Tuesday, February 02, 2010

So let's talk bums...gBums to be specific

As you know, I have been using gDiapers with Little G since his umbilical cord fell off at about 8 days old. But other than my original post about choosing them and a follow up post on how to make sure everyone in your household knows how to use them so you don't end up with toilet water raining down from your kitchen ceiling, I haven't really said much more about them.

I haven't said much about them...because I find there isn't much to say...in a good way. They have become such a part of our daily lives that they seem inconsequential...which is ridiculous...because our diapering choices make a pretty big impact on the environment as a whole as well as our own micro-environments in our daily lives.

So let me start by saying I absolutely, without question, 100% recommend using gDiapers over disposable AND over cloth diapers.

Our Little G at two months in his gPants

Let me also follow that up by saying that while the above is my recommendation, it is based on my experience, with my background, and my daily living needs and in my corner of the world. So if it doesn't seem like it would work for you, or if other options are more practical in YOUR corner of YOUR world, than by all means go right ahead and do what is best for you.

But, to back up my first statement, I would like to present some information on cloth diapering vs. disposable diapering which after all of the research I did is nicely summed up by this statement from

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers
By Chris Woolston

Before your baby is born, you should take time to make the great diaper decision: cloth or disposable? Both types have pluses and minuses, and neither option is clearly superior. Most parents today opt for disposable diapers, but some parents continue to swear by old-fashioned cloth. You may even go for a combination: cloth diapers at home and disposable when you go out. If you haven't already made up your mind, here are some factors to consider:

*Cost. Disposable diapers typically cost as little as 20 cents each, and deluxe brands can cost as much as 50 cents or more. The average baby goes through about 7,000 diapers before toilet training, so that adds up to real money. In contrast, it only costs about 3 cents in water, power, and detergent to wash a cloth diaper. (If you use a diaper service, it pretty much eliminates the cost savings, though.) Over the long haul, you can save over $1,200 per child by using cloth diapers.

However, you should also consider what your time is worth. Cloth diapers can mean an extra hour of work every week. If an hour of your time is worth $10, those savings will essentially disappear.

*Convenience. Disposable diapers are the clear winner when it comes to convenience. No pins, no pails, no folding, no washing. Disposable diapers are especially handy if you don't have a washer and dryer or if you're traveling.

*Environmental impact. If you don't like the thought of throwing 7,000 diapers in a landfill, you might want to choose cloth diapers instead. A single cloth diaper can be reused up to 75 times, making it an attractive choice for people who want to cut down on trash. But there's a tradeoff: It takes about 50 gallons of water and a fair amount of energy to wash a load of cloth diapers. The Union of Concerned Scientists, a coalition of scientists and citizens dedicated to protecting the world's environment, says parents shouldn't worry too much about how their choice of diaper affects the environment. Other choices -- such as which car to buy -- are far more important, the group says.

*Comfort. Disposable diapers are generally more absorbent than cloth diapers, so they can keep your baby's skin dry. On the downside, it can be harder to tell when a disposable diaper needs to be changed. Some parents get complacent and go for hours between changes, potentially setting their baby up for a diaper rash.

If you decide to use cloth diapers, choose a kind that has several layers of different types of fabric. These will absorb moisture better than a diaper with just a single layer of fabric. No matter what type of diaper you use, check them often and change them when they're wet or messy.

*Leaks. Disposable diapers can soak up more urine than cloth diapers, so they are less prone to leak. They're a little bit better at holding in feces, too.

Either way you go, at some point there's probably a disposable diaper in your future. During toilet training some people opt for disposable pull-ups that fit the baby like underwear -- and they're handy for young children who occasionally wet the bed at night as well.

If you still can't decide, don't worry: you'll have 7,000 chances to find a diaper that's right for you and your baby.

