GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - Baby diapering has never been so easy or aesthetically pleasing.
Sixteen babies, plus their moms and dads, participated Saturday, April 20, in the third annual international Great Cloth Diaper Change event in downtown Grand Junction. They were hoping to contribute toward breaking last year's record setting of 8,251 simultaneous cloth diaper changes worldwide.
This year, there were 285 participating sites in 17 countries. It was the second time that Megan Reinertsen, owner of Colorado Baby (a natural parenting shop at 560 Main St.), has hosted the local event; it's always held around Earth Day.
Juan Gomez was there with his 2-year old daughter Araya Hope. His wife Alisia, who is expecting their second child any day, explained why they began using cloth diapers when Araya was 2 months old.
"The little beads kept coming out of the disposables," Alicia Gomez said. "When I researched what it was, I found some of the chemicals used are outlawed in other countries - which led to our switch to cloth."
Another dad, Mark Graeve, was there with 5-month-old daughter Zoe.
"We made the switch (to cloth) three months ago," Graeve said. "It works really well. We found it's really easy."
Plus, "It's more economical, and the waste stream is a lot less. Instead of using thousands of diapers, we end up with 18 to 20 for her whole needs," Graeve added.
Reinertsen, the mother of four boys ages 15 months to 7 years, said she used cotton diapers for all her children.
"We originally chose cloth mostly for economical reasons," Reinertsen said. "We were going to save around $2,000. That's all we needed to seal the deal."
After Reinertsen opened Colorado Baby in 2008, she began discovering other reasons why people choose cloth over disposable diapers.
"Disposable diapers are estimated to take 500 years to break down," Reinertsen said.
She cites statistics that say each year in the U.S. alone, enough disposable diapers are thrown away to fill 30 Empire State Buildings (20 billion diapers).
"That is so disgusting and gross," Reinertsen said.
"One child in two-and-a-half years (average potty-training age) will go through 7,000 disposable diapers," Reinertsen said.
Colorado Baby sells cloth diapers and Velcro-closure (no more safety pins!) coverings, glass bottles, baby carriers, alternative teething products and other products geared toward natural parenting. A sidewalk sign outside the shop invites mothers to come inside to nurse or change their babies' diapers. There's a comfortable couch and chairs, and complementary water or Milkmaid tea.
"I remember nursing my first child and feeling I had to go hide somewhere, and so when I started the store I knew I was going to have a place for moms to feel comfortable and not feel judged," Reinertsen said.
Colorado Baby needed 25 participants to count toward the Guinness World Record attempt, so this year's 16 won't count toward the final world record, but "we'll attempt again next year," Reinertsen said.
"Regardless, we'll still be able to generate awareness of cloth diapers."