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Cloth versus Disposable Diapers

Interestingly, the debate of using cloth versus disposable diapers continues to be a hot topic today.  Although many parents long preferred cloth because of quality, keep in mind that the diapers you find on the market today are quite advanced.  Even so, the cloth diaper does have advantages too.  As you will discover in this article, not only does a disposable diaper work, but also cloth.  Therefore, the decision as to what you will use for your baby is a personal choice based on a number of factors.

Skin and Health
Obviously, the most important consideration is what keeps your baby dry and rash free.  One of the advantages of cloth is that because this type of diaper does not have the same level of absorbency as you would get with disposable diapers, the baby is usually changed quicker after having soiled the diaper.  Unfortunately, even with the super absorbent diapers, it becomes a bad habit of leaving the baby in it too long after wetting, which can lead to diaper rash.

When your baby is exposed to a wet diaper over an extended period, a number of things happen to include no air circulation, ammonia developing from the urine and bacteria, and microbes can begin to grow.  All of these things easily lead to an irritation of diaper rash, which when severe, can cause blisters and bleeding, open sores.  Therefore, regardless of the type of diaper you choose, check your baby often, keeping him or her dry.

With cloth diapers, not only is frequent changing required to prevent diaper rash, but also proper sterilization.  Typically, you would have a pail that contains water and a chemical specifically designed for cloth diapers in which to soak them.  Then, the cloth diaper should be washed in hot water with bleach, but also a mild detergent.  Just remember, frequent changing is the key to eliminating diaper rash.

Another huge consideration for buying diapers has to do with cost.  Generally, quality disposable diapers will range in price from $50 to $80 a month whereas cloth diapers cost about $25 to $60.  However, if you choose to have a diaper service, which brings you, new cloth diapers each week, then the cost would be in the same range as using disposable diapers.

Of course, many variables come into play regarding price.  For instance, the top name brand disposable diapers are going to be much more expensive than other brands.  Cloth diapers may last longer than expected, especially if you purchase quality initially, which means the cost of replacement is $0 to $10 a month.  Even the cost for a diaper service will vary, depending on the quality of diaper you choose and the number of diaper services in your area, with the more competition the lower the price.

With more and more people being environmentally friendly, another debate has risen concerning diapers.  For instance, concern has been addressed regarding disposable diapers, with them not being good for landfills whereas other people have voiced concerns over the excess water to wash cloth.  When you consider that every year, approximately two billion tons of urine, feces, plastic, and paper go into a landfill, it is easy to understand this valid concern.  Then, for disposable diapers to be made, 200,000 trees and 80,000 pounds of plastic are used each year.


Finally, the one factor that most parents think of most after health and skin safety is convenience.  With so many two-income families, finding time for anything is difficult.  Just remember that while you might think disposable diapers are more convenient over cloth, this is not the case.  If you were to pin a cloth diaper onto one baby and a Velcro-fastening disposable diaper on another baby at the same time, both diapers would be done at the same time.

However, there are definitely situations in which disposable diapers are the more convenient choice.  For instance, while traveling, you simply go to the airport bathroom, change the baby, and toss the diaper in the trash.  Obviously, with a cloth diaper, you would have to carry a plastic bag with you, taking the dirty diaper along for the trip until you reached a place where it could be washed.  Because of this, we often see parents choosing cloth diapers while at home but disposable diapers for situations of convenience.  However, the ultimate choice is a personal one and yours to make.

It boils down to being a personal preference.  Although the pros and cons are important to understand and analyze, most parents will make the decision on what works best for their lifestyle.
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