The Diaper Debate: Cloth vs. Disposable

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Babies poop, and they poop a lot. So recently, some Baby Mamas, a Baby-Mama-To-Be, and I were talking about a really important subject: diapers. The To-Be is trying to decide if she should use cloth or disposable and we all had different answers even though our concern was the same: the environment (after what was best for our babies, of course).

The cloth argument went something like this: "Disposable diapers (the thousands you use in the baby's first few years) end up in a landfill. Cloth is better because you re-use the diapers and that's ultimately better for the planet. Many disposable diapers have chemicals from the bleach and moisturizers in the linings that are bad for your baby."

The disposable argument went something like this: "The amount of water you use to clean cloth diapers, the energy needed to run the washing machine and dryer, the gas if you use a diaper service, the detergent you need to clean them—all add up and harm the environment more than disposables. The detergents used to clean the diapers can irritate your baby's skin and cloth diapers result in more diaper rash."

One thing none of us considered was cost (and it's not like we're rich or anything). Apparently there is also a great debate about whether cloth or disposable is cheaper.

There's a good article that just appeared in the Boston Globe addressing all of theses very important cloth vs disposable diaper issues.

So how about you—do you use cloth or disposable diapers?

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What was the most important factor for you in choosing a diaper?

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Total Votes: 45

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clothes, poop & diapers

18 Comments

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kdbug813 kdbug813

I used cloth for the first few months as I was at home most of the time and it was no big deal if there was a little accident.  After three months and going back to work, I switched to disposables because it was easier on my son's caretakers (his granpa and gramma).  I did find that in my area, the diaper service was pretty close to the cost of disposables.  I also found that getting diapers at Costco or Walmart was the least expensive way to go.  As far as diaper rash goes, if you change the baby frequently enough, wiping well and use A and D or other rash cream, a diaper rash should not develop.

CrzyMa CrzyMa

You know I have never even seen a cloth diaper and I can't really imagine using one. Maybe it's because I've never known anyone that's used them and so I've never seen one used? IDK but their cloth right so wouldn't the minute the baby or toddler went to the bathroom it obviously gets wet and everything else too no? And then what happens when they go number 2? You don't just throw that into the washing maching. And what if you don't have a washing machine at your disposal then what? Your house will not smell so good will it?


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3Eliz... 3Elizabeth

I love cloth!  I never thought I would, but we tried Bum Genius about 6 months ago and they are great!  We figured that for the cost of about 12 weeks of pampers we got as many BG diapers as we will ever need!  I think they are so cute, my son says they are soft, they save money and the environment.  These diapers have velcro, so they go on just like a pamper, you just wash them.  I must say, though, that a sprayer attachment for the toilet is a must to rinse off the poopie ones before throwing them in the laundry.  I do my diaper load every day and we barely ever use pampers anymore.  If I had known how great these diapers are, we would have started using them a lot sooner.  Give them a try!  I even found them (in small quantities) at our local Target store, although diapers.com is a great place to order b/c they have free next day shipping and a good selection. 

Phils... PhilsBabyMama

We use cloth and LOVE IT!  I will never use another sposie again. 

3lilm... 3lilmunkeys

In response to CrzyMa, there are many different types of cloth diapers nowadays that are very absorbant, moisture wicking, and go on just like disposables! YAY! Check out Bumgenious cloth diapers to see what I mean.


Oh, and when they go #2, you just shake the solid poo(if there are any, normally BF and FF babies dont have much solid) into the toilet, and then throw the diaper in the wash!!

mamal... mamalisa0217

i have 3 kids and with my first two i used disposable diapers b/c i never heard of cloth diapers. i only bought the effective and cheapest ones. but when i became pregnant with my third i learned about cloth diapers and i decided to use those. now they are definitely cheaper and they dont end up in a landfill. yes youk use up water and have to wash more often but the positves outweigh disposables. just rinse, wash , and reuse. if you ever decide to use cloth diapers keep in mind to buy fresh ones every 2,3, or 4 months and like 3 or 4 packs of plastic pants to cover them and lots of diaper pins

.Aman... .Amanda.Dawn.

We started with disposables and then made the switch to cloth at 2 months and we've never looked back.  We love them.  I just felt too guilty every time I threw out a disposable diaper!  i guess I watched too much "Captain Planet" as a kid :-)  Anyway, now I make my own cloth diapers and they're wonderful!  So much cuter than disposables and they fit much nicer and with fewer leaks.  I make the pocket-diaper kind and they are very absorbent and user-friendly.  They go on just like a disposable so the only difference is that we wash them 2-3 times a week which is really no big deal. 

mom2ljh mom2ljh

We cloth diaper and LOVE it.  I got the brilliant idea to cloth diaper sometime during my pregnancy and, upon discovering ALL the different kinds of diapers out there, KNEW it was the way I wanted to go.  We started with prefolds, then moved to the all in ones and pockets and we couldn't be happier.  I am a huge fan of cloth diapering, as is my son.  He hates to have a disposable on, and I don't care to use them much.  Its a matter of whatever works best for each family, but we personally love cloth.

Cathy... Cathy2005

I find cloth diapering to be easier and better for the children than disposables ever were. I recommend the new AIO or Pocket or Fitted diapers to anyone! Seriously, it's just as easy and way cheaper. They're also super cute, lets not forget that factor!

Rik-E Rik-E

  We use cloth and will never use the chemical filled plastic diapers again!  With cloth we have rarely ever had a red bottom vs constant rash and allergic reactions in the plastic ones. Cloth is just sooo much healthier for baby - plus cheaper - and waaay cuter!  LOL  Picture 002

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