Cloth diapers or disposable? It’s a question many expectant parents ask. As with many choices in life, there are benefits and drawbacks to both, as well as a myriad of options. So let’s dive into the pros and cons, as well as some parent-approved favorite brands.

Benefits of Cloth Diapers

1. Saves money. By acquiring a stash of diapers, using them for your baby (and any other kids you have), and then selling them after you no longer need them, parents can recoup some of the initial costs. The average diaper stash, according to many cloth-diapering parents, is about 20 diapers, which allows enough diapers to last a couple days if you do laundry every two days or so.

2. Earth-friendly. Another wonderful benefit to cloth diapers is saving the environment from one-use diapers. Even though disposable diapers require laundering, the fact that they are used for years and may be recycled after their usable life is complete is a huge win for cloth-diapering enthusiasts and parents who are looking for earth-friendly alternatives for their babies.

3. No chemicals. Cloth diapers are typically made from cotton, hemp, bamboo or microfiber. These materials allow peace of mind for parents wanting to limit harsh chemicals from interfering with their baby's delicate skin. There are many options in the material of cloth diapers from organic to bleached to non-bleached materials.

 

photo: iStock

Drawbacks of Cloth Diapers

1. Initial investment. Acquiring cloth diapers requires an initial financial investment that some budgets may not be able to accommodate, especially with everything else you need for a new baby. But with the popularity of cloth diapering, it is possible to purchase pre-owned cloth diapers for a fraction of the price through parent groups on social media. This gives parents a chance to try them out without breaking the bank. There are also varying price points for the many cloth diaper brands on the market, making it a financially viable option for those interested.

2. Diaper booty. Using cloth diapers may mean you have to go up a size or two in clothing due to the adorable cloth diaper booty that results. Different brands have varying levels of thickness and absorbency, which will impact the fit of clothing on the lower half of the body.

3. Extra laundry. Adding more laundry to the new parent's already full plate could prove stressful for some. Many cities offer cloth-diaper laundering services, but if that's not an option for you, many cloth-diapering parents say that once they get in the groove, it's really not a big deal to rinse solids off the diapers (using a toilet hose attachment) and throw them in the washing machine every few days. Also, many parents choose to cloth-diaper their babies during the day and put disposable diapers on them at night for ease and extra leak protection.

photo: GroVia

Cloth Diaper Brands to Consider

Smart Bottoms are less bulky, made from organic cotton and hemp, and are all-in-ones (AIO), which means they are one-piece. They are made in the U.S.A. and have the cutest prints.

Bum Genius is known for one-size cloth diapers that adjust with your baby's growth. They have a myriad of options including all-in-ones and diapers with inserts.

GroVia has lots of different cloth-diapering options with AIO, inserts, organic, hybrid diapers and the brand's beloved Buttah velour diapers, which look as soft and buttery as they feel.

Not sure if cloth diapers are right for you? Let’s talk about disposable diapers.

photo: iStock

Benefits of Disposable Diapers

1. Ease of use. The learning curve of being a new parent is steep, and sometimes you just need the easy button. Disposable diapers are pretty intuitive at a time when you are bombarded by things that are not. The wetness indicator line on the front of some diapers takes the guesswork out of figuring out if your baby's diaper needs to be changed in the first place.

2. Availability. Once you find a brand you like, you will most likely to able to find them in stores near you. Or you can order online and have them auto-shipped, which means you don't have to worry about running out. Buying them online also means you can compare prices to get the best deal.

3. Fewer diaper changes. Because disposable diapers have ultra-absorbent technology, they aren't as prone to leaking, and diapers can be changed less often than cloth diapers. Also, diaper rashes may occur less because of the extra absorbency.

photo: iStock

Drawbacks of Disposable Diapers

1. Irritating materials. Some babies may get diaper rashes due to the chemicals, dyes and gels used to make disposables super absorbent.

2. Non-recyclable. Experts calculate that more than 3 million tons of landfill waste can be attributed to diapers. While there are some up-and-coming companies dedicated to recycling these used diapers, this option is not readily available to most consumers.

3. Expensive. According to some estimates, parents can spend $2,000 to $3,000 per year per baby on disposable diapers. Compare this with a stash of cloth diapers which can be acquired for less than $800 and can last through multiple children and later resold.

photo: The Honest Company

Disposable Diaper Brands to Consider

Pampers Baby Dry are the most economical of these three brands and are loved by parents because of their breathability, wetness indicator and absorbency. They are free of parabens and latex and are hypoallergenic.

Honest Diapers prides themselves on using super-absorbent, hypoallergenic materials that are plant-based. These diapers are readily available at national retailers as well as online, and the patterns are super cute. With bright and cheery prints, these diapers will make you smile even in the midst of the messiest blow-out.

Babyganics Skin Love Diapers are made without latex, parabens, chlorine, petroleum-based lotions or fragrances. Their diapers are a bit more cost-effective than similar brands and are also available at national retailers.

photo: iStock

The Diaper Lowdown

Diving into the diapering world can be information overload. Talk to friends and find out what brands they've used and how they diaper their kids. Join social media groups devoted to parenting and even cloth-diapering. There are so many wise and experienced parents out there who are happy to share the what, how and why behind their choices. Whatever you choose, know that you are doing the best for your baby.

 

Sarah Blight

featured image: heymattallen via Pixabay

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