The Diaper Wars
The recent going green frenzy has sparked the debate over cloth versus disposable diapers all over again. Which is better? Which is safer? Which is more cost effective? The truth is that each and every family is different and deciding which route to take is a personal decision that should not be indicate of what type of parent you are. For many moms, the sheer thought of cloth diapers is revolting while others are very comfortable without the ease of disposables. In order to help you decide, here are a few things to consider.
Decades ago, cloth diapers were the norm. Today, cloth diapers are made from all sorts of organic materials from bamboo to organic cotton and they are designed to be easy to care for and safe for a baby’s sensitive skin. If you choose cloth diapers, you should purchase at least 36 diapers and fasteners to get you started with the realization that they will need to replaced every few months. This starter package can cost anywhere from $100 to $600 depending on the brand you choose. Keep in mind that while you won’t find cloth diapers cluttering up landfills, they do consume a great deal of energy in order to wash, dry, and sanitize. Even if you hire a diapering service, they too are using immense amounts of energy and charging you a monthly fee. Environmentally speaking, the effects on the environment can be just as harsh. One benefit to cloth diapers is seen in children who have extremely sensitive skin, as they are the most hypoallergenic diapers you can get. Since they do not whisk away wetness, much care has to be taken to change the diapers regularly.
Disposable diapers are used by approximately 83% of all mothers. They are easy to use and at around $10 for a 5-6 day supply…can be an expensive investment in your child’s life. Many parents do a lot of trial and error until they find the brand and type of diaper that works best for their child. The best way to save money is to write to diaper companies and enroll in mailing programs that will supply you with deep discounts. While store and off brands can be very cheap, they often leave a residue on your baby’s bottom and require you using twice as many to compensate for leakage. Yes, diapers do not disintegrate very quickly in landfills across the world. If this is bothersome to you, there are several brands of biodegradable disposable diapers that give you the convenience of a disposable whilst helping you remain environmentally conscious. Most of these brands are found online or in specialty stores and cost twice as much as regular disposable diapers.
There are also other things to consider when it comes to diapers. For one thing, this isn’t a lifetime thing and many children can be potty trained before the age of two. One recommendation is to use the disposable diapers for nighttime use and begin using cloth diapers or padded underwear around the 18-month mark. This will expedite the potty training process greatly as the cloth diapers and underwear enable your child to know when they are wet. This will also save you money and ensure you aren’t washing crib sheets every night. Obviously, the sooner you can get your baby potty trained – the better for you and for them.
Before making a decision about whether to use cloth or disposable diapers, you also have to consider who is caring for your baby. There are few daycares who will work with cloth diapers and it isn’t exactly fair to send your baby off to a sitter and expect them to willingly accept cloth diapers without an option. If you are in the cloth diaper niche, chances are you will be the one changing and cleaning them. Even if you are completely set on using cloth diapers, you may want to consider disposable diapers for their ease of use during travel, outings, or long car rides.
The battle of the diapering decision, as heated as breast versus bottle moms, will no doubt ensue for the ages. The truth is that making a decision based on what works for you and your family is the number one indicator that you are a good parent.