Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cloth Diapering


Looking back on photos of myself as a baby it's hard not to notice that my mom used cloth diapers. The pictures are kinda funny as I am wrapped in a bulky white cloth with safety pins on each side! Many people think of cloth diapers as a product of the past since disposable diapers came onto the scene. Little did I know (until I became a midwife) that cloth diapering is not a thing of the past! The majority of my clients continue to use the standard disposables, but I have also become very aware that cloth diapering is on the come back! Some names of cloth diapers that I hear in the practice are Bumgenius and Fuzzy Buns! How cute--and funny! Cloth diapering has definitely evolved since I was a baby. There are now cloth diapers that are quite fashionable with Velcro and snaps--instead of the standard safety pin! Also, the new cloth diapers are size adjustable meaning they can grow with the baby. Here is some interesting facts I found out in my research on diapers! You be the judge..:) As always, I am not trying to advocate one way or another...Of course I must say that the new cloth diapers out are incredibly adorable!

The debate over disposable and cloth diapers on the environment is not at all clear cut. The side you come down on in this argument depends on what aspects of the environment you value most. Disposables and cloth diapers each have their own advantages to you and your baby as well as to the environment. So what you choose to do therefore depends on which advantages you value most: convenience, cost, or comfort.

No question, disposable diapers involve less hassle. When your baby gets one wet or dirty, you just take it off, seal it up, and throw it away. Do keep in mind the diaper does have to go some where to disintegrate:) FYI- It is estimated that roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually. It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone. Although some disposables are said to be biodegradable; in order for these diapers to decompose, they must be exposed to air (oxygen) and sun. Since this is highly unlikely, it can take several hundred years for the decomposition of disposables to take place, with some of the plastic material never decomposing.

The tape on the sides of disposable diapers makes them generally easier to take off and put on than cloth diapers. (Although Velcro on diaper wraps has made it much easier to change a cloth diaper than it used to be, it's still not as easy as changing a disposable.) Cloth diapers are sometimes unwieldy. No matter how you fold a cloth diaper, you may find it difficult to fit it into a diaper wrap.

You can't just throw away cloth diapers. You need to store them in a diaper pail until your weekly diaper service pick-up or until you have enough to launder. The stench, especially after your baby has begun eating solid foods, can sometimes become overwhelming. Even if you use a diaper service, you'll have to wash the diaper wraps yourself. So cloth diapers require much more hands-on (excuse the expression) dealing with your baby's poop.

The advantages of disposable diapers all center on convenience. Yet cloth diapers offer convenience, too. Parents of babies who wear disposable diapers often run out at inconvenient times. But if you use a cloth diaper service, you'll never need to drop everything at quarter of nine to fetch some diapers before your local store closes. You can order as many cloth diapers as you need every week and have them delivered to your door. Because cloth diapers are so absorbent, they also come in handy in wiping up your baby's spit up and other spills.


As long as you're using a lot of diapers (80 or more each week), a diaper service will probably be less expensive than purchasing disposable diapers. Cost estimates show that disposable diapers will run approximately $50 to $80 per month, using a diaper service will cost approximately $50 to $60 per month and laundering your own cloth diapers will cost slightly less at approximately $25 per month. When the number of diapers you use falls to 60 or less, however, a diaper service is likely to be slightly more expensive due to the base delivery charge. Of course, if you're dedicated enough to buy and wash your own cloth diapers, that's by far the cheapest alternative of all. Most of my clients and friends who use cloth diapers launder their own and say it is really not a big deal!


Babies who wear cloth diapers tend to get diaper rash less often than those who wear disposable diapers. Because it's not always easy to tell how wet a disposable diaper is, babies who wear disposables may sit in their own urine longer than those who wear cloth diapers, and continued contact with urine causes most cases of diaper rash. With cloth diapers, you can always tell how wet your baby is.

For this reason, cloth diapers also make it simpler to monitor your baby's urinary output. If you have any concern at all about how much food your baby is eating, you will find it much easier to keep tabs with cloth diapers.

Finally, cloth diapers probably offer your baby more comfort. If disposable diapers were more comfortable than cotton ones, we would all be wearing paper underwear. Try rubbing a cloth diaper and then the inside of a disposable diaper against your cheek. Which do you prefer?

1 comment:

Rachel said...

I know a lot of cloth diapering mommas that love the simplicity of the pin-able diapers, myself included ;) Having a variety of different types means I'm prepared for anything!

The part about paper underwear made Jeremy laugh out loud ;)