The Dirty On Diapers

For most parents, diapers are a necessity. We changed between 6-8 diapers every day for every child, which is quite an investment. So, what are your options? How do you choose what's best for your family? And what about baby wipes? Whether you prefer disposable, cloth or some sort of hybrid, we'll help you get to the bottom of this diaper dilemma.

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Episode Transcript

Parent Savers
Dirty On Diapers

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

Heather McNamara: Wouldn’t be great if babies were born knowing how to use the toilet? Instead for a while, we as parents must handle this responsibility for them. What are the factors driving our diapering decisions? What are our options; Reusable cloth diapers, disposable diapers, elimination communication? How do you choose what’s best for your family? I’m Heather McNamara, executive director of The Real Diaper Association and this is Parent Savers, episode 12.

[Theme Music/Intro]

KC Wilt: Welcome to Parent Savers broadcasting from The Birth Education Center of San Diego. I’m your host, KC Wilt. Parent Savers is all about helping new parents preserve their sanity by giving you expert advice from the baby years through the toddler years. Feel free to send us emails or suggestions on our website, or even call our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775. I’m a new parent myself. My son Carson is now 19 months old and I’m joined by three new parents in the studio.

Jane Park: I’m Jane Park. I am 38 years old, a part time fund raising consultant and a stay-at-home mother and I am the mother of three children and they are……I just don’t know where to start. I have Vera who is 5 1/2 ,Stella who is 3 ½ and Lenny who is 15 months.

Owen Hemsath: My name is Owen. I am a video marketing consultant in north county, San Diego. I’ve got three kids. I’ve got a 5 year old Kanan. I have a 13 month old Jameson and Benjamin will be here in two weeks. Yeah, we’re super excited and a little freaked out. [Laughs]

Sarah Overbey: Hi, my name is Sarah Overbey. I’m 32 years old and I have boy-girl twins that are 2 ½. I have a son Koda and a daughter Catalina and I work for a local software company in their marketing department.

WC Wilt: We’ll be back after the short break. We’re going to talk about breastfeeding at least for a minute.

[Featured Segment: Breastfeeding Remedies]

Robin Kaplan: Hi Parent Savers, I’m Robin Kaplan, an international board certified lactation consultant, owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center and a host and producer of Parent Savers sister show, The Boob Group. I’m here to offer some advice on different breastfeeding remedies such as, how can I get over my fear breastfeeding in public? I remember the first time I breastfed my son Ben in public. He was six weeks old. My husband, Jason and I were driving up to his sister, Kim’s wedding in Northern California. We’d stopped in Los Angeles for lunch and it was brutally hot like, 95 degrees in the parking lot and I actually contemplated nursing Ben in the car. But I was sweating so profusely, I figured, no, I got to go in the restaurant. So, into the restaurant we went. I sat down at a table and got out a larger seating blanket. I still remember asking Jason to stand behind me to pull down the blanket so that I can hide my six week postpartum back fat. To me covering my back was actually more important than possibly flashing a boob. Until so now, I have been helping Ben get a comfortable latch by compressing my breasts into that breast sandwich. I wondered how I was going to do this without the blanket slipping off of my shoulder. I slowly lowered Ben under the blanket, lifted up my shirt and Bham! That kiddo latched without my help whatsoever. Clearly, he was a very capable participant, I just had no idea. So from then on, breastfeeding in public was a breeze. Sure, he may extremely love gulping noises while eating which often attracted some onlookers. But now, I was comfortable feeding him anywhere and I began to feel an incredible sense of freedom. So, here are my top tips for breastfeeding in public. First, practice at home so that you are comfortable latching your baby while sitting in different chairs and wearing different shirts. If you are uncomfortable breastfeeding in public without a cover, practice using that cover or a blanket in front of the mirror so you can actually see what you’re doing. Next, find stress free places to breastfeed in public such as nursing rooms or a breastfeeding support group. It’s no big deal if you flash a boob in front of other moms and you can also ask them what tricks they have tried to become comfortable nursing in public. Another trick is to practice breastfeeding in a carrier wrap or sling. I remember my sister-in-law walking around the San Diego Zoo while nursing her daughter in a movie wrap. It was super discreet and she didn’t even have to stop and sit down. Lastly, go to lunch with a few other breastfeeding moms and practice in their company. You will most likely feel less stressed if you are surrounded by other women plus you can learn some valuable tricks from them. For more great information about different breastfeeding remedies, check out my blog at and be sure to listen to Parent Savers and The Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.


