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Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

Cloth vs. Disposable Diapers

PC: Tori K Webb

The diaper debate is among the many you experience as a mother, and both sides have valid points. People have different priorities when it comes to their child’s diapers, and that’s okay. Whether you want diapers that place an emphasis on health and comfort, convenience, price, or environmental impact, you’ll find that the debate isn’t as clear-cut as you might think. Below are some pros and cons for each type: cloth diapers, and disposable diapers.

Cloth Diapers

Pros:

  • Gentle fabrics. Cloth diapers come in cotton, flannel, or terry cloth. If your baby has extra-sensitive skin, you can rest easy knowing that there’s no potential for irritating chemicals, gels, or dyes to be anywhere near your baby’s bottom.

  • Natural solution. Some parents want to live life as naturally as possible, and cloth diapers offers a simple way to do that.

  • Eco-friendly. You don’t have to throw away cloth diapers, so that’s thousands of disposable diapers that aren’t going into a landfill somewhere.

  • Fewer rashes. Cloth diapers don’t pull wetness away from your baby, so they require more frequent changes (a con), but also prevent diaper rash.

  • Most parents spend anywhere between $2,000-$3,000 over two years on disposable diapers. Unless you use a diaper cleaning service, you’ll only spend $300-$800 on diapering supplies over the same amount of time.

  • Potty training help. Because cloth makes children more aware of wetness, it makes them try harder to stay dry.

Cons:

  • Smellier travel. Unless you plan on using disposables while you’re out and about, you’ll have to keep the poopy diaper with you so you can clean it when you get home.

  • More laundry. True, you aren’t contributing to a landfill as much, but the fact remains that every diaper requires washing.

  • Utility costs: yes, you save on diaper supplies, but you also use more water and electricity to wash them.

  • More work. Despite new cloth designs, it’s going to be messy and require frequent changes.

Disposable Diapers

Pros:

  • Convenient sizing. You can buy diapers almost anywhere, and the sizing is fairly straightforward.

  • Pre-folded. Disposables come neatly folded and easy to open, with fast and secure closing as well.

  • Option for less frequent changes. Most brands are ultra-absorbent with anti-wetness liners so you don’t have to change the diaper every single time your baby tinkles.

  • Easy travel. You don’t have to keep any poopy diapers with you; just toss them. Also, it’s easy to grab a stack of diapers and put them in the diaper bag as opposed to washing, folding, and stacking a load of cloth ones.

Cons:

  • Irritation for sensitive skin. Although no studies show that the gels or dyes used in disposables cause real harm, some babies may develop allergies to these solutions.

  • Torn tabs. If you’re in a hurry or flustered (poopy diapers may easily cause this), it’s all too easy to tear a tab and render the diaper useless. Unless you have some masking tape handy, of course.

  • More in a landfill. Disposable diapers account for 3.4 million tons of landfill waste per year.

  • Difficulty potty training. Because disposables soak liquid so well, your baby may not feel the need to go on the potty so they can stay dry.
Obviously, both sides present valid issues and arguments. In the end, you have to do what every parent does for a variety of decisions: choose what’s right for you. Whatever you choose, you’ll need a place to toss dirty disposables or to store dirty cloth ones waiting to be washed. The Ubbi diaper pail offers a convenient solution to any dirty diaper storage with either a regular tall kitchen bag (disposable) or a washable cloth bag (cloth diapering). Diaper on, parents!
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