Whether you are expecting or already have kids, you may wonder about going for Cloth VS Disposable Diapers…
But, no need to worry!
…we got you covered!
In this article, we will be answering all your questions about these two types of diapers, including:
Keep in mind, though, this is not an article to choose one over the other!
Today, both have their place in our society, and often parents choose a hybrid approach.
Let’s take a closer look, Mommies and Daddies!
The main debate is between using disposable vs cloth diapers…
But with the options available today, it is all about what is best for your baby and your lifestyle.
We gathered some information about the disposable and cloth diapers pros and cons to help you decide which would work best to make it easy.
Here are some things you should consider when deciding on a cloth or disposable diaper.
What Makes A Good Baby Diaper?
When talking about baby diapers, you need to look at the main characteristics of a good diaper to ensure a comfortable baby all day and night long.
No matter what type of baby diapers you end up using, make sure that the diaper checks the below boxes:
- Good absorbency: Usually, diapers with higher absorbency hold more liquids and need to be changed less often.
- Keep the baby’s bottom dry: A diaper should lock the moisture in to keep the baby’s bottom dry as much as possible and away from the diaper’s absorbent part.
- Prevent leaks: the leak’s frequency and possibility vary from one diaper to another, depending on the model, size, and material. Plus, the baby’s age, weight, and size. A well-fitted diaper will probably leak less.
- Good flexibility: the nappy must guarantee optimal comfort for the baby to move freely.
Related: 5 Best Baby Disposable Diapers
Convenience: Cloth Diapers VS Disposable Ones
It is one of the biggest hurdles when considering which diaper to use, and your situation controls the satisfaction of using each type!
There are fewer steps to using a disposable one.
These include needing to dispose of poops in the toilet and bringing the cloth diaper home.
By weight, disposables are lighter than washable ones.
If you are going to be traveling around a lot, this may be an essential consideration.
Let me explain…
Some designs of disposable diapers make them very appealing to parents.
..a good nappy with the best pull-ups could help when a parent is in a bind.
For example, if your family is out and away from a changing room, laying a baby down for a quick change with a disposable one is what you need.
Washable diapers are also convenient, but they work in a different system!
We will say that gone are the days of old when a mother would swaddle her baby and risk pricking him.
Could you believe what a long way we have come from having to safety pin diapers?
Cloth diapers today come with practical designs made of velcro or snaps. They either provide prefolds or inserts. They go into a cloth-lined nappy with a waterproof outer lining.
Usually, velcro and snap designs (aka ‘snappis’) are one size fits all.
Most importantly, they have adjustable sizing depending on how big your kid is, which adds to some savings in the long term.
Indeed, they have a long service life!
The diapers’ lining and insert feature materials such as microfiber, cotton, polyester blend, or even bamboo that absorb messes, big or small.
The majority of washable diapers allow for extra inserts..
Thus, you can adjust the absorbency to fit your needs. It depends on the level of mess your little one makes or whether you are at home or outside.
The learning curve is simple but comes down to the willingness to learn. After getting used to it, using a cloth diapering system is a breeze.
Savings: Which Diapers Type Is Cheaper?
Cloth vs disposable diapers cost is the strongest debate that supports the washable nappies if you are willing to do an extra bit of work.
The truth is: Babies need a change every two to three hours.
No matter the disposable diaper brand you are using, the cheapest diapers will still cost more.
The range in cost can be in the hundreds to thousands of dollars saved by using washable diapers.
With that being said, if you prefer to spend less on diapers, we advise you to invest in buying a bunch of washable diapers and use them for years – a cloth diapering system is a budget-friendly option.
Different Point Of View: Washable Diapers Add Extra Costs
Some argue that switching from disposables to a clothes diapering system is more expensive because some accessories can be more costly in the beginning.
For example, if your baby makes big messes, you may need to buy extra inserts to proof the reusable diapers.
With disposables, you can buy a different kind.
You might also want to consider the cost of accessories, like purchasing a bidet attachment that can make cleaning the poop easier.
And it’s not just that..
..there are overall energy costs to cleaning cloth diapers so often.
With disposables, they will cost cents every use, but they may actually add up in several years!
In conclusion: It is up to you to decide which one better suits your lifestyle. Some say cloth diapers are more costly, and others say disposables are more expensive.
It is commendable to aim for consuming less overall as this helps with cost savings in the long term.
The better quality a washable diaper and insert is, the longer it lasts. Some parents report keeping their diapers for multiple kids in the family.
This way, you can try them out first and get tips from other parents.
Savings: Which Diapers Type Is Cheaper?