-- Chris Woolston, MS, is a health and medical writer with a master's degree in biology. He is a contributing editor at Consumer Health Interactive and was a staff writer at Hippocrates, a magazine for physicians. His reporting for CHI on occupational health earned him an award from the Northern California Society of Professional Journalists

For me, the two most important factors in our decision on diapering were ease of use and environmental impact. But as for the latter, you can see in the above, the argument isn't so cut-and-dry. And he doesn't even mention the negative affects cloth diapering can have on the water system, especially if people use diaper creams with zinc in them, nor does he talk about the huge environmental impact of diapering services and the vast amounts of chemicals they use to get all of those dirty diapers so clean, not to mention the fossil fuels used weekly for their trucks to go around and make all of their pick ups/drop offs.

But I did wonder where this Union of Concerned Scientists was and if they had anything more to say on the matter. Turns out they do...on their website where it states this:

On what basis do you claim that cotton diapers have no clear environmental advantage over disposables?

Several studies have compared cloth and disposable diapers. Disposable diapers produce more solid waste, but laundering cloth diapers requires more water and probably more energy. Exactly how these different impacts balance out isn't clear. Even if disposable diapers turned out to be marginally better than cloth or vice versa, neither is likely to have a dramatic advantage. Therefore, people shouldn't worry too much about which one is environmentally preferable. Other consumer decisions, such as what type of car to buy, are much more important for the environment.

Ok...so those people clearly think it is a wash (pun not intended) so then I started to wonder about an option that was better than both options, aside from elimination communication which seems like the perfect answer but seriously wouldn't work for my lifestyle.

And then I found gDiapers.

The cloth outer and nylon liner have no plastic (aside from four small snaps to attach the liner to the outer) and the biodegradable inserts have three processing options. 1) If they are poopy, they flush down the toilet and go where poop is supposed to go; instead of into our water systems. 2) If they are wet, they are compostable; so not only are you choosing to not throw something out, but you are creating a soil amendment. 3) If all else fails and you do end up throwing one out, you can rest easy knowing that less petroleum went into creating the insert than into a conventional disposable diaper and while nothing truly biodegrades in a landfill, they certainly won't last 500 years like a disposable.

gPants nylon liner is plastic free (except for four mini-snaps)

gInserts slide right into the liner for easy use

There is so much more written over at the gDiaper site about the great debate on the environmental impact of cloth vs. disposables, how the composting of gDiapers works, what they are made of, and their 100% Biodegradable Claim. And yes, I know that it is all marketing copy, but I do encourage you to read it if you are in the process of choosing your diapering system.

As always, there are a million factors that go into everyone's personal decisions about what systems they plan to use for their children; and what works for one person may not work for someone else no matter how much they want it to. For instance, someone in a dry, desert-like climate who wants to use cloth diapers may find that due to their water circumstances, disposables are a better option for them. What matters is that we look into these options and make choices that are responsible and practical within our means.

So to all my pregnant and new mom readers...what diaper system will you be using/do you use and what went into making that decision for your family?


  1. I have been curious about cloth diapers- but my husband is skeptical because he doesn't want the added work of rinsing, scraping, using a pale etc.

    This looks like a great alternative however! Thank you for sharing.

    I have a couple of questions- since you are using the product:
    *Have you had trouble with it leaking despite changing the diaper within a reasonable amount of time?
    *If you use the disposable gRefill, you don't snap anything in right? It remains secure within the slits?
    *When you unsnap the liner to clean it- how does the outer cloth diaper part do with baby stool? Does the liner protect it pretty well?
    *The inner liner that secures the gRefill- it hasn't caused any kind of rubbing or irritation to your baby's skin has it?

    I watched the video's on the gDiaper website- but I was still a little curious about the details. So Thank you in advance for answering my questions! =o)

  2. Hey there...hope this helps:

    - The only time I have ever had trouble with leaking was when Little G was inbetween the small and medium sizes. We went through some trial and error periods, but it only lasted about a week and was mostly at night. In the end, we 'doubled him up' over night in the larger size diaper. Which we actually still do to this day since he pees so much over night. Basically, we put the medium/large insert in the medium gPant and then put a folded up small liner in the front of the gPant ontop of the other liner. This has solved our overnight leaking issues. He HAS leaked on other occasions, but mostly because I have missed changing him. I should also say that Little G is not moving right now...he doesn't roll over from back to front, but he does squirm around quite a bit and I have never been concerned about leaks. Not sure if that will change once he is bigger and crawling/walking, but I have yet to find any information online that it would be a problem.

