Does anyone remember using traditional cloth diapers used in conjunction with the plastic pants to prevent leaks? Do you distinctly recall using the large square piece of cloth and having to fold it diagonally to form the shape of a triangle? Then, secure the cloth diaper onto your baby with safety pins and next, slipping on the plastic pants that featured elastic legs and an elastic waistband.
Plastic snaps replaced safety pins in the late 1940’s; then, a pre-folded diaper was invented in 1950. Finally, the disposable diaper made its debut in the early 1960’s.
According to WebMD, approximately 95% of American households use disposable diapers. Some parents still use cloth diapers today. So, let’s look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of these two types of diapers, as well as how much both kinds have changed throughout the years.
Here are some tips that you may find helpful to you:
• Economic factors – Usually, parents can spend between $2,000 – 3,000 on disposable diapers, including the training “pull-ups.” Cloth diapers, on the other hand, cost about $1,000 or less if you launder them yourself. You do have an option of a laundry service though if you’d prefer to have someone else clean them for you. If you want to take it a step further, you can factor in your property taxes that pay for your trash pickup if you use disposable diapers, and for cloth diapers, you’d factor in your utility bills should you chose to wash the cloth diapers yourself. Just make sure you have a full load if possible to keep your energy bills at a minimum.
• Baby’s comfort and health – Nowadays, both diapers are comfortable for infants, as long as you change them promptly when they have a soiled diaper. Cloth diapers are available with extra liners to help with absorption. Other cloth diapers help to keep some of the moisture away from your baby. Although disposable diapers are very absorbent, many of them have an indicator line that tells parents that the diaper needs changing. Unfortunately, though, disposable diapers are treated with chemicals that can irritate your infant and cause future health complications in life. An article posted by Livestrong.com (https://www.livestrong.com/article/111348-chemicals-disposable-diapers/) warns against the chemicals found in disposable diapers. One of which is a known carcinogen called Dioxin that can potentially cause cancer. Other chemicals that are found in disposable diapers are Sodium Polyacrylate, Tributyl-tin (TBT), and Volatile Organic Compounds to name a few.
• Effects on the environment –With about 95% of American families using disposable diapers that then get thrown into landfills, that means that nearly 3.5 million tons of diapers are dumped in landfills every year! Not to mention how long it takes them to break down and the waste and chemicals that are then evaporated into Earth’s atmosphere. After disposing of the feces properly in the toilet, washing and drying cloth diapers are much easier on the environment than disposable diapers. You are using extra water and electric to run your appliances; however, you are not emptying extra garbage and human waste into the environment.
Diapers, whether cloth or disposable, have come along way. Carefully consider the points in this article to help you determine what is most important to you, what your values are as a parent, and why you’re deciding to use one kind of diaper over the other. For other tips on which diaper to choose, check out the website, TheBump.com (https://www.thebumb.com/a/cloth-diapers-vs-disposible). Happy diapering.