Cloth diapers and other terrible things to do to babies.
I want to be high impact in my life – in my community, my social sphere, my local economy, and my personal life; I want to be low impact in the natural world. I want to leave behind a legacy but not a mess to clean up. Partially because of this personal philosophy, we use cloth diapers & wipes on our baby. Also, I breastfeed, make his baby food, and get as much of his gear used as we possibly can. We still have the same compact car we had before we had our child, and just the same as before he was born, we acquire most of our goods second-hand (or third-, or fourth-, as the case may be).
While sometimes I see this as being the “right” thing to do, as often as not it is just the easy and natural thing to do. Nursing my child is way easier for me than mixing up a bottle of formula, and washing a bunch of bottles. Mashing up a banana to feed him seems more natural and intuitive to me than remembering to buy and then opening a jar of weird pink goo called banana. Cloth diapers just seemed right and natural, too. I know I prefer my britches to be soft cloth to some (what are they anyway? plastic? paper? polyvinyl icky stuff?) non-natural material. Cloth diapers are soft on my baby’s skin, never causing him diaper rash or irritation. And then he knows and I know when he is wet, and I hope that he potty trains as soon as he realizes he has some control over that wet-bottom issue. But even if it doesn’t net us less months in the diaper, we still wanted to do cloth. It puts his waste in the water stream (where most human waste goes already) instead of into the trash can. It allows us to have nearly no disposable, one-time use products to purchase and repurchase. It frees me from having to worry about what chemicals bleaches, dyes, or other things my baby’s delicate skin might be encountering. And, we never run out of diapers – we just have to wash them.
Sometimes my commitment to natural, organic, local, reused, simpler things gets me labeled a “hippie” and sometimes a “liberal” and sometimes other things. I personally like to think of it as smart and savvy. Why buy “new” things when I can buy used things at a cheaper cost? Then I have the added benefit of keeping a perfectly good item out of the landfill and having less anxiety about it getting ruined (which happens more often now that a baby is in the house). To me it is just a simple win-win situation.
I plan to teach all of these things to my child. There are worse things I could do.