Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers: Get to the Bottom of It All!

cloth diapers vs disposableBesides feeding after feeding and lack of sleep, what else is there to look forward to in baby’s 1st year by a new parent like you? You guessed it: mounds and mounds of diapers.

Are you a new parent who is  wondering whether to use cloth diapers vs. disposable? Long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, everyone used diapers made of cloth. Then, diapers you could just throw away came on the market and by the eighties, almost everyone made the switch. As diapers invaded landfills, the entire world was urged by environmentalists to switch back to the cloth version.

Since the advent of chuckable diapers, this has been a topic of active debate, as it did make the lives of parents on the verge of collapsing from exhaustion much easier. There are no arguments that in terms of convenience, disposable diapers take the cake. These don’t involve washing machines and there are not many pieces you have to deal with. However, there they do make a dent in your wallet and do cost in terms of the environment as well. Over a period of 2 years, diapers made of cloth cost much less than three-fourths of what the disposable version will cost you. In today’s society, the reiterating priority does keep coming back to convenience and ease of use—to the extent that facilities of day-care won’t accept kids in diapers made of cloth. For harried parents such as you and I, this is one of the considerations. However, one cost does outweigh the dollar and the environment and this is the safety of your child. Here is a course that might come in handy called Bringing Baby Home that gives you great advice on baby basics, including diapers!

What I’m trying to say is that if the decision between cloth diapers vs disposable ones make you want to throw in the towelettes, you are not alone. Like most choices that come with parenthood, the right decision really is the one that feels ‘right.’ Did I say that right? No really, there are pros and cons to both types of diapers and sticking to the one that works for you and your newest addition is the one to pick. You can also use both. Say, use disposable diapers when you go on a road trip but use cloth diapers when you are home. Anyway, here is the skinny on considerations of disposable versus cloth diapers.

Disposable Diapers

Disposable diapers are a cinch to change and are in a word, convenient. This is due to the back panel attached strips that stick to the front part. All you need to do to get the best fit is to pick a size based on your baby’s age and weight. It is easy to travel with disposable diapers since all you need to do is toss ‘em, without having to bring them back home with you. You will also be changing fewer diapers daily since these are extremely absorbent. What’s more, there is an inner liner that keeps dampness from touching the skin of your child. The best part is that disposable diapers don’t leak.

Keep in mind that the skin of your baby is healthiest when it is dry and clean. Diapers that you can dispose of do a great job of keeping skin dry because these are extremely absorbent. On the other hand, with their high cost and absorbency, these tend to be less frequently changed than the doctor-recommended three hours.

Even if there have not been studies showing dioxin, gels and dyes as well as other chemicals cause harm to your child, all that stuff just makes some parents leery.  Some babies have allergic reactions to disposable diapers. Plus, the tabs that attach the back panel to the front sometimes come off if you pull too hard.  Situations like this tend to happen invariably when you have just one diaper left and are on the run. These diaper types aren’t the greenest method of managing your child’s poop, either. Is it okay to say poop? You heart that right. These account for three-point-four million tons of annual landfill waste. Potty training is also harder with the extremely absorbent liners that these come with. This is because toddlers are not as likely to feel any discomfort when they ‘go,’ since they can’t feel a thing, ergo no discomfort and nothing to motivate them to ‘go potty.’

Again, despite the hygienic advantages and desirable convenience that disposable diapers come with, concerns of safety do loom large. Part of the reason that disposables are loved by parents so much is due to their no-leak factors. Many brands of disposable diapers boast large capacities for fluid containment. The down side is that this comes with poly-acrylate chemicals. This is the gel that is ‘ultra-absorbent’ which has been linked to toxic shock syndrome and allergic reactions, not to mention the potentials this has of harming the pets in your home. If that is not chemical exposure enough, many brands of this type of diaper use perfume to hid bleach, dye and odors to make these smell good. Lab rate studies show that there was a reaction in rats that was asthmatic when diapers were introduced from a newly opened pack due to the airborne chemical irritants that this was exposed to. To newborn babies, these can be especially irritating, as they have fragile skin that is still developing and absorbs all the toxins easily. The plastic tabs that disposables come with can also be a choking hazard if your baby gets a hold of this and decides to put it in her mouth. By the way, here is a course called Sane Parents Guide: Getting Your Home Ready for Baby that has tons of baby advice you might need.

Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers are available in flannel, terry cloth or cotton. These types of diapers can come either as an all in one, which is a diaper and a cover that looks almost disposable, or in pre-folded cloth liner pieces. Unless you use a diaper service that rents these out, washes them and delivers them back to you, using this kind will save you money. In other words, instead of the two thousand dollars a year you spend on disposables, you will only be spending about three hundred dollars during the years your child wears diapers. Plus, if you are worried about the gels and dyes that disposables involve, a cloth diaper comes without these and is considered more ‘natural.’  Cloth diapers tend to be a tad less absorbent then disposable diapers but this will mean more changes and fewer rashes in the long run. It also tends to be easier to potty train a child in cloth diapers since kids will notice that they soiled their nappies faster than with disposable ones. Certainly, to parents that are concerned about the eco-footprints their children (and themselves) leave, cloth diapers are attractive. These days, more and more parents want a lifestyle that is greener. Here is an article about cloth diaper options that could help get your cloth diaper collection started!

Since the early days of damp cotton held together in saggy layers with safety pins, cloth diapers have since come a long way. Compared to their disposable counterparts, cloth diapers come with a lot less hazards to health. A lot. Less. But, there are still some. For example, with the advancements in the way these diapers are manufactured, some newer models are showing up with polymer chemicals such as water repellent finishes, polyester and vinyl. The good news is that the traditional one hundred per cent cotton kinds are still widely available, so you can avoid the chemical version. Plus, it is important to wash the diapers properly to kill bacteria for infection prevention. Usually, it is effective to accomplish this just by washing the diapers at high temperatures. You may have an issue or two about the stinky smell getting retained by the cloth, but this really is more inconvenient than unsafe, really. Naturally, there is always the risk of getting your tiny new baby poked with a safety pin but then again there are new ones that have Velcro, hooks or snaps that you can use instead. Here is a course called The Happiest Baby on the Block: Calming Your Baby that is full of great tips for calming your baby.

One huge misconception about diapers made of cloth is that they are laborious to maintain and are hard to use. Actually, it is just as easy to change the newer types of cloth diapers and this is easy to maintain as washing loads of laundry. Modern cloth diapers are versatile and convenient with their 2-piece designs, adjustable sizes and snap closures or hook and loop. The best part is that you will never EVER have to worry about running to the store at the break of dawn for more diapers, since you will never run out of cloth diapers.  You will never have a trashcan filled with non-biodegradable waste or have to watch for Costco sales for enormous diapers by the box.

The downside is that cloth diapers do tend to be messy. Some come with liners you can dispose of which makes them a bit easier to clean. Unless you use the more expensive all-in-one, these can also be more cumbersome to change. Your batch of laundry will also be a little bit higher in terms of a couple of extra loads per week. This means higher electric and water bills. You may also have to carry some poop around if you are using cloth diapers even when you are out. Yes, you will need to bring these diapers home with you to clean.

And the Winner Is…

There is no winner. When it comes to whether you should use cloth or disposable diapers,the honest truth is that it really all boils down to the fact that ultimately, as a parent, you will need to make your own choice personally. Most parents believe that there is no clear winner in the debate between diapers. While environment issues put a negative stain on disposable diapers, others would argue that the amount of laundry soap needed to clean cloth diapers on a frequent basis is not environmentally sound either. In other words, there may not be that huge of a benefit to cloth diapers from a green standpoint. Plus, disposable diapers have come out with chlorine-free disposable diapers that cut down on the dioxin content.

Hope this helps! For more of stuff that babies love, here is a course called Baby Massage- “The Gift of Loving Touch” that helps you bond with your child.