Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers: Which Is Best For Your Family?

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cloth diapers vs disposable diapers

Image: iStock / dimarik

Parenting is full of difficult choices right from the start. How to diaper your baby is one decision that pops up immediately, because if there’s one thing that’s consistent across ALL babies, it’s that they certainly are messy! When it comes to diapering, there are so many more options now than there used to be. For the modern family, the biggest choice is cloth diapers vs disposable diapers. This is a very personal decision that each family must make, and there are pros and cons to each.

It’s important to learn about both options so you can make the best-informed decision for your family. Here are some facts about cloth and disposable diapering that you might want to consider when choosing which option will work best with your family’s unique needs. So how to do you choose cloth diapers vs disposable diapers? Disposable diapers are known for their convenience. Alternatively, cloth diapers are known for being a more environmentally conscious option. However, there is more to both methods that you should consider when making your choice.

Cloth Diapering

Cloth diapering has been around for ages. It used to be the only option before disposable diapers even existed! That being said, the cloth diapers we have now are a far cry from the ones that were used in the past. Cloth diapers now come in a variety of options. Some of them have velcro or snaps, which means there’s no longer a need to have pins near your baby’s gentle skin. Some of them are size adjustable with special elastics to keep close to the baby’s skin, preventing leaks. You can even get liners for some that can help with the mess.

Cloth diapers have a larger up-front cost, but in the long run, it can be a cheaper option, especially when you consider the fact that they can be re-used if you have more children. There are so many things to get when you have a new baby, that the thought of spending a few hundred dollars on cloth diapers can be daunting. However, with disposable diapers, you will be paying out for new packages on an ongoing basis.

It’s impossible to ignore that cloth diapers are definitely the most eco-friendly option. The impact that disposable diapers have on the environment is staggering, with Livestrong citing that according to the Environmental Protection Agency “20 billion disposable diapers are dumped in landfills each year, accounting for more than 3.5 million tons of waste.” Arguments have been made that the laundering of cloth diapers has its own environmental impact with water and electricity use, but it’s hard to compare it to the sheer number of all those disposables just lingering in the landfill.

Disposable Diapering

Disposable diapers are a no-brainer in terms of convenience. With disposables, you throw them out after they have been soiled, which cuts back on your time spent cleaning and doing laundry. Disposables come in a variety of different sizes and are super absorbent. Some argue that you will be changing diapers less often because they are more absorbent, and the likelihood of leaks is decreased.

If you are using cloth diapers, outings, and nighttime changing are far more convenient. With disposable diapers, a nighttime diaper change can be as simple as just changing the diaper and then throwing it out. Similarly, if you are out in the community with your kids or over at someone else’s home, a messy situation can be taken care of quickly and easily. Even some families that predominantly cloth diaper may choose to use disposables in these instances, just to save a little bit of time and trouble.

Many disposable diapers do contain chemicals, and for sensitive babies, this can cause rashes and skin irritation. Cloth diapers may be a better fit for families of children with these issues.

Ultimately, choosing whether cloth or disposable diapers are right for your family is an individual choice

In a perfect world, we would all have the time and energy to choose the option that is the most environmentally sustainable and cost-effective. That being said, it’s not a perfect world, and we all have different responsibilities and obligations that can impact this choice. Ultimately the best choice for your family is the one that will work with your family’s specific needs.

ANOTHER FUN READ: Hate Poopy Diapers? Then ‘Shittens’ Are Perfect for You!