KC Wilt: Today, on Parent Savers, we have Heather McNamara, director of Real Diaper Association, here to talk with us about the dirty on diapers. So, let’s talk about disposable. That’s the most common one, everyone gets them, everyone knows about them, they give them to you at the hospital. How do we know what to buy?

Heather McNamara: My understanding is that there’s a lot of disposal options out there. But, to be honest, I only use disposable for a short period of time. So, mostly cloth diapers but, the, all the same decisions that you’re going to make for any type of diapers like, go for disposables or for cloth so you’re going to probably be trying to find something that works in your family’s budget, is relatively convenient or how your family is living and then also a lot of families today are working and lessening their impact on their environment. So, if you can kind of maximize all of that, I’m sure you can be doing the same regardless of the diaper you choose.

WC Wilt: When your baby is born, I mean, do you buy new born? I mean, what’s your……?

Heather McNamara: Yeah, the sizing is generally by pounds so, you’re always going to be looking for about how much a baby weighs and it’s clearly marked on kind of any diaper you are going to be buying. So, that will be a general guideline and then when you get it home, you see how well it fits and how well it works for you.

KC Wilt: Do we wait to see if our babies are born like, fat or…..? I mean, sometimes you get all the infant sizes and then you know, they fit then and then you buy five case loads of them.

Heather McNamara: Yeah, I did not buy a lot of diapers before my babies were born just for that purpose. So, I really don’t……

Owen Hemsath: But, when you were in the hospital though, you’re really, you’re on disposables so, there isn’t really much of a choice there.

Heather McNamara: Well, there’s a choice. I mean, it depends on your baby. For my first baby, you’re right, I had the disposables that the hospital gave us. For the second baby though, I was prepared ‘cause I’d already switched to cloth for my first and I just brought the diapers with me to the hospital.

Owen Hemsath: Okay, so you provided them.

Heather McNamara: Yeah.

Owen Hemsath: So, when it comes to disposables and the type that you should buy, you’ve got the option of your generic brand and your brand name and what’s a parent to do?

Heather McNamara: Well, I think it kind of goes to your overall philosophy of how you buy in general. So, you know, there are certain things that I won’t buy in bulk because I’m very particular about them. So, I won’t spend a lot of, you know, extra money for them. These other things, I definitely go to Cosco for. So, the same is going to go for your diapers. So, you know, at first before you have your baby, you’re really not going to know what to expect so you’re probably gonna look for things that have the least amount of chemicals, that are kind of the sensitive or something along those lines that are going to safe for a real new born baby’s skin and then eventually, you know, when you see what their skin is like and how sensitive they are to various brands of diapers, you’ll be able to see if you can go ahead with the cheap version or move to something that’s more expensive.

Owen Hemsath: So, it’s a trial and error type of process.

Heather McNamara: Yeah.

KC Wilt: When babies are born, they have those diapers that cut off the umbilical cord. Do you think that’s necessary to get those ones or any diaper would do that you can fold over the top?

Heather McNamara: Yeah, any diaper would do that you can pretty much fold over the top.

KC Wilt: Or even cut it out I guess…

Heather McNamara: Yeah, on disposable diapers, you can cut it out but, you know, in the cloth I presume, just pin it down or you know, really anything. But, it is more convenient to make sure that the umbilical cord is clear in those first few weeks.

