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VOL. 35 | NO. 28 | Friday, July 15, 2011

Smile, Mommy! deals with dirty work of diapers

By Hollie Deese

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When East Nashville residents Kelly, 32, and Aron, 33, Bacher, had their first child, son Brey, this past December, they were delighted to hear about Smile Mommy, a local cloth diaper cleaning and delivery service and immediately signed up.

“My husband and I consider ourselves environmentalists, but we looked into it and we were not willing to wash our own,” Kelly says with a laugh. “When we heard about the service we thought it was the perfect thing for us.”

They signed up but were bummed when, just a few months later, the owners announced they were going out of business. So they decided to buy it. In fact, they are the third owners since Smile Mommy launched in 2007 but are committed to the concept and know there is a demand for such a service: they had nine new customers their first week.

“We are excited about increasing our customer base,” she says.

The Bachers pick up dirty cloth diapers and drop off fresh ones for clients in Davidson and Williamson counties once a week, but also have a drop-off in East Nashville, as well for parents who live outside their service area.

“It is really a simple process,” she says. “We give them an airtight diaper pail, and they throw everything into the diaper pail. They don’t have to shake anything out or rinse anything or dunk it. Everything goes in the pail.”

In fact, parents who use the service really only need to supply the baby. Smile Mommy provides everything else. The starter package, $35 a week, includes the pail, liners, 80 diapers, 20 covers and 80 cloth wipes.

Statistics from the Real Diaper Association concerning disposables are grim. More than 92 percent of disposable diapers end up in a landfill and take between 250-500 years to decompose. “Every single diaper ever made is still in a landfill somewhere,” Bacher says.

More than the environment, the Bachers also tout the benefits parents and babies can reap from making the switch to cloth.

“There are so many misconceptions about cloth diapers,” she says. “It is safer for your baby. If you think about the chemicals that go into creating disposable diapers, anything that turns urine into gel creeps me out and I don’t really want that up against my baby’s skin 24-hours-a-day for three years.”

By contrast, cloth diapers are 100 percent cotton with no chemicals, good for babies with sensitive skin or allergies.

They also note children in cloth diapers tend to potty train about six months faster than children in disposables, reducing the amount of money parents spend on diapers.

“Disposable diapers do such a good job of wicking the moisture away kids don’t know they are wet so they don’t have any incentive to potty train,” she says.

Regardless of the motivation parents have for signing up, the Bachers want to impress they are interested in getting back to basics, when cloth diapers were the norm.

“It is what people originally did and it worked well for so many years, and then a giant company came up with the idea that it was more convenient for moms to just throw it away,” Kelly says. “I think it is cool we are kind of getting back to what people have been doing for hundreds of years.”

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