My “natural, whenever possible.” focused mind has been toying with the idea of cloth diapers all along but I simply haven’t wanted to deal with the mess and extra work. I’ve got enough on my plate and I deserve for something to be easy!
I knew disposables are said to have “bad” chemicals and after my husband and I did the math, we were aware of how much money we would be saving long term but I still had time to procrastinate on the decision since Gavin was too small for cloth for a long time. At his 3 lbs. birth weight, his first diaper was a size “micro preemie” which is about half the size of a post card and that was actually too big for him. They do sell cloth sets in size newborn but he was far from even fitting newborn and I didn’t want to invest in a whole set for the relatively short period of time that they would fit him.
If you’ve ever dabbled in the world of cloth diapers, you’ll understand why I felt overwhelmed and unprepared by the idea of committing to investing in a brand/style.
I asked my natural loving mom friend so many questions that I’m surprised she hasn’t blocked me (yet) and I also did A LOT of research on my own to learn about what I would use IF I were to eventually go that route. As I started to understand the lingo (which is basically like instantaneously being thrown into an advanced foreign language class!) and even tried a few options. I still felt overwhelmed and honestly, I was relieved when my top choice, Grovia All in Two’s with the hook and loop velcro closure, was still too big for him. He looked like he got eaten by a teletubby and massive leaks were inevitable. We would simply have to wait on cloth diapering. Darn 😉
Fast forward a few months. Gavin is 5 months old, 11 lbs. and has just grown into size one diapers. We got back the blood test results about Gavin’s hormone levels (he was born with hypospadias and needs a repair). They look good but he will still need testosterone he will need testosterone therapy before his repair. The only other thing we can do in the meantime is support normal hormone function by avoiding hormone disruptors. It seems like it’s time to face the music and look more closely at what we can realistically do to help him have the best chance for happy hormones, long term.
Are disposable diapers really that bad? Are the cloth diaper moms just dooms day preppers who are blowing this whole thing out of proportion? Before I make my life harder, I’m going to need to find out the truth for myself.
In my research, I have not targeted any specific disposable brand. If you’re looking for brand specific info, just look up the ingredients of the brand you’re interested in. I know the natural ones are supposed to be better but it really doesn’t matter enough for me to hard core look into each brand because even if you can find a diaper company that passes all the ingredients tests, the best brands are very expensive for everyday use.
So far, my research concludes that most disposable diapers contain chemicals that could cause adverse skin reactions, cancer, asthma, and hormone disruption.
It might seem like it’s not a big deal or the exposure isn’t enough to make a difference but I think that we all have noticed an increase in these sorts of illnesses in our society and that we have enough research to show that chemical exposure is definitely part of the problem. Some of the main offending chemicals are Dioxins, Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl-tin (TBT) and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). That’s a good list to reference if you’re just trying to learn what to avoid. If you want to know more about WHY then read on.
Dioxins- are a broad name used to umbrella hundreds of chemicals; there are about 30 that are the most harmful to people. They are rated as more dangerous because they reside in the body and are not able to be broken down for a very long time. The worst one is called Tetrachlorodibenzodioxin (TCDD). TCDD was the deadly contaminant found in the infamous Agent Orange. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), dioxins are among the most toxic chemicals known to science and are listed by the EPA as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, exposure to dioxins may cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as impairments to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system and reproductive functions.
Sodium Polyacrylate -Sodium polycarbonate is chemical compound that is great for absorption and prevents leakage. That is why they use it in the filler of disposable diapers. It’s also been linked to skin irritations and respiratory problems and was removed from tampons due to toxic shock syndrome concerns.
Tributyl-tin (TBT) – The EPA says, this toxic pollutant is extremely harmful to aquatic (water) life and causes endocrine (hormonal) disruptions. TBT also rates highly in its contribution to pollution to the environment and does not have the capability to degrade so its toxic effects stick around wrecking not only our bodies but our planet forever.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) – VOC’s include chemicals like ethylbenzene, toluene, xylene and dipentene that can cause damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system as well as ear, nose, throat irritation and headaches.
Sigh, I was hoping that I’d find out that it really doesn’t matter but I guess I have to at least try now. I joined a cloth diapering support group to help with the learning curve of washing and I ordered the Hybrid live package of Grovia Ai2. Seeing how Gavin is living on a breastmilk fortified with avocado diet (for weight gain) and has several messy diapers per day, I’m going to need more shells than the average recommended but for now I will have 13 shells, 26 organic soaker pads and 6 organic boosters. At least they are cute and the investment will pay off in the long run!
Oh, P.S. Wipes? You guessed it. Same story. If you want to avoid chemicals then it matters what ingredients they have in them. They are after all being absorbed in the most sensitive of areas! I’m going to try making my own wipes with flannel and a homemade wipe solution once the diapers get here since I’ll already be washing them anyways. I’ll keep you posted on that but if you are looking for disposable, I recommend Young Livings seedling wipes. They work well, smell wonderful and can also be used as effective make-up removers and dryer sheets!
How about you? Have you cloth diapered? I’d love to hear any veteran tips you have for me!
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