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Parental Convenience And Its Ecological Effects

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Parental Convenience And Its Ecological Effects

We’re all so busy.  We have so many things to focus on and attend to.  We have to work.  We have to maintain our homes and our health.  We need some leisure or “down-time,” as well as time for individual creative exploration.

There is only so much time in the day, so we need inventions for the sake of convenience: Disposable diapers, formula and loads of electronic devices for entertainment, with television being at the helm.

With these items we gain time.  But at what cost?


Over 92% of all single-use diapers end up in a landfill.  Millions of dollars are spent to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags. It is estimated to take about anywhere from 200-500 years before diapers decompose.  Disposables also often contain several toxic chemicals–not so good for our childrens’ health.


There are a number of health concerns with formula.  As a general statement, no matter how long scientists and nutrient experts spend “improving” formula, it will never match the health benefits of breast milk, which is specifically produced for a child by his/her mother.  There is a very informative article called Why Formula Should Be Illegal which is worth checking out.

Also, as formula-fed babies are nurtured very differently from breast-fed babies, it is worth asking: How might the quality of nurturing a baby later affect his/her decision-making process and lifestyle later in life?  And how might this affect our world?

For me, at the top of the list of ecological issues is the use of cow’s milk and how this plays into the dairy industry.  And, of course, the packaging and advertising dollars wrapped up in the formula industry add up to a lot of waste.

Devices and Toys

When it comes to gadgety childrens’ toys, the less-is-more mentality seems to be in the minority. It is convenient to sit your kid in an electronic baby play center or in front of the television.  Think about the different bonding experience a child has playing with a parent as opposed to a device.  How might a child’s imagination be affected by sitting in front of the television as opposed to playing creative games with parents and friends? What are the neurological effects of these different experiences?

And as with so many electronic devices, there is a sort of planned obsolescence. So these gadgets often end up where the disposable diapers end up: in a landfill. Yet another reason to give it up for wood toys.

Jeremy Dyen writes for StayAtHomePapa.com, where you can get attachment parenting ideas, listen to new music and more…


  1. With all the technological advances now, I don’t see why it would still be inconvenient for any mom to breastfeed their babies. Even offices and different establishments are required to provide comfortable and sanitized spaces that breastfeeding moms can conveniently use.

  2. We are always happy to hear bloggers promoting cloth diapers. There are many convenient ways to handle the storing and washing of cloth diapers. Disposable diapers are a huge bummer!

    -Deb for Ecover

  3. Isobel,

    You’d think that was the case. Unfortunately, formula companies prey new mothers who may be having some difficulty getting started with breast feeding. Think about those early weeks as a mother (this is from a papa’s perspective of course, but it is fresh in my mind): You just went through this trans-formative and intense birth; you are recovering psychologically and physically, and dealing with lots of hormonal changes; you are healing and perhaps in some pain after birth; you are just tired, and you have this new baby that you are trying to discover and learning to bond with…Add to that breast feeding and all that goes with it: trouble with latching, discomfort, pain, wondering if it’s going right, etc.

    All that needs to happen is for one or two bottles of formula to be around the house (those damn samples the hospitals try to send you home with) in a weak moment, and there is potential for giving up breast-feeding for convenience.

    They say if you can make it through those first three weeks you are golden. I think there are still some hurdles after three weeks.

    I will agree that it has gotten better in the workplace. My wife is lucky to have her own office. Super convenient. But others are not always so fortunate. And even with that, my wife hates pumping.

    My wife wrote a great post on our daughter’s blog about breast feeding tips:



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