An Earth-Friendly, Made In America Baby Registry- Part Three- Diapers

by - Wednesday, September 20, 2017

So you are having a baby or planning a baby shower- congratulations! Life is about to get that much cuter. Also, that much more covered in bodily fluids. So many fluids. Let's all take a second and appreciate how dry we are in this moment, because it won't last.

When people have babies, suddenly it becomes okay to talk about things like pee and poop. And some parents take full advantage. So much poop discussion. Perhaps partially because of this, diapers have become a big debate. In fact, it is enough of an issue already that you have tons of other resources.

Because cloth diapers are having a comeback.

But why? And why might it be right for you?

Now, before you roll your eyes and dodge my granola, I am going to be straight up and say we don't cloth diaper. We tried, but I was the only one really on board, and you can't survive any part of parenting as a village of one. So I will definitely go over cloth diapers, but I will also try to mention some of the other things that might be a smaller good step (because let's be real, you can't do better than reusable).

Before having the baby, I couldn't imagine doing cloth diapers, because that is literally too much shit to deal with. Now, we are working on switching over for when we are home, because you make a whole lot of waste in a baby's diapered-time with disposable diapers. Plus, and I don't want to scare you, but the poop is unavoidable, no matter how you package it.

Our grandparents cloth diapered their babies, and I know they are boggled that we would want to go back. Disposables saved tons of time- you could spend less time trying to grossly wash feces and have an actual hobby instead. In other words, disposable diapers, much like so many modern conveniences offered parents, especially mothers, freedom.

So why would people be going back?

It turns out that freedom comes at an epic environmental cost. Diapers create epic amounts of waste, and most diaper brands include a LOT of plastic that will never break down. Did your parents use disposable diapers for you? Get ready for an ugly truth.

Those little packets of your shit will outlive you. By hundreds of years.

Your diapers are your great great grandchildren's burden. When you think about it, that's pretty screwed up. It becomes easier to see why people might be warming to going back to reusable.

One of the other things that makes reusable more appealing now is that most cities have diaper pick up services. Want to buy a crunchy mom near you an EPICALLY awesome gift? Diaper cleaning.

For most parts of this registry, we are looking to cut down (just have fewer things), find things used (buy nothing, secondhand stores, etc) and to buy local. Some of that still matters here, but the big question in diapering is whether you are using disposable or reusable cloth diapers.

That being said, no judgement. This is a huge Baby Registry that covers everything you will (or won't) need, and if you can't make this change work, I guarantee there are still lots of things you can do. This isn't about us all moving to the woods barefoot and eating roots, it's about making a once radical lifestyle part of our everyday lives. The idea here isn't that you get everything perfectly right.

I am constantly collecting more information on this, but I am going to start you with what I know now (and I love hearing from Mamas about what worked for them).

Diaper Caddy
Bumper Care
Changing Mats and Covers
Changing Pad Liners
Diaper Pail
Travel Changing Mat
Wet Bags
Wipe Warmer

from Pom Pom Fringe

A Basket or Caddy to hold this stuff in (you may have it/ new)

Our Pick- Colonial Mills baskets
Other Options- Yoon 1206 Greene, secondhand baskets, etsy

 it needs a place, or it will take over. That being said, lots of things will be hanging off types of deals, and I don't often see those still in use after long. Equally crazypants are caddies made specifically to hold diapers- what are you going to do with that when it is done? That being said, if you have something like that in mind, let me suggest this one.

So what would I recommend? A Basket. Just normal baskets in any place you keep diapers. We have mostly cleaned out catch all storage baskets already in our house and used them for diapers. And when diapers are over, they will find another life as something else. Skip the cutesy nonsense and just get something that already makes sense in your house (and maybe already exists there).

Need a basket? I love these woven baskets from Colonial Mills, but they are definitely expensive enough that you want to pick one in colors that you can use forever. You can also find lots of simple fabric baskets on Etsy that would do the job perfectly. I think my favorite are these colored baskets- nothing too fancy, but hand woven in the States and you can get whatever colors make sense for you.  Jennifer Helene Home has a simple set that could cover any room in the house where you might need diapers. If you want something more sophisticated (see: expensive) try Sampson and James or (more reasonable) Pom Pom Fringe. Cost effective and multi-use, little square fabric baskets from the Basket Garden might make the most sense for keeping them clean and using them long term.