The first thing to mention here is that cloth vs disposable diapers environmental impact is not the same, and they both come with a cost.
But, cost savings sometimes are also good for the planet!
So, if you go deeper into the manufacturing process, you will find that cloth nappies are more environmentally friendly by materials.
So, if you are trying to strive for a smaller footprint or go all-natural, they may be the best step for you.
The upfront costs of a cloth diaper vs disposable diaper are higher than for the same pack of diapers.
It all comes down to how you are cleaning and using the nappy in the day to day to reduce your waste footprint.
With disposable nappies, you throw a little piece of plastic that is probably not biodegradable and stay for too long in the landfills.
Even though there are more eco-friendly disposable options, cloth diapers are the best in this regard.
Related: Best Diaper Liners & Inserts
When you dig deeper into the diapers manufacturing process, you might be surprised by the active components.
Disposable nappies have materials such as plastic blends and polymers, such as; dioxins, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), Sodium polycarbonate, tributyl-tin (TBT), and fragrances.
Needless to say…
Babies’ skins are gentle, fragile, and vulnerable to some irritation more than the adults’.
Fragrances, in particular, can cause your baby to have an adverse reaction.
And it doesn’t end there…
The rash creams and gels that disposable nappies sometimes need can also irritate the skin in some cases.
Chemicals like sodium borate, petroleum jelly, fragrances, and dyes can irritate children.
With that being said, some parents may want to make it easy and avoid any synthetic materials or creams.
On the other hand, washable nappies are made of natural resources and fibers like cotton and bamboo and the diaper fabric is softer on the baby’s body..
These kinds of fibers breathe more than the components used to make the disposable ones, lowering the temperature inside and minimizing the risk of contamination.
However, keep in mind that some washable diapers’ outer coverings are nylon or plastic.
Usually, the nappy’s covers have an elastic waist and thighs to prevent leaks.
We do not want you to stress over the titles and names of these plastic and synthetic substances. You should seriously consider them if your family has a health history, including respiratory and skin sensitivities.
The jury is out on these blends and chemicals’ respiratory effects on your baby.
It is possible that your baby’s skin may have an allergic reaction, as the plastic blends in disposable diapers usually cause them. The components in creams can also cause allergies in sensitive babies.
A Note On Baby Diaper Rash:
Diaper rashes can come from yeast bacteria while wearing a wrong-sized diaper and is moist.
They look red, blotchy, or swollen!
They usually appear at the fitted and elastic parts of a nappy, like at the leg holes or where the elastic meets skin.
Sometimes though, it looks like scaly skin in very moist areas. It results from irritated skin from a nappy that has been sitting for too long or one that is too tight.
The critical things to remember in preventing diaper rashes are keeping it dry, clean, and properly-fitted.
With a well-fitted nappy, reusable or disposable, your risk of diaper rash can go down.
Babies with more sensitive skin may enjoy trying reusable nappies, especially if you find they get diaper rashes fairly easily.
Some parents find that there is less need for a diaper cream with reusable nappies. Thus, fewer accessories and other things to use and buy.
Fact: Washable nappies are free of toxic components and contain no harsh chemicals!
Another thing to consider is that you know more quickly when there is a need for a nappy change when your little one is wearing a fabric-like nappy!
That way, you decrease the risk of your baby getting a diaper rash since his skin does not stay in a moist environment for a long time.
Your concerns for your child’s health are ultimately at your discretion…
There is a mental hurdle to cleaning your child’s poop. But given that having a baby means messiness is unavoidable, this may not be as relevant to you.
Disposable diapers have huge appeal…
If you find yourself in a not convenient situation, disposable nappies may be more suitable for you.
With disposables, you get an additional sliminess by using rash creams and gels. This may result in more clean-up when changing your child.
There are accessories available now for reusable nappies that are super practical to make cleaning your little one’s mess in a toilet easier.
For example, a bidet attachment at home helps with easy clean up in the toilet, special pails that you can use in conjunction help with easier washing, and other kinds of accessories help with transporting your mess.
A parenting tip: Getting some of these accessories, like wet bags, makes your life easier.
You put the soiled ones inside this bag, which is supposed to lock the odd smell inside, for maybe a week or so and wash them in one or two loads.
Related: 5 Best Laundry Detergents For Babies
The Issue of Blowouts
Blowouts are not pleasant with all kinds of diapers.
Such scenarios happen due to a tight nappy that does not allow room for breathability and has little or no room in the back for movement.
Generally, this is less likely to happen with a well-fitted disposable nappy.
