Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Breaking World Records, Delivering Diapers, and How to Get Your Own FREE Diaper Cover

What do breaking world records and delivering diapers have in common? Well, they're a day in the life of local mom Anna Wong, of course!

Anna, of Green Spring Diapers, with her son Colin.
Who is this super woman, you ask? Anna's the lady behind Baltimore's newest (and only!) diaper delivery service, Green Spring Diapers, and she's also one of the organizers of Baltimore's Great Cloth Diaper Change--an attempt to set the Guiness World Record for the greatest number of cloth diapers changed simultaneously, taking place this Saturday, April 23.

And Anna's #1 role? Mother to 18-month-old Colin, the little one who inspired her to bring the convenience and Earth-friendly practices of diaper delivery to Baltimore parents.

Economoms chatted with Anna about why she made the choice to go cloth and what other moms can expect if they do too. We were pleasantly surprised at how easy (and wallet-friendly) reusable diapering is!

Did you know going the green route can potty train your child up to one year earlier than using disposable diapers AND can save you up to $1,000? Enough said!

As a special deal for Economoms readers, anyone who signs up for Green Spring Diapers by Tuesday, April 26 will receive an extra diaper cover for FREE in their start up kit. Just mention that you heard of the service through Economoms! Diapers are delivered and cleaned for just $20 per week.

What made you decide to take the plunge into cloth diapering your son Colin?

I decided before Colin was born that I was going to commit to cloth diapers. I figured that cloth would be a bit more of a hassle, but I was willing to make the sacrifice for what I felt would be better for the baby and for the earth. Disposable (plastic) diapers take hundreds of years to decompose, so they will sit in landfills for generations. They also have some gross chemicals in them, and I preferred the idea of having pure cotton against my baby's skin.

I had done lots of research about it, and I found that babies in cloth diapers tend to potty train up to a year earlier--that was a big selling point. I knew I'd also save money over disposables--that was another big plus. What I didn't realize is how many messy "blowouts" would be avoided by using cloth diapers. People who have had a baby know that newborns can create some remarkably messy diapers.

When my son was about a month old, we traveled to visit family for Thanksgiving. We brought disposable diapers, and in the few days that he was in disposable diapers, he had more blowouts than he'd had since he was born. I was even more committed to cloth after those few days. I can't imagine anyone who enjoys dealing with incredibly messy diapers, but they are much easier to manage when they are confined to the diaper area instead of blowouts that get all over the baby's clothes, legs, back, etc.!

What have you found to be the greatest benefit to using reusable diapers?

I really like the fact that we've prevented so many diapers from ending up in landfills. My 18-month-old son is already showing signs of being interested in potty training, and if he is potty trained by 2, I estimate that we will have saved nearly 6,000 disposable diapers from ending up in our local landfills. That's a lot of trash! I also love that there's nothing but pure cotton against his skin. We try to be conscious of the quality of the food we give him and the products we use around him...it makes sense to me to also limit what he may be
exposed to from diapers.

A lot of people think cloth diapering is going to be time consuming, costly, and stinky! How would you convince them otherwise?

Realistically, I think there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to using cloth diapers. It may take a few diaper changes for you to feel comfortable with getting a diaper on, but once you are used to it, it barely takes any extra time compared to a disposable diaper. If you are washing your diapers at home, you will have to do 2 or 3 extra loads of laundry per week. On the other hand, if you use a diaper service it's as easy as taking out the trash!

Depending on your needs and wants, you could spend thousands of dollars on an extensive stash of fancy cloth diapers, or you could spend just a few hundred dollars on a few dozen diapers that would last you through multiple children. There are even lots of creative people out there who have made cloth diapers for their children at very little expense.

With regard to the smell, I truly think that cloth diapers have less smell than disposable diapers. With cloth diapers you will either be washing them every few days, which will prevent smell from building up, or you will be putting them out once a week for a diaper service to pick up. As long as you have a diaper pail with a lid (doesn't need to be air tight) then the smell should be nearly nonexistent.

What benefits can moms expect from using a delivery service like Green Spring Diapers?

Using a diaper service is really a fabulously easy way to use cloth diapers. The professionally-laundered diapers are delivered right to your door so you never have to wash dirty diapers in your own washing machine. A diaper service also ends up saving you up to $1,000 over using disposable diapers and your child is likely to potty train up to a year earlier! If anyone has any questions about using a cloth diaper service, they are welcome to contact me personally at anna@greenspringdiapers.com.

How did you get involved with the Great Cloth Diaper Change? Tell us a little bit about it and what you're hoping to achieve with the event.

The idea started as an Earth Day event hosted by a diaper service in California. The owner of Tiny Tots Diaper Service thought it would be a great way to raise awareness of the benefits of using cloth diapers. When I heard about the opportunity to host a location, I was very excited. I contacted Bayla of Soft and Cozy Baby in Hampden, and we've been working together to organize the event here in Baltimore. We will be participating with 400+ locations around the world to set the world record for the most cloth diapers changed simultaneously.

How many people do you need to participate in order to break the world record?

In order to be officially counted toward the Guinness Record, each location must have at least 25 participants. That means that there will be at least 10,000 cloth diapers being changed around the world!

For moms interested in attending the Great Cloth Diaper Change, what can they expect?

The event will take place on Saturday at HoppinTots Children's Gym on Falls Road. It is an awesome, locally-owned gym for children. Ann Kotmair is the owner and does an amazing job with the kids (if you've never checked out HoppinTots, I highly recommend it!). My son loves Ann! Ann will help to provide entertainment for the children until it is time for the official diaper change. At that point, everyone will change their baby's diaper.

I'm anticipating that most babies will have a blast being with so many other little ones getting their diapers changed. It will be a fun and upbeat atmosphere, and it will be awesome to take part in setting a world record. Just imagine how many diapers will be kept out of landfills during that single minute! After the diaper change is over, we will give away some great door prizes that lots of very generous local businesses have donated to help support the event. Visit the event's Facebook page to get FREE tickets and learn about the prizes.

Any other final words of advice for those of who have a couple years of diapers ahead of us?

I like to encourage people to make diaper changes a special time with your baby. Yes, lots of babies are unhappy to get stripped down and have their diapers changed (can you blame them?) but parents can work to make it an enjoyable experience for everyone. Have some special songs that you sing to your baby or a toy that they only get to play with during a diaper change. Make funny faces and talk to your baby about what he can see from wherever he is. Changing diapers can be something that both you and the baby look forward to!


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