Archive for the ‘Diapers’ Category

Ok so it’s been a few days and we have collected 7.5 lbs of diapers to go to the recyler. This is crazy I never would have thought that it could add up so fast. We have been using the Tushies as this is one of the brands that they will compost on site. They have been pretty good only a couple explosions. We are going to try Seventh Generations next week to see how they do. It’s been so easy to collect and store and making a trip out once every couple of weeks is routine. 

Looking forward to Monday weigh in with our veggie compost, diapers and now green cone waste it’s going to seem like we have hardley anything to put on the curb. Ya Goyan Team…


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Diaper companies don’t want you to know it, but there’s a greener option than the typical contenders in the cloth versus disposable diaper debate. Early potty training. That said, cloth can facilitate early potty training, so combining the two can be significantly better for the environment than either cloth or disposables alone; you just use fewer diapers.

Elimination Communication (”EC”), Infant Potty Training, Natural Infant Hygiene, Potty Whispering… all sorts of names cover what used to be, and still in some cultures, are common social practices that help babies eliminate in the right places. Contrary to beliefs in the U.S., babies can understand when they need to eliminate, and can learn to go on cue–a practice allowing parents worldwide to carry babies diaperless because they know how to time and watch for elimination cues. And it’s not nearly as weird or hard as it sounds.

I stumbled upon “EC” in a mother-baby support group. The mother’s baby had been having reflux problems and had heard that EC could help. It did, but I was interested because it seemed wonderful to use less diapers.

I never read a book on EC or infant potty-training, but just learning the general philosophy and guidelines allowed me to get my kids out of diapers by 18 and 19 months. And, my second daughter used about 1/3 less diapers than my first because we started at birth; she used the potty rather than diapers whenever I could get her to it.

But my favorite part of potty communication was not the environmental benefit. It was that my children LOVED it. They were pleased and excited because they were able to communicate with me about something so fundamental to their very physical existence…before they could to do so verbally.

Because we started potty communication before my girls were a year old, the “I want to do it my way” 2-year-old independence had not yet budded. We therefore skipped what for most families becomes one of the hallmark power struggles of parenting. My eager-to-please baby girls were not just “ready” for potty training, but thrilled to do it because it made me happy.

So here are the guidelines I followed to potty train early. (I’d be described as a “partial EC’er” because I practiced EC most but not all of the time. The girls wore cloth and even disposables part-time because my goal was to create communication around elimination, providing easy freedom to take the children out and about, or to focus on a given task without interruption when I needed to.)

1. Give my signals: I started giving Chloe a word for “pee pee” and “poo” as soon as she was born. Whenever she peed or pooped, I’d tell her.
2. Watch the timing: I used a cloth diaper without a cover on Chloe to notice the frequency of her peeing. (Pooping is very obvious!) Usually about 5 minutes after nursing, she peed, and I’d just say the word. I would immediately change her diaper so she was not accustomed to feeling wetness on her skin.

3. For several months, that’s all I did.

4. Place baby on the potty: As Chloe developed the ability to sit up on her own, I began placing her on the potty when she indicated she needed poop. And, about 5 minutes after nursing, I’d sit her on the potty and entertain her for a few minutes. Usually, she would pee and I’d tell her what a good job she was doing. She loved it. I’d also place her on the potty when I used it and found it often helped her do the job.

5. As Chloe began to walk around 11 months, I kept her diaperless in the house. As soon as there was a sign she needed to use the potty, I’d take her. There were, however, many accidents on the floors (thankfully hardwood) during this time. I used the accidents to reinforce my potty words and then put her on the potty. This was the time when parents told me they “couldn’t do it” because of the messes. For me however, a few months of easily-cleaned-up wood floor instead of messy diapers, was well worth no poopy diapers in the following months and years

6. As Chloe hit 14-15 months, I noticed that she preferred to have her own small potty next to my big potty, and that if she could get to it herself, she was happier. We relaxed into a new phase of training in which she initiated more of the potty sessions, but I reminded her regularly and gently rebuked her if she went on the floor after I’d reminded her to try on her potty. Before an outing, we’d try to use the potty in advance. If she succeeded, I’d dress her in panties and pack an extra pair of pants for any accidents. On days when I was rushed, she’d just wear diapers.

7. Diaper-Free at 19 months! It wasn’t long before Chloe was gleefully shouting out “PEE PEE!” on her own, and urging me to rush to the potty with her. At 21 months, she’s traveling on planes, in cars, in her jogger, and even sleeping through most nights dry.

As I mentioned, I’m no expert on Elimination Communication. I just do a lot of research and follow my instincts and in this fantastic, but sometimes messy, parenting adventure. Feel free to share your own tips or thoughts on early potty training below in comments!

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What are the environmental benefits to using cloth versus disposable diapers? What types of cloth diapers are available?

