Diapering Confession | Seventh Generation
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Diapering Confession

Author: RealMomofNJ

Even before having children, I loved the idea of cloth diapering. Particularly the whole not-adding-more-trash-and-chemicals-to-landfills idea. I vowed to use cloth diapers for my future children to help the planet by not generating unnecessary garbage. When the time eventually came and I was expecting, I boned up on my cloth diaper knowledge, stocked up on the materials, and waited for the baby.

Well, now he’s here. And I have to admit, while I love cloth diapering and feel great about my effort to help the environment, I must fall back on disposables from time to time. When traveling, for example. In the airport, with so many bags to lug and security checkpoints to pass through and TSA agents barking directions at me—all while trying to maneuver a baby—the last thing I want to do is keep track of dirty cloth diapers. And really, you can’t use cloth diapers when away from home if you won’t have access to a washing machine.

I feel a little guilty when using disposables, but it’s just necessary sometimes. And really, using Seventh Generation disposables makes me feel better during those times. They were recently redesigned to have a lighter-weight core that includes sustainably harvested wood pulp. And, of course, it doesn’t hurt that the diapers are Free & Clear: there’s no chlorine-processing, fragrances, latex, or petroleum-based lotions.

Knowing that the Seventh Generation diapers were designed with the environment (and babies!) in mind makes the decision of when to skip the cloth diapers much easier. And really, as a mom, I have plenty of other decisions to make every day!

