Cloth Diapers and Cord Blood

Along with my excitement about the impending arrival of our little girl, comes a gnawing sensation of a need to get it all right this time. I know I will fall far short of perfection, but with this being my final rodeo, I don’t want to make any mistakes.

Overall I think my boys are turning out to be great people, so it’s not like I made a mess of them and need to change my ways. It’s more about things that I wanted to do and didn’t or couldn’t or just plain old chickened out on.

Honestly, it’s stressing me out a little… OK, a lot.

pregnant Meg


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Giving Cloth a Go

When I was pregnant with my second I really wanted to try cloth diapering. I knew nothing about it the first time around, so it wasn’t even on my radar. But as my mom network grew and I met more people who used cloth, I heard so many positive things. Timing being what it was, I was desperately trying to get the oldest out of diapers before the baby arrived. I can’t even sugar coat it; potty training my first was a flat out nightmare. We had just barely gotten the job done with a few limited shreds of sanity intact when my due date neared. I ditched the idea of cloth and felt guilty every week when we wheeled an enormous bin of diaper trash to the curb. I’m fairly certain our family legacy is a landfill with my boys’ cherubic faces plastered on a sign.

This time around, with both boys long-since done needing any assistance with toileting, I’m giving it a go. With my older kids in school full time and no toddler to chase around the house, I feel like a little extra laundry is doable. It has been fun learning the lingo, researching the gazillion different types of cloth diapers, and chatting up my crunchy mama friends to nab their pro tips. Besides, let’s just acknowledge how adorable they are; it’s like getting to pick out an entire extra wardrobe!


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To Bank or Not to Bank?

The other nagging issue has been cord blood banking. Sheesh! There is nothing like those “insurance policy for your baby’s health” type ads to jack up the guilt meter. The cost of cord blood banking was out of the question with my first two, and I felt inadequate every time I pitched one of the brochures in the recycle bin. I entered this pregnancy with the mindset that I had to do it this time even if we had to eat ramen for a year to pay it off, but I still had so many unanswered questions. I may not have done much with my molecular biology background, but being a science geek has its perks. I can sift through the medical literature and make my decision based on the scientific evidence rather than purely on the emotions that run high when you are thinking about the health of your children.

I will be the first to admit that the world of scientific breakthroughs is ever changing. But cord blood transplants have been around for over 25 years and there still is not enough data to show any significant likelihood of using privately stored cord blood in future self-directed treatment. In fact, it has been shown that the genetic mutations that occur in many diseases exist in the cord blood DNA as well, and treatment with one’s own cord blood might be contraindicated. Private storage for sibling use, however, is still encouraged when a known medical condition exists that can be treated with cord blood.

When you scrape the surface and get past the ads and brochures from for-profit private banking institutions (which BTW is a quarter of a billion dollar market), you will find that both the American Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics recommend against private cord blood banking in most circumstances.


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What they do recommend, however, is donation of cord blood for public use. The utility of the stem cells is greater when the cord blood is publicly banked than when it is stored for private use. One difficulty here is that pregnant women are inundated with information from private banks but we are rarely informed of our options for public donation. The number of hospitals and birthing centers that collect cord blood for donation is limited, and according to the Be The Match website there are none in the Huntsville area. There is, however, a mail-in option for a bank that accepts donations nationwide.

Onward to the final stretch(marks)!

Expecting more? Read Meg’s first entry in our “Pregnancy: 10 Years Later” series HERE, and browse Rocket City Mom’s Guide to Pregnancy & Childbirth in Huntsville HERE.