The Dirty on Diapers

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While I now have two children potty trained, I still have a 14 month old girl who will be wearing diapers for the next 10 months to a year. Standard diapers take 500 years to decompose in landfills due to excessive use of plastics and chemicals, so l’ve been testing out some of the leading brands of environmentally-conscious diapers to find out which ones actually work well, and why they are considered “better” choices.

I thought about switching to cloth diapering since it would be more manageable now that we only have one child in diapers (we just recently potty trained Joseph). Cloth diapering has had a resurgence because it is has been simplified and is widely considered a more sustainable choice despite the water and energy needed to clean them! My friend who cloth diapers recommends getting the all-in-ones versus those that have two or three parts because they are just as easy to take on and off as a disposable. The only difference is throwing them in the wash versus the trash in the end. Newborn pee and poop is not that gross to put in the washer but once they are older and eating real food it’s a different story. The easy fix to this is using flushable diaper liners. Genius!

Simple Being
Bumkins


I considered all of this and know that I could do it with just as much ease, but a few things have made me decide not to.

First of all, this is my last child and these all-in-one cloth diapers are expensive, costing $25 to $35 for each diaper. This wouldn’t be expensive if you were just starting out, in fact you would definitely save money in the end! If I had more than a year of diapering left in me, I would definitely invest. I am hoping to potty train Isabel right at two years, so it’s too short a period of time to make it worthwhile. Also, Isabel is starting a preschool that requires disposables, so I would need to buy some disposables anyway, so it just doesn’t make sense for me. I definitely encourage those who are interested to try! There are lots of cute options out there!

So on to disposables.

I have tried many brands of diapers in the past few years from Pampers to Honest Company and most recently I’ve tried Bambo Nature, Naty by Nature and Boo Diapers. Bambo and Naty have been around for 25 plus years as companies concerned about making better products for the environment and are consistently rated as the top two diapers in that category. In a time when it sells to be considered an eco-conscious company, “greenwashing” is something to be mindful of. Bambo Nature and Naty have many environmental certifications to back up their claim of having diapers that are better for the environment.

I have used and been happy with both brands. I think Naty diapers have a cuter aesthetic from their website to the designs on the diapers. Bambo has a more standard look being white with the useful wetness indicator down the middle. They both function very well. I have never had any leaking problems and have used them at night for Isabel with no problem but Joseph tends to pee more at night so his pajamas would sometimes be moist by morning. Both diapers are similarly priced between $12-$13 per 26-28 diapers with Naty being slightly more expensive. Both companies offer subscriptions through their websites or through Amazon. I switched to using Naty’s pull-on diapers for nighttime for Joseph since he was potty-trained with no leaking problems. I love Naty’s wipes and am a huge fan of both their regular unscented version for diaper changes and their flushable wipes for having near the toilet for wiping the boys (is that TMI?!). I have never tried Bambo’s wipes so can’t speak to them.

Nature Babycare
Nature Babycare
Naty by Nature Babycare
Bambo Nature
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Boo is a new company making diapers from bamboo. Bamboo is a sustainable and renewable material that uses less water to produce compared to cotton, is self regenerating and is naturally absorbent. Boo claims their diapers decompose over 60% in just 75 days. That is a lot compared to the 250-500 years for standard diapers to decompose. Boo is a new company and there is not much written or disclosed about their sustainability in production but based on their materials, they seem great. Like I mentioned, I get wary about these things and will continue to be on the lookout for more information on them. I have used their diapers for my babies and have had nothing but a great experience. I find them more absorbent than Naty and Bambo. They even work for Joseph at night with no damp pajamas in the morning! You would save about $.03 cents per diaper with Boo compared to Naty and Bambo.