Bumper Care (new)

 You can get through with minor incidents, but there will still be incidents. Bourdeaux's Butt Paste is organic and does the trick in a day or two.One of those things parents will bring up at parties and everyone agrees it is awesome (weirdly, this has happened). Also smells pretty good, which is a feat in itself. For more basic everyday use, try Burt's Baby Bee All Purpose Ointment.

from Woolf with Me

Changing Mats and Covers (used)

Our Pick for MatsOeuf  or Used
Other OptionsLA Baby and Colgate

 I have never not seen these at our consignment store and they can be tough to find made in the USA- Oeuf has the only one I have seen, and it does look awesome (environmentally friendly and Made in the US both), but expensive for something designed to hold explosive poop. In the last year, LA Baby and Colgate have started making in the US as well for much more competitive prices, but their materials aren't as eco-friendly.

Our Pick for Covers- Carousel Designs
Other Options- Luxe Basics and New Arrivals, Etsy Amazingness

 If you want everything looking good (which I get, I am like that too), you can still get the mat used and use the money you save to get a cool cover on Etsy. Just think, these mats are in use for a relatively short time, and they almost always have a cover on them, so much like a pillow or mattress, what they look like inside doesn't matter much. Buy a ten dollar used pad and then a really nice couple of covers (you only need 2) on Etsy and you will be set.

My favorite changing mat covers are from Carousel Designs . They are made in America, and in the last year they have moved onto Amazon (though I still suggest you check their website, this sure is nice for the registry.  Luxe Basics and New Arricals sell options on Amazon as well. And then there is Etsy, which has way more options than I can cover here, so search what you are looking for and turn that United States filter on. If you do want to browse, here are my favorites: Lou Lou MadeLove Lila AnnWoolf with MeNoni and VMadly WishThree Wishes Bedding CoFinley BabyFern Leslie BabyMod FoxKarolina Designs, and Caden Lane Baby Bedding.

Changing Pad Liners (new)

Our Pick- Healthy Baby Ideas

 Ok, this may sound like overkill, but we just bought  four of these liners and switched them out every time there was a blow out. It kept laundry moving and we are using the same (ONE, we only bought one) changing pad cover stain-free.

from Polish Prince Diapers

Diapers (new if disposable, new/used mix if reusable)

 Again, how you approach this depends entirely on what route you want to take.

If you are using disposable, my advice is to sign up for Amazon Mom (it's a dumb name- my husband is on it for us) and order diapers only a step ahead, because they do grow faster than you expect. Have a couple brands in Newborn and see what fits your baby and you, then have one box a size ahead in case they grow overnight.

Diaper brands are trying to be more recyclable/ biodegradable, but honestly they aren't there yet. That's why the reusable route is the only real green option for diapers. I recommend trying Seventh GenerationEarth's Best, and The Honest Company.

If you are going reusable, you have a couple options, but I suggest starting used. All of them are for sale at our consignment store and many of them have come up on Buy Nothing. Moral of the story- keep an eye out! Even if you are in a less eco-friendly culture, you might be surprised. Get on those mommy forums and ask around.

If you want reusable light, I recommend G Diapers which are less bulky under clothes and can use either disposable or reusable inserts. It's a larger investment upfront, but you will save so much money in the end.

For truly reusable, you have so many totally amazing, American-made options. They are expensive at first, but most fit from 8 to 35 lbs, so basically for two years. Think of all the boxes of diapers you won't be buying. Also, if the price is slowing you down, look into finding them used. You can find tons online and at kids' consignment stores. On Amazon, you can get Smart Bottoms (these look great, but pricey- so maybe a gift?) Jack and Jill diapers (with super sustainable bamboo and charcoal), Tiny TushBest Bottom, and Angelic Ware diapers. That being said, Etsy is the home of cloth diaperers everywhere, so you can find nearly infinite options there. Here is a tiny bite of your choices- LL Precious CreationsMelissa Makes, Polish Prince DiapersCounting the BlessingsElly Diapers (she has swim diapers too), EG ClothLittle BoppersCat and Wolf DesignsBa Ba BottomsOwl Be Green, and Greatest Joy Designs.  I am also really curious about Didy's, which seems like almost a start up to me, so if you get any of her stuff, please tell me about it!

