Monday, August 31, 2009
I used to think that disposable diapers were the only way to go….
In my previous post, I started giving the reasons why we switched to cloth diapers a few years ago. In this post I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.
Except for very limited uses, we’ll never go back to disposables!
Cost To The Environment
(from an article by the Sustainability Institute; entire article here: http://bit.ly/KIuk2)
..."18 BILLION disposable diapers are used in th US each year. Each one has an outer layer of waterproof polypropylene and an inner layer of fluff made from wood pulp plus super-slurper sodium polyacrylate that can hold a hundred times its weight in water.
Those 18 billion diapers add up to 82,000 tons of plastic a year and 1.3 million tons of wood pulp -- 250,000 trees. After a few hours of active service these materials are trucked away, primarily to landfills, where they sit, neatly wrapped packages of excrement, entombed undegraded for several hundred years. "...
Cost To Our Pockets
“Disposable diapers” was absolutely the highest on-going expense we had with our first two babies. Consider this:
Your baby will use about 6500 to 7000 diapers from birth to 30 months.
Most parents seem to spend an average cost of $50-$80/month for Huggies® or Pampers® OUCH!!! That would come to $1500-$2400 over a 30 month period, more if you diaper longer -- and there are reports that show cloth diaper babies often potty-train up to a year earlier than those who wear disposables.
Now….I've been using Mother-Ease One Size diapers since March of 2006, and (full disclosue) we will soon be offering them for sale here on my blog. The same diapers fit my newborn all the way to my toddler. It only takes 4-6 months to completely recoup our family's initial costs. After that, we're essentially diapering for FREE. The laundering costs are minimal in both time and money.
By choosing cloth diapers over disposables, you will save thousands of dollars on each child!
Especially in these difficult economic times, who doesn't want that? Let’s face it, who doesn’t NEED that?!
Caring for Cloth Diapers
Caring for the diapers is quite simple: just rinse poop into toilet (NOTE: we have a sprayer attached to our toilet that makes this easy; in the US where it's not as simple to connect this, I think most folks dunk&flush) & place diapers in a covered pail with water and some vinegar (neutralizes odors). When ready to wash, empty the soak water into toilet, do a prewash or rinse cycle, and then a full cycle in hot water with detergent. Dry. That's it! We wash diapers every night before we go to bed. Our older children (even the toddler who still wears one at nighttime) know how to fold them and put them away. It's as simple as that!
I love knowing that my babies are touching comfy soft cloth and not toxic chemical-filled plasticky-feeling stuff. I love knowing I'm doing our part to keep disposable diapers out of landfills, and I LOVE the amount of money we have and continue to save!
(There’s a lot more to say regarding using cloth diapers vs disposables -- including the benefits of natural fibers, tips for making the care of cloth diapers even easier, and the scientific links of disposable diapers to asthma and male infertility. I will cover these issues in future posts.)
Thursday, August 27, 2009
With a new baby in the house, of course we are changing a lot more diapers -- and even with five children under the age of seven, with two in diapers full-time, I’ve been reminded why I love using cloth instead of disposables.
When I was pregnant with my first child, my environmentally-conscious husband approached me to consider using cloth diapers. I didn't know anyone who used them, and didn't know that "modern" cloth diapers had been designed. I was too overwhelmed with all that would come with being a first time mom and never looked into it. When my second son was born only 11 months after my first, I was once again too overwhelmed. Not until my third did I dare to enter what I was sure would be a complicated world...only to find that it wasn't! I wish I'd started using them sooner.
The cloth diapers I use really are simple (ours have built in snaps to accommodate all sizes, so there is no pinning) and don't take much time at all to rinse and wash. I love that I never need to worry about running out of diapers, like I used to with disposables.
