05-17-13 - Cloth Diapering

Oh yes indeed, you are in for a spate of baby-related blogging.

I'm pretty sure clother diapers are bullshit. I'm about to cancel my diaper service. In this first week I've been using a semi-alternating mix of cloth and disposable. I assumed that I would start out with disposables just for ease in the first few days and then switch to cloth because it's "better", but I don't think I will.

(I make all my decisions now based only on 1. personal observations and 2. serious scientific studies where I can read the original papers. I try to avoid and discount 3. journalism 4. hearsay 5. the internet 6. mass-market nonfiction. I think they are garbage and mental poison.)

What I'm seeing is :

Disposable diapers actually work the way they claim to. The seal around the borders is good. The entire diaper itself has a nice low profile so is not too bulky or uncomfortable. But most importantly, they actually do trap and absorb moisture. When baby has a heavy pee in a disposable diaper, the moisture stays right in one little spot and doesn't spread all over. When I remove the diaper I can feel her skin all over the nether regions is pretty dry.

Cloth diapers don't. The worst aspect is that when baby has a heavy pee, the cloth soaks it up, and because it's cloth and wicks moisture, the pee is spread all over her entire lower parts. When I get the diaper off, she's soaking wet all over. (and yes of course I'm changing her almost instantly after peeing because at this point we're watching her constantly). That alone is enough to turn me off cloth diapers, but there's lots more that sucks about them. It's really hard to get the diaper cover on such that it actually makes a water-tight seal, so leakage is much more likely (and if you do try to make it water tight, it's easy to make it too tight and cut off circulation, which I accidentally did once). The cloth diaper alone looks pretty comfortable on her, but the diaper cover is much rougher and more bulky than a dispoable; the result is that she has this huge awkward thing on.

When you add the inconvenience of cloth diapers (longer changing times, having to store poop in your house, taking the pail in and out for pickup), it just seems like a massive lose.

The only possible argument pro-cloth that makes sense to me is the reduction of the landfill load. Now, environmental arguments are always complicated; there are arguments for the other side based on the environmental cost of washing (though I think they're bogus). But even assuming that the environmental case is clear, being a hypocritical liberal I wouldn't actually inconvenience myself and discomfort my baby for the benefit of the landfill.

Eh, actually I take back that false self-accusation. That's a retarded Fox News style "gotcha" that's based on misrepresentation and not understanding. I've never advocated the standard liberal martyrdom (and if I once did, I certainly don't now). I don't believe in choosing to undermine yourself because you believe the world would be better if everyone did it. I believe in changing the laws such that they encourage you to make the choice that is better for the world. eg. people who don't drive because they believe it's evil, even if it would be much to their benefit, are just being dumb martyrs. The US government massively subsidizes driving, so if you don't take advantage of that you are essentially paying for other people to drive. I would love it if the government would subsidize *not driving* rather than the other way around, but until they do I'm driving up a storm. (tangent : the massive subsidies for Teslas is a great example of the way that Dems and Reps are in fact both really working for the same cause : creating loop holes and kick backs so that they can give money to rich people).

I'm a big tangent wanderer. My political philosophy in a nutshell :

Government's role is to create a market structure (through laws, regulation, the Fed, direct market action, etc) such that when each actor maximimizes their own personal utility, the net result is as good for the entire world (nation) as possible.

(if you're out of high school (or the 18th century) you should know that a free market does not do that on its own)

(And crucially, "good for" must be defined on something like a sum-of-logs scale, or perhaps just maximize the median, or minimize the number in poverty; if you maximize the sum (basically GDP) then giving huge profits to Larry Ellison and fucking everyone else looks like it's "good for the world")

And, uh, oh yeah, cloth diapers suck.


Blaine Allen Brown said...

Diclaimer: I'm 24 and have no experience with children or diapers. I'm just presenting some thoughts, not suggesting you're wrong or anything.

From what I've always read, cloth diapers were supposed to be a little uncomfortable when soiled, so that the child could get into using the toilet super early. But really, they do seem quite inconvenient and not worth it.

Probably what I would focus on is trying to get child to communicate (you know, obviously not right after she was born, but a bit later) when she needs to use the bathroom so I could pick her up and put her on a toilet even before she can walk. Wouldn't it be great if your daughter could say or signal that she needs to go to the bathroom and then you could just take her there, and put the still clean diaper back on her? That gets rid of the mess in the easiest way AND is teaching her something. I think that's the best solution. Then you can use disposable ones over and over. But maybe the tape would wear out? I dunno.

cbloom said...

That actually is one of the new trends in fashionable baby raising. Of course in the modern retarded memed-up group-think way it can't just be a straightforward idea, it has to become a whole cult with its own made-up mumbo jumbo, so it's called "Elimination Communication" and the people who do it have all these arbitrary rules about how to do it correctly.


"I'm just presenting some thoughts, not suggesting you're wrong or anything."

I like how you butter me up before the content so that I don't immediately get pissy. ;)

Karg said...

Discalmer: I'm 32 and I have 20 mo. old twins who are using cloth diapers (though we don't use prefolds or a service).

We used disposable instead of newborn size cloth diapers initially because they grow out of that size so fast, you don't end up saving that much money.

For cloth diapers, we use pocket diapers (PUL on outside, wicking fabric against baby, absorbent insert) because they're convenient, available used, and usable by others (they're just like disposable diapers, but with buttons)

We mainly chose cloth diapers to save money. We've spent about $500 on diapers and inserts and have ready access to our washer/drier. We estimated about $5,000 for disposable diapers.

The only time we had leaking issues is when we visited family and had to wash diapers in a machine where fabric softener was regularly used. Fabric softener coats fabric in a substance that repels liquid; not what you want for diapers. Other than that, the "water-tight" seal isn't necessary as the absorbent insert pulls the moisture away from the fabric that's against the baby.

Also, since we don't have a service, we don't store poop in our house or wrap it up in plastic and store it in our garage. We flush it down the toilet. That's where poop goes.

All that said, we also have a 5 yr. old (out of diapers now) who exclusively used disposables and she's turned out just fine. Don't worry about making the "wrong" choice, neither is "bad", just use what works for you guys. There's much more important stuff (like spending time with them) than what kind of diapers you use.

Max McGuire said...

Diapering a newborn (i.e. an orange pooper) is quite different than diapering an older baby.

Cloth diapers don't fit very well on a newborn and you have to worry about the umbilical cord stump which makes them even harder to fit. But I don't have any problem getting a cloth diaper on a 1 year old (except him wanting to get up and walk around mid-way). I actually find them a bit easier than dealing with the tabs on the disposable ones.

The orange stuff isn't really flushable, but once you get into solids it's not a problem. We have a weekly service and a Diaper Dekor and have never had any odor problems.

old rants