If you are interested in trying Boo! Use this discount code to get 50% off your first month. Full disclosure, I will also get 50% off my next order if you use this code.

http://boo.refr.cc/amydoherty

Other Diapering Favorites

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Diaper Backpack

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Diaper Balm

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Diaper Rash Cream

It’s hard being a mom, dad, or caregiver and there are enough stresses already! I try not to suggest switches that aren’t relatively easy or meaningful! Don’t worry if it doesn’t work out for you though. Making sustainable switches doesn’t have to be all encompassing and maybe this one isn’t for you? We’re all just trying to do our best!

x,

Amy

Potty Training: a waste-reducing milestone

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This year we have saved 339 pounds of food scraps from entering landfills by composting with CompostNow,  changed our purchasing habits to avoid most plastic packaging and started recycling what plastic we do accumulate through TerraCycle. But with 20 billion disposable diapers dumped into landfills each year (EPA), accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste, we might have accomplished our most waste-free change yet… potty training our 2.5 year old! 

Potty training is no easy feat, so following someone’s sage advice is wise. When I potty trained our oldest, I devoured Brandi Bruck’s book, Potty Training in 3 Days and followed her method to a tee. I had my in laws take Joseph for the weekend so I could give my full attention to Wil. We packed up our diapers to say goodbye and didn’t watch television or any screens for three days. I made the perfect potty chart for him (see below) with presents purchased for every eight stickers on his chart, and we gave him a treat for every time he went pee pee or poo poo. It was very organized and worked perfectly. He was potty trained in 3 days. 

Wil with his potty training chart when he was 2.5 years old.

Wil with his potty training chart when he was 2.5 years old.

I’m embarrassed how low-grade this looks compared to Wil’s. Like I said, this was last minute!

I’m embarrassed how low-grade this looks compared to Wil’s. Like I said, this was last minute!

Poor middle-child Joseph did not get the same treatment. I decided day of to start the training while our nanny was on vacation. It was me, Joseph, Isabel, and Wil in the house in the middle of the hot North Carolina summer. We were probably going to be inside all day anyways, so I was determined to accomplish something useful. I used Bruck’s method in my own revised, realistic way, and with what I already had in the house. I ripped out a sheet of paper from “The Secret Life of Pets 2” coloring book to use as his potty chart (it also had stickers in it). I threw some underwear on him with a short shirt. You want a short shirt so you can easily see if they start peeing. We already had the Baby Bjorn seat insert and Baby Bjorn step stool, so I took him to the bathroom and showed him how to pull down his pants, sit, and go potty on the toilet. 

We modified Bucks’ rules of potty training and allowed him to watch TV (Mama was in survival mode)!

We modified Bucks’ rules of potty training and allowed him to watch TV (Mama was in survival mode)!

I told him Thomas on the underwear he was wearing did not want to get wet. I also said, “Let me know when you need to go pee pee or poo poo and then you can get a treat and sticker” about a hundred times the first day. Brucks recommends giving one treat for pee and two treats for poop and a sticker on the chart for every time the child successfully gets something in the toilet. He got really excited about getting so many treats and stickers so  he was regularly going in the toilet when he was thinking about it, but he also had many accidents ( especially poop accidents). Because I was alone with all three kids all day, I ended up letting him watch a lot of TV for my own survival (seen in pic). I think that slowed down his initial training because he would get distracted by the screen. The first days were MESSY, but finally by the fourth day he really started to get it and would go on his own without me asking. He was even successful on our first outing to a birthday party (seen below). Bucks recommends not going on any outings until at least 3 days into potty training.

First outing post potty training. A birthday party at a local farm.

First outing post potty training. A birthday party at a local farm.

It’s fun to see your child’s personality come out during the potty training process. Joseph is a very exuberant, determined, and independent little boy. He now refuses to have me help him in the bathroom and says, “NO, me!” and closes the door when I try to help. After he goes I can always hear him applaud himself with a “Yay!”. I am so proud of him and know that he feels proud of himself. Because I decided last minute to do the potty training, I wasn’t prepared with toys for every eight times he successfully went potty. I think this was fine because he remained excited enough about the stickers and treats. I had told him when he filled the coloring page full of stickers, then he would get a new toy. We chose a fire station by Green Toys that he LOVED, and knew he got because of his hard work!