Jane Park: How do you know if the diaper is leak proof or if it’s going to work effectively and do what it’s supposed to do? You know, there are ways to get samples, just to be able to test before you go and buy a 150 of one type.

Heather McNamara: Good question! The leak proof is very important when it comes to diapering and I don’t think you can guarantee it ahead of time. So, it has a lot to do with fit and how it goes on your child. So, you, I guess, what I would do is in the cloth diaper world, there is all sorts of blogs and review sites that talk about different brands and how they work with different sized babies and different shaped babies. I assume that would go for disposable diapers too. I’m sure there are blogs all over the place. They would have reviews like that. So, you could look for that in advance. I don’t know. I think that you’d get some samples in the hospital and I know I’ve got some in the mail from various companies from signing up on mailing us some disposable diapers and then may be they have something similar, like, in the cloth diaper world, they have trials that you can rent for, like a package of trials.

Owen Hemsath: There’s also, you know, there’s a collection of pregnancy resource centers and birth choice centers and things like this that are dedicated to helping new parents specifically. There’s a variety of samples and things that they have available for free for the most part in some of these organizations. So, that’s a resource as well.

KC Wilt: I discovered like I wanted to change my toothpaste so, I wrote to a bunch of companies and they all sent me samples. So, I think that will be a good idea to see, now it’s so easy on the internet that you can just go to the diapering website, you type in the diaper thing, you do contact page and you say, send me a sample. The next thing you’ve got something in the mail.

Owen Hemsath: That’s good and how about for babies wipes? My wife and I are very concerned about the chemicals that are on the baby skin. She has real sensitive skin. I don’t, but I also have a distress for, you know, chemicals. So, how do we know what to choose and is there a type that you would refer or recommend over another?

KC Wilt: Well, and before you say this ironic because my son gets the worse diaper rashes ever. He’s got food problems and so, I was wiping him the other day and my husband was cleaning them up and I had just cut my hands, I just scraped the wipe on my finger off from the poop or whatever I got and it stung like, I was like, “Ouch”, it stings and my husband was like, and my son’s crying got, “oww, oww” as it stings and these are the sensitive wipes that I buy. So, what am I……

Owen Hemsath: That’s a concern too because when I come into the baby’s room and he’s pouring out the wipes and he’s sucking on them and things like that. My wife said, “you know, don’t worry about it, it’s just wipes” and I’m thinking, “no, no, no that’s, there’s something on there”. Right, you know! And so that’s the concern.

KC Wilt: Heather, what are the options out there?

Heather McNamara: Well, first of all if you are worried about chemicals, I always recommend that you really check the ingredients that are listed and the problem is they’re not always clear. They’re not, especially in, you know, in diapers and then in wipes. They’re not required to list every one of the ingredients. So, it’s very difficult to tell. So, you can, you know, try to maximize your use of wipes by just simply looking at the ingredients. But, your other option is to just use wash clothes. So, I know most parents receive huge numbers of baby wash clothes with their, before the babies are born, at showers and you think, what would I ever do with all of these wash clothes? I can’t possibly bathe this child and use all of these wash clothes. Well, they work wonderfully as wipes and if you have a baby with sensitive skin, you actually don’t need any soap or whatever. All you have to do is simply wet the wash cloth with just water and wipe your baby’s bottom and especially for children who are sensitive to chemicals that works fantastically and if you’re talking about a poop situation, you can always do just a little bit of baby shampoo on the wash cloth. So, it doesn’t have to be anything fancy. You know, whatever you feel, you’ve already like, wet it as comfortable for using for soap or shampoo for your child, you can use on your wipes.

Jane Park: That’s a new concept. I feel like you use disposables so you always use disposable wipes but, you know, I think that’s something that you don’t put the connection to, you use the wash cloth and still use the disposable to help and it’s kind of…….

Owen Hemsath: Lot of convenience factors there with the wipes. You store the wipes in the diaper and you throw it out, you know. And that’s what I’m all about. It’s just quick and easy but then next thing, you know, I’ve got this huge stack of diapers in the diaper pail. We actually got a bigger diaper pail and you know, so that the disposable factor, the trash factor, I mean, that counters the convenience factor.

