While pregnant, my boyfriend and I decided to put our future daughter in washable diapers. I was so surprised when my friends with children all laughed and told me that I wouldn’t even last 2 weeks with them before switching to disposables! I looked at them sideways, smiled myself, and responded with “we’ll see!”
Why, you might ask? Aside from the ecological reasons for hating disposables, I hate the way that they are made. I hate the fact that they don’t have elastics on the top of the diaper the way that my washable ones do. You see, my daughter seems to consistently poop upward. When in washable diapers, the elastic stops the poop from coming out of the diaper. But when we’re out and she’s in disposables, she’s always making a mess of her clothes! And if you’re a mom, or have even tried washing baby clothes, there is nothing more difficult to wash out than baby poop (in fact, do any of you have any tricks for getting out the poop on coloured clothes? Bleach works well on whites, but what do you do on the other colours?)
If you’ve ever been to the public pool and seen a diaper explode from having absorbed too much water, you’d see how many chemicals they put in those disposables in order to make them thin enough and absorbent enough… I have to wonder how good it is for my baby’s skin to be constantly sitting on all of those chemicals. I know it won’t kill her, but when you compare to reusable diapers, which are made completely from natural fibres, I would much prefer my daughter to be sitting on bamboo fibre!
Finally, why do they make those diapers smell like baby powder? I know they make non-scented ones, but the ones I received as gifts smell super strong! I mean, as women, we are told not to buy feminine hygiene products that are scented because they can cause irritations… so why do we put them on our babies?
I know that washable diapers aren’t the best solution for some parents and that’s cool by me! However, if you’re considering them, but are afraid that they might be too much work, or too gross, I encourage you to go to a store that is specialized in reusable diapers and see if you can find the right ones for you! A great store to check out is Calins et Popotin (there are three stores in and around Montreal). All of the personnel are moms and dads who have used these products, so they have firsthand experience on how to use the diapers. Also, they don’t get commission on the diapers which means that they won’t push more expensive models on you so that they can make more money at the end of the month. Their goal is to find the right models and solutions for you, and according to what you are ready to spend. They also have a broad range of locally made products, and have prolonged warranties on these models. This is where I shopped for my diapers, and I was amazingly satisfied with their services!!
There also exist washable diaper services that you might want to check out. If you want to use washable diapers but don’t have the time, energy or motivation to wash them every week, for a reasonable cost (and still less expensive than using disposable diapers), they come and pick up your dirty diapers and leave you with some clean ones every week.
Finally, if you still want to use disposable diapers but are looking for a more environmental choice, you might want to check out The Honest Company – Rachelle’s “swoon” brand. Their diapers are plant-based, non-toxic and perfume-free, and they contain a BIO-based wheat/corn super-absorbent core reducing the need for SAP gel. Oh, and they come in the cutest prints. Sadly, for the moment they only deliver to the States 😦 but they’ve announced that they are working on delivery to Canada! Once they do, set yourself up with the monthly delivery system, which means never having to go out to buy diapers again. (They also have a slew of great non-toxic body products. Try not spending too much.)
Here are some interesting things about washable diapers that you might not have known:
- You don’t have to pre-soak the diapers. With the new fibres that are used in the linings, all you have to do is dump them into your washer, with a tablespoon of a specific soap (which is very inexpensive and is sold at your local baby product store), and start your washer! Don’t use bleach, fabric softener or stain remover since these products can add oils to the fabric that will prevent it from properly absorbing.
- You don’t actually have to touch the baby poop to put it in the toilet. For very little money (4$ for 100), you can buy very thin papery liners that you just throw into the toilet. They even make some for septic tanks.
- The best way to get rid of the stains on the diapers is to put them out on a clothes line in the sun. But don’t worry – your diapers are just as clean, even with the stains on them.
- There are many different models of diapers, and it’s best to buy a few different kinds. As your child grows, he or she might fit better in different models.
- Most diapers are made with snaps on them that allow the diapers to grow with your child. There is therefore no need to buy different models for different sizes.
- It’s best to wash the diapers in cold water (or start the first soak on cold and then switch to warm) since hot water will “cook” the poop onto the diapers! So for all of you worried about your electric bill, it won’t cost you much more.
- Washable diapers are good for 1 ½ children. However, if you’re good at replacing elastics, they can last even longer! That means huge savings on poop management every year!!
- Here’s a tip: if you’re buying washable diapers and are planning on having more than one kid, try not buying too many gender-specific diapers so that they can be used with both genders.
All in all, I always thought that washable diapers would be so much more work than they actually are. Having to pop them into the washer and then dryer requires less work then washing my clothes or the baby’s since you don’t have to separate colours, or pre-treat them, or iron them… Don’t be too afraid of the work!
And hey, with the money that we’ve saved, we’ll be able to travel this summer with our family! And that makes it all worth the extra work :).