Saturday, October 10, 2009

diaper drama

Jude and I had naturally assumed we were going to use cloth diapers. We were both diapered in cloth as babies ourselves. My mom washed her four children’s cloth diapers at home. Jude’s parents used a diaper service. For my first two trimesters, when people asked if we had figured out what we were doing for diapers, our automatic response was always “cloth.” The image of bags upon bags full of disposable diaper waste was unfathomable…Cue drama.

We knew from the start that laundering our own cloth diapers was out of the question. We live in a one bedroom apartment in a brownstone (if you aren’t familiar with Brooklyn, think of the Huxtables on The Cosby Show) with no washer or dryer to speak of in the building. I couldn’t picture us (okay, not ”us”–I’m not going to lie; Jude does the laundry) dragging a big bag of poopy diapers to the laundromat every few days in addition to our regular laundry, not to mention our baby’s. Nope. We knew we were going to be using a diaper service.

The day finally came when I was about five months pregnant that I decided to figure out which diaper service to use. Jude was at work and I sat down at the computer to do some research. First hiccup was that there are a lot of diaper services that cater to Manhattan parents, but not a lot that do Brooklyn. Okay, fine, so I wouldn’t have a lot of choices. I’m over it. I got pretty excited reading about how it works. You just put all your dirty diapers out and get a fresh new load of clean, folded cloth each week. Brilliant. And they are very particular about not using any yucky chemicals in the washing of said diapers. Wonderful.

Anyway, as I was pricing them out, I decided to read some online reviews…this is when I came across a BIG problem: if you don’t have a doorman (apparently, these companies assume that if you’re paying for service, then you’re going to live in a doorman building), you have to be home when the truck comes to exchange your diapers or they will leave and not come back for another week! During this time, you’ll have to scramble to run out and pick up some of the dreaded disposable diapers to last you the week until the truck comes back again which, of course, defeats the purpose of the service you’re paying for (even on a week when you missed your diaper load) in the first place. I was upset for a minute, but then thought to myself: “Okay, fine, I can live with committing to being home during the window they give me for coming…” But no. They don’t give you a window. They give you a day! They may show up at 9 a.m. or they may show up at 5 p.m. You have to be home all day! Not out in the park enjoying the outdoors with your sweet little munchkin, but cooped up in the apartment waiting for diapers! How lame.

Poor Jude got a ridiculous phone call from his hysterical, hormone-crazed pregnant wife crying about diapers. This is how I became the not-so-proud consumer of disposable diapers.

So at this point I have broken down and come to terms with my diaper destiny. Now, which diapers? Since I am feeling bad enough that I am doing disposables at all, I am only considering the “greener” alternatives–Seventh Generation, Nature Babycare, G-Diapers, etc. I had heard horror stories about G-Diapers clogging toilets and ruining plumbing that made me not excited to try them, so I originally went with Nature Babycare for our first case of diapers (well, after the three weeks worth of Swaddlers that Jude swiped from our hospital room).

Honestly, going from the user-friendly Pampers Swaddlers with their dummy-proof yellow stripe that turns blue when the diaper has pee in it to these crunchy (literally), oddly-shaped diapers was a shock to our exhausted new-parent systems. The Nature Babycare diapers have very little contouring, no stretch, and it was a struggle each time I diapered Ruby to get these stiff rectangular diapers comfortably hugging her cute little bottom. I was tempted to throw them out and try a new brand immediately, but couldn’t bring myself to cause even more unnecessary waste, so I waited the two weeks or so that it took to finish the four packs (one case) of diapers. We did get used to them, of course, and they weren’t so bad to put on after a while, but they sure weren’t getting any softer!

The Pampers Swaddlers fit well (left).

The Nature Babycare were stiff and difficult (right).

Finally we started Seventh Generation diapers and found a match for our needs. Softness? Check. No dyes or bleach? Check. Stretchy leg holes and tabs? Check. Ease of putting on? Check. Competitive price? Check. We have been using these for the past few months now and they’ve been working out great. Sure, we’ve had some blow-outs, but I am pretty sure it’s more to do with her super-charged thunder-down-under than the diapers themselves. She was able to blow out the Swaddlers and the Nature Babycares, too!

Seventh Generation got it right!
The diapers themselves are chlorine-free, which is gentler on baby’s soft skin. I have yet (knock on wood) seen the slightest hint of rash or redness on Ruby’s bottom with these diapers. The fact that they aren’t bleached-out with chemicals makes them a more natural, earthy color.

We also use Seventh Generation's wipes. While it is annoying that they recently switched from 80-count refills to 70-count refills with the same pricetag, these wipes have been working out fine for us. Also, for some reason, the new 70-count refill packs smell better (or are more truly unscented) than the old ones, which I often found to smell a little sour.

I have made peace with the disposable diapers…though we are moving in a month’s time, at which point I’m going to reassess the diaper service situation!

For now, this: From one mother to another, M. Nature. I’m so sorry that your baby, Earth, has to suffer for my baby, Ruby, but I have a lot of factors going on here.

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