I bet that before becoming a parent, ‘diapers’ was not a word that crossed your mind. And yet, one of the first decisions you’ll make as a new parent, is whether to use disposable or cloth diapers. Before you know it, you’ll be sitting around a dinner table with other young parents debating over what kind is best for your child.
Some sure facts are that your child will be spending approximately 22,000 hours in a diaper and need about 6,500 changes in their first years of life! So, your decision to use either 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.
At the end of the day, the decision is one only you and your family can make, so being informed is very important. Here are some pros and cons for each option: the rest is up to you!
The Pros & Cons of Disposable Diapers
Disposable diapers have been around since the sixties. The actual first mention of them was made in 1942, but they didn’t become popular until later. Their popularity has never stopped growing since then, although they have seen many changes along the way.
– Easy to use
Disposables seem like the easier choice; they are an all-in-one product, with less fuss than cloth.
They can be thrown away once used, unlike cloth that needs to be washed.
Disposables are the easy choice to use when travelling.
– Less leaks
Disposables tend to leak less than cloth. They have a tight, snug fit and are very absorbent.
– More expensive
Over the years, you will probably spend around HKD$15,000 diapering your baby in disposables.
– Bad for the environment
It is estimated that around 1 ton of non-biodegradable waste is deposited into landfills per child.
– 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.
– Baby’s 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. Furthermore, many studies have shown that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers can have some effect in the physiological cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.
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 multi-ply, fibre-filled strip, making them more absorbent than older styles.
Cloth diapers can be expensive for the initial set-up (SGD$300-500), but in the long run they work out a lot cheaper than disposables.
– Less diaper-rash
Cloth diapered babies tend to have less diaper-rash, because natural cotton fibres breathe more easily
– Can be used for subsequent children
Works out even cheaper because you can use for any more children you have later
– Easier to potty-train
Since the cloth tends to hold moisture closer to baby’s skin, cloth diapered children tend to potty-train earlier.
You can now find cloth diapers with Velcro or snap fasteners and in a variety of colors and designs.
Some daycare/playgroups/pre-schools won’t want to use them.
– Not very travel-friendly
They can be messy and not appropriate for travel. Most cloth-diaper users will use disposables when travelling 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; choose what is best for you and your family and your schedule. There is no one right answer for everyone!
So why not give cloth diapers a try and report back to us in the comments below!
Sarah’s runs Baby Bloom, Asia’s premiere baby-planner and green-proofer