Inserts come in as many varieties, so be sure to size your insert appropriately. You can look at the ones from Sprout and Best Bottoms (these have glowing reviews). Creekside Kids sells liners too, and they come with an almost excessive amount of Etsy love. Other options- Jane's NeedfulsShop Imperfectionista, and Vinyl Madness Mama.

As a side note, I also found this diaper washing contraption that is at least partially made in the US and might be a big help. I honestly have no idea.

A Diaper Pail- Ok, I am kidding myself here, because unless you get the Ubbi steel diaper pail, these things start to stink. No great solution here, but if you have a good idea- please share!

Travel Changing Mats (used)

 Our Picks- Used or Kathy's Kreations
Other Options-  Precious Little TotBlack Arrow Studioyoon 1 greene,  izy and doly, Life Made ChicSimple Grace Design, Daffodils n Dinosaurs, and Whimsy for Wee

We bought ours at a consignment store, which is perfect for a piece of cloth specifically for getting poop on. Seriously, even if you wouldn't regularly buy things used, a poop pad is not a bad place to start, because this is not a cute object.

Planet Wise from Amazon

Wet Bag (new)

Our Pick- Planet Wise or Petunia
Other Options-Snuggy BabyWhimsy for WeeRykie B'sMod Mom ME, and Julian's Boutique.

 Plastic diaper disposal bags only add insult to injury (not to mention they are a waste of money). Either find bags that biodegrade or use reusable/ washable wet bags. Whether you are doing reusable diapers or not, a wet bag can be a great investment (way better than wasting lots of ziploc bags). Plus, wet bags get a lot of praise for really working and keeping the mess off everything else in your diaper bag dry. I have a Planet Wise one that we use for taking our kids to the beach as well.

from Creekside Kid

Wipes (new)

 you again are most green using something you can throw in the wash, The only 100% biodegradable are Jackson Reece's, which are made in the UK (they also come in a lot of packaging). Don't want these? Then we are back to reusables. Reusable wipes can cut tons of waste from your family's impact on the Earth. It may not be for you, but think about it. You might surprise yourself.

You can find about a million options for wipes (120 search pages) on Etsy, and they can last you so much longer than the one time use disposable ones. Creekside Kid comes out the big winner- they have over a thousand 5 star reviews and are very affordable, so I would start here. You can also try Lover of Life Designs (also almost a thousand positive reviews), Green Little Nest (even more beloved! Isn't it encouraging so many people are using reusable cloths for various purposes already?), Playtime and Parties, and Curly Monkey. Two reusable options on Amazon (in case the Etsy thing is harder to connect to your registry) are Oso Cozy and Baby Kicks.

Aleva Naturals are made of Bamboo and biodegrade in 21 days (but they are made in China)- we are going to try these, and I will let you know what I think.

That being said, there are more "organic" options- Seventh Generation's wipes claim to be green because you need fewer to do the job (you can also still buy them in bulk). Babyganics are also made in the USA out of mostly plant-based fibers. Waterwipes claims to be almost all water, but that is nonsense- what is the actual wipe made of? Kirkland wipes are made from 100% renewable materials. Burt's Bees are also made in the USA.

A Wipe Warmer (just wait)

People swore by their wipe warmer, but ours mostly just sat there (and slightly melted the furniture). It may be something to try if late night diapering isn't going well, but I would wait until there are complaints before you address them. They also aren't made in America at all, so if you want one, think about keeping an eye out for something used in consignment or Buy Nothing.

That being said. Wipe warmers can be a huge help with reusable wipes for keeping them wet, so if you are a mom who has advice on which is best, please feel free to share!

Changing diapers and diapering might be a very green thing to do, but it isn't the ONLY green choice you can make while getting ready to have a little one. Check out the rest of the eco-friendly baby registry for tons of ideas for everything on your registry! You can find solutions that work for you and help save the world!

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  1. I buy organic, recycle as much as possible, breastfeed, and potty train my littles as early as possible but I personally still can't imagine cloth diapering. Anyone who does, I think it's awesome, just can't do it myself.

  2. I can definitely appreciate the concept, but I’ve never even entertained the idea of trying it. And now that I’m potty training my last child I’m just happy to be done with diapers! Also, love that pineapple changing cover!

  3. We cloth diapered our youngest for a while. He had some growth issues so we had to switch back to sposies, but I'm glad we offset some of the potential waste for several months.

  4. I never considered cloth diapering. However, when you put it into perspective it makes a ton of sense!