Do Cloth Diapers Really Make a Difference?

When disposable diapers were first invented, I bet parents thought they were the best thing ever.

But as interest in protecting the environment and avoiding toxins increased, parents have revisited the cloth diapers. Now we have all kinds of options in both disposable and cloth diapers.

The question for new mothers is – do cloth diapers really make a difference for your baby and the environment?

There are a lot of benefits to cloth diapers. For one thing, because they’re made of cloth they’re naturally going to be a bit softer, perhaps a bit more comfortable on your baby’s bottom. Many mothers feel that the breathability of the natural fabric leads to a decrease in frequency of diaper rash.

Many parents who use cloth diapers calculate they save several thousand dollars over what they would have spent had they used disposable diapers. Saving money is a benefit that’s hard to ignore.

Some parents wary of the cloth diaper concept worry about the amount of diapers you’re buying. True, a cloth diaper isn’t going to be quite as absorbent as a disposable, so you’ll be changing more often. Many parents recommend purchasing about twenty-four, or twelve per day. That way there’s time to wash and trade them out. I eventually ended up with 3 dozen cloth diapers. But since they lasted through two children, they were a good investment.

(Here’s a secret: I still have all those cloth diapers, even though I’m not planning on having any more children)

Adding in the fact that a baby might start out in newborn size, move quickly through three months to six months to twelve month, that’s going through a lot of sizes of cloth diapers, right? Not so, say the experienced cloth users: you can buy diapers in one size that will fit through toddlerhood. This is what I did and it worked very well.

Many parents about to potty train their babies find that those who used cloth diapers were much easier to train. The baby easily recognizes when they are wet when they use a cloth diaper and start to learn better when to use the potty.

Cloth diapers prevent your baby from being exposed to chemicals used in disposable diapers and this helps your baby’s skin. It also reduces the impact of the used diaper disposable on the environment. Imagine mountains of disposable diapers in landfilles. Not to mention the toxins and pollutions created during the manufacturing of disposable diapers.

Any parent who has had to make a late night run to the store to get more diapers can see the benefit in the fact that cloth diapers just require a load in the washing machine. You’re saving all that time and gas by not making that run to the store every time you run out of diapers.

Some nay-sayers argue that while the biggest advantage of cloth diapers may be the impact on the environment, you’re still using a lot of water washing the diapers and that can’t be good. While that may be true, it’s hard to argue with the fact that cloth diapers are natural and biodegradable whereas those plastic-covered super-absorbent disposables will be piling up in landfills for centuries to come.

Fortunately, today’s washing machines are becoming more and more energy efficient. Plus, except in the wintertime, you can always air-dry your baby’s cloth diapers. Another thing I did to keep diapering eco-friendly.

The bottom line: many parents who were initially skeptical about cloth diapers have found that they’re not much more work than changing a disposable diaper. In addition, it saves money and it’s good for the environment. Add to that the fact that it’s good for your baby’s skin, what’s not to like?

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Alexis Rodrigo

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