KC Wilt: True, where are the options of disposing our diapers and we’ve got diaper genies and everything else like, I guess, when you’re buying a diaper genie, I mean, I guess, look at if it’s going to need bags and some other things that are quite complicated. I put a diaper genie together for a friend and I was like, I will beat this diaper genie. I was one of the most difficult baby objects to put together but, that’s a side note but, anyways, what are some ways that we can dispose all our diapers?

Heather McNamara: Well, I think your point was really good that you do with the law of garbage and so you just need to be aware of how frequently you’re going to be disposing all of them, how far away you have to go to bring your diapers to the outside garbage can and consider that because this is going to double your, literally double your family’s household waste if you have a baby and disposable diapers. So, it’s going to be more frequent trips and if you’re going far then I would suggest going like, for larger size diaper pail. Well, if you have twins you go through a lot. But, you know, otherwise, I think you’re just looking for something that’s going to contain the smells and they come with kind of a, usually some sort of a disk or something that reduces the smells in the room.

Jane Park: I did find that a lid helps [Laughs], just wrapping the diapers and I just use the old bags and not even…..

Owen Hemsath: Like grocery bags?

Jane Park: Yeah, and not even, you know, the bags that the diapers come in. I just save those and shove them underneath the changing table and use those because it will just go in that plastic swirl that’s in the Pacific Ocean.

KC Wilt: Well, technically, all the diaper packages says you’re supposed to dispose them in the toilets because if you think and stop and think about it, you go, “Oh man! Our garbage is becoming more and more like, human waste.” Not the human waste, you just don’t stop to think about that.

Owen Hamseth: That’s what my mom used to do. I don’t remember that but it’s the slash factor that deters me I guess you could say. [Laughs]

Heather McNamara: The disposables is the convenience factor so, I don’t see anybody going, “Nah, you’re not going and throwing it in the trash.”

Jane Park: Well, but it does eliminate the smell too in fact.

Owen Hemsath: I’ll tell you what, on a hot summer day, I don’t care how good your diaper genie is. We keep ours outside, just out of the house and when it gets hot, it gets hot. I mean, that diaper genie is not going to do whatever that disk or baking powder, whatever they had in there, it’s just, it’s not going to overpower science, you know, waste and heat, you know what I mean? That’s going to smell. And so those are other issues as well. Now you get your trash can and your diaper pail and you know, your neighbors are calling and complain.

KC Wilt: Do they go to the bathroom at the backyard? No way, that’s just……

Owen Hemsath: Yeah, [Laughs]

Jane Park: Okay, so if you do want to use disposables but still help the environment, what are our options?

Heather McNamara: As I mentioned earlier, there are lot of options in disposables, in disposable diapers. So, you’re going to be looking for the chemical lists and also, you know, what is in it. Okay, so some of the things, some of the factors that you’re talking about are one, are they bleached or are they not bleached? Are they chlorine bleached? So, they say them on the package like, non-chlorine or, you know, chlorine free diapers.

Owen Hemsath: And what does that mean?

Heather McNamara: What it means is that they don’t use chlorine bleached dye, the paper or the plastic that’s on the diapers and when you use chlorine to dye then it releases a toxin called dioxin which is very, very hazardous.

Jane Park: It’s supposed to be one of the worst chemicals out there when it comes to causing cancers what I read.

Heather McNamara: It is serious, it’s no joke.

Jane Park: That’s close to your baby.

Owen Hemsath: And the government allows that.

KC Wilt: [Laughs] The Government allows a lot of things.

Owen Hemsath: So, you can’t drink soda in New York but, you can cancer causing carcinogens on your baby’s diaper.

Heather McNamara: So, levels are smaller from the testing that has been done but, that’s not zero and still, since it’s not zero, that’s a concern and dioxin in any level is toxic.

