Diaper dilemmas and nursery goings-on

There are some things in life I don’t get worked up about. Like fashion/the latest gadgets. Black Friday is wasted on folks like me. Or things like pro basketball/baseball/football. What can I say? I like college sports. There are however some things that I predictably get worked up about, such as politics, organic/local food, people who can’t figure out that driving in the snow is not difficult, and the newest one: diapers. Who knew a person could have a mini existential crisis over something as trivial as diapers?

I’ve known for a while now (even before the unexpected pregnancy) that I wanted to use cloth diapers. I noticed the craze a few years ago and decided to see what the big deal was. Turns out most disposable diapers contain nasty chemicals like dioxins (carcinogenic), sodium polycarbonate (removed from tampons because it was linked to toxic shock syndrome… but it’s OK to put in diapers?!), Volatile Organic Compounds (sound familiar? VOCs are the nasty, stinky chemicals in paint that we’re all trying to avoid!), as well as dyes, fragrances and petroleum. And these chemicals cause issues as mild as diaper rash and as serious as reduced fertility and cancer. Definitely NOT what I want touching a baby’s sensitive skin!

Armed with this knowledge, a few months ago I set out on my cloth diaper search (which are also known for causing less diaper rash and for helping kids potty train faster because cloth diapers don’t wick moisture away so the child knows he or she is wet). Here were my criteria: 100% cotton soaker pads (preferably organic), manufactured by a small and environmentally conscious company, with good reviews from users, and made in the USA.

Well, three outta four ain’t bad.

I looked at a number of cloth diaper brands, such as Gro-Via, BumGenius, Apple Cheeks, and FuzziBunz, among others (I can’t even remember them all, but it’s probably about a dozen). Turns out some of the companies don’t use cotton at all, but rather polyester even in the soaker pads. Not so soothing on baby’s bum. Others didn’t seem to be designed very well. And guess what? NONE were made in the USA. Sigh.

In the end, I decided to go with Gro-Via (though I started out my search a BumGenius fan). Gro-Via diapers are made by a company located in Bozeman, near where I live. They’re made in China, but the company has a commitment to employing women at fair wages in modern, safe factories. And at least some of my money (and the money of friends and family helping me buy the diaper package) is staying in my community. The soakers are 100% organic cotton. But before this decision was made, I felt a lot of frustration about being unsuccessful in finding a well-made cloth diaper made in the USA. But then again I feel that same frustration frequently with all sorts of products. Here’s another way to get Americans employed again: Move manufacturing back to the U.S.

This was definitely not something I thought I would agonize over like I did! But now the diapers have been purchased and they’re in the washing machine (I have to wash them 5 times or so before baby arrives so they become fully absorbent). And it’s a good thing too because we’re getting close to Baby C’s arrival! As of tomorrow, seven weeks!

And something else I’ve noticed is that just about every single one of my friends with new babies have chosen to go the cloth diaper route, as well. My mom and mother-in-law have their doubts, but well, there have only been three generations in disposable diapers and many, many more generations in cloth.

In other news, Shawn and I have gotten the nursery nearly finished. It’s still cluttered, but such is the fate of small apartment dwellers who need the second bedroom to pull triple duty as storage space, guest bedroom and nursery. And even though I still have pangs of sadness over the fact that Baby C doesn’t get a beautifully painted room with top-of-the-line furniture in a home my husband and I own, now that we’ve gotten the changing table and crib assembled and pictures on the wall, I like the way things are coming together.

Here’s the nursery to-do list from before:

  • Find hardware for and assemble crib, or purchase and assemble new one
  • Finish mobile, hang (on hold until after finals week)
  • Hang pictures
  • Launder bedding, blankets, towels, diapers
  • Set up rocking chair (second-hand from my step-mother, but in perfectly serviceable condition)
  • Assemble changing table, get changing supplies ready
  • Find curtains to block out light during daytime naps, hang (waiting until I have about $25-$50 just lying around… which is infrequent)
  • Acclimate kitties to baby things (no cats in cribs!) (Haven’t noticed this to be an issue yet… from what I’ve read, allowing the cats to explore the new furniture so they aren’t curious about it helps. If I do notice they’re getting in the crib, we’ll try to vinegar trick. Still kicking around getting a net thingie to put on the top of the crib so there’s no way the kitties can jump in with Junior.)

I had a baby shower the day after Thanksgiving and it was a lot of fun. I loved seeing many friends and family members, especially since we aren’t going home for Christmas and Shawn and I live so far away in the first place. And everyone was very generous. I received numerous adorable kiddo outfits (highlights were the “My dad is turtley awesome” outfit with a turtle on it and the Nebraska-themed “Throw the bones” onesie with crossed bottles on it), soft and fuzzy blankets, beautiful books, money to put toward the organic crib mattress, a Boppy pillow, baby monitor, and some gorgeous blankets made by my grandmother and mother-in-law. Truly, we are blessed.

Update: Here’s a photo of the picture collage above the crib. I’ve had lots of requests to see them!

Clockwise, beginning in the top left corner, the pictures are: A woodcut of a moose in a pond by a local artist, a photo of Shawn as a little boy, a photo of a train in Loch Shiel, Scotland (more recently known for its role in the Harry Potter movies), a print of a kingfisher I picked up in London, a Scottish highland cow, and a photo of me as a little girl. In the middle is a picture of a leafy sea dragon and a weedy sea dragon (in the seahorse family) we picked up at the Monterey Bay Aquarium this past summer.

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