Thursday, May 12, 2011

Cloth Diaper Update #3

It’s been awhile since I wrote an update about our cloth diaper adventures. When we left off, Linda and I had to order a new set of diapers because Violet had outgrown the small Fuzzibunz generously lent to us by friends. We tried to get medium diapers from the same couple, but they told us that they had lent the mediums to someone else who was still using them. We couldn’t be upset with our friends, because their generosity saved us hundreds of dollars. Consequently, the prospect of purchasing our own set left us cringing financially. Some searching on the Internet, however, led us to a deal that seemed incredible; Babyland are well-reviewed cloth diapers that sell for less than $4 each. We needed about two dozen, so compared with $15-$20 per diaper for the Fuzzibunz, we jumped on these. I couldn’t help feeling skeptical, but when they arrived, I had to admit that they worked well. The inner liners were a bit thin, so we had to double them up, especially overnight, but the savings far outweighed that complaint. Then we figured out we could just use the liners from the small Fuzzibunz instead. The one attribute of these diapers that did stand out was when we first opened them up, there was a strong chemical odor coming off them – a fuel-like odor. It grew more faint with each washing, but it bothered me, especially considering that the diapers came from China. Then, about a week ago, Linda’s mom thoughtfully sent us an “Organic Baby” book, and while flipping through it, Linda came across this section on non-organic fabrics:
Benzene, ammonia, and ethylene glycol are among the worst offenders. They are often found in fabric finishes. You can detect these chemicals in fabric by their synthetic feel and strong smell. They are often found in fleece, polyester, and polyester blends [exactly what our diapers are made out of]. These compounds irritate the eyes, nose, and throat. They’ve also been linked to cancer, depression, and leukemia...
Now, I can imagine you might be reading this and saying to yourself that if we ditch our new diapers, then we’re overreacting, and don’t think that that thought did not occur to me the moment that Linda read me that paragraph. I, too, felt the urge to throw up my hands and say, “Forget it!” We’re using cloth diapers, for God’s sake. Isn’t that one decision you should be able to make where you make it and you’re done? Where you can just say, “I’m doing a good thing for my baby and the planet,” and be done with it? Part of me wants – so very much - to say, “Fine, let’s just go back to disposables. Or else we just stick with these and whatever happens happens.” But then I think of all the people I know and love who’ve gotten cancer – healthy people who had no reason to get cancer, and that thought silences any other besides the one telling me to do whatever I can to minimize risks for Violet. They’re her diapers after all; they’re in constant contact with her skin 24 hours a day. So, while the Babyland diapers work great as diapers, their potential to poison is worrisome. I’m not completely sold on what was written in the organic baby book, but I won't feel completely comfortable snapping the new diapers on Violet until we can find more information on what went into them or we get new diapers.

And to those who still think we’re overreacting, I offer this in our defense:
the book also implied that if we cared at all about Violet, we’d get rid of everything plastic in our house – WOOD TOYS ONLY! We looked around at the menagerie of petroleum-based playthings scattered about our house and said, “Oh, well.”

172 days old


  1. You're not overreacting. You have to do what's best for your baby!

    When Macie was first born, we got a glider that REEKED of that fuel smell you're describing. We could smell it as soon as the UPS guy wheeled it off the truck. We brought it back to Babies R Us immediately and got one that didn't have any dyes in it and seemed to be from a company that was concerned about that kind of safety. (I remember it was a Canadian company; the first glider was probably Chinese too.)

    You might consider plain old fashioned pre-folds with a velcro cover. They're super cheap, and while none of Macie's diapers are fun colors, they get the job done.

  2. Amy - thank you for the advice - I remember that you mentioned these the last time I wrote about cloth diapers - I should've listened to you then! I visited the website you listed in your previous comment, and we ordered a few covers and some organic cotton prefolds. I'll let you know how they work out...