KC Wilt: So there are other diapers without it?

Heather McNamara: There are chlorine free diapers so that doesn’t have, those are the ones that are going to avoid dioxin so the other things to be concerned about are what are the chemicals inside the diaper that are doing the absorbing? Because, it’s not magic that makes them absorb.

Owen Hemsath: Wait, excuse me.

Heather McNamara: So, there’s something in there and those chemicals are super absorbent polymer, SAPs. And the jury is out about what SAPs are and how toxic they are for your children. So some diaper companies make it sound like they’re, you know, real, you know, fine and then other diaper companies are like, “we don’t include that in pees because we care about your child.” So….

Owen Hemsath: So, is there a green diaper, so to speak?

Heather McNamara: Yeah, so then there are some diapers out there that don’t include the super absorbent polymer so they’re just mostly like, a cotton fluff and wood pulp that they use as the absorbent. Now, those are obviously thicker diapers and those are more expensive and harder to procure. But, those with chemicals now, on the other hand, so we’re talking about what are the things that are in your diapers. Well, also once the diaper comes off, you’re talking about a single use product and so every single use product goes into a land fill. Even compostable and flushable when they say these things, they’re not really bio degrade in a land fill and we don’t have the facilities right now that the commercial, I’m sorry the municipal facilities that are gonna allow composting diapers at the level we need to happen. So, see you’re trying to kind of reduce your impact by watching for the chemicals that are in there, know that they’re plastic so when it says biodegradable be watching for what kind of plastic. Some of them are corn plastics, may be those are better biodegradable. But again….

Sarah Overbey: It depends on where you put in the….

Heather McNamara: Yeah, so you can kind of only do the best you can with that single use product. But those are the thing you’d look for.

KC Wilt: So, when we come back, we’ll talk about some of our options using cloth diapers and we’ll share the lifetime cost of all of our options. So, we’ll be back shortly.


KC Wilt: We’re back on Parent Savers talking about the dirty on diapers with Heather McNamara. So, Heather, can you use cloth diapers and disposables? Is there room for that?

Heather McNamara: Oh of course, lots of parents are switching over to cloth and so I often recommend that you do it kind of a slowly, you know, try a few out, get a routine going and then buy some more because when you purchase cloth diapers, they are more expensive. So, a single cloth diaper could run from well, let’s say between $12 and $20. And so, you think, “Oh my gosh! This is a big expenditure. I can’t afford to buy a full stash of diapers at once.” So just buy a couple at a time and slowly you’re going to use less disposables, you know, throw them in, you know, you’ll be washing and then you’ll be able to save some more money by using few disposables and then continue on building your stash. There’s also, you know, there’s no diaper police, so, there’s no one saying you’ll have to use one diaper and another every change, you know, each change is a change and so, there’s room for you to use whatever you want on your baby.

KC Wilt: I guess it’s one less diaper you’re throwing in the trash when you choose one diaper a day to do with the cloth, you know.

Owen Hemsath: Especially, on the girls, when you’re at the restaurant or you’re out at grandma’s house. It might just be easier at that point to use a disposable but, at home, you’re building up a new habit.

Heather McNamara: Yeah certainly, you know, I can see that.

KC Wilt: Just ways to do everything I guess.

Heather McNamara: Yeah, it depends on, you know, if you don’t have any disposables, our hand is not easy to do disposables at a restaurant. But, you’re ready. You know certainly, if as you’re moving into cloth, if that’s what you’re choosing to do then, you know, you can balance how and what works for you.

Jane Park: We actually, to contain my son’s rash because it gets so bad. We actually use disposable with massive heavy duty cream to contain. Otherwise, I’ve tried every other options with cloth diaper but, it gets so bad and worse and worse and worse because he’s got so many different food intolerance at the moment. So, we do it at night.

Heather McNamara: Yeah, that makes sense and you know, definitely cloth diapers are sensitive to the types of creams you use because creams can cause a build-up on your diapers which might cause them to repel you know, you’re in which you obviously not what you want happen. [Laughs]

KC Wilt: Then you totally give up altogether.

