Cloth diapers or disposable diapers – you make the choice. The joy of being a parent is indescribable, but along with the delight comes much expense. It can be a shock to discover how much the additional food, clothing and care for your infant takes out of the monthly budget. Diapers are one of the biggest costs and will be necessary for the first two to three years of the child’s life. Which brings up the cloth diapers vs. disposable diapers debate. So which is the better choice: cloth diapers or disposable diapers? As technology continues to change, the question can be revisited.
There are benefits to each type of diaper. Cloth diapers are more expensive for the initial outlay, but will rarely need to be replaced once you have them. On the other hand, they will need to be laundered which uses precious energy and water, plus washing them is time consuming. At the same time, you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you are not adding to the refuse in the landfill. You can expect to change a newborn’s diapers ten to twelve times a day, so you will want to plan ahead and have enough cloth diapers to last a few days between washes. Cloth diapers now come in trendy designs and with Velcro so they are better looking, more comfortable and easier to use than they were in previous generations.
Washing diapers is a major chore and if they are not completely clean or the detergent leaves a residue it may cause the baby to develop diaper rash. Some babies are more sensitive than others and only experience will show whether this is a problem for yours. Modern, more efficient washers have decreased the likelihood of this problem, however.
Disposable diapers cost less and they are much easier to use. They can be purchased in many sizes to fit the baby comfortably from a newborn size to toddler. If you keep an eye out for coupons for your favorite brand you can save a lot, and generic brands can be much less expensive than name brands. Once they are used, they can be discarded and don’t need to be rinsed and kept in an airtight container as cloth diapers do. That being said, disposable diapers are a significant contributor to community dumps. In 2008 the Environmental Protection Agency reported disposable diapers accounted for 3.5 million tons of waste in landfills.
As you make the choice between cloth diapers and disposable diapers, establish your priorities but be aware that every baby is different. Even if you are committed to using cloth, your child may have unusually sensitive skin or you may find that it is impossible to keep up with the wash. And even if you like the convenience of being able to throw them away, once the infant is here you may find it much too expensive to keep purchasing disposable diapers.