Cloth Diapers versus Disposable Diapers – Pros and Cons

One of the first decisions you’ll make as a new parent, is whether to use disposable or cloth diapers.

Your baby will spend around 25,000 hours in a diaper and need about 6000 diaper changes in their first years of life.
Your decision to use disposable or cloth diapers will not only have a great impact on your baby’s comfort and health; it can also impact the environment and your finances.

Of course there are pros and cons for each one, and many have strong beliefs that one is better than another. In the end, it’s a decision only you and your family can make, so being informed is very important.

The Pros & Cons of Disposable Diapers:

Disposable diapers have been around since the sixties. The actual first mention was made in 1942, but they didn’t become popular until the early sixties. Their popularity has grown in abundance over the years, and they have seen many changes.

The Pros:-

  • Ease of use; disposables seem like the easier choice. They are an all-in-one product, with less fuss than cloth.

  • Throw-away; disposables can be thrown away once used, unlike cloth which will need to be washed.
  • Easy to travel with; disposables are the easy choice to use when traveling.
  • Leak less; disposables tend to leak less than cloth. They have a tight, snug fit and are very absorbent.

The Cons:-

  • More expensive; over the years you will probably spend around $1500 diapering your baby in disposables.
  • Bad for the environment; it is estimated that around 5 million tons of untreated waste is deposited into landfills via disposables every year.
  • Harder to potty-train; toddlers can’t feel wetness as much with disposables, so it’s harder for them to potty-train.
  • More diaper-rash; according to one study, 78% of babies in disposable diapers get diaper-rash, compared to only 7% of cloth diapered babies.
  • Babies health; the chemical used to make the super-absorbency of disposable diapers is Sodium polyacrylate, which has been linked to TSS (Toxic Shock Syndrome) and can cause allergic reactions.

The Pros and Cons of Cloth Diapers:

Cloth diapering has been around since the age of time. It has had many changes over the years, and continues to grow in popularity. Some cloth diapers now have double or triple layers and a multiply, fiber-filled strip, making them more absorbent than older styles.

The Pros:-

  • It’s cheaper; cloth diapers can be expensive for the initial set-up ($250-$700), but in the long run they work out a lot cheaper than disposables, depending on what system you use.
  • Less diaper-rash; cloth diapered babies tend to have less diaper-rash, because natural cotton fibers breathe more easily.
  • Can be used for subsequent children; works out even cheaper because you can use for any more children you have.
  • Cloth diapered children tend to potty-train earlier, because the cloth tends to hold moisture closer to baby’s skin.

The Cons:-

  • Usually fastened with diaper pins, but you can now find ones with Velcro or snap fasteners.
  • Some daycare centers won’t want to use them.
  • Not good for traveling with; can be messy and not appropriate for travel. Most cloth-diaper users will use disposables when traveling or just being out and about.
  • Can leak more than disposables; if not used properly.

Overall, making the decision to use disposable diapers or cloth diapers is a personal one. There is no one right answer for everyone. Choose what is best for you and your family and your schedule.

  • Katniss46

    You forgot to mention that washing cloth diapers uses A LOT of water and electricity (50 to 70 gallons every 3 days) but that also depends on how the parents wash and dry the reusable diaper


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