Heather McNamara: Right, so yeah, I can definitely see why you’re doing that.

KC Wilt: Okay Heather, what are few reasons as to why you choose cloth diapers over disposables?

Heather McNamara: Well, there are three main reasons. One, we already talked about in the last segment is kind of reducing your impact on the environment by using a reusable product versus the single use and you see that all over the place with reusable shopping bags and reusable water bottles. The same factors go for diapering. Others would be health and we also talked about that a little bit, about the chemicals exposing your baby’s skin and actually their lungs because some of the diapers can have, they give off gasses, the FCs that could cause problems with Asthma, especially in young new born lungs which are very sensitive. So, there is, you know, your baby’s health and I guess I see an increase in number of people kind of changing over to cloth diapers because of rash actually, in their sensitivity to those chemicals. So, may be you take health as the second. And then the third main reason would be financial and that is becoming a huge issue in the current economy. People are looking to save money by still doing kind of the right thing for the environment and their baby and cloth diapers satisfy that. You can save literally thousands of dollars. You know, if you’re talking about cloth diapering from birth to potty training, you can save probably about $2500 per child by using cloth diapers over disposables. So, that’s a significant…

Sarah Overbey: So, what would be the average lifetime of disposable diapers? And then, what would be the average cost of lifetime for cloth diapers you recon?

Heather McNamara: It’s about $3000 for disposable diapers.

Jane Park: Over the course of like, two to three years or???

Heather McNamara: Over the course of, probably closer to three, two and a half to three years is what I’m averaging that. Now, on the other hand, cloth diaper, babies generally tend to potty train faster. So, their life time use is shorter and there are couple reasons for that one is simply they are more aware of what they’re doing because they can feel it instead of on the disposable diapers and so they are able to kind of potty train faster. And the other is you as a parent are motivated to them potty trained faster because it’s less diapers for you to wash. So, certainly, so anyway, for a stash of cloth diapers for a child until they potty train is probably gonna run you between $300-$500 depending on the choices that you make with you make.

Sarah Overbey: Actually mine was less I feel like, even now you can buy seconds for 10 bucks a diaper and stuff so I’ve got, may be, twenty diapers and I guess, mine was closer to $200 and lot of people gave me as gifts.

Owen Hemsath: Are you talking about that initial purchase?

Heather McNamara: The total purchase over the whole…

Owen Hemsath: But, it’s what you buy one time.

Heather McNamara: Yeah.

Owen Hemsath: And then, what do you buy? You know what I mean? Because it’s not, I’ve seen some of these new at the health and wellness fairs and things like this. I’m not seeing that old, you know, your grand father’s cloth diapers, you know, the big square thing. I’m seeing like shaped diapers and what not. So it’s kind of new to me and my wife. So, how do you know which to buy? And are there different styles, themes, colors?

Heather McNamara: Yeah, there’s a lot of different styles and yeah, there really is and you’re right. They are a lot easier to put on so you can get them so that they are identical to disposable diapers. So, they literally go on with Velcro and they’re shaped exactly the same. You know, all diapers have to do two things. They have to be moisture absorbent and they have to be moisture resistant. So, absorbent to hold a lot of liquid and resistant so they don’t go through the clothing. And so, any diaper can do that in any number of ways. So, with a disposable diaper, you’ll have kind of chemicals in the inside and may be some whopping cotton absorbing and then a plastic outer. Well, cloth diapers have the same, they do the same thing. So, they will generally use like cotton or hamper, something as an absorbent inner and then the outside is polythene laminator on the outside to make it moisture resistant. And there are a wide variety of ways to solve that problem and so cloth diapers have, you know, very, very wide spectrum of diapering solutions. But, you know, generally when you’re looking at them, that’s what you’re looking for. Does it have those pieces and do I need to do it in two pieces or is it all together in one piece when you’re looking at cloth diapers? But there are trial programs out there where you can purchase, I’m sorry, rent, you know, for like a $100, you, well, may be, give them a $150 and you can have a whole package for 30 days or 60 days depending on the package. And then, at the end of it, you send it back to them and you get most of your money back, may be, $25 it costs in the end. And then, you’ve tried now, a whole broad range of brands and styles and sizes. You can then go and say, “okay, these are the ones that are like, the best and then actually make your purchases.

