Benefits of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable

If you love the planet and are a parent, then you probably have heard of cloth diapers, nappies, washable diapers, or reusable diapers. Cloth diapers are gaining in popularity as society is realizing the impact they have on our resources. I started to consider using cloth diapers after my daughter broke out from a rash one brand gave her. It made me wonder what kind of chemicals are in the diapers. I am a freak about letting her chew on anything plastic so why would the material that is on her body 24 hours a day be any different?

Along with the chemicals in the materials of disposable diapers, I found many other benefits cloth diapering will provide me and my daughter, including saving tons of money, saving the environment, and reducing the chemicals on her sensitive baby soft skin.

Save Money By Cloth Diapering

These not only are better for the environment, but better for you bank account. Cloth diapers, like many reusable items, cost more initially but save you money in the long haul. Look at it this way, you want about 25-50 reusable diapers. Newborns can go through almost 15 diapers a day so having 40-50 is recommended (I find this to be a lot, personally, and would start out with 20 to see how things go). Infants you would want about 24, and 20 for toddlers. If each costs $15 then your total is $300 for 20, and $600 for 40. That is on the higher price side for luxury diapers, too. That is for all the diapers you’re going to need in the first year.

The average pack of 86 Huggies diapers size 1 is $25. With 3,000 in a single year, that is $900 for the first year.  You save yourself $300-600 in the first year by using reusable diapers.That is only the first year. The average child is not fully potty trained until they are 3 years old. So save $900-$1800 on diapers when you use disposable, maybe even more!

You don’t have to purchase all of them at once, either. You can also ask for them at a baby shower if you’re planning ahead. I did a diaper raffle at my baby shower where each guest brought a pack of diapers for entry into a raffle for a prize. Instead, I wish I had asked for 1 or 2 reusable diapers from each guest for entry into the raffle. I would have started out with at least 20 reusable diapers and only had to purchase half! That increases my savings by a lot.

Also, many times you can get used reusable diapers from friends, family, thrift stores, or Facebook groups. Many cities have a Facebook groups that give things away for free. You have to be quick because the items go fast so turning on push notifications helps you know right when people post items.

Health risks of Disposable Diapers

During my research of what diapers are actually made of, I came across this article that explains the history of diapers and what they are made of. They explain everything so perfectly, please read about it there.

I have not switched over to reusable diapers yet, but this is the beginning of my search. Our babies are in these diapers for 3-5 years. If you have read any of my other articles, you know I research chemicals in everything. We have surrounded ourselves with so many things that disrupts our natural chemical balance, it is no wonder why cancer and illness is so rampant.

 

Why Reusable Over Disposable?

  1. Like I mentioned before, you save money.
  2. Reusable diapers contain less chemicals that will be on your babies skin 24/7 the first 3-5 years of his or her life. Reusable diapers can come in organic cotton and many other low risk materials as well.
  3. The environment benefits. 24,700,000,000 diapers end up in a landfill every year. All those diapers contain chemicals that will seep into the ground, and subsequently our water.
  4. Reduce your carbon footprint by using reusable diapers. “Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feed-stocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR” (realdiapers.org).

The average baby will use up to 3,000 diapers in their first year and 7,000 diapers before they are potty trained.

How Do Cloth Diapers Work?

There are a few types of cloth diapers:

Hybrid: Hybrid diapers combine disposable and reusable. Typically reusable diapers have a piece of fabric that absorbs the urine and poo along with a waterproof outer cover. The hybrid diaper has the waterproof cover but the fabric that absorbs the urine is disposable. This still creates waste but it is a lot less waste than a regular diaper. Many parents prefer this because it is easier than washing all the icky stuff at home or easy when they are on the go.

AIO cloth diapers (All-In-One): Just as it sounds, this diaper option contains both pieces mentioned above in a single piece. So the entire thing can be thrown into the wash when soiled.

Pocket Diapers: These diapers are similar to the AIO but they contain a pocket where you can insert an absorbent fabric. Some options for the fabric inserts are microfiber inserts of a tri-fold fabric. Now the tri-fold fabric reminds me of some burp cloths I received. These are the diapers I am leaning towards, myself. They also feature multiple clasps on the diaper cover that allow for adjusting size as baby grows. I love that.

 

What will you try?

