Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Great Diaper Debate

Cloth or disposable? Which should it be?!

There are pros and cons to both options. With disposables, you can go for a "change it and forget it" approach. They are definitely affordable for most of us as well. The main drawback for many is that they are one of the largest contributors to landfills in the country, taking hundreds of years to even begin to break down. This made them "not so hot" in my book. Cloth diapers are 100% reusable, leaving nothing behind in the landfills. However, they are definitely NOT a "change it and forget it" option. You must chose how you will store them once they are soiled. I have yet to come across anyone that washes each diaper after every change, but the fact remains that serious sanitation is a MUST! They are also not the most convenient when it comes to "dirty" pants, especially when the family is out and about. Many a mother has found herself rinsing out a cloth diapers in the mall restroom toilet. The thought of this was all I needed to walk away from this option. My hand in a public toilet? Yeah. Not gonna happen.

In true "Jade" fashion, we embarked upon the journey to find a diaper that would satisfy both me and my husband. Needless to say, it was very long and arduous. We each had different non-negotiables. I wanted an eco-friendly option that didn't call for toilet dipping and my husband wanted a simple diaper that could be tossed when it was dirty. It took lots of digging,  but JACKPOT, I've found two options we can both handle!

 gDiapers came into our lives at the perfect time! This small, but fast-growing, company was started by a husband and wife team that saw the need for an option of diapering for our every-changing lifestyles.  gDiapers describe themselves as a hybrid between cloth and disposable. The diaper consists of an outer cloth gPant (which are very fashionable, might I add), an inner removable plastic liner, and a disposable insert. They allow you the option of changing a diaper and throwing it away when you finish, knowing that it won't sit at the city dump for years to come. The inserts actually breaks down in as little as 60 days. They can be flushed if you want them to dissolve immediately. The wet inserts can also be composted. As far as cons go, from time to time, you'll have a "stinky situation" when you baby has a stinky diaper. If the stool is soft, it can spill into the plastic liner, which will then need to be washed and changed. But fixing this issue takes all of sixty seconds, and you're back in business. Honestly, I've had a few "stinky situations" with traditional disposables, so this wasn't a major con for me. One other issue is that they are a bit more of an initial investment to have enough to use them full-time. But they've developed a few packages and programs to get you started without breaking your budget. It's my favorite diaper we've found, hands down, and the one we use full-time.

Our other staple is a brand called Nature Babycare. These diapers were developed in Sweden by a mom who, simply, cares about the environment. She started her small company and it continues to grow, reaching all across the world. This option was appealing because at first glance, it looks and functions exactly like the disposables we've all come to know. The difference is that they are made from natural and biodegradable materials. They are also continuously evaluating their design and materials to be sure they are moving closer and closer to being 100% biodegradable and natural. For our family, this has been a great alternative to the traditional disposable. I can breath a little easier when we are traveling, at church, or anywhere else where we need to toss and forget it. Nature Babycare also has a wonderful line of eco-friendly baby wipes, and as we approach potty training time, they have flushable wipes and pull-ups. A great find!

In my search over the years, these have been the best options I have come across in the US. I hope that both gDiapers and Nature Babycare can help you breath a bit easier, knowing that we aren't making a mess of our earth. Every little bit helps! And as you can see from the picture, our guy doesn't mind one bit!

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