Cloth vs. Disposable: Disposable diapers are not only costly,
but can be brutal on the environment.
Giving your baby a One mother decided to do something
about this diaper dilemma.
Sustainable Diaper BY LANEY TIPTON
Because cloth diapers were such a
hit overseas, Leah decided they might
do just as well in the U.S. when they
eah Carter cares about what moved back to Georgia.
goes on her baby’s bottom. When Zac was diagnosed with a Little
She cares so much, in fact, degenerative neurological illness, he Beetle
that she started a business that and Leah decided to make Better for cloth
caters to other concerned moms. In Babies the family business. That way, come in a
2002, Leah founded Better for Babies, Leah could stay at home with Zac and variety of
Inc., a family company that special- the children while running operations. colors.
izes in sustainable and organic baby The business venture turned out
products — primarily in cloth diaper to be a successful one. Leah says that PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY
OF LEAH CARTER
alternatives. last year, Better for Babies was named
Since then, Better for Babies has as one of the University of Georgia’s
continued to grow as more families fastest growing alum-owned busi- products will be the best for children,
make the transition to an environ- nesses. along with functionality and environ-
mentally friendly lifestyle. “As awareness of cloth diapering mental awareness.
and natural fibers grows, so does our “Zac and I pay a lot of atten-
WHAT IS BETTER industry,” Leah says. tion to the health and environmental
FOR BABIES, INC.? Leah says that Better for Ba- aspects of what we eat and what we
Carter says she was living with her bies “considers it part of their quest wear,” Leah says in a press release.
family in the United Kingdom, pursu- to make the world more comfy, less “When it came time to buy cloth
ing graduate studies in philosophy at wasteful and better for babies.” diapers and other baby products, we
the University of Wales when she got couldn’t find exactly what we wanted,
the idea for a cloth diaper business. WHAT ARE so we got out the sewing machine and
Though she and her husband, Zac, LITTLE BEETLES? drafting paper so we could make them
had already been using cloth diapers One of Better for Babies main ourselves.”
on their son, Gabriel, she says they initiatives is the Little-to-Big Beetle, The couple came up with a re-
had no idea how widely they were their line of organic cloth diapers. sizable organic cloth diaper they call
used until spending time in Wales. Soft, reusable and long lasting, their Little Beetle.
“While living abroad we discov- Better for Babies’ Little Beetle makes The name and design for the dia-
ered the diversity of choices and wide- cloth diapers a sensible alternative to per are based on the ladybug, one of
spread support for cloth diapers in the disposable ones. the Carter family’s favorite creatures.
U.K.,” Leah says. “We had used cloth Leah says Better for Babies start- “Zac and I designed the diaper
on our son since birth but only when ed out more like a concerned parent with an inside soaker which was in-
we arrived in Wales did we discover than a big business venture. Because spired by the ladybug,” Leah says.
that the industry had so much more they are parents themselves, Zac and “Ladybugs have elytra, which clever-
potential.” Leah always try to keep in mind what ly protects the body and under wings
PHOTOGRAPH BY DEAN J. KOEPFLER
from moisture, just like our Little pros more than outweigh the cons. gent. Too much soap causes a buildup.
Beetle diapers.” Cloth diapers are better for your Toss them in a dryer or line dry, and
Kevin Huskins, father of three,
says that he and his wife started using
baby, and they also feel better.
“Using natural fibers in place of
The Little Beetle diapers are re-
Baby’s First Diaper
cloth diapers with their second child, synthetics or chemicals is definitely sizable, so they “grow as your baby In the long run, cloth diapers end up saving families money.
This displays the breakdown of disposable and cloth diaper
but wishes they had started sooner. healthy for a baby’s skin,” Leah says. does,” Leah says. costs over a period of 2 and a half years with one child.
“Cloth diapers have been an “Fully breathable and amazingly soft, “Our Little-to-Big diapers are de-
amazing find in my family,” Kevin I can’t imagine that it is anything but signed to fit from birth through potty
says. “My wife and I received some as luxuriously comfortable.” learning,” Leah says.
a baby gift for our second little boy. The materials used for the diapers The diapers come with a snap-ar-
“We were We were skeptical at first because they are all natural fibers, helping to make rangement for closing, making them
skeptical at first are a little bit different from the norm, them absorbent. easy to choose the snap size that best
because they are but they really are fantastic and much “Cotton absorbs moisture, pulling fits your baby.
a little bit different better for our boys and the environ- it away from your baby’s skin,” Leah Donna Sink, who recently had her
from the norm, ment.” says. “An organic wool cover takes in second child with husband, Jeremy,
but they really the moisture and prevents it from get- says her family has seen firsthand the
are fantastic and IS CLOTH REALLY ting onto the clothes.” financial benefits of using cloth dia-
much better for BETTER? Cloth diapers need to be changed pers.
our boys and the There are pros and cons to both a little more frequently than dispos- “We made the decision to use
environment.” cloth and disposable diapers, but able diapers. Leah says children who cloth diapers before our first child,
- Leah Carter Leah says with the Little Beetle, the wear them typically experience fewer David, was born,” Donna says. “To
rashes throughout their diapering help with the cost at first, I made sure Total Expense Total Expense
years and potty train more quickly. to ask for some in my baby shower
Using cloth diapers can also help registry. We also figured out how
parents save money. Though the cloth much money we were saving on cloth
diapers themselves come with a pretty diapers and set that money aside.
high price tag — Little Beetles run We’ve used it for fun family things,
about $30 per diaper — the long-term like little trips and a play set for the
benefits save parents a lot of money. kids.”
Total Laundering Total Diaper Total Cost of Number of
(See sidebar.) Donna says the savings are con- Expense Expense Diapers Per Week Weeks over
“Buying organics and reusables tinuing to build up. 2.5 Years
can be pricey at first,” Leah says. “But “We just had a little girl, Laura,
it’s a long term investment that more and she’s already using the cloth dia-
than pays for itself in time.” pers,” Donna says. “It’s just great
Leah says that if you are planning because they are resizable, so they fit
to use cloth diapers full time, 18 to 24 through the diapering stage, and the Approximate Recommended
diapers will limit doing laundry to two ones we got to use with David still Cost of One Number of
or three times a week for newborns. look and function like new.” Cloth Diaper Diapers Needed
As a child gets older, less are needed. Leah and Better for Babies makes
The idea of washing cloth diapers a switch to cloth diapers really tempt-
can be a little intimidating for some ing. While it may be a little different Diaper Cost Diaper Changes
parents, but Leah says the cleaning than what we are used to, the benefits Per Change Needed Per
process is really easy. of going cloth are undeniable, and Week
“When the diaper comes off your that late night trip to the grocery store
child, shake any solids into the toilet for more diapers could be a thing of Total Cost Per Number of Cycles
— no need to rinse,” Leah says. “Then the past. Laundry Cycle over 2.5 years
toss them in a diaper pail until time to “I really don’t know of anyone
wash. Empty the pail into the washing who says they are sorry they tried
machine, run a cold rinse, then a hot cloth diapering. It’s a change for the
wash with a minimal amount of deter- better,” Leah says.
Leah’s daughter, Cost of Electricity Cost of Electricity Cost of Water Per Cost of Detergent
Ella, at age one Per Washer Cycle Per Dryer Cycle Washer Cycle Per Washer Cycle
in a pair of Little
PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF LEAH CARTER SOURCE: WWW.VERYBABY.COM/CMS-DISPLAY/DOLLARS.HTML