Friday, March 22, 2013

cloth diapering with a conscience

Someone posted this great article on my local diaper swap and chat group a few days ago. I really appreciate this article because this is EXACTLY the kind of research I have been curious about. I am becoming more aware but this post taught me a lot and I am so grateful. (Although the comments section seems to indicate that most readers missed the point of the article completely. Ugh.)

When I first started CDing, I was totally focused on the 'eco-friendly' aspect. I found a WAHM right here in my neighborhood (with whom I am still very god friends!) who sold bumGenius and bought something like 30 of them when all was said and done. They worked very well for my daughter but I could not get the right fit for my son. So they leaked and I knew we'd have to get a different kind of diaper for him. It was so frustrating and discouraging at first! Then I decided to make it a shopping adventure. My friend had stopped selling diapers at this point and I had managed to learn very little about diapers in the 2 years I diapered DD alone. (I guess ignorance is bliss is my only defense here.) Luckily, I was able to sell my used bumGenius very easily because they are such a popular brand.

I then went on a used CD buying spree, basically in an effort to try every CD ever invented, until I found some diapers that I really loved for DS. I drove DH nuts because he never knew which inserts went in which diaper and so he couldn't help with laundry and it was just becoming a mess. SO he insisted that I settle on a just a couple different brands and invest in them and sell the rest of what DH refers to as my 'random' diapers (many of which are in like-new condition!). With all the new CD purchases, I had to start researching brands. I started to realize why some diapers cost more than others. I felt this was definitely a social justice issue that I could not ignore. I decided to focus my energy and resources on securing responsibly made diapers. I am obviously not yet 100% successful, but I am making my way!

And now to address some of the "points" made in that ridiculous comments section:

1. I can't afford the 'expensive' diapers! The initial price of cloth diapering CAN seem overwhelming. You look at a big box of disposables for $20 and then see ONE cloth diaper for $20 and it's easy to feel uneasy at first. You have to change your way of thinking and realize that that ONE $20 diaper will last you for 2 years+! It is an investment. It is easy to spend around $600 to start-up CDing between the diapers themselves and some accessories that make CDing easier. That can sound like an enormous number. However, If you think about spending $20 a week on disposables for (at least) two years, THAT number is much higher. Talk about nickel-and-diming! Plus, there are accessories that come with disposable diapering, too! It is for that reason that when people say they "can't afford" responsibly made diapers so they HAVE to buy sweatshop diapers, I roll my eyes. If you can afford to diaper with disposables, you can afford to buy cloth diapers because it is ALWAYS cheaper. (Yes, I am only referring to the cost of the physical diapers themselves and not other factors that other studies consider to calculate true "costs", because when people whine about "costs", that is generally all they are referring to!) Americans want immediate gratification with everything. We have no concept of the phrase "long-term". No one ever wants to look at anything in the long-run and it is obnoxious.

2. My China cheapies are the best! Many people argued that some of their China cheapies were just as good quality as the other brands and that products made in the USA are not always the best. Here's the thing. I don't remember the author ever saying that the China cheapies brands are always awful quality. You just have to decide what is important to you. Perhaps the CDs made in the US are not always the best, but the China cheapies are certainly not THE BEST either. You can easily find a responsibly made brand (not necessarily made in USA) that is just as good, if not better, than a sweatshop brand. It's not like there are no other options. With some products in the US, it is truly to find anything that has been made 100% responsibly (cars, large appliances, etc.) but with cloth diapers, you have LOTS of options. The author of this post wanted to reveal your choices. What you do with that information is up to you!

3. You are just trying to make me feel guilty! The rest of the comments were completely defensive and insistent that the author was just trying to make them feel guilty. First of all, what the does the author gain from that? She herself is not a CD WAHM and does not own a domestic CD company. A rational reading of this post hears a simple, informative tone. She is presenting the readers with facts. It is a fact that there are sweatshops in China, India, etc. where women, children, and men are paid very minimally for long hours in disgusting work conditions. It is a fact that some of these sweatshops are making cloth diapers. It is a fact that that these cloth diapers are sold here in the US for very low prices. It is a fact that many Americans buy those diapers. It is also a fact that many Americans do not even realize that this is the case! Yes, that could be said about many, many products in the US but this was an article specifically about cloth diapers on a blog that is specifically about cloth diapers. If you want to go argue about those things or about the quality of American-made products or outsourcing, etc. go do it somewhere else. This blog was not addressing any of those things. People, nobody can MAKE you feel guilty. You either feel guilty or you don't. If you do, do something about it!

There is so much I am still learning. Tots Bots have become my new favorite diaper of all time. They are so well made and trim and the prints are unmatched in the cuteness department. Best of all, they are responsibly made in England. Now, this makes them pricier than some other diapers but they are so worth it. I still have some CBs (DH's favorite because they are very basic pockets and the inserts have a tell-tale blue tag, which makes it easy for him to help with stuffing) and RaRs, which are made in other countries. As with any products, it can be difficult to discern which are responsibly made, which are not, and which are walking the fine line in between.

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