Disposable vs Cloth Diapers – Is It Even A Choice?

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Are you a first-time parent? Do you want to understand the most dreaded part of having a baby? Changing diapers is the scariest and highly avoided activity when raising a child. The idea of seeing poop and pee, wiping tiny buttocks, and the mere fragile act of changing the diaper of that sweet little baby is really challenging, especially for dads. But did you know that there is another thing you have to keep in mind before going through all these? It’s choosing the right diaper.

Most of us only know those kinds that they sell in the grocery store – which are mostly disposable diapers. What we don’t know is that there are different types of diapers that you can choose from.

First of all, we have the battle between the disposable and reusable diapers. Disposable diapers are those that we usually see in packs being sold in stores. The reusable ones are those that are made of cloth and can be used over and over again.

But there is a little more to it, and in this post I am going to show you what matters and how to choose the best for your baby.

Pampers Swaddlers Disposable Diapers Newborn, Size N, 120 Count, GIANT

Variety of disposable diapers

Because disposable diapers are products of popular brands, they tend to come up with improvements every time. They can always launch new packaging, new, design, new features, and new advantages over competitors.

With a lot of brands to choose from, parents also have a lot of questions to ask. How much does it cost? Is it biodegradable? Is it eco-friendly? Is it scented? How about the wetness indicator and its absorption or leak problems? What material is it made from? Where is it manufactured? Are there chemicals used? These questions come from the fact that parents are naturally instinctive when it comes to their baby’s safety.

Aside from these questions that need to be answered, there are various types of disposable diapers that you also have to consider. Is it better to choose the kind with reseal-again adhesive tapes? This is the most common kind of disposable diaper design where the middle part is elastic on the sides and can fit your baby’s thigh comfortably as you seal it over the lower abdomen area.

There is also a pull-up kind where the diapers are worn like ordinary underwear. Usually, these are good for infants who can already walk or toddlers that are always on the go because it’s easy to wear and change. It has an elastic waistband that can fit snugly around the tummy area and best to use if your kid is starting with the potty training.

Pros and cons of disposable diapers

Let’s start with the pros. Disposable diapers are convenient especially if you just want to throw away used ones. It is also hygienic because you know that a new set is clean and ready to wear. They are super absorbent and remain dry even after how many hours. In this way, it can absorb and hold more than just one-time pee.

The disadvantage of using disposable diapers is that you always have to buy them whenever you run out. You have to allot a budget for it. Aside from throwing away money, most disposable diapers are not easily biodegradable, making it harmful to the environment. You might want to check the materials being used or can be found in a disposable diaper as it may cause allergies especially to sensitive baby’s skin.

Related: Pamper vs Luvs – Battle of the Best Disposables

Honest vs Hello Bello – Best Sustainable Diapers

Prefold Cloth Diapers 3 Layer Muslin Burp Cloths 10 Pack Baby Muslin Squares 14''x20'' by YOOFOSS

Variety of cloth diapers

Cloth diapers in the old days are just flat and simply a cloth wrapped around the baby’s butt area. There different kinds of cloth diapers depending on the design and feature. Modern cloth diapers now include the all-in-one, pocket, prefold, and fitted.

The all-in-one cloth diaper is the most popular because it’s a one-piece diaper that already has the inner absorbent layers built-in and fixed on the waterproof outer cover. You can let the baby wear it and wash it as is. Pocket diapers are the kind where you can insert absorbent pads or more cloth inside the pockets depending on the need.

The pads