Owen Hemsath: What about storage? Can I ask about storage like, okay, so you’ve got this cloth diaper, you’re changing it, you’ve emptied the diaper and now, what do you do with it?

Heather McNamara: Well, the emptying of the diapers is little more interesting, don’t you think? [Laughs] [Multiple Speakers]

KC Wilt: I was just going to ask you that question. What do you do with the poop and tell me how we do the poop and then what do you do with the diaper?

Heather McNamara: Yeah, so in my house, we love our diaper sprayers. So literally, on the side of our toilet, we hook up a hose to the valve and it’s got a spring handle at the end and so, I hold the diaper, the very tip barely with my finger tips and hold it over the toilet and I spray that poop straight into the toilet and then I just wrap up the soaking wet the diaper and right next to the toilet is where my diaper pail is. And it doesn’t have anything like any bag in it. It’s just a pail and just toss it in there and then every two or three days, I bring the pail down to the washing machine and I wash the diapers.

Owen Hemsath: No bleach or sanitizer or anything like that inside the pail?

Heather McNamara: No, I don’t put anything in the pail. So, I mean, there are some people who choose to do that but, most people, I usually recommend to keep it simple.

Sarah Overbey: And I think each person gets a routine so we have the same thing. We bought, it’s not a diaper spare, it’s got a name to it. So, it’s more expensive. We bought it on eBay and it was like 20 bucks. We can go a whole deeper, you can get the parts. It’s basically like a hose that comes out of your sink, you know, one of those old school hoses that comes out to help you do the dishes, same type of thing, next to the toilet, spread off like you do but, our laundry room is next door so, I just put them in my utility sink that’s there and kind of, my husband and I, actually we put in there, we may throw a little oxy cleaner, may be little like earth friendly solution like, back out or something to help with the smell or we put a spray a little bit with a little bit of you know, deodorizer or something you get in the store that works with diapers and we throw them in the sink and when I’m ready to do the laundry, just stays there, piles up. Sometimes it piles up to every single diaper’s dirty and then sometimes it does and because we’ve already split the poop into the toilet or you’ve sprayed it, it doesn’t have a horrible smell to it. And if it does, scoop them up, put them in wash and do loading them.

Owen Hemsath: And they wash by themselves. Do you wash? Because I’m going to pull out my work shirt and it’s in the same laundry pile. Is the diapers that might be a little….

Heather McNamara: No, I usually wash my diapers separately. If you’ve got enough diapers, you’re washing them separately. Now, there’s some instance where you’re talking about a baby who or a child who is pretty much potty trained during the day, you only need night diapers and you’re only having like, one diaper a day but then, they’re only like, wet diapers and you’re in this sterile. So, there’s nothing like, the living creatures or anything like that, that you have to worry about so, you can wash that with other laundry.

KC Wilt: I used to do, I used to do just diapers. Then I did diapers and his clothes. And now I throw everything in and everything comes out clean, smelling fine. [Laughs] So, maybe I shouldn’t admit that.. you’ll catch a whiff of me as I walk by…oh, I think I smell something raunchy on her.

Jane Park: Can we switch gears a little bit and talk about infant potty training and elimination communication which I have practiced and may be you can give some insight on another hybrid in terms of using cloth diapers or whatever diapers and this other form of eliminating with babies?