Photo: Sellers Patton


Fran Keller picture
Fran Keller
I'm 72 y.o., with kids in their 40's. No such thing as disposables back then. So....prefolds are easy! Newborns get the sides folded in on a prefolds diaper, shorten the length in the front or rear by folding inward any excess amount. Boys get the extra fold to the front, girls to the back...it's a matter of fluids and gravity. You get it. Always pre soak diapers in white vinegar water in the washer, for at least 1/2 hour. Then, use Borax washing soda in with a mild soap. Small amounts of Clorox help with stains. Always use some bleach when the babies have a GI bug. Rinse water gets a big splash of white vinegar...it truly prevents diaper rash. And HOT water only...helps kill the rash yeasty bugs. No zip lock bags around back then, so I used bread bags, doubled up. One top twisted and rubber banded, inside another bread bag, in the opposite direction. Never had a stink or leak. By the way, my hubbie finally finished off the old Birdseye diapers about 5 years ago. Great rags for shining cars and bumpers! Oh yes, about the ages and diapers...just keep adjusting the fold size as they grow...and using 2diapers at a time at about age 1. Overnight as bigger toddlers, 3full size prefolds worked just fine. So, I hope this helps the new Mom's....from the older granny who never had all the disposables. :-D
ellebean14 picture
I've been buying biodegradeable poop bags for my dog for years. They work just as well for diapers. No special trip to pet store needed, I pick them up in the pet aisle of Marshall's, TJMaxx, Ross, etc.
sriendeau picture
If I'm traveling it is nice to get a break from cloth diapers especially if I am reliant upon them being dry by morning. Trying to get 3 kids to bed in a hotel room is usually hard enough and then to have to hand wash diapers quietly in the bathroom sink of the hotel room doesn't sound very appealing. At home I have everything all set up to easily wash diapers and hang dry them. Some of us women, although we mean well, need to give ourselves a break especially when traveling with young children. If you're one of those people who are so committed to cloth that packing all the cleaning supplies for a vacation is a no brainer, good for you, but if you're like me I suggest not putting as much pressure on yourself and just enjoy getting away with your family.
Angie80 picture
You mention that you use disposables and feel guilty, but have you done your research? G-diapers has a cloth hybrid that would be perfect for traveling. It is a cloth shell with the option for cloth inserts or a disposable insert that is BIODEGRADABLE!! :) I never had the money for the upfront costs of cloth diapering, though I did buy a few from Jillian's Drawers to sample them. On top of that, there are so many kinds to choose from: all in one, pre-folds, inserts, one size, etc. I don't know who to ask or where to go for hands on demonstrations. No one in my family cloth diapered, so I am lost... Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there so you could try another alternative so you could lessen your impact on the environment. That said, I use 7th Gen diapers and I think they are great, although I may try experimenting with cloth again if anyone has some good advice/brands to try. Take care!
spreach1981 picture
I cloth and use disposables, but we also practice elimination communication. My 6 month old bf daughter uses a few diapers a day. If you're concerned about your impact on the environment, try it. She's my third and we both work, so anyone can be successful.
Sunbeams picture
Just wanted to say, actually some people DO use cloth wipes on themselves, and MANY women (myself included) use cloth menstrual pads as well! (And washable silicone cups in place of tampons.) I personally started using cloth pads postpartum and will never go back to stinky uncomfortable disposable pads. I also can't fathom subjecting my little girl to what I can only imagine to be 10X more uncomfortable disposable "pad" wrapped around her entire abdomen. Not even getting into the environmental and health benefits. As for using disposable "only for my Newborn", I don't get this... We had no trouble using cloth from day one, and again, the last thing I wanted to do to my brand new baby was subject her soft little bum to a chemical laden paper product. Little baby tushy wrapped in soft cosy cloth all the way. :o)
lbo1212 picture
I haven't started cloth diapering yet but I'm really looking forward to it. I have our stash already but in the beginning we plan on using disposable just to get us through the first months until she is a better size to where she can fit the cloth diapers. I've only heard good things about the Seventh Generation wipes and I know that there will come a time when we need to use disposable for certain situations. I trust that Seventh Generation is the best brand for that!
PrayfulOne picture
My oldest child is nearly thirty years old and my youngest just turned sixteen. Both of my children wore cloth diapers. The reason I chose cloth diapers is that my cousin got a rash everywhere a his disposible diaper touched his skin. He was miserable. His mother was heartbroken. This was over forty years ago. I never forgot it. It was easy to find cloth diapers for my son, I even had diaper service for him for the first month or so. When my daughter was born it was not so easy to find cloth diapers. I searched the internet for them. Wow, all I got was porn. I did not give up and she wore cloth diapers too. I gave in with her an sometimes used disposible diapers if we were traveling and I could not wash her diapers. You can use cloth diapers for so many things besides diapering. I used them to line the baby's tub to prevent slipping, burp cloths and so I could lay them down on surfaces I was not sure was clean. You cannot do that with disposibles!
mc868 picture
