If there is a raging diaper debate it is cloth versus disposable diapers. There are certainly pros and cons to each option in addition to what is the best choice per individual. Here is a more in-depth look at the details of each diaper and why some people make one choice over another.
Cloth diapers are available in cotton, terry cloth, or flannel and come as prefolded pieces of cloth or as an all in one comprised of a diaper and cover that looks like a disposable diaper. If you are using a diaper service that rent out, washes, and delivers cloth diapers this service will run you about $3,500 a year. If not you will save a considerable amount of money using cloth instead of disposable diapers. Handling cloth diapers yourself will cost you about $300 a year in actual product instead of the approximate $2,000 you will spend on disposable diapers in a year. If you are concerned about the plastic and other materials in disposable diapers, cloth diapers are a much more natural alternative. If you are living a green lifestyle and concerned about the environment, cloth diapers might be the only option you consider.
For the cons of cloth diapers, the most obvious one is they are much messier. They are less absorbent which means more diaper changes and many more loads of laundry. It would be wise to include the increase in your water and power bill to the financial cost of cloth versus disposable diapers. If you will be on the go with your baby frequently, cloth diapers are not the best idea since you will be toting around dirty ones in your diaper bag. If this happens please keep in mind that no matter how many bags you put a soiled diaper in, someone might still be able to smell the contents.
Disposable diapers are convenient and very easy to change. They are a great option for people on the go because you can simply throw them away and you don’t have the concern of carrying around a soiled diaper. They also require fewer changes since they are far more absorbent than cloth diapers and an inner lining keeps wetness away from the skin and helps to prevent leaks. A downside of this absorbency is that it makes potty training harder since babies are less likely to feel wet thus uncomfortable.
There are several other cons to disposable diapers mainly their environmental impact. While cost can also be a factor, you must include increased utility bills in with the overall expense of cloth diapers to make a fair comparison. While “eco-friendly” disposable diapers are available they are more expensive than regular disposable diapers which does add a viable increase in cost. Yet even biodegradable items might not completely break down in a landfill which makes this factor insignificant. Some parents have concerns over the gels, dyes, and bleaching agents that are used in disposable diapers and whether or not their child might have an allergy or reaction (diaper rash) to these chemicals. While this is certainly a valid concern its likelihood might be overshadowed by the factor of convenience.