicals such as Iodopropynyl Butylcarbamate, which is more concerning when used as an aerosol but still something I do not want on my son's skin.

The green solution- Instead of purchasing wipes that contains chemicals and add to our landfills, why not make your own all natural and reusable wipes? You could make your own solution, but from what I've read, it is really easy to mess up the proportions and irritate your baby's sensitive bottom. Fortunately, there are drops you can buy, such as Knickernappies and Kissaluvs (don't you love those names) that are free of chemicals. You just mix with warm water and pour over your wipes or use in a spray bottle. They are also cost efficient- you spend about $15 for 50 cups of solution. For the actual wipes, you can purchase cloth wipes, or you can use baby washcloths or even make your own with soft (possibly organic!) fabric squares. There are times when you need disposable wipes, and in that case, you have to read the labels some more. Like I mentioned earlier, Safe Mama has a pretty detailed list of wipes, including green options. I would recommend both Babyganics and Earth's Best, but Earth's Best is definitely the best option. I've actually found that the 'green' wipes are thicker and more durable than the name brand wipes!

I hope you come back next week for bath and body products!

Linking up for Baby Talk.

1 comment:

  1. I love this post! Thank you so much for sharing what you know about what is safest and "greenest" for babies :) I have done some research on the green baby side of things and like how you put it all together. Right now we are using cloth and disposable diapers; I had no idea the Target brand were actually better than some of the other name brand diapers! Wow :) And, I might have to try your wash method for cloth, we are having some issues with ours right now... not fun.