I loved the idea of cloth diapering, but after a couple months of it and the baby getting a horrible diaper rash, we almost exclusively use 7th gen diapers now (although we still use cloth wipes and much prefer those to disposable wipes). But what's curious is that, while I feel bad about using disposable diapers, I don't think twice about using disposable tampons/pads or toilet paper. Why are disposable diapers and wipes so guilt-ridden, but we would never use cloth wipes over toilet paper on our own butts?
SchonGirl1 picture
I ended up naming my business "The Daily Cloth Diaper" on Facebook. Definitely stop by and ask me some questions!
SchonGirl1 picture
As SafePetHaven stated, women have been cloth diapering for centuries AND traveling. Now I know they didn't have to deal with the likes of TSA and generally just packed up their mammoth automobile or covered wagon and set out across the country, babies, cloth diapers, and all! Can you imagine!?! With that being said, cloth diapering and making it through the TSA should be a breeze! But let's be honest, some women would LIKE a break from the diaper laundry for a few days while they are on vacation. And for those environmental die-hards among us there are a number of biodegradable options - gDiapers, BumGenius, and GroVia, and I'm sure we will be seeing more as the years go by. These can be laid in your PUL wraps/covers. At the end of the day you can hand wash the covers and hang them to dry by an air conditioning vent or on some clothes hangers. If you are brave enough to cloth diaper while on vacation, read on! What are the must haves if you are going to successfully cloth diaper while on vacation? Firstly, you don't need a ton of stuff. I'm being serious. Figure out how many diaper changes your child goes through each day... I'll use my son as an example, the max number of diapers I would need to take is twelve (counting a double one for night). The best diapers to take while traveling are Birds Eye Flats. Why? They are super easy to hand wash and air dry overnight. I bought mine from Green Mountain Diapers (aka Clotheez. If you are new to cloth, this is one of THE top names for natural, organic cotton prefolds and flats). I really like the BumGenius Flip covers and the flats work really well in them, but my Thirsties covers work just as well. It is helpful having those stay-put flaps to hold the folded up diaper in place, though! You will need a good soap to hand-wash - I highly recommend Imse Vimse Bar Soap, it was created for cloth! I also highly recommend Soap Nuts from Green Virgin Products, these are hypoallergenic which is a plus for my son and me! Lastly, I don't know what planet some of these moms are living on using Ziploc plastic bags for their soiled diapers, but I will say this - you are better than that! Invest in a GOOD PUL wet bag. I really feel that the Bummis Medium sized wet bag would be the best way to go for travel. I have successfully used the large one for weekend trips and it is really great! Let me recap what you need for a successful cloth diapering vacation: 12 Birds Eye Flats (or fewer) Reusable cloth wipes, small bottle of wipe spray (I use Homestead Baby) 4-6 PUL wraps (Flips would be best) 1 bar of Imse Vimse Stain Remover Bar Soap 1 small bag of Soap Nuts (optional) 1 Bummis Medium Wet Bag I don't think I need to explain how to hand wash diapers in a sink or bathtub or hang them to dry. Cloth diapering isn't hard if you invest in the correct products and it is definitely possible to cloth diaper while traveling. I am about to start a business page on Facebook for "The Daily Diaper." I am more than willing to help anyone build the best stash to meet ALL their needs at home and on the road! Please don't hesitate to look it up after August 11th!
cbnicol picture
SafePetHaven, I'm curious about how you trave with cloth diapers. zip lock bags break and tear and the tsa agents are quite rough when digging around in your luggage. Also, im curious about what your predecesors did prior to ziplock bags. -Just wondering.
Jude113 picture
How many wraps do you have? I have used cloth diapers with all 3 of my girls (pre-folds and wraps). I currently have a 1 year old in diapers and a 3 year old who still uses them for naps and at night. Lately, my girls have been going through 2-3 wraps per day depending on poops. We have 9 wraps, which means we can usually go 3-4 days before running out of wraps. Also, with airlines limiting carry on bags, I would likely be paying extra to check wetbags full of dirty diapers. As for short car based trips, cloth diapers are fine. We just put wetbags in the trunk as they fill up. I don't know about soaking, our cloth diaper retailer http://www.nickisdiapers.com/ says it isn't necessary, just dump solid waste in the toilet(if necessary) then put the diaper and cloth wipe in the diaper pail (lined with a washable liner). NEVER use Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent on cloth diapers/wraps, it builds up in the diapers over time and causes a TERRIBLE stink. (See the cloth diaper detergent chart from diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html) I switched to "Rockin Green" (also eco-friendly) and haven't had a problem since. Cloth diapers are a commitment. Though with quality cloth diaper supplies it is do-able. Since I care about the environment and the health of my kids I have stuck with cloth. That being said, I am eagerly awaiting the day when I no longer have to wash or change diapers!
azhura picture