The way I see it, there are 3 main reasons to choose to cloth diapers over disposables:
1. To avoid the toxins (and their negative effects on health) in disposable diapers
2. To reduce environmental waste
3. To save a bunch of money
In doing research for this post, I discovered that the many costs of disposable diapers were more than I realized:
Costs To Our Childrens’ Health
from an article on The Diaper Hyena; entire article here
SODIUM POLYACRYLATE - This is the chemical, added in powder form to the inner pad of a disposable, that makes it super-absorbent. When the powdered form becomes wet, it turns into a gel.
Can absorb up to 100X its weight in water.
Can stick to baby's genitals, causing allergic reactions.
Reported to cause severe skin irritations, oozing blood from perineum and scrotal tissues, fever, vomiting and staph infections in babies.
When injected into rats it has caused hemorrhage, cardiovascular failure and death.
Banned from tampons in 1985 because of its link to Toxic Shock Syndrome.
Has killed children after ingesting as little as 5 grams of it.
Causes female organ problems, slows healing wounds, fatigue and weight loss to the employees in factories that manufacture it.
DIOXIN - This is the chemical by-product of the paper-bleaching process, using chlorine gas, in the manufacturing of diapers.
Carcinogenic (cancer-causing chemical)
The EPA lists it as the MOST TOXIC of all cancer-linked chemicals.
In small quantities it causes birth defects, skin/liver disease, immune system suppression & genetic damage in lab animals.
Banned in most countries, but not the United States.
If we really care about our babies’ health, isn’t this information alone enough to make natural-fiber cloth diapers the right choice?
(In my next post, I’ll cover the environmental and money-saving benefits of cloth diapers over disposables, as well as discuss basic cloth diaper care.)
Monday, August 24, 2009
Everything went according to "plan". She was born the very day we hoped to have her (for a variety of reasons), the beginning of the 38th week of pregnancy, the morning after a restful Shabbat. The birth was at home, and went perfectly. Labor was just a few hours, and the delivery was done in the water. It was all quite amazing.
Now I'm dealing with the exhaustion, the emotions, the new challenges that each unique baby brings. Yes, I've done this four times before. But I've never done it with this baby.
She's worth every moment.
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
A short while back, I posted about using a schedule for children home during the day to help keep chaos away.
I haven't been doing it. I've been stumbling around, my big belly and discomfort being my "excuse" for not organizing my thoughts, or my time, even a little. It's not been worth it.
My children are misbehaving. A lot. I'm yelling. A lot. And I'm becoming one of "those" moms who can't wait for her kids to go back to school. I don't want this.
So, I think I can at least manage some of those tips, even if I am not doing the full schedule. The following seems to be the things that I can do now:
Separating them into pairs for playing. Group play of more than 2 seems to consistently meltdown into either arguments or wildness that I just can't handle.
Assigning them activities to do separately. Example: one does a puzzle (he may choose one), one builds with Legos or K'nex, etc.
Not letting them do chores together. They always fight or fool around.
Therefore....reserving group free play for the exception, not the norm. Yes, they have it, a few times a day. Just not all day long.
That's about all this pregnant mama can muster right now. Soon enough, a little bundle of joy will be everyone's focus. We're so excited!
Monday, August 10, 2009
This time, I mean something entirely different......THE BABY TURNED! HER HEAD IS DOWN!!!
Thumbs up, as in, "fantastic." Head's down, as in: her head is down. Capish?
I am so excited that she's finally decided to go along with the program.
While she was turned the wrong way, I did some research and found http://www.spinningbabies.com/. It was very helpful and gave me lots of information as well as recommending the exercises/positions I tried, like the inversion I showed as a video example in one of the last posts. Some of the information on baby position I got from this picture that I borrowed from them. The caption above this picture is
I didn't know this. I've heard of "posterior"babies that give you lots of back labor. That's when the baby's occiput (the back of the skull) is facing your back, so you see the baby's face as it comes out, instead of the back of the head. It's a little harder and usually more uncomfortable to push this baby out.
The ideal baby position is LOA, "Left Occiput Anterior". This means that the baby is lying along the left side, with the occiput facing the mother's front (not posterior).
