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As I eagerly anticipated the arrival of my first-born son, I debated the merits of whether or not to use cloth diapers or disposable diapers.
I recalled a conversation I once had with an attorney for whom I previously worked, and she belabored the fact that people needed to do their share for the environment. "I think every parent should use cloth diapers," she opined. "It is our duty to protect our environment from the overflow of unnecessary waste." So firm in her opinion on the matter, I decided that I, too, would do my part.
As luck would have it, I received as a shower gift free diaper service for several weeks. This proved to be such a wonderful gift. Each week, I would receive 80 cloth diapers, more if I needed them, and then each week the used ones would be picked up as the new, clean load was dropped off. I was also provided with a nice diaper pail into which the used diapers would go. I was provided my first set when I opened my gift. When I got home from the shower, I neatly stacked these diapers on the changing table and took pride in the fact that I would soon be contributing to my environment and not be filling up our landfills. I knew the task would not be easy, or convenient for that matter, but, taking into consideration my co-worker's opinions, I felt it was the best thing to do.
Reality then hit. Two weeks into this ordeal, I soon discovered that with a newborn, eighty diapers per week were not enough! I needed more! I not only used them to diaper my son, but I used them to clean up various leaks. At night, I learned to do what I called the "double-bagging" technique. I would put TWO cloth diapers on my son, followed by the plastic overwrap. This afforded extra protection from nighttime leakage. However, there were often many leaks, and these meant frustrating trips to the laundry room and endless nighttime changes of my son. Still, I reassured myself that I was not emptying hundreds of dirty disposable diapers into the trash. My husband reminded me, however, that I was running the washing machine endlessly and using vast amounts of detergent to keep up with my environmental cause.
I managed to maintain this routine for a year. The only time I would use disposable diapers was when I ran errands with my son, or if he was at Grandma's for an evening. Obviously, I did not want Grandma to have to deal with the chore of cloth diaper duty. Granted, she did the cloth diaper routine years ago when disposable were just coming onto the scene, but now was not the time to reintroduce her to this laborious method of keeping my baby's bottom dry!
When my first-born son was 9 months old, I discovered I was pregnant with my second child. This presented a challenge to me: Do I continue on with my cause for yet another year, or do I surrender to the disposable ease? I continued to diaper my oldest child in cloth diapers until he was just over a year. At that time, I alternated between the cloth and disposable, dropping my service down...
Author: Ann Butenas
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