I think that some people on this forum are a little too "foaming-at-the-mouth" about cloth diapering. I cloth diaper my eight month-old son, but I don't believe in belittling other people for making a different choice. We don't know everyone's life circumstances and to assume that everyone has the time, money, and ability to cloth diaper is not only arrogant, but unrealistic. It's a large, upfront cost and for impoverished single mothers who already receive free diapers through different support programs (while probably having to work two to three jobs to support their family) cloth diapers are probably not pragmatic or even possible. Furthermore, quoting what your parents or grandparents did has little do with modern day expectations and is again unrealistic. And, you didn't do those things and can't laid claim to those actions, so the examples are completely irrelevant and distract from the conversation. That said, instead of getting on your high horses to berate people who use disposables, try convincing them instead that is the best thing for themselves, their babies, and environment. It is and it is worth the effort. There are lots of resources out there for anyone wanting to try cloth diapers and I highly encourage people to visit or host cloth diapering classes.
alandry65 picture
Once I started cloth diapering my son, I never looked back. I loved seeing his cute little bum in fluffy cloth!! I agree with a previous posted, gosh nothing smells better than line dried clothes/diapers! If it was raining, I would hang just them on a drying rack! Traveling is something to get used to. I felt like after I did it onces, I was a pro. Just take a wet bag, or even a zip lock back and put the soiled diaper in it until you get home. I made my own cloth wipes and some of my diapers, score the savings! The wipe "solution" was a spray bottle of water and I never had a rash issue either! Good luck, just try it, you CAN do it!!
lesliemorrow picture
There have been a few times that I have needed disposables and the Seventh Generation dipes were very effective and trim. For those of you considering using cloth, let me warn you, cloth diapering can be addictive! :)It is so enjoyable and I even consider it my hobby! Give it a try if you are on the fence with a cloth diaper trial where you can try the dipes for free. Jillians Drawers has a good one.
Janna picture
I'm a little amused at such foot-stomping over what is obviously a plug for their diapers. You do notice you're on the Seventh Gen website yes? They may be into sustainability but they're still a company, and a lot of their customers still use disposable diapers. It'd be silly business not to offer disposables. I plan on cloth-diapering when I have kids, and have a friend who's done quite well with it and her two girls. I'm not sure how the "temp diaper pail" would work if we're talking airline security, you wouldn't be able to put fluid in it so it'd just be "dirty diaper in a ziploc". Still, with the way things are now they still might make you throw it away.
cubscoutmom picture
I used the SAME cloth diapers for my eldest son that I used for my next child who arrived three years later. It's a commitment like anything else and yes, I traveled and carried soil diapers with me. (Of course, this was before 9-11 occurred but these inspections wouldn't have changed my focus in the least.) Think of the waste you won't create; those diapers will still be in the landfill ONE HUNDRED YEARS LATER. I line-dried (or hung them on clothes 'horses') 12 months a year. NOTHING smells better than a sunshine-whitened January cotton diaper just off the clothesline! Nothing. You can't buy that kind of 'home comfort' anywhere. When my eldest's behind got too big I went to Joann's and bought Snuggle brand flannel for $1.49 yard and made them diapers that would fit. It's not rocket science; use one of the other diapers as the 'pattern' and just enlarge it. Fold a standard diaper in the center and sew it down. SAVINGS! SAVINGS! SAVINGS! I did a load every other day if I could find the time and it's a life habit you'll get into. As another person commented, we have washers at home--many of our mothers didn't. My mother had a ringer washer until I was in high school (crazy, I know). My kids never had diaper rash, never had UTI's nothing. YOU CAN DO IT. Just commit and start saving!
snfleming picture
We use gDiapers flushable inserts in our Thirsties covers when traveling - I usually don't flush them in public toilets because I don't want to cause a backup - but they will break down in the trash eventually (not even 7th Gen can say that). Throw the soiled cover in a ziploc or wetbag and wash it out in the sink when you get to your destination - done and done. Couldn't be easier and your conscience will thank you.
SafePetHaven picture
That's ridiculous. Of course you can deal with cloth diapers, even soiled ones, even when traveling, much more easily than when the MANY previous generations did so, my mother included -- and she did not have a washing machine until many years after her babies were toilet trained. Even those barky airports have public restrooms with presumed working toilets; that's what one uses at home to rinse soiled cloth diapers, then soak them in a solution of borax/water or baking soda/water when in a diaper pail at home; when traveling it's called a temp diaper pail (largest 2.5 gallon zip lok bag). My mom did all the laundry by hand in the sink early on when there was no electric washing machine, as did my grandmother (a registered nurse & most fastidious about germs), as did my paternal grandmother. But she did her wash in the back yard -- for all 7 children -- in metal wash tubs which the older children had to fill & empty as part of routine chores (w/o whining). Those days are long gone. Now even the adults have become expert at whining. I'm old, but not THAT old, and no, none of us lived out in the boondocks; we all lived in towns & cities. We just made do with what was best available & felt lucky we even had potable water to do laundry. Sorry, no sympathy for you from this corner. But truly, good for you for using cloth diapers when at home with your major laundry appliances & other conveniences. More folks need to do the same.