Monday, October 20, 2008

Confession of a Disposable Diaper Junkie

I've been using Pampers. And Huggies. Snug n' Dry. Swaddlers. Gentle Care. We've tried all the brands and all the varieties. The truth is - they work. We've had very few overnight leaks, very few blow outs. And when you can barely stand you are so tired, they are far too convenient. But this is not the commitment I made to raising the Babe. After months of filling landfills with some potent little bombs, I'm finally coming clean. Here is how we got into this mess anyway:

Blame it on St. Vincent: At the hospital
The nurses at St. Vincent's used Huggies - no doubt through an effective marketing arrangement with the manufacturer to get samples into the hands of unwitting new mothers. During my hospital stay, I don't recall changing more than one diaper. And the one time I did change the meconium filled bomb, my older brother (bless him) was there guiding me. Who was I to argue?

Learning the ropes: Week 1
Changing the Babe was like a NASCAR pitstop. I don't actually watch NASCAR so I'm not sure if those cars even stop but whatever the case, we moved swiftly while hollering commands back and forth. Huggies was still the brand of choice. We used the Gentle Care style. I vowed that once his umbilical cord dropped off we'd try something different.

Trying to break the habit: Weeks 2-5
Umbilical cord dropped off. Huggies stayed on.

During week three, I upgraded to a bigger version of Huggies. The guilt started to set in. Maybe I could just use them at night, I thought. Or maybe just on outings when we knew we couldn't manage a mess.

At some point during this period I bought Seventh Generation diapers for newborns. They are the shade of cardboard so they make you feel better about your decision. But (there is always a but), they were rectangle, not at all the shape of the Babe and they continually drooped in the back. I changed so many outfits while he was wearing those that I gave up and gave the rest away.

I then tried Nature Babycare on the recommendation of a friend. I must have been optimistic because I ordered two big bags of diapers and a case of wipes. Here is what I like about this product: "It has an exclusive 100% chlorine free absorbent material and the material against the baby's skin is based on corn instead of plastic like traditional diapers, 100% compostable, breathable and extremely kind for the baby. The packaging is 100% compostable and based on corn." Marketing speak aside, I cannot attest to the efficacy of the product. The diapers are also shaped like rectangles. The marketing team at Kimberly Clark got it right when they created the HUGGIES Brick Baby ad.

(A side note on Seventh Generation and Nature Babycare wipes: I really liked both products. They are both fragrance free and chlorine free. They are also not as wet as conventional wipes which seemed to give the Babe diaper rash. We continue to use the Seventh Generation wipes. In fact, I just bought a massive case from

Have diaper, will travel: Weeks 6-8
We went to Orlando and Miami on two separate trips. How could I possibly start a new diaper routine? I rationalized

Last Spring I wrote about gDiapers , which is a pretty revolutionary concept in diapering. "Little g's" are rewearable pants (think Pull-Ups) and a flushable, compostable insert that can also be tossed after each use because it decomposes in a few hundred days as opposed to 500 years. They are made of 92% cotton, 8% spandex and no elemental chlorine, perfumes or latex. I'd read tons of online conversations between moms who were buzzing that these were a great alternative to disposables. When I was just six months pregnant, I proudly bought a starter kit.

Right around week nine I finally gave the little g's a try. The first few uses were great - no mess. I can't say I used the little swisher stick to flush the insert; I just popped the soiled insert in the garbage. On about the fourth night the Babe had a massive blowout and I promptly gave up. I think the Babe had just outgrown the newborn size which fit up to 12lbs. I found this frustrating because it meant having to buy new little g pants.

Present day
My husband asked me the other day what happened to the little g's. Guilt officially set in. I decided I would not purchase another case of disposables until I really gave this a shot. In case you are wondering, I decided not to cloth diaper before I had the Babe. If I had more space and a place to keep the soiled diapers, I probably would have tried, but with a changing table in the living room and no circulation in our bathroom, this is one compromise I just couldn't bring myself to make.

So now that the Pampers and Huggies have run out, I'm vowing (publicly this time) to give the g's another shot. I just jumped onto the gDiapers site and see they have some very cool new colors. I guess if the environment isn't motivation enough, consumerism may get the better of me.

If you've got ideas for me, or if you've tried other products you think I ought to know of, please drop me a line!

1 comment:

Jami said...

I feel your pain. My youngest is almost out diapers now so I'm sticking with Huggies, BUT if I have #3 I will be using gDiapers. I have a good friend who has been using them since her baby was born in August and she loves them! No huge leaks, just carries an extra outer cover up in her diaper bag and lots of inserts. So there's hope yet for the Babe and gDiapers.