    - The nylon inner snaps into the cloth outer. THEN the disposable liner/pad slides into the snapped in inner. It was confusing to me at first before I owned them because people interchange the word liner for the inner nylon part and the disposable pad part. What you need to know is that there are three parts to the diaper. 1) the cloth outer layer 2) the nylon inner layer that snaps into the cloth outer layer and 3) the disposable liner/pad that slides into the liner.

    If the diaper is only a wet diaper, you just take out the liner/pad from the inner and replace it with a new liner/pad. I usually have at least 5 already set up for me at the changing table so I can just switch out the diaper and toss the used liner/pad in a container until we take them out to the compost pile.

    - The nylon inner protects the cloth outer from stool VERY well. Our baby was never a prolific pooper...instead of pooping every diaper change, he would go once a day...which meant it was BIG. The only time it would ever get on the cloth outer was when I would take the diaper off and not pay attention to what I was doing and dip the outer into the poo. What can I say - there are a lot of flailing toes and feet going on during a diaper change and it took a while to get it all down so I wasn't getting poo everywhere :) An important thing to know about poopy diapers is that it WILL get on the nylon inner which it is designed to do. I usually change the diaper, put it down where Little G won't kick his feet into it, clean him up, put him somewhere where he can play on his own safely (the floor or his crib) and then take care of the poopy diaper. I have a couple of extra nylon inners so that if the poopy ones are in the wash, I can still be using the outers.

    - The snap-in inner layer has NEVER, I repeat, NEVER irratated my son's skin. It is quite soft...so soft that I took notice of it one day. The elastic along the edge is coated in something that makes it super smooth. It fits right up into the leg creases to form the same seal a disposable diaper forms.

    Ok...hope that helped. I remember being soooo intimidated by the whole thing before getting started and then starting the process and realizing that it wasn't even 'something to get used to doing' it was just plain easy!

    Good luck on your adventure and let me know how it goes and if you have any other questions.

  3. Thanks for answering my questions! It's so helpful to hear from someone who is actually doing it- rather than watching video's trying to see how it is! We haven't decided what to use yet. But we've been researching and trying to figure out which cloth diaper sets would be best (as far as easy to use but doesn't create increased insanity). This one sounds like the most manageable though to be honest. Not even the grandparents would seem too intimidated by it!

  4. Loved learning about gdiapers! Sadly, our plumbing is definitely tree-root infested and flushing anything other than TP is forbidden... and I mean ANYTHING.

    Wish we lived in a new house with undisturbed plumbing lines so I could use these!

  5. oooo...tree root infested plumbing does NOT sound like my cup of tea...at. all. Our house is 101 years old but the plumbing is from the 70's (I think), so it is relatively new compared to the house.

    But I should point out that you can still use these...you can toss the poopy ones after dropping off the bulk of the poo in the toilet and rest easy knowing that at least they are less damaging to the environment both to make and to toss away than conventional disposable diapers.

    And you can compost the pee ones. I have to say, I was a totaly compost naysayer for EVAH because it seemed, gross and impractical, but it seriously is the easiest thing to do on the planet. AND apparently the ratio of green stuff (kitchen scraps) to brown stuff (leaves and gDiapers) is such that having so many diapers to compost is a plus rather than a burden.

  6. OOOOOH Thank you!!! What a wonderful helpful blog...I was already sold on them, but now I feel even better about it :)

  7. Yay...so glad I could be of help, Jess. I totally get what you are saying...when we were researching our options, I feel like I was more apt to take people's personal experiences to heart.