The Diaper Dilemma

As a woman just over a month away from having her first child I am continually awed by the strategies marketers use to target new moms; continually taking advantage of their emotional highs and lows, their raging hormones, and their fear that they won’t have everything they need to care for their new arrival – it is no wonder that this is a booming industry. I receive non-stop ads in the mail for the myriad of things that new parents (allegedly) need. How did our parents ever do it without all of this stuff?

Having just completed a trip to Wal*Mart and Babies R’ Us, I was overwhelmed by the back wall of diaper options. From Huggies, to Pampers, to generic brands. Although I did not see any eco-friendly options the choice is amazing. Where does one begin? All of my “green” friends keep asking me if I am going to use cloth diapers, or find an eco-friendly route? As an overwhelmed pregnant women, the thought of cloth diapers is not very appealing at the moment. (Ironically none of my “green” friends have children). But in a time when sustainability and environmentally friendly are becoming everyday terms, what are my eco-friendly options and why am I not seeing them?

There is no doubt that we live in an era and a culture where convenience and time are extremely important. Cloth diapers might not be an option for me, but there have to be some choices out there for biodegradable, or green products that are still convenient and easily available to me. I started searching and found a couple options. My goal was to find things that were easily accessible and didn’t cause me a trip out of my way. Seventh Generation was the most readily available and is a disposable option. They market chlorine free / toxic free diapers. Obviously I have not tried them yet, but if they are anything like Seventh Generation toilet paper or paper towels, then I won’t want them touching my newborns sensitive skin! The price is slightly higher, and there are still conflicting reports on whether they are actually that much better for the environment than regular diapers. The other interesting option available is G-Diapers. The idea around this is that you purchase cloth velcro pants and then insert flushable refills into the pants – making the diaper. The flushables are plastic free and have no toxins. They are marketed around the convenience of flushing them down a normal toilet. The cost is approximately 35 – 40% more than regular Pampers or Huggies, and I can only purchase them online. It is here that the Diaper Dilemma begins!

In the baby category, filled with toys, clothing, swings and all the “must haves” for a newborn, the environmentally friendly diaper options are limited and the marketing for these products appears to be sparse (or, maybe it is just getting lost in the clutter of everything else). New moms are easily overwhelmed and are looking for convenience, cost savings and ease of use. It appears to me that there is a huge opportunity here, one that will make the Diaper Dilemma a little easier to solve.

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– Contributed by Tera Gill