Are cloth diapers the right choice for your family?

Despite whatever anyone else might say, the choice to use cloth diapers is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.

Maybe you are attracted to the money-saving potential of using cloth diapers. But in order to save money, you have to find a system that works for you, so you don't end up buying something that won't work for you, and then having to put out extra money to replace it. Reading articles and doing you research like reading all the reviews on will help you to figure out which cloth diapering system will work the best for you.

Cloth diapers are a wonderful alternative to the more traditional disposable diapers. But these ain't your grandma's cloth diapers! It isn't necessary to ever use a pin again, although some people do like to go old school with the flat fold diapers and rubber pants. All kinds of new innovations in fabric and velcro have made cloth diapering just as easy as disposable diapering. Plus, you can't even imaging all the cute prints and styles that diaper makers have created. Baby's bums have never looked cuter in all of history!

Cloth vs Disposable Diapers
Credit: moohaha on Flickr

Reasons to Use Cloth Diapers

When entering the cloth versus disposable diapers debate, the best interest of your child should always be your #1 consideration.

1. Cloth diapers are more comfortable to wear

Feel the inside of one of your disposable diapers, and then feel some microfleece (which is what many cloth diapers are lined with) or some suedecloth (another lining option similar to microfleece.)

Which would you rather have on your hiney?

Other options for cloth diaper materials are organic bamboo velour, micro terry, and many other ultra soft materials.  These are so comfortable for your baby to wear.  Much more comfortable than those scratchy disposables!

2. Disposable diapers have lots of chemicals in them

Ultra-absorbant diapers contain a chemical called sodium polyacrylate, which absorbs up to 100 times its weight in water. (These are those clear gel-beads that you sometimes see when changing a baby wearing a disposable diaper) This chemical is the very same chemical removed from tampons in 1985 because of its link to toxic shock syndrome. Is that something you want touching your baby's butt 24/7?

Another potentially harmful chemical in disposable diapers is Dioxin, which in some forms has been shown to cause cancer, birth defects, liver damage, and skin diseases. It is a by-product of the paper-bleaching process used in making disposable diapers, and trace quantities may exist in the diapers themselves.


(source: The Joy of Cloth Diapers
By Jane McConnell,Mothering,Issue 88, May/June 1998)

3. Your Baby gets to look even more super-cute

No, this isn't a serious health consideration like those others, but cloth diapers today are totally rockin! They have so many cute patterns and fabrics, and some are almost art! Anything for our kids, right? :)

I loved collecting all the different colors and patterns in my favorite brands. What a great way to make one of the more mundane parenting tasks, fun!

4. Disposable Diapers are associated with an increase in Diaper Rash

A study done by a disposable diapers manufacturing company (we won't name the company, but its one of the largest manufacturers) shows that the incidence of diaper rash increased from 7.1% to 61% with the increased use of throwaway disposable diapers.


Reasons to Use Disposable Diapers

1. Convenience, convenience, convenience!

Disposable diapers are certainly the easiest types of diapers to use.  When I was cloth diapering full time, sometimes I would have to take a "sanity break" from CD's and use disposables for a week or two.  I would also do this sometimes when I was backed up on laundry. 

For me, that was the main inconvenience- having to wash all the diapers.  It wasn't like I didn't have enough laundry to do anyway with a family of five without adding in all the diaper wash.  I washed diapers every other day, so that ended up being an extra 3-4 loads a week. 

Also, think about when you go out.  When you have a dirty diaper at Target, you can't just throw it away- you have to put it back in your bag and take it home to wash it!  Some people use disposables when they are out and cloth diapers when they are home for this reason.

2. You can get disposables pretty cheap!

If you are coupon savvy, or know how to get "sposies" cheap on, then you will save less than the average mom by switching to cloth.  I know of some moms to play the drugstore game at CVS and other drugstores and end up getting their diapers for pennies or even free! 

3. Superior Absorbancy (especially at night)

If you have ever been part of a cloth diapering group in person or online on a forum, you will see a topic come up contiually- the search for the best nightime cloth diaper.  If you have a heavy wetter, it can become nearly impossible to find a cloth diaper with enough absorbancy so that your kiddo doesn't wake up soaking wet every night.  It gets old, fast. 

And the other issue is bulkiness. If you do end up finding a diaper with enough absorbancy, then it is sometimes so bulky that you can't get pajama bottoms on!  I eventually got to this point with one of my kids, and ended up switching to disposables at nighttime only.

Seventh Generation Free and Clear Baby Diapers
Amazon Price: $60.00 $45.99 Buy Now
(price as of Aug 3, 2013)

It doesn't need to be an all or nothing proposition....

Just because you do decide to cloth diaper because of all the benefits, doesn't mean that you can't still supplement with disposable diapers.  It's just like breastfeeding- just cause your baby has one bottle of formula per day, doesn't mean she won't get the benefits of breastmilk. 

Give yourself a break, and give cloth diapering a try.