Many parents just use disposable diapers. Why not? They're easy and sanitary, right? Why cloth diaper – isn't it hard and messy? Nope! Modern cloth diapers are easy to use, easy to clean, trim, and even cute!
There are many options for your baby's bottom. You can choose prefolds, fitted diapers, “all-in-ones,” or pocket diapers (or even not to diaper – see the diaper free pages.) Don't worry, our diapering pages cover all the options 🙂
Disposable diapers must be manufactured continuously. They require massive amounts of paper and oil to produce. And they require a huge amount of energy to make. Energy is required to purchase disposables as well – you drive to the store to buy them (again and again).
Cloth diapers are a one-time purchase and usually last through two or more children. The costs of laundering cloth diapers are minimal.
The waste by-products of the diaper manufacturing industry contain chemicals, heavy metals, and sludge. Many parents who cloth diaper use environmentally friendly soaps in their laundry. Almost all diaper services do.
Disposable diapers are just thrown out. They go into the trash and into the landfills where they take hundreds of years to decompose. In fact, if you were diapered in disposables your diapers festering out in a landfill as you read this!
Cloth diapers are used over and over – and a good cloth diaper or liner can serve as a dust rag or shop rag after its diapering years are done.
Disposable diapers also introduce human feces into our trash. Cloth diapers are rinsed and the waste is flushed down the toilet to be taken care of using the same sanitary processes as other human waste.
How many families actually dump feces from disposables before they trash the diapers? If you read your diaper package, you'll notice that it says to empty the diaper into the toilet before disposing of it. Live viruses, such as polio, can live for weeks in the feces dumped into residential waste.
Which do you think your baby would choose? Paper or soft cloth? Incontinent adults say that they greatly prefer cloth over paper diapers. Think about how soft and sensitive your baby's skin is and imagine putting him in a paper diaper.
Even though diaper manufacturers are working hard to make a “drier” diaper with a “cloth feel,” the fact is their diapers are still paper and plastic.
They chaff babies' sensitive skin. Studies show they heat up enough to be hazardous to babies. Researchers have reported a possible link between male infertility and disposable diaper use. The diapers cause a baby's genitals to heat so much they affect how a male baby's testes develop.
Some people argue that cloth diapers cause more rashes. However, parents tend to change cloth diapered babies more frequently than they do disposable diapered babies. The cloth is actually wet and uncomfortable, prompting parents to change their baby.
Chemicals On Your Baby's Skin
Disposables are “super absorbent.” Babies are changed less often and all the chemicals in disposable diapers up against baby's skin for longer.
Dioxin is a harsh chemical which causes problems for many adults. It's present in disposable diapers and comes in contact with your baby's skin.
Sodium polyacrylate is another chemical in diapers. You can probably tell it's there because you see little balls of clear gel on your baby's skin when you change him. This chemical was taken out of tampons because of its relation to toxic shock syndrome.
There have also been some recent studies that suggest disposable diapers may play a part in the rise of childhood asthma. Dr. Rosalind Anderson noted in a 1999 report that disposable diapers release many chemicals that are considered “bronchial irritants.” She cautions that asthmatic parents be very careful when choosing how to diaper their baby.
It's Too Tough?!
Critics of cloth diapers argue that cloth diapering is too hard. In reality it's easy! It only requires a little work on the parents' part, and it's better for baby (and the environment.)
It takes time and energy to drive to the store, shop for diapers, load the car and drive home. Then you unload them and put them away. Then you have to toss them (and maybe twist some diaper-smell masking contraption.)
Some argue they were going to the store anyways. Cloth diapering can turn that around – you're going to be doing laundry anyways! It's not much more trouble to wash an extra load of laundry. And you never have to leave the house!
Today's cloth diapers are cute, cuddly, and quick to get on. Some are contoured to fit the baby. Some have snaps. Cloth diapering is a cinch 😉
Another choice is the diaper service – just dump the diaper into the pail. Then you put the pail out once a week and a fresh load of diapers gets delivered to you. It's that simple. It costs a little more than taking care of your diapers at home, but it's still probably cheaper than choosing disposables.
Mix and Match
You decide what diapering system works best for you. You can use combination of cloth and disposable diapers; it doesn't have to be an all or none choice. There are also environmentally responsible disposable diapers.
You may choose to use cloth diapers at home and disposable diapers while you're out. Or use disposables on trips. You can use pre-fold cloth at home and all-in-one cloth while you're out. It's your choice – mix and match or use one tried and true system!
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