Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sustainable living

My mom has been cloth diapering for over 40 years. She advocates it very strongly to all her children. She may have not been doing it consciously to save the earth, nevertheless her efforts have contributed big time.
With more than a dozen grandchildren, she has easily saved more than 60,000 disposable diapers from being tossed out to the landfills and these diapers take a very long time to fully biodegrade.

Cloth diapers 

The revolutionary diapering system has made life so much simpler for people like my mom who laboured over tons of white muslin cloth also known (here) as napkin or 'kain lampin'.
How to fold the white muslin cloth

I remember helping her wash (by hand, mind you) these white napkins and line drying them. Her whole porch and backyard would look like a cloth factory, with lines of white square napkins.

After drying, comes the task of folding each napkin into its special fold. It was a little tricky in the beginning but once you have mastered it, you'd be able to fold it without looking and while enjoying your daily dose of Hindi drama (which, by the way is in abundance!).

Thanks to the revolutionary cloth diapering system, I get to cloth diaper my baby with less hassle.
No more changing her each time she peed because these new cloth diapers can be used for a few hours depending on their absorbency.

With my baby, it's safe to say, on average I change her diaper every 4 hours or earlier (unless when baby poos, you must change it immediately).

Interestingly, after receiving my bumGenius 4.0, I managed to stretch the hours and even used it in the night. The results, her bum did not feel wet or cold the next morning.

Trim cut yet absorbent (hook & loop)
Perhaps, the quick dry soft lining inside the diaper made sure her bottom stayed dry the whole night and waterproof outer cover ensured my bed sheets didn't get wet. It basically works exactly like a disposable diaper but you don't throw away your bumGenius. 

It comes with 2 inserts (1 one-size and 1 newborn size) and I decided to use both of these inserts. Despite that, bumGenius is so much trimmer compared to my other pocket cloth diaper.
It gave her a very snug fit and looked comfortable on her while sitting down or standing. The side panels too are good and didn't cut into her thighs.

These diapers come in 2 style, snap and hook & loop. My personal favourite is the snap because my darling bubba can easily unfastened the other (hook & loop).
Hook & loop, is a better option for younger babies.
To view more colours and features of bumGenius go to this link Pocket Style Cloth Diaper. 
Top diaper-bumGenius (snap), so much trimmer than 
another brand pocket diaper, bottom

A lesson on washing.

My backyard doesn't look like a cloth factory because I don't need many diapers, as opposed to the cloth napkins (not true when I wash my babywearing gear), and I don't wash these diapers daily.
I wash every third day (it's recommended to wash every 48 hours due to our humid weather), but make sure to rinse your soiled diapers in cold running water and soak it for a couple of hours in a pail, before wringing it and tossing it into the diaper pail (which is just an ordinary pail with lid-RM28). If you can't stand the smell it omits, sprinkle a tablespoon of baking powder into the diaper pail.

Even after 72 hours, I usually don't have enough cloth diapers to make up a full load in my washing machine. So I would mix these diapers with some of my towels, napkins, pillow covers and other clothes which would benefit a warm (40'C) wash cycle. This is good for the environment & my electricity bill, because I am making full use of the energy used to wash these diapers.

Line drying in the sun (direct/indirect) is the best option to dry your cloth diapers, compared to tumble drying it on low/medium heat. Not only will this extend the life of your diaper, it is eco-friendly too. The sun can naturally bleach and deodorise your wet cloth diapers (stains and odour will magically disappear).

When laundering cloth diapers (and baby apparel), it is important to choose detergent that are free of dyes, fragrances, softeners, enzymes, bleach and phosphate. Some of these can irritate baby's skin and phosphate is a major cause that pollutes our streams and lakes.

Here is a list of do's & don'ts for cloth diapers.

One good habit I picked up from cloth diapering is to dispose baby's poo into the toilet bowl (where it rightfully belongs) and not into the dustbin (as I had been doing when I was using disposable diapers).  In doing so, I have become a diaper decoder, being able to tell so much by looking at her stool. 
My efforts to save ecosystem may be small in scale, but an accumulated effect of this, can be wondrous. Every little step counts.

"With great power comes great responsibility".

Disclosure: I received these cloth nappies for review. All opinions are mine

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