Heather McNamara: Sure, elimination communication just speaks to the fact that you’re kind of watching your baby’s ques to see when they need to potty and then instead of letting them go in the diaper, you put them on the toilet and let the material go straight in there where it needs to be disposed anyway and so, a lot of families practices exclusively in other parts of the world, but, you know, here in general, in the United States, there are kind of like, varying levels of using this in-combination with some sort of diapering solution. So, it’s very popular among cloth diaper uses because it’s in our best interest to catch all the poop in the toilet and not in the diapers since we’re washing diapers. So, you know, I definitely use it as well. So and it’s just simply like you’re kind of watching when you think that you’re, you kind of smell something or you think, “well, what did he do? Oh, you’re gonna…oh,” and quickly pull the diaper off and just hold them by their thighs over the toilet or the little infant potty and catch the poop that way or pee. So, you can do this again with any combination of diapers.

Jane Park: We had a play day last week and my friend’s little 15 month old came over to…put his finger between his finger, put some between his two fingers and started shaking his wrists. I’m like, “what are you doing?” She’s like, “Oh! He has to go potty.” And he was doing the sign for potty and she got up and ran to the ….I was like, ‘ummm, ummm, I’m just working on my son to say mama.” I mean, like….[Laughs]

KC Wilt: Thanks to Heather McNamara for helping us learn about our diapering options. If you want more information on the Real Diaper Association, go to today’s show on our episode page on our website, or visit

[Theme Music]
[Featured Segment: Ask the Experts]

KC Wilt: Before we wrap up today’s show, here’s a message from one of our listeners.

John: Hi, my name is John. I was just listening to the Dr. Sears interview and I wanted to see if I can ask a question. My question is, what’s the recent situation with the HPV vaccine and why is the CBC supporting boys to have this particular shot? Again, my name is John and I’m calling from Millington, New Jersey. Thank you!

Dr. Sears: This is a good question, John. I’m dealing with this as a pediatrician. I get a lot of these questions in my office about HPV vaccine because this is new. Parents are reluctant to do new vaccine and what’s it all about and so, HPV is a sexually transmitted infection. It can cause general wards. It can cause cervical cancer. It can cause, you know, penile cancer. It’s a very serious disease. I mean, no one wants to catch this disease. We give the vaccine as three doses starting as young as 9 years of age but the main recommended age is 11 or 12. The idea is to give the vaccine before sexual activity occurs. HPV is the most common sexual transmitted infection. So, if you’re sexually active as a teenager or a young adult with say, more than three or four people in your young adult life, you’re almost guaranteed to come across this virus. So, I think, what I have against this vaccine or the problem with this vaccine is mandating it for 9 year olds. That just doesn’t make sense even for 11 or 12 year olds. Parents who have good communication with their children and they’re willing to talk out. You have the talk about sex and abstinence or you know, practicing safe sex and you feel like your child’s risk of HPV is going to be zero or gonna be very low, I think you can very safely skip this vaccine. I don’t think it’s necessary for everybody. But, yeah, if your teenager, you know, comes home on the back of the motor cycle with her first tattoo with her, you know, boyfriend, you know, 5 years older than she is, yeah, you know, that’s the, sorry to stereotype this, I mean, that’s the time, start talking about HPV vaccine, make sure Hepatitis B vaccine, you know, it’s already been administered. I mean, that’s the kind of, you make a case by case choice depending on your child, their lifestyle and if they’re going to be sexually active or not and if you feel your kids are very committed to abstinence, then I think it’s definitely one vaccine you can do without. It’s a vaccine both for girls as well as boys because both can catch the illness and then spread it.

KC Wilt: That wraps up today’s episode. We’d love to hear from you. If you have any questions for experts about today’s show and the topics we’ve discussed, call our Parent Savers hotline at 619-866-4775 or send us email through our website, or our Facebook page and we’ll answer your question in an upcoming episode. Coming up next week, we’re talking about healing and cleaning with essential oils. Thanks for listening to Parent Savers, empowering new parents everywhere.


This has been a New Mommy Media production. Information and materials contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Suggestions and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. For such information in which areas are related to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional, medical or advisor care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified health care provider.

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