Now, I am on the hunt for the perfect brand of (most likely) pocket cloth diapers. I want to find organic linings but will probably go with a waterproof liner that is affordable and known for quality. I have already posted in my free listing add on Facebook to see if anyone has any used ones they are willing to part with. Some people may think that is a little unsanitary to use diapers after another persons child, but to me, you wash them. It’s just like washing your babies diapers, they are considered clean after you wash them.

Have you tried cloth diapering? What kind of style did you use and what brands? Are there any tips you recommend?

 

10 thoughts on “Benefits of Cloth Diapers vs Disposable”

  1. Hi,
    Choosing cloth diapers was a decision to save money and be environmentally responsible.
    Cloth diapers were used in our household from 1992 until 2001 for five children. They saw us through potty-training. I used a diaper service for some years. Then I washed my own after I managed to buy enough diapers. The diapers I used were just plain and white and layered in the middle. They were easy and convenient to use.
    Changing diapers in the dark became a breeze. Running the diaper pins through my hair gathered the oils, then holding my fingers under the diaper to insert the pins insured that I did not stick the little one with the pin.
    Holding my babies when they wore only the cloth diaper and a cotton gown made them so cuddly, and they did not sweat as much.
    Cloth-diapering is one of my best experiences as a mom.
    Best wishes to all the moms who give it a try.
    River

    1. I absolutely love how picturesque this is. I am excited to try this. Recently, I was staying at a house with no hot water so for 3 days I boiled pots of water on the stove and that is how we bathed. It was really cool to remember how we haven’t always been this blessed. Thank you for sharing your experience, River.

  2. Disposable diapers are a huge waste dumped on the planet, and the cost really adds up! I hope more people switch to a more sustainable lifestyle and reuse things like diapers more often.

    1. Me too! There are so many adorable designs now. I think that people are considering a lot more as we become more aware of the impact we each have on our planet.

  3. I have used both, first cloth and then disposable with my other two kids. Now, this was back in the 80’s when we were unconcerned with landfills and chemicals. I switched because everyone else did. Using cloth is like any other household chore, once you get a system in place, it’s no big deal. I’d opt for cloth if I ever had to do it again

    1. I figure once I get the hang of it, it will be simple. There are services that come around and wash your diapers for you, but since I am home most of the time, I don’t see myself using them. Maybe with the next baby, though.

  4. I grew up with younger brothers, we used cloth diapers. I changed, cleaned and washed diapers for many years. When I raised my nephew a few years ago, I used the throwaway diapers.
    My opinion is that you have a little more work with the cloth diapers and a lot less waste. Having the trash bin full of dirty diapers does present a foul odor until trach day.
    There are many advantages of the cloth diapers, the one drawback is the time it takes. Many of the people today do not want to take the extra time for the cloth diapers.
    Do you think that not sticking the child with safety pins and the ability to fold and apply the diaper is acquired learning for parents?
    John

    1. So much less waste. Yes I agree that today everyone is rushing around. I feel like there is not enough time in the day for everything I need to get done, especially working from home with a baby. I do think that when we take a small step back like this it let’s us live more in the moment, even if only to wash a few diapers by hand.

      The safety pins are a huge concern for me because I’ve had them come undone on clothing before and poke me. Someone mentioned to me that there are ones that snap in place rather than have the pokey needle so I would consider those. Also, there are the diapers with built in snaps now which allow you to not need to use pins. Those are the two I personally am leaning towards.

  5. Very interesting article on cloth diapers versus disposable diapers, I know many families today use the disposable diapers for their convenience but I really am wondering how health are they when they are touching your baby’s skin in their private areas?

    When my sons were babies we used cloth diapers, and disposable diapers were not really as popular as they are today. If you are going to use disposable diapers would it not be better to use them in moderation than every day, I can see using them when you are traveling or shopping but using them every day could cause health problems possibly down the road.

    What is your opinion
    Jeff

    1. I absolutely agree that the chemicals in most well known brands could cause health problems. Some of the chemicals used in diapers are known hormone disruptors, and to me that is a huge no-no in a developing child. This is a time in their life where we are setting their bodies and minds up for the entire life. By exposing them to harmful chemicals we may be the reason people get sick, cancer, tumors, or any type of illness. Of course, there is no scientific proof to back this up, yet, but it is a concern of mine when choosing products for my daughter. Sometimes it drives me crazy not knowing what is truly safe for her. The biggest issue for me is not knowing. Because of this I play the ‘better safe than sorry’ card and hope that I am choosing the better option.

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