Google+ Authentic Parenting: The society of the disposable diaper (rerun)

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The society of the disposable diaper (rerun)

Is there a rule somewhere, only known to those who are initiated into some secret society, that says that you should use disposable diapers for more than one pee... Or worse, until there's stool.
The first time I came into contact with this practise was upon a new acquantance. I had brought my daughter to a party and told that woman I didn't like to leave her at home.
After telling me she had two children, she confided in me that with the first one, she was overprotective like that too, but with the second she's already more relaxed. Which meant that with number one, she would run to change his diaper, but with number two, she thought it no harm to let him sit in it for a while.
I was appaled! I felt sick to my stomach! I didn't understand how you could admit to such a gross neglect, letting your baby macerate in his urine!
Yet I soon found out she was not alone at this practise. It is a widespread phenomenon and it touches people from all layers of society. They are all around us.

As schocked as I was that time, if I now had a penny for every time I hear a mother say: "oh, it's just a pee, she can sit in it for a while", I'd be rich.
Now, I'm already not such a big fan of disposables. They're very wasteful. bad for the environment and contain all sorts of chemicals. Plus I think it's a weird concept to make stuff to let your child comfortably sleep in his own excrements the entire night, but hey, that's just me. If anything, I think this only makes my case for cloth diapers stronger, because at least with cloth, you HAVE to change your child when he/she's wet!

So please, don't buy into it! It does matter if you let your child sit in his own pee, no matter how absorbant the diaper is. How would you feel if someone did that to you? Not only is it extremely uncomfortable for your child, it's harmful (what's next? complaining about their red bum?)!
Take the two minutes to change them, even with a small pee. Your child and his bum will thank you for it. And if you're worried about the money, go cloth!



  1. Calm the f down and get off your high horse. I highly doubt you go sprinting off in excitement to change a diaper every time your kid makes a tinkle. And even if you cloth diaper are you spending the entire day on diaper watch? I'm assuming you use diaper covers, so exactly how do you know how long ago the pee was and how many pees have actually been made in the diaper?
    I don't let my children sit around in soaking wet diapers, but most the time when I go to change them they feel a lot wetter from the outside than they actually are on the inside. They are made to wick moisture away from the body, just the same as a maxi pad.
    I am sure as hell not waking my kids up in the middle of the night to see if they have peed. When they were newborns and peed and especially pooped all the time, yes. But, now that they sleep through the night without pooing or over peeing their diapers? Crazy. I don't want to get up at 3am just to piss them off and possibly end up having to stay up for 2 hours just because I wanted to see if the diaper was doing its job.
    Money-wise I am not sure that cloth diapers, covers in various sizes, detergent, the water and electric usage are really any cheaper.
    BTW, I am sure at some point as a baby you sat in your own pee and poop for some period of time and I am willing to bet that at some point in your future, it will happen again.

  2. I can see the benefits of both cloth and disposables and both can be made to seem absurd, no? Disposables are wasteful and made of man-made-who-knows-what and cloth is laborious in comparison and squicks a lot of people out. I know many cloth diaperers who use a disposable at night, during naps or for long car rides. I also know moms who use disposables during infancy and then transitions to cloth for easier toilet training. I would suggest not villainizing what you don't understand. Telling people their practices are weird only alienates you from the very people you are making an attempt at helping. If you want to be taken seriously quit the 7th grade trash talk and share some facts. I'm in no way embarrassed to say both of my sons wore a disposable all night. Sometimes there's a lot of pee in it in the morning, sometimes none. He's never had a diaper rash, ever, and I don't think that is unusual...or weird. I can give you a plethora of reasons on why disposables are a better choice for night time diapering, but instead I'll leave you with two. One, when you cosleep and a cloth diaper leaks the whole family has to macerate in urine. Two, sleep is precious, not in the selfish way as your train of thought tends to lead you to assume, but in the sense that young ones thrive when they're well rested...haven't you heard the adage, "Never wake a sleeping baby"?

  3. I did elimination communication using cloth as back up most of the time so probably coming from a similar mindset to you. I did know that people typically changed disposable nappies less frequently than cloth nappies but I was shocked to discover a friend who changed only three times a day and another who though nothing of leaving one on for over fifteen hours. I think it comes down to the mentality created by the manufacturers that they are better because they keep the baby dry and they absorb so much that you don't need to change your baby so often. I think it's just a different mindset and they find ours just as incomprehensible as we find theirs.

  4. I thought the very same thing when I noticed that mums in my community felt justified in letting their babies sit in their excrement because it was inconvenient to change them. My son at 7 months still pees 2-3 times a night and I am able to change him without waking him completely, so it can be done. He semi-wakes every time he pees anyways, wriggling in bed because he is uncomfortable laying in his wet diaper (I notice because we co-sleep). Personally I am not okay with teaching my son that he has to wait till morning to be changed. I would expect the same respect if I were in his place. It is a matter of principle as well as hygienic. He doesn't need to develop a rash before I intervene. Sure, it's inconvenient for me right now, but eventually he will sleep through the night and be able to retain his bladder until morning until then, it is my duty to do what he cannot: change him. It is not asking for very much really.

