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The Disposable Damage


Because I hate maxi-pads, I have always been against the use of disposable diapers on a full-time basis. Until we made our trip to China this summer, neither of my two sons had ever been in disposables for more than a few hours at a time. Naturally, I felt bad about putting my 10-month-old son in disposables for the three days of travel between our home in Toronto to our final destination in China.

The aunt who met us in Beijing was very concerned about my son’s extended disposable use. Clearly, I was torturing the baby by wrapping him up for so long. I might as well have been smoking in his face. That’s the sort of harm I was causing him. She didn’t care that babies in the West are in disposables for two years straight, day and night, night and day. She just wanted him out of the evil contraptions.

It’s not as if the Chinese don’t use disposables at all. They do. More and more young parents are using disposables at night so that they don’t need to get up in the middle of the night to EC. They might also use them briefly, say in a nice restaurant, if they know the opportunity to EC will be difficult. Still, disposables are a temporary solution. Since “bum breathability” is so crucial, I doubt that the Chinese will ever switch to full-time disposable use.

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