A well-fitted cloth diaper runs less risk of blowouts; even their one size fits all options run less risk than a disposable one.
Use Outside The Home
There may be hesitation from others to use washable nappies in daycares and nurseries.
Often, this is a matter of volume and convenience to the daycare.
With many children to consider and change, sometimes it is easier to use disposable nappies.
If this is something you are passionate about as a parent, it is possible to change their minds. Begin by checking what they need from you to make the transition as simple as possible.
Most daycares and nurseries nowadays, though, are very accommodating to parents. And most states allow for reusable nappies in baby care facilities.
For washable types, all-in-ones are preferred…
But make sure to have an open conversation with your daycare about your wants and needs for your little one.
There are some questions to consider… like whether the facility can clean the dirty ones like having a diaper service. As well as providing them with wet bags and other materials for them to use.
Deciding What is Best: Cloth or Disposable Nappies
You can use cloth and disposable diapers in tandem or even stick with one completely.
It really all depends on your lifestyle…
..washable diapers are as easy to use as disposables; even when traveling, there are ways around using diapers for easy travel.
The benefits of cloth diapers rae mainly in savings and health issues!
If your kid has sensitive skin, washable nappies may be something you want to consider.
Also, if you have concerns about limiting the amount of waste you produce, reusable nappies are a great option.
Their cleanliness and ease of use still make disposable diapers a relevant part of our lives.
Nurseries and daycares may not be as versed in using them yet, but things are changing. In summary: There are many things to consider when determining what is best for you and your child.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself before deciding:
- How willing are you to give up convenience? How much are you ready to learn?
- How important is it to save money in this way by not buying diapers?
- How important is it that my baby not be exposed to possible risks? How important is the environment in this?
- How am I able to deal with the cleaning? Will my kid and family help with cleaning?
- Are others able to help me, or are other factors stopping me from considering cloth diapers?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Do cloth diapers baby potty train faster?
Disposable diapers come with a unique design that prevents moisture from getting in touch with the baby’s skin to keep him comfortable while sleeping or moving around. On the other hand, reusable nappies don’t pull the moisture as much as the disposable ones – even with liners and inserts. The baby will feel wet, be uncomfortable, and then ask for a change in some ways. This wet feeling will teach babies to correlate between the need to pee, the feel of wetness, and the need for a dry bottom at an early age. All of these sensations lead to easy potty training at an early age.
Q2: Can you use both cloth and disposable diapers?
Absolutely yes! Choosing one kind over the other is a personal preference, and using both is totally fine. Many families who appreciate washable nappies still use disposable ones occasionally, especially while on the go or traveling.
Q3: Do cloth diapers leak more than disposables?
It depends on the style, kind, and design of cloth diapers that you use for your baby. The modern cloth diapers with well-designed covers leak less frequently than the disposable nappies. Some parents indeed switched from disposable nappies to cloth ones to deal less with the frequent nappy leaking scenarios!
Q4: What are the advantages of cloth diapers?
- They are reusable and eco-friendly, thus, causing less environmental impact.
- A cloth diapering system saves money in the long run, making it a cheaper option.
- The material is soft and free of toxic components.
- Modern cloth diapers are adjustable and don’t leak.
Q5: What are the disadvantages of cloth diapers?
- Reusables cost more as a first-time investment.
- They might be less practical compared to the disposable ones.
- Laundering the washable diapers is time-consuming.
Q6: What are the advantages of disposable diapers?
- Easy to use and convenient
- They absorb more liquid than the cloth ones
- They are available in more sizes, types, and styles.
Q7: What are the disadvantages of disposable diapers?
- Cause a negative environmental impact.
- The nappies’ material might irritate the baby’s skin.
- They cost more in the long run.
Conclusion: Cloth VS Disposable Diapers
The main question remains: Are cloth diapers worth it?
Well, this article has it all the information you need to get the answer..
Reusable diapers have evolved a lot recently to become a modern and well-designed version of the ones used before by our grandparents!
Which is great for both; mommy and baby!
They now have an ergonomic design, are available in several colors and patterns, and are easier to deal with than before.
Disposable nappies still hold a large share of the market for their convenience. However, more and more parents are adopting washable ones.
Ecological impacts, cost savings, and health concerns are just some significant reasons for this shift.
Still unsure which one to choose?
That’s ok; we advise you to try combining the two types and see which one suits your kid.
As you can see, each method has its ups and downs… So the choice is yours!
We hope that this guide helps you decide what is best for your baby and baby as you move forward!
The information in this article is only a guide for educational purposes only and should not be construed as a substitute for advice from a medical professional or healthcare provider.