Paradigm Shift: Cloth Diapers and Homemade Baby Food

At what point did we just assume that when we had a baby we would buy disposable diapers, add water to powdered "milk" and feed with a silicone nipple screwed onto a bottle and later, buy tiny portions of store-bought baby food in glass jars?

Is this really a convenience? A mind-set? Or marketing genius?

Think about it. Entire aisles in the grocery store are dedicated to the promotion of consumable (mostly plastic) baby products. They keep you coming back. They keep your dollar in their store. They offer convenience.

Just two generations ago, moms did not have a choice. They used cloth diapers (begrudgingly), breast-fed their babies and made their own baby food by mashing over-ripe fruits, steaming vegetables and pureeing everything else.

Smart people in consumer goods companies realized a mass-market appeal for ready-to-eat, prepared foods, plastic feeding devices and disposable diapers. They introduced them as convenience items, but quickly realized their brilliance at creating products that generated recurring revenue. They began to market them to parents who would Only Give Their Best to their children. Products that emulated Mother's Milk (DHA!) and that included numbered artificial nipples that flowed "just like mom's" at certain stages of a baby's life.


Or is it? With so many marketed choices , what should a good mommy buy for their precious little one? Sometimes, too many choices can lead to anxiety.

Can we please just take a step back, learn from June Cleaver (but - did she use a "Mother's Little Helper?"), and acknowledge the simple things? We don't need all of those THINGS.

Just the other day, I was feeding Bodie in his highchair. He was semi-interested as I shoveled Earth's Best Organic Wild Apple Something into his mouth. On a whim, I gave him a bite of my Thanksgiving-Dinner-Made-Into-A-Soup that I was noshing on as I fed him. His eyes lit up and he signed "more" for the first time (I swear!). I got out my Cuisinart Hand Blender and pureed the soup. He pigged out! After we both had our fill for the evening, I pureed the rest of the soup and froze it in ice cube trays. Now I have instant baby food in little cubes stored in Ziploc bags in my freezer. How convenient. And frugal. The equivalent of 20 cubes would have cost me $20 at the store! Light bulb.

Don't get me wrong. I am all for convenience. I admit to buying tons a jars of Earth's Best for feeding on the go - or when my creative juices aren't flowing and I don't feel like cooking.

For convenience sake, I can also rationalize the insane amount of money I spent on cloth diapers BEFORE opening BumRite Cloth Diaper Company. For example, after hearing the disgusting stories from my mother about the toilet-swishing/dunking/swirling/soaking/scrubbing of cloth diapers, I just had to buy the BumGenius Diaper Sprayer to blast off the poop straight into the toilet. The bumGenius Diaper Sprayer is convenient and powerful. It also doubles as an adjustable-spray "poor man's bidet", and an all-purpose chemical-free cleaner for microfiber mops, bath tubs, sinks, toilet bowls, and potty training chairs.

Today's reusable cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposables. With the advent of velcro on breathable, yet waterproof covers and super absorbent, yet trim natural fibers - cloth diapering is a breeze.

So - now we are in a reverse-marketing game. I just saw a paid-search Google campaign by Kimberly-Clark (manufacturer of Huggies) denouncing the environmental benefits of cloth diapers. They maintain that the water and energy used to wash cloth diapers negates the fact that disposables never biodegrade in a landfill (WHAT!?). I humbly counter - how many times do you flush a toilet a day as an adult? That is about the same amount of water it takes to wash a load of cloth diapers. AND the poop and pee is directed to a facility where they can treat the water and return it to the Earth. Disposable diapers are made with 1 cup of crude oil per diaper - a natural resource, yes. But not a renewable resource. Disposable diapers are also responsible for a large carbon footprint with regard to transportation, distribution and ultimately, their disposal.

Each child requires upwards of 5,000 diaper changes from birth to potty training.

Today's newest cloth diapers are made from renewable materials like hemp, organic cotton, and wool. Yes - it takes energy to weave, sew, distribute and use cloth diapers. Yet each child, at most, only needs 36 diapers (unless you are me and become obsessed with all of the cute prints, designs, etc). But I digress. Cloth diapers can be REUSED with subsequent children. Or as kitchen towels, car wash rags, etc.

We don't throw away our underwear every day. We wash them!

Kimberly-Clark must be concerned about their market share, right? Why would they pay top dollar for every click on the topic 'Cloth Diapers Vs Disposable'? It seems like a defensive move.

Collectively, we must all experience a paradigm shift in our attitudes toward disposable anything. We cannot continue to be a throw-away society.