The following information comes from Environment Canada’s knowledgeable specialists who answer questions about wildlife, air pollution, water, weather, climate change and other aspects of the environment:

Many Canadian parents favour disposable diapers as a quick and convenient choice. Others opt for reusable cloth diapers as an environmentally sound alternative. One thing is certain – the diapering industry has transformed over the years and the debate over cloth versus disposables continues.

A Brief History of Diapers

Diapers have existed, in one form or another, since ancient times. Cultures from around the world have used a variety of materials at their disposal; moss and sealskin (Inuit), grass and rabbit skin (Native American), and swaddling bands (European), among others. Cloth diapers started being mass-produced in the late 19th century. It was only during World War II, that the diaper service was introduced to deliver fresh, clean diapers to working mothers.

The Birth of the Disposable Diaper

Single-use diapers first appeared on the market in the early 1960s. The modern disposable diaper in North America is most often credited to Marion Donovan, a mother in the 1950’s. Donovan invented the “Boater,” a plastic cover, made from cutting up a plastic shower curtain and sewing in some absorbent material. Her invention came at the start of the baby boom. Initially, companies weren’t interested in her product, so she started her own business and was later able to sell her company for a tidy profit.

Disposable vs. Cloth – the Diaper Debate

Before disposable diapers were introduced, all babies in North America were diapered in cloth. Within 10 years of the arrival of disposable diapers on the market, the number of cloth diaper users quickly dwindled to a mere 10 per cent.

While disposable diapers have made some progress in recent years to become less damaging to the environment – including a decrease in the amount of materials used, the introduction of more degradable materials and recent advances in diaper recycling – they still represent a burden to municipal landfills and continue to deplete natural resources.

The reusable nature of cloth diapers reduces the solid waste problem, but creates other environmental concerns. The concerns raised with cloth diapers are water and air pollution, mainly the water and energy used to wash and dry them. This concern is particularly relevant in areas with water shortages and in third-world countries where water is less available. Another concern is the higher level of wastewater particulates associated with using cloth diapers.

Home laundering of cloth diapers produces greenhouse gas and other emissions from energy consumption in the dryer. Line-drying diapers when possible can help to offset these emissions.

The waste from the cloth diaper is properly treated as sewage, while disposable diapers in landfills can be a breeding ground for a wide variety of viruses, including Hepatitis B and Polio from vaccines given to newborns. Also, the effluents from the disposable diaper manufacturing process (plastic, pulp and bleached paper) are more damaging to the environment than the cotton and hemp growing and manufacturing process.

Making the Right Choice

Parents must choose a diapering system that is best suited for their baby, their lifestyle, their financial situation and their environmental concerns.

Evaluating the best diaper also depends on local conditions. Geographic and environmental concerns specific to an area including water supply, water and air pollution, and solid waste disposal could impact on the decision. Combining diapering methods, with cloth for home and disposable away from home is an alternative for families who want to be environmentally responsible while balancing their other life demands.

 Fast Facts:

  • Even when using disposable diapers, the contents should be emptied into the toilet so that the waste can be properly treated.
  • In the first two years, the average baby will require between 5000 to 7000 diaper changes.
  • Disposable diapers in landfills can prevent water from soaking to the ground.
  • Washing a load of diapers once or twice a week is roughly equivalent to flushing a toilet five times a day for a week.
  • Cloth diapers encourage babies to potty train faster than disposables, because with disposable diapers, the babies seldom feel any wetness or discomfort.
  • Using too much detergent when washing cloth diapers can cause build-up, reducing the absorbency.
  • Over four million disposable diapers are discarded in Canada per day.

Cloth Diapers – the Basics

Prefold diaper with cover.
Prefold diaper with cover.

Velcro or snap closings have done away with pins, making modern cloth diapers as easy to change as single-use disposable diapers. There are three main designs to choose from. The simplest type of cloth diaper is called a Chinese Pre-fold. It is a rectangular cloth stitched to have multiple layers of fabric in the middle for absorbency. While it can be tricky to fold, it is the most affordable and is the easiest to wash and dry.

The fitted diaper is another choice that is similar but is fastened with snaps or Velcro and doesn’t require any folding. These come in a variety of sizes and fabrics like cotton or hemp, and are more expensive than Chinese Pre-fold diapers. Both Pre-folds and fitted diapers require a waterproof cover that goes over the diaper to keep the baby’s clothes from getting wet.

The All-in-One – Custom-fit diaper incorporates a waterproof outer cover with an absorbent inner layer of fabric – in one convenient, easy-to-use unit. It is generally fastened with Velcro or snaps. It is the easiest diaper to use, and often the most expensive. Because of its waterproof backing, it tends not to allow as good air circulation, clean as easily or dry as quickly as two-piece systems.

There are many benefits to using cloth diapers. As cotton allows air to circulate freely, cloth diapers are more comfortable for babies. They are also re-usable, which offers a considerable cost-savings and helps protect the depletion of natural resources. Since cloth diapers that are home washable and reusable are eligible for the EcologoM, Environmental Canada has recognized them as a superior choice to disposable diapers.


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