Thursday, July 19, 2012

How To Take A Dump.

I live quite remotely. The area is 600 acres backing onto Crown land. The house is at the end of a dirt road. There is no airplane noise other than the neighbour's dad who flies over in his little plane every so often. There are no sirens, no construction noises, and a very low background EMF (electromagnetic field) level. It's heaven.

I came out here to birth Anwyn. I refused to birth her in the big city. She deserves wide open spaces and to learn about her own energy; unencumbered by unstable neighbours, a constant barrage of advertizing, cigarette smoke, traffic noise and other pollutants.

It's a different way of life. For example, we use a well or fill up from the local spring for water. There is no local transit. There is no garbage or recycling pick up. One must organize such waste and trek to the local dump for drop off.

When Anwyn was born she was 5 lbs 8 ounces: right at the lower end cut off for weight. Any lower and we would have been told we had to take her to the hospital. They would have had to take me fighting and screaming, against my will, so it's a good thing. The cloth diapers I had been lovingly given by a very sweet and giving friend of mine were ginormous compared to this wee body. I was new to cloth diapering and I tried using the Chinese style and the prefolds but only had diaper pins and those just freaked me out. We had to use disposables at the beginning until she grew into the cloth. So I used the most green and Eco-friendly diapers I could find.

The piles of soiled diapers would fill up a plastic shopping bag and then go out to the old outhouse that was converted into our trash storage area. By the time we actually made a trip to the dump, quite a number of bags had accumulated.

People who have trash pickup have the luxury of not seeing where their waste ends up. Out here going to the dump is a ritual of sorts and can be quite an event. It wasn't until I brought this load of diapers to the landfill that I really caught the scope of this particular waste item.

The reality of the sheer volume of diaper garbage happening around the globe hit me like the scent of a mound of month old nappies. Our babes come into this world and we let them be such huge polluters right out of the gate? I just imagined how much waste I would be making if I continued to use disposables until she was potty trained. That was huge and that was just ONE baby.

It takes over 500 years for a diaper to decompose, and that's in the right conditions. Yes, that's right. 500 years. What on earth are we doing? When you see it in it's environment and in it's scale, you honestly never want to use a disposable diaper again. When you witness the huge black bears eating these diapers, plopped down in the middle of a vulture infested area which used to be a forest, it's hard to believe we are doing this as a species. I find it impossible to be okay with this amount of waste. Waste that can simply be avoided. Plus, it's money saved.

After about 2 months the girl grew enough to make the switch to cloth full time. I started with the Chinese style, folding the cloth and just putting it into the cover... on it goes. I felt much better doing a little bit of extra laundry. I also saved buying packs of diapers at $20 a shot. I sunned them and they naturally bleached. I used vinegar and a little natural detergent to clean them and they worked very well, very few leaks. Every now and again I had to strip them, washing them a second time with no soap. I made the mistake of build up once and she got ammonia burn on her bum: all blistered! I'll never do that again. Like breastfeeding, it took some trial and error, some tweaking, and some research and 'the system' got figured out.

THEN I starting finding out more about cloth diapers, other makes, styles and designs. I found a company I liked and I started buying wholesale and selling to my friends. I loved playing with the colours and outfits to match. I also loved encouraging other moms to save money and stop feeding a wasteful legacy. Holy crap (pun!) cloth diapering became fun! I wanted to start a home-based business anyway and so I set it up online ( I found it a great option for a stay-at-home mom who does it all. Especially a single mommy like me. I plan on selling lots of natural products this way and helping moms as much as I am able.

I can't imagine diapering any other way now. Also, now that I know about newborn cloth diaper sizes, I would only recommend disposables for the first few weeks because the learning curve can be steep (especially for a first baby). As I am doing elimination communication with Anwyn, I find the pocket diapers very helpful. I can just unsnap them and not worry about the insert falling out while I hold her over the toilet or potty. Plus they are so nice to look at I don't need any other covering. 

If you need any convincing, come visit me and I will take you to the dump.

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