  5. Wow, Ashley, why are you here ?

    No, it not not fun nor exciting to change a baby's diaper, but it is better for the baby if the diapers are change VERY often. Not better for the parent, but you are on an AP blog, so here parents tend to do what is best for their children, not what is easier for themselves.

    With sposies, urine is absorbed and the baby's skin looks dry. But the urine is still there, right in contact with the baby's skin, along with the petroleum products used to turn the liquid in gel.

    As for changing babies at night, well, if your baby sttn, no need to wake him up to change his diaper. It would be cruel to do so. But a lot of children sttn between two and three years old, so yes, you have opportunities to change their diaper. Which is not always done.

    For cost comparison, please educate yourself on the matter because assumptions are useless. Here is a good link, but feel free to research for yourself.
    You'll see it is really cheaper to use cloth diapers, like three to five time cheaper (depending on your options).

    You last comment is just not understandable. What is your point ? That it is good that the writer was sitting in her urine when a baby ? Or bad ? How does it relate to this post ?

    I like this post. I've been dumbfounded myself several times with how people are with their baby's diaper. The worst one was a lady on a the Internet asking advice to decide if she wanted to buy cloth diapers, and writing that she wanted good absorbency because it was out of the question to change her daughter every other hour... WHAAAT ? How long was that little baby staying in her disposable diaper before a change ?

  6. I work in child care and we change the disposables roughly every two-three hours, more if they are really wet, and always before/after naps. I think that sometimes the children would be sitting in a nappy with a wee in it, but disposables are made so that the child doesn't really feel it, if you know what I mean?? I'm not saying that leaving a wet nappy on is ok, though. I have babysat some children from my work and they have obviously been in their disposable for HOURS, as in the nappy is almost leaking and full of wee. That is just wrong! I am not sure why the parent would do this?? Trying to save money perhaps??

  7. My experience with my & my friends' babies has been that they know from birth when they need to relieve themselves and I can't imagine training them to ignore the feeling by not helping them potty, or at least changing them immediately,then turning around shortly after while they're learning to express separation of self to train them to potty. The disconnect in this pattern from communication between parent and child just seems more extreme when they're left to sit in their own chemicalized excrement

  8. It is a really sad thing. Sometimes it comes down to price, too, not just laziness. During my lactation counselor training, they told a story of a mom they rushed in for a consultation after being told on the fold that the baby only had two wet diapers each day. The CLC was imagining all kinds of nursing problems and expecting to see slow weight gain and a dehydrated baby, but instead found a healthy and happily nursing chunk of a boy. It turns out the mom only changed him twice, not that he only peed twice. They asked more questions and determined it had to do with the cost of disposables (they were in a low-income area). Very sad. I will say, though, as my daughter gets older, we're going longer between diaper changes. We use cloth and I've just started trying to potty train; I know she can sign for diaper, so if I know she's gone to the bathroom I try to (reasonably) wait for her to ask for a change instead of anticipating the need...I want her to be aware of what's happening.

  9. I agree that it's often a monetary issue, even for more well off families who practice the multipee idea. I think some genuinely think that because the diaper is made to last an entire night, it doesn't matter that much when they pee in it more than once.
    It's sad because it's frankly not very respectful to the child and a lack of information about the topic.

    My daughter tended to run around naked a lot from the time she was one, so the changing thing was never an issue. I never found it bothersome to change her either. And she was dry all night from the time she was 4 months old.

  10. Again, this is a terrible example of mother-hating. You have no personal experience with disposables, so you pile on the judgement and hate. I was liking this site until I read this horrific screed. I used to change my child every time she went, until she developed a will of her own. When she developed a hatred of being changed, I respected that and began changing her as little as possible. And yes, my respect for my daughter trumped environmental concerns and I went from cloth to disposable.

    Do you have any evidence that being in a full (but not wet) diaper all night harms the child? Or is it just the idea that disgusts you? I think you have a bit of "unschooling" to do about the cloth vs. disposable idea.

    The outpouring of judgement and hate on this thread is sobering. I'm seeing the other face, the pharisees, of natural parenting. And when it's directed against me, it's ugly. I need to learn to see it's ugliness when it's directed against other mothers too, don't I? So thanks at least for that lesson.

    I noticed your posts today on AlwaysUnschooled and wondered what your nickname reminded me of. I googled and now remember. Perhaps you should bring the cloth/disposable issue up on that group and see what the reaction is.

  11. @M Yoder:
    I do use disposable diapers when I am traveling. I was not talking in this article about night changing, but about deliberately putting a diaper back on a child when you know they have soiled their diapers, because it is 'just a pee'.
    And just for the record, some cloth using parents also add a couple more boosters to not have to change the kid during the night.
    I don't have an issue with people using disposables, I can understand not wanting to do cloth or EC, but when you know your kid has a dirty diaper, you don't put it back on.

    I know that for some parents not changing their kid comes down to money, bc disposables are rather expensive, but even then there are better options.

    ANd that said, this is a very old post


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