It is time we all rethink convenience for convenience sake. It doesn't take that much effort to whip out the hand blender and puree the food that we've already prepared for our families or to throw in an extra load or two of laundry per week.

We could save a lot more than cash.


BumRite Diapers Holiday Gift Guide

Bodie - in a red Happy Heinys One Size

What do you give an expectant mother for Christmas (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa,
Winter Solstice), that doesn't include food, wine, or soft cheese? I was so happy to get pregnant both times that I didn't have the luxury of planning my pregnancies. However, if I had, I would NOT have chosen to be in my third trimester during the Holiday Season.

Living in Napa, CA, much socializing happens around wine. Add in the Holidays, and a poor pregnant woman can feel excluded.

This is why pregnant moms spend endless hours browsing the internet for baby-related items/stories/reviews. Diaper Pin is addictive.
A whole bunch of cloth diaper retail websites exist - usually owned by a WAHM (Work At Home Mom) with varied personal ideas about how to use cloth diapers. It all starts to get confusing. Then you factor in "preg-nesia", and you can't remember who said what. Or where you saw it.

So sit back, grab a cranberry spritzer in a fancy wine glass, and think about the BumRite Cloth Diaper Company Holiday Gift List.

If you are a grandparent, friend, or sympathizer (aka husband/partner) - take into consideration the mental state of your eco-fabulous loved one and BUY HER ANYTHING SHE WANTS. After all, she has sacrificed her body and mind for the sake of this child - and she deserves a medal. Or at least
some squishy-tushy fluff to make all those future diaper changes entertaining and colorful.

What type of Momma are you?

Fashionista Momma
: Happy Heinys One Size Pocket Diapers come in 22 fabulous colors that will coordinate beautifully with every outfit.

Eco-Minded, but overwhelmed with more than two kids in diapers Momma: GroBaby Shell Set

Working/Traveling Momma: GroBaby with disposable/biodegradable/compost-able bioinserts.

Retro Momma: BabyKicks Hemp prefolds and Thirsties covers

Brand Name Momma: bumGenius 3.0 Pocket Diaper is the best selling CD on the market. They also come in a snap Organic version.
If you can't decide what kind of Momma you are, go to my website and read about the different cloth diapering options available at BumRite Cloth Diaper Company.

Happy Eco-Gifting!


Gro Baby Bio-System on Vacation

A visit to my parents' house in Arizona provided the perfect opportunity to truly test the new GroBaby system with the biodegradable inserts. I have to say, I've been impressed. Since the birth of my son 8 months ago, I've only used cloth diapers. Lots of cloth diapers. Lots of different brands. 4 months into my cloth diapering experience, I started BumRite Cloth Diaper Company (my husband threatened me. I was spending way too much time on the internet: reading reviews, researching, spending money, etc. He told me that I needed to find a way to convey my cloth diapering enthusiasm to the world...). But I digress. Back to the subject of my blog.

I suppose that any new routine requires a learning curve.

Switching back to a disposable system took some finagling to figure out.

Before the plane even took off in Sacramento, Bodie had soaked through his clothes. Granted, that was 3 hours from packing to boarding. And crazed mama-drama mommy traveler forgot to pack a change of clothes. I've figured out that the wonderful elastic gussets on the BioInserts need to be spread out on either side of the baby's genitals - or they just pee past it. Oops.

Lesson #1: As with any disposable diaper, make sure the gussets are completely splayed out.

As soon as we took off, the negative pressure of the airplane (and the applesauce, I am sure) caused a poop-plosion. I was very grateful for the BioInserts then. I just prepared a new diaper (I like this - it goes fast) and got ready for the mess. HA! Poop contained and a simple roll-up and the diaper was ready to be tossed! OOOO - I had forgotten the convenience of disposables! But with the GroBaby system, I am still able to show off his cute bottom - especially now that the new Seaside Stripe pattern is available and I can color coordinate with his green tree-hugger t-shirt.

40 more minutes and negative pressure hit again. More applesauce poop.

I LOVE THE BIOINSERTS!!!!! Convert. Right here.

I was concerned about night time use, however. It didn't work the first night. Too much pee. But subsequent nights, I've layered the organic cotton booster on top of the BioInsert. No problem from 10-7am.

Lesson #2: Layer BioInserts with booster for nap/night time.

No rash either.

The fit is so trim, I am able to snap the cover down 1 notch. His pants fit much better - there is much less to hold on to. However, I do miss his delightful fluffy-butt.

Now - 6 days into my vacation with GroBaby and BioInserts, I can honestly say that this system is THE BEST! An entire box of 50 liners fit in my carry-on along with all the other baby paraphernalia that comes with baby travel.

