Should You Use Disposable Diapers?

Disposables diapers are one of the most popular modern baby care items. No laundry to worry about! Disposables are the default choice for many parents, and there are reasons why families may choose them. This article will highlight some of the benefits of disposables and when you may want to use them.


Disposables are Easy

Yes, there are plenty of comic strips and television sitcom scenes where a daddy manages to mess up putting a diaper on his baby. Comedy routines aside, disposable diapers are pretty easy for everyone to get the hang of.

Today’s disposables have tabs that can be adjusted to the right fit for your baby. There are no sticky tabs to worry about, and the outside of the diaper is a softer, more cloth-like material rather than plastic.

When you’re done with the diaper you simply take it off your baby, wrap it up, and throw it away. It is true that disposable diaper packages instruct you to shake waste materials off into the toilet. It’s also true that almost nobody does this – the waste gets wrapped up and thrown away. Convenient (if not very sanitary).


You do not have to change disposable diapers as often as you do cloth diapers. In fact, disposables can hold many times their weight in wastes. Toddlers can walk around with diapers sagging down to their knees and you still won’t get many leaks.

I’m not saying that’s an ideal situation, of course. I definitely favor frequent changing (in fact, I try to never let my babies be wet), but I’m far more likely to leave a baby in a disposable for a wetting or two (or three). They just do a great job at absorbing so you can ignore it longer.

Sometimes that’s convenient.

Many babies wet heavily overnight, and a disposable may be able to stand up to that better than cloth diapers. This is good for parents who don’t want to have to change overnight.

Traveling Light

Disposable diapers are a real option to consider when you’re going to be travelling. They can be thrown away easily, they’re lightweight, and they require no washing. They do take up room in your luggage, but depending on where you’re going, you can buy them when you arrive.

It’s also very true that a diaper bag is less bulky when it’s packed with disposables. You can fit a lot more slim paper diapers into a diaper bag, or the same number and take up a fraction of the space.


If your baby must got to a daycare or child carer during the day, many prefer disposables for ease and perceived sanitation. I say perceived because I think this is a common misconception.

Properly cleaned cloth diapers are not unsanitary, nor is stowing away cloth diapers in a container as you’re transporting them home (many daycares require a seal-able container, such as a plastic tote with a locking/sealing lid).

Some families do prefer to use disposables during an illness to help keep diapers cleaner. The hot wash on a wash cycle will kill most germs, but for a particularly virulent illness, the thought of throwing the diaper away is nice (of course, those bacteria/viruses/molds are then moving out with the garbage).

Lower Bulk

Disposable diapers are getting thinner and thinner, and as long as you haven’t left it on your baby for too long, it’s a very trim solution.

All diapers do affect the walking patterns of babies (more to come in the next article in this series), but disposables change the walking pattern less. They also fit more easily under baby clothes. Most baby clothes are designed for disposable diapers, so parents can choose true-to-size clothing rather than having to size up just for a bulky diaper.

Many cloth diapers now are quite trim, but even the trimmest are not as slim as the paper and pulp of disposables.

A Popular Choice

There’s no doubt that disposable diapers offer some advantages, especially when we talk about convenience. Many families will use to choose them, at least some of the time. They can offer advantages when travelling, running errands, or when you need a lot of absorbency (such as overnight).

This post is part of the Definitive Diapering Guide Series:

Photo by kelsey_lovefusionphoto

About the author 


Kristen is a pregnancy coach, student midwife, and a mama to 8 - all born naturally! I've spent nearly two decades helping mamas have healthy babies, give birth naturally, and enjoy the adventure of motherhood. Does complete support for a sacred birth and beautiful beginning for your baby resonate with you? Contact me today to chat about how powerful guidance and coaching can transform your pregnancy, birth, and mothering journey <3

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  1. As regards changing the walking pattern . . .

    Cloth diapers are better for hip development. They keep the legs further apart than disposables. While bulky diapers are big and bulky, they also encourage proper hip development.

    (I had two children with hip dysplasia before we knew about cloth diapers).

  2. Thanks for sharing Ita 🙂 I will post more on the walking study in one of the upcoming series posts. It’s very interesting to see all of the diagrams in the study, especially in light of studying the natural walking pattern of humans.

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