I believe that my little princess is in that ideal position, but I am not sure. At least her head is down, though.
If your baby is head down, but in one of the other positions, SpinningBabies has some exercises/positions that are supposed to be helpful for getting the baby to move. I am going to rest and trust that all is well unless I get an indication of something otherwise.
If at all up to us, we would like to have our baby one week from yesterday, on August 16th. Don't laugh, we've chosen a delivery date in the past, and it worked just fine.
I'll keep you posted!
From a very soon to be mama of 5.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
I can't believe that since the year 2000, every woman with a breech baby gets cut open. They thought it was safer. I am so glad that it's finally being concluded that it's not necessarily true.
But there are still 2 main problems.
First, and this is the smaller of the two, not everyone agrees with this yet. But, I think it will come soon.
The bigger problem lies with the short-sightedness of the medical community.
Nobody has regularly delivered breech babies naturally for so long, that nobody knows how. They don't get trained to do it. So, even those who might be willing have no skill. Some do, and have, but it's a small group. And depending where you live, there may be laws against it.
Here in Israel, it is illegal to have a breech delivery at home. So the midwives won't do it; they'd lose their licenses. And they haven't been trained for it, anyway. The only option for someone like me (if my baby doesn't turn) is to go to the hospital. At the hospital, they want to automatically cut me open, and not even try to deliver naturally. I can choose a hospital where they have more doctors who do deliver breeches, and refuse a C-section, and pray that they will not automatically cut.
But it's a crappy position to be in.
If I lived in many other places, especially in Europe, there would be midwives who would be happy and confident to help me birth this baby at home, as I'd like to.
For now, I'll keep going to the chiropractor and hanging upside down. And pray that she turns.
Here's the link to the article from Canada: http://bit.ly/6Cb3k
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
I just came from my ultrasound where I found out that this girl of mine (who is indeed a girl, I did find out) is now completely Breech. No good.
I'm going to begin inversion exercises. And continue going to my chiropractor for the Webster's technique (see video on my last post). And I'm also going to find a Chinese Medicine/acupuncturist and go. I'm not looking forward to that one. I tried acupuncture once and hated it. But it's certainly better than the alternative.
Here's the inversion technique I will try. I'm not looking forward to it, either.
I'll let you know how it goes...
One is the Webster's Breech Turning Technique, performed by a chiropractor. I had this done 2 times last week, and on the third visit, my legs were completely balanced, so he didn't perform it.
I have been diligently trying to discern the baby's position, but I really can't tell. So, I'm going for an ultrasound in just a little while to see what she's up to.
I'll let you know!
Sunday, August 2, 2009
"Low-risk women should be encouraged to plan their birth at the place of their preference, provided the maternity care system is well equipped to underpin women's choice," Dr. A. de Jonge, from TNO Quality of Life, Leiden, the Netherlands, and co-researchers note in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
I am tired of people looking at me like I have two heads when I say that I am planning to give birth at home, that I have done so for all four of my babies, and that I wouldn't want it any other way. Even if it is free of charge in the hospital, and I'd have to pay out of my pocket for a midwife at home. (we have socialized medicine here in Israel.)
I think the tide is turning.
"The findings, they conclude, indicate that with proper services in place, home births are just as safe as hospital births for low-risk women."
This study was done in the Netherlands, a place that has a lower rate of both maternal and fetal deaths than the US. Maybe we should listen to them.
People are getting wise to the motivation (from the hospital's side) behind most hospital births, and I am so glad to see more people seeking alternatives. The documentary movie The Business of Being Born gives great details about hospital births; watch the trailer here: http://bit.ly/f1Tzi
Cindy Crawford chose to have a home birth and shares her story in 4 parts. Here is the link to watch part 4 of her interview:
If you want to watch all of it, you can follow links on that site to the previous webisodes.
You can read the full article from Reuters here: http://bit.ly/KqNXW