The shells wash and dry beautifully in the hot Arizona sun, or just hung over a chair. 2 hours max to hang-dry in this desert air. Papa and Mimi (aka Grandpa and Grandma) are thrilled with the ease of the system and especially like that they can prepare a new diaper BEFORE removing the old.

One word of caution. Even the glue used to secure the "baby maxi-pad" to the shell is biodegradable. When it heats up - it STICKS to the shell and leaves a gooey mess if you try to pull the insert off to dispose of it right away.

Lesson #3: Simply lay the used diaper aside while you are putting on the new one. In less than 30 seconds, the glue cools and the BioInsert is easily removed.

Go GroBaby. They have something special here. They are widening the reach and availability of responsible diapering to the reluctant masses. At about $.40 each, people who love the convenience of disposables can now feel good about it too (If they cared at all. If not, it is my mission to educate them).

Personally, I will mainly use the organic cotton soakers in my GroBaby shells, but it is good to know that when life calls for a disposable, I have a green choice that works! 60 days to compost instead of 200-500 years.

Did I mention that The Natural Baby Company is also introducing biodegradable, fragrance-free wipes in three weeks?

Love the GroBaby system. Kudos to The Natural Baby Company.


Why Are Daycare Facilities Reluctant to use Cloth Diapers?

I just met a great woman who would like to cloth diaper her baby, but works full time and her daycare provider refuses to use cloth diapers. Understandably, she cannot financially justify two sets of diapers. I think. I'll have to do a little math when I am finished writing (my mom is a CPA and I can't help the urge to always assemble financial models with ROI for important decisions).

I don't understand why a daycare wouldn't accept cloth diapers. Perhaps they don't know how easy they are? GroBaby would be a perfect example of a daycare-friendly diaper. Simply bring a stash of 6-8 already snapped-in diapers to daycare with a wetbag. Or provide the compost-able bioinserts if they are really bent on throwing something away. They really are no different than disposables - except they don't get to shove them in the trash with the other diapers.

Is it poop? Well, poop actually belongs in the toilet! Whether using disposable or cloth, the providers should be plopping solids in the potty, not the garbage and all wrapped up in a non-breathable, non-biodegradable hot plastic ball of chemical-laden plastic/paper.
If you look closely on most disposable diaper packages, it mentions that requirement...in size 2 font. Am I biased? Yes!

Is it an age thing? I suppose that it could be. The previous generation that now runs these day cares doesn't get how simple it is! No more toilet-dunking or wet pails. Simply put the soiled diaper in a bag and give back to the parent at the end of the day for washing. I would think it would be better than storing every kid's diapers packages, like I had to do at #1's daycare.

Yes, I used disposables with #1. Simply because I didn't know any different. Perhaps that is the case here.

Maybe I should visit all the local day cares/preschools and shamelessly promote my business?

Yes - that it what I will do.

I am a one-woman cloth diaper crusader in the Napa Valley.
After all - who really wants to have poop run-off fertilizing their wine?! Can you imagine the Sommelier's notes: a full-bodied, earthly, sweet potato and apple-sauce scented wine with a touch of baby poop on the nose.....".



In Business!

Last weekend was the official opening of BumRite Diapers! WOW! This is what I came home to today after my swim at the Napa Valley College (3,050 meters, btw :-)). Fun!
I am so thrilled with the response from friends and strangers across the country. My goal is to provide incredible customer service and to spread the word that cloth diapering is Eco-Friendly, Easy, and Economical. What is better than that?!
It's been an intense learning curve, but exactly what I've been craving since becoming a mom: mental stimulation, something that I can build, and something that I have control over.
I am so excited to be an advocate to the community about cloth diapers - but also, personally, to just be more involved and more connected with the people of Napa.
After all, moms are all in the same boat and we must support one another.
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Cloth Diapering and the Grandparents

I am learning that my mismatched cloth diaper stash, while perfectly serviceable to me, is a deterrent to getting the grandparents on board with cloth diapering. It is hard enough with their preconceived notions about cloth diapering in general: stinky diaper pails, toilet bowl swishing, pin-pricking pain in the you-know-what. Now they are confused. How do you use the prefolds? What is a Snappi? How much and what to stuff in the pocket diapers (what IS a pocket diaper)?
If I had to do it all over again - I would choose and stick to one method. And if the grandparents were watching the baby a lot, I would go with an AIO or AI2, like the BumGenius Organic or GroBaby system. It would have been a lot cheaper that way!
But I had to try everything - and that is to my customer's benefit.

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