Is Cloth Diapering Really Worth It?

Medically Reviewed on 3/16/2021

Cloth diapers

Parenting brings along lots of questions and tough choices. When the question is about your baby, you do not want to compromise. From clothes to toys, bibs, cribs, socks, and diapers, you want nothing but the best for your baby. If you are wondering what to choose between cloth and disposable diapers, you have come to the right place to settle your confusion.

We all know how important diapers are for the baby’s health, comfort, and well-being. Generally, you need to change your baby’s diapers around 10 to 12 times a day. Toddlers may need to get their diapers changed around eight to ten times a day. On average, an infant needs their diaper changed around 3000 times a month! When you need to choose between cloth and disposable diapers, there are many things to be kept in mind, namely convenience, cost, and most importantly, your baby’s health. Hence, here we have a comprehensive comparison between cloth and disposable diapers that may help you make a smarter choice based on your requirements.

Disposable diapers

Disposable diapers from many brands are available in the market. You can choose based on product reviews, cost, and your experience with using them on your baby.

  • Pros of disposable diapers:
    • Convenient to use because you can discard the diaper after use.
    • They are more absorbent than cloth diapers, thus they need to be changed less frequently than cloth diapers.
    • There is a lesser risk of spoiling your baby’s clothes, skin, or mattress.
    • They lock the odor better than cloth diapers.
    • They are quick and simple to use.
    • Disposable diapers are considered more hygienic than cloth diapers.
    • Many brands are offering environment-friendly organic diapers.
    • They are a boon for busy parents.
  • Cons of disposable diapers:
    • They may contain fragrances and chemicals that can irritate your baby’s skin.
    • They contribute to a great amount of waste. A study showed, in 2017, 4.15 million tons of diapers went to landfills.
    • Most disposable diapers are not biodegradable. The baby’s poop in the diaper also may pollute the water bodies. Thus, they pose a big environmental problem.
    • They are much more expensive than cloth diapers. Disposable diapers may cost anywhere between 50-120$ a month.
    • There may be a lot of trial and error in finding the right size for your baby. Loose diapers can cause leakage whereas tight ones can cause temporary marks and irritation on your baby’s skin.

Disposable diapers contain a super-absorbent material called sodium polyacrylate. This gel-like material is also present in tampons. There have been cases of life-threatening infections (toxic shock syndrome) in women using such tampons. No studies, however, exist to prove whether sodium polyacrylate can be absorbed through your baby’s skin. Nonetheless, it is good to stay cautious. Ensure that you change the baby’s diaper before it gets heavy to prevent the gel from coming in contact with your little one’s body.

Cloth diapers

Cloth diapers have been in use for a long time. A sight of a cuddlesome baby wrapped in a pure-white cotton diaper is a sheer delight. Let's see how good or bad these diapers are.

  • Pros of cloth diaper:
    • They are quite affordable. The initial investment may be expensive but once you own the diapers the monthly cost goes down.
    • They are skin-friendly and breathable.
    • They are environment friendly.
    • They do not contain any harmful chemicals.
    • Modern cloth nappies come in easy to use design with Velcro, thus you won't need to use any safety-pins.
    • There are various pretty colors and patterns to choose from.
    • Modern cloth nappies may allow early potty training for your baby because they become easily aware when their diaper is wet.
  • Cons of cloth diapers:
    • They are quite time-consuming because you need to wash and dry the diaper.
    • You may need to sanitize the diaper well before use.
    • They may be difficult to manage while traveling.
    • They wet easily and are troublesome especially at night, disturbing the baby’s sleep.
    • They are less absorbent than disposable diapers. Thus, they may soil your baby’s skin and clothes, increasing the chances of infections.
    • You need to change them more often than disposable diapers.
    • They may be more smelly than disposable diapers.

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Medically Reviewed on 3/16/2021
References
Kids Health. Diapering Your Baby. https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/diapering.html

Green America. Get Better Diapers. https://www.greenamerica.org/green-living/get-better-diapers