Once my husband and I knew we wanted to start a family, we knew we had to leave NYC. Although we both LOVE the city, neither one of us grew up in a large city, or a small city for that matter, and we wanted our future children to have a childhood as close to ours as they could in this fast and ever-changing world. We moved about 45 minutes north to what is considered a small city, where we could live in a Co-op and my husband would have an easy, relatively short, commute to NYC where he still works. And I would have a less than 60 minute drive to the school in the Bronx where I teach. There were more grassy areas for kids to run and public schools are better here.
One aspect of living in NYC that both hubby and I loved was that our carbon footprint was relatively small. We didn’t have a car and mostly walked the 2 miles each way to work, rode our bikes or took public transportation. We didn’t jet-set on weekend or rent cars for long drives in the “country”. All of this changed when we moved up to Westchester. We needed a car so I could drive to work and we drove to see friends on weekends instead of taking public transportation. Going to the park was no longer a walk down the road (the good one is a 3 mile walk or run, which we sometimes did), but instead a short drive away. However, were still able to walk to the grocery store, farmers market, or mall, which is why we chose to live in a city still instead of the suburbs.
I was never really concerned about being “green” or conservation I think partially because I didn’t think we were doing things that were wasteful or not good for the environment. To me, living in a large city sort of forces you to have a lower carbon footprint than most people in this country. However, moving from The City made me realize that we started doing non-green thing, mostly the driving, and it started to bother me.
With baby #1 baking, I started doing all this reading about having babies, how to care for babies, how not to hurt your babies, etc. And then I realized we would soon be doing ANOTHER something that was so horrible for the environment. CHANGING THOUSANDS OF DIAPERS! So I looked into cloth diapers, disposable diapers, and a hybrid of the two. I decided on g-diapers because they had really good reviews on Amazon and they seemed easy to use/wash. (read about them on their website: http://www.gdiapers.com)
I loved how soft the fabric was and the fit was great! We didn’t have any leaks, but we did have a lot of laundry. And we used the flushable inserts. I knew that I didn’t want to go full on cloth diapers; I’m not cool enough or concerned enough for those! Here is what I loved about the g-diapers… they are soft, non-irritating, have flushable/compostable inserts (no garbage), are washable, comes in a ton of colors (some limited additions, if you’re into that), and you can re-sell them when you’re finished.
What I didn’t like was that they are more expensive than disposable, a bunch of clothing did not fit (especially the pants, which is not an issue of you live somewhere warm), and they require a lot more work. Laundry, laundry, laundry! As if I didn’t have enough to do just with a baby who was making dirty clothing left and right. Also, when you go out, taking along 3 extra g-diapers took up much more room in the diaper bag than taking just three disposable diapers. Plus, you have to drag all the dirty stuff around all day with you until you get home. I guess if you can handle all of this, more power to you! I however, was already overwhelmed by having a baby and all the new work that came along with it. It may be selfish, but I needed to do things that made my life easier at the moment. (I feel horrible even saying that, but I guess everyone needs to do what’s best of them and their families…see, I don’t even really believe that, but that’s how I make myself feel all better about my decisions.)
So I guess if I had to make this decision again (which I do, because baby #2 is due in about 50 days or less) I would just choose to use disposable diapers, unless there’s some kind of allergic reaction, and realize that having a baby is not the best thing I’m doing for the environment. I think I’ve already come to terms with the fact that for the next 3 to 4 years I’m going to be wasting a lot and creating tons (maybe a 1/2 ton) of garbage and I’ll have to try to make up for it in another way. For now, we will work on the re-using and recycling and save the reducing for when the kids are older.
Here’s what the g-diapers (the ones I haven’t passed along yet) are up to nowadays.