If you have yet to jump on the natural-baby bandwagon, there is no time like the present. New moms are quickly learning that using the “it’s too expensive” excuse is no longer getting them off the hook for leaving a giant, diaper-shaped carbon footprint behind them and their wee ones.
From bath and body products to breastfeeding and cloth diapers, local green options abound for your baby that won’t break the bank.
Emily Desmond, an aromatherapist and owner of Emz Blendz Soap Co. in downtown Ashland, began making natural soaps from her garage as a hobby 10 years ago.
She now produces a fully developed line of natural bath and body products, including a line for baby and mom.
These wholesome, homemade products were originally made for Desmond’s children: Avocado Baby Soap, Baby Bum Cream, Baby’s First Bath, Mother’s Salve and Baby Massage Lotion. The Mother’s Salve was Desmond’s way of helping women stick with breastfeeding, and overcoming its painful side-effects.
Desmond’s Baby Bum Cream was formulated to swiftly treat diaper rashes, with the hope it would encourage parents to use cloth diapers instead of disposable.
When Desmond became a mother, she disapproved of the ingredients she found in many of the baby products on the market.
“What you put onto your skin is as important as what you put into your body,” she says. “All of our products are made with real food and real natural ingredients.”
Desmond isn’t the only new mother to launch a business out of concern for her kids.
When Ashland friends Amber Wiley and Kelly Franks were both pregnant a year and a half ago, they started Peep’s Diaper Service with the hope that by providing convenient cleaning, more people would use cloth diapers.
They started by operating out of the home, but now they have the diapers laundered professionally to ensure that necessary levels of sanitation and softness are achieved.
So far, the service has been offered only in Ashland, Talent and Phoenix, but the women are expanding to Medford this year.
“It is such a green community,” Franks says. “We like to contribute to that.”
Yana Fletcher, an Ashland mother of 7-month-old Sita, says she started her baby out on “earth-friendly” disposable diapers, but was shocked by the number of diapers her baby girl went through.
Sita was kept in disposable diapers until she was about 8 weeks old. According to Fletcher, it was easier in the beginning to use disposables. She was trying to recover from the labor and delivery and couldn’t get up and around to launder the cloth diapers.
“I felt so guilty,” she says. “It’s a huge waste to go that route.”
According to the Union of Concerned Scientists “about 18 billion diapers are thrown into landfills every year. And a 1998 study by the Environmental Protection Agency found that diapers made up 3.4 million tons of waste, or 2.1 percent of U.S. garbage in landfills that year.”
The average child uses more than 5,000 diapers before toilet training, with 82,000 tons of plastic and 1.8 million tons of wood pulp being consumed each year just to produce disposable diapers, says an Ohio State University fact sheet.
It is estimated that it takes 500 years for a traditional disposable diaper to decompose. If the idea of 18 billion diapers and 3.4 million tons of waste taking 500 years to decompose doesn’t inspire you to clean up your baby’s act, then maybe the money savings will.
“It’s the biggest misunderstanding that cloth diapers are more expensive than disposables,” says Wiley.
Wiley and Franks say moms can save $1,500-$2,000 by using cloth diapers.
“Cloth diapers are very resilient and they become more cost effective with each child you have,” Franks says.
To make their service even more earth-friendly, the women use a delivery vehicle powered by biodiesel.