So far everyone I know has used disposable diapers. I have read and heard though that cloth diapers are affordable and better for the environment. I have no one to explain to me how they really work though (one size vs. sized, absorbency, covers, prefold). This is my first kid and I am confused here! So I did a bit of reading.
Cloth diapers are soft against your baby’s skin. They are also free of the many chemicals contained in disposable diapers. Common sense tells me that cloth diapers are the ultimate in recycling because they are used again and again, not entering a landfill until they are nothing but rags.
From baby’s viewpoint, comfort is the bottom line. A standard cloth diaper is constructed of a square of soft cotton, five to seven plies thick, and two Velcro tabs that replace the pins of the past. Compare this to layers of pressed wood pulp surrounded by a film of polypropylene, polyethylene or other plastic. In between these components is a layer of sodium polyacrylate, a super-absorbent chemical that transforms urine into a gel-like substance, which stays next to baby’s skin. Cloth diapers are also highly absorbent, but without the aid of chemicals and man-made materials. In addition, cotton “breathes” to allow evaporation to take place, reducing the risk of skin irritation.
Disposable diapers will set you back at least $3,000 before your child is potty trained. And if you buy premium or biodegradable options, that number will look more like $4,000.Whereas ten of the most expensive cloth diapers will set you back less than $400. Factor in detergent and water bills, and you’re still looking at half the cost of disposables.
Cloth diapers are way better for the environment
An average child will go through anywhere from four to eight thousand diapers in his or her life.
Nationwide, parents in the USA use an estimated 27.4 billion disposable diapers each year. That’s around 3.4 million tons of diapers that end up in landfills each year.
Now think about all the trees that are used to make the diapers. And all the plastic, which is made from petroleum. All the chemicals used in the process. And the water. Then all that water and chemicals returning to the environment as waste. Then the plastic packaging, the transportation – airplanes and trucks carting those diapers around the world – not to mention the energy you use driving to the store and back. And then the energy used to produce your garbage bags, the trucks to haul that trash to the landfills, the equipment used to manage the landfill.
The environmental footprint of disposable diapers is staggering.
Compare that to using the same ten cloth diapers over and over, cleaning them with safe detergent in a high efficiency washer. There’s just no contest.
Cloth diapers are more absorbent
Speaking from experience, with a cloth diaper, I don’t have to change my baby in the middle of the night. With disposables, I do.
The Charlie Banana Microfiber inserts is great for keeping babies feeling dry, and it dries quickly, but it doesn’t always soak up the liquid on contact either quickly enough to keep it in the diaper or far enough back on the insert. Microfibers are often dry on back as the diaper is leaking out the front (for a boy).
A study published in the Sept-Oct 1999 issue of Archives of Environmental Health showed that emissions of chemicals with known respiratory toxicity from three brands of disposable diapers caused breathing and pulmonary disturbances in mice, with greater effects observed after repeated exposure. Lead author of the study, Rosalind C. Anderson, concluded that the chemicals in disposable diapers might trigger or worsen asthma.
Cloth diapers may help protect your baby boy’s jewels
German scientists found that the skin temperature around baby boy’s genitals was significantly higher when they wore disposable diapers as opposed to cloth. While the scientists called for more research, they suggested that prolonged use of disposable diapers in infants could be an important factor contributing to the decline of sperm production in adult males.
Cloth diapers are cuter than disposables
Colors, patterns, textures. Especially when your baby is dressed in a diaper only. Cloth are way cuter.
1 reason why cloth diapers aren’t better
Occasionally, all babies will produce humongous and, frankly, baffling poops. The last thing you want to do is get all hands-on with that diaper, rinse it, wash it, etc. Throwing the stinking thing out would be so much easier.
BUT, that’s an infrequent and short-term bummer. In the long term, and by just about every single measure, cloth diapers are better for you, your baby, and the world.
Do you use cloth diapers? Why do you prefer them over disposables? Share with us in the comments below!
Charlie Banana reusable diapers are oh-so-soft and goes a long way as it is adjustable. We had to use this because he snapped the disposable diapers velcro. Watch those legs kick at 50 days old. What strong legs you have baby.
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Posted by Janice Leong on Wednesday, May 3, 2017