cloth diapers and disposable diapers

The Diapering Dilemma Cloth vs Disposable

Read our article to learn about the differences between cloth diapers and disposable diapers and to decide which one to choose for your baby.

There’s no doubt about it: What goes into your baby must come out of your baby. The doubt begins when you try to determine the best way to dress your baby’s bottom. If you are like most parents, you want the ease of disposables and the low cost of cloth all rolled into one. You want to rest easy, knowing you are helping rather than hindering the environment. Simply put, you want to make the right decision.

Saving the Earth

Carrie Martin of Windsor, Ont. wrapped three children in cloth diapers before she realized disposables suited her lifestyle much better. “When my third child was about 3 months old, I quit the cloth habit forever and started clipping coupons again.” What took Martin so long? Why guilt, of course. “Earth Day came back into vogue while my first was still in diapers, and all of a sudden it was a sin to use disposable diapers,” she says. “I thought, ‘What kind of earth was I going to leave my children?’ I had to do my part to save the planet.”

Landfill space is a hot commodity, and disposable diapers are among the top five items found strewn within the mess. Worse yet, it can take up to 500 years for a disposable diaper to break down. It seems reasonable for environmentalists to be concerned. But there are two sides to every story. And the truth is, cloth diapers require resource draining activities as well. Some studies show that cloth diapering has four times the burden on water supplies than disposables. Not to mention the energy consumed when diapers are washed and dried in electric or gas powered appliances.

Saving the Skin

Is one or the other better for baby’s skin? Each side would like to think so. Cloth diapering proponents warn of allergic reactions to the chemicals used in disposable diapers. In response, the disposable crowd talks about rashes brought on by tiny bottoms sitting in unabsorbed urine. What’s the real story? “Probably any diaper is going to be generally safe, as long as it’s changed when necessary,” says pediatrician Dr. Bella Evans, of Austin, Texas. “There don’t appear to be any dangers inherent in using disposables. Likewise for cloth. Children can get allergic reactions to any number of things, and that could include a chemical in the disposable diaper, or the fasteners in a cloth diaper.” Dr. Evans adds that in most cases, knowing your baby’s elimination signals so that prompt changing can occur is much more important to safeguard against rashes than the diaper you choose.

Also, check this article to learn about baby clothes : Choosing Clothes for Baby

Saving the Money

“When our second child was born and we needed to save pennies, we used cloth diapers,” says Genevieve O’Kelly of Indianapolis, Ind. A trip to your local grocery store will tell you that the price of disposable diapers really stacks up. It’s easy to see why plunking down a one-time sum for a childhood supply of cloth diapers looks so appealing. Add to that the strong possibility that these diapers will last through all your children, and you’ve got a very strong argument for cloth. But not so fast. Cloth diapers aren’t exactly free after your initial purchase. In fact, a few parents find themselves buying several types of cloth diapers in hopes of finding the perfect fit. “I tried all different kinds of cloth diapers with my first daughter,” Martin says. She spent everywhere from $60 a dozen for one brand to $10 per week for a diaper service.

And of course, you will be charged for the water and the electricity and the detergent you use in laundering. “You have to take time to do laundry at least every other day,” says cloth diaper user Frida Keller of the Netherlands. And every other day certainly increases your grocery and utility bills. Does it all add up to the same monthly cost of disposables? Maybe not. But it can come awfully close, especially when you take into consideration the availability of low-cost, very competent, generic diaper brands that are flooding the disposables market.

Saving the Time

Before you turn up your nose at the idea of safety pins and plastic pants, it’s time you had a wake up call to the millennial world of cloth diapering. The fact is, cloth can be as easy to put on as disposables. All-in-one cloth diapers utilize snaps and come complete with darling designs plastered over Baby’s backside. But the similarities take a decidedly different turn when clean up is at hand. For instance, changing a disposable diaper is as easy as taking it off, wrapping it up and throwing it out. Cloth, on the other hand, can require a trip to the toilet, a rinse in the tub, a soak in the bucket and finally a spin in the wash. While many parents don’t mind the additional steps that cloth diapering takes, some don’t have that luxury, especially parents that work outside of the home. The fact is, many day cares and child care providers require that children use disposables only.

Jill Roy of Lincoln, Calif. found that her caregiver was less than thrilled with cloth diapers. “She had to change the baby more often and deal with the mess,” Roy says. For the caregiver’s convenience, Roy changed to disposable diapers with no regrets.

All things considered, deciding how to dress your baby’s bottom just got a bit easier. It shouldn’t be governed by guilt or bolstered by dreams of saving big bucks. In reality, the battle lines often blur into one. Just do what works for you and you’ll soon realize that you made the right decision after all.

The names of the people mentioned in the article have been changed for security reasons.

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