Joseph and Isabel playing with his new fire station.

Joseph and Isabel playing with his new fire station.

Two down… now only one to go (maybe in a year or so!).

our Potty training essentials


I am no expert, but please comment if you have any questions about potty training!

x,

Amy


Saying goodbye to our dog

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I planned on writing a post about something else this week, but I can’t think about anything other than losing our beloved dog, Max. He died somewhat suddenly last Thursday from complications stemming from congestive heart failure.  Max was my first baby. I got him when I was just 22 years old, in that vulnerable time after graduating from college. It was 2008 and I had just moved from Richmond to Austin to look for a job in public relations when firms were more keen to lay people off. My personal life also seemed a mess as David and I were trying to figure out if we were just college sweethearts or real-life partners (thankfully we ended up being the latter). So I was jobless, on a break from my relationship, and in a new city trying to figure out where my life was headed, when along came Max, my sweet little Cavalier King Charles. He gave me so much comfort and companionship, it was everything I needed at the time.

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After a year and two internships in Austin, Max and I moved to Houston. David was attending medical school and I took a job teaching pre-k and enrolled in a Masters of Education program. David proposed soon after we moved and I couldn’t have been more excited to spend the rest of my life with him.

I had to have Max in one of my bridal portrait shots. It is actually the only one of them I have framed in our house.

I had to have Max in one of my bridal portrait shots. It is actually the only one of them I have framed in our house.

Max and I, along with David and his cat, Mr. Kitty, all moved in together soon after our engagement. Max loved everyone and every animal he met and he and Mr. Kitty got along famously. They would run around and chase each other while David and I were out during the day and would even snuggle with each other regularly.

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After David finished his medical school training, he applied to orthopedic residencies across the country and eventually chose the program at University of Texas at Houston. Knowing we would be in Houston for the next five years and would likely start a family, we bought a house in West University in Houston. Max was there, of course!

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Max was there for every milestone in our lives. From my first jobs out of college, to our wedding, first house, and the birth of all of our three children. Max provided me with stability as my life had its ups and downs during my twenties and early thirties. He was a dependable companion as I grew into adulthood. We’ve really grown up since he came into my life, and he certainly played a role in shaping our family!

Max in front of our first house in Houston (left) and with David in the backyard (above).

Max in front of our first house in Houston (left) and with David in the backyard (above).

Max with Wil (left), Joseph (center) and Isabel (right). The kids would sometimes pull on Max but he would never show a hint of aggression. He always wanted to be near them.

Max with Wil (left), Joseph (center) and Isabel (right). The kids would sometimes pull on Max but he would never show a hint of aggression. He always wanted to be near them.

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Max assumed the role of family dog effortlessly as kids 1, 2, and then 3 came into the picture. It was so touching to watch Wil, Joseph, and Isabel grow attachments to him, give him kisses and hugs when they were being sweet, and Wil often calling him “His best friend”. The hardest part about him passing was the timing. Timing is never good for loss but Wil was in Houston with his grandparents when it happened, so we had to tell him when he got back and he felt like he didn’t get to say goodbye. It is hard to know the right way to tell a four and a half year old that their dog died. Wil is very curious and fact oriented so I responded with the honest truth when he asked very detailed questions about how he died. Joseph and Isabel were able to say their goodbyes in whatever way a two and a half and one year old can. Joseph gave him a hug at the animal hospital and said, “Bye bye Max”.

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I will probably harbor some guilt for a bit around Max’s passing. In his last years, he slowly went from being the center of my world to someone else I needed to take care of on top of three young children, so the guilt of not giving him enough attention feels hard to reconcile. Each day gets better though and I know I’ll soon remember Max with all the good memories we had with him. He really was the best dog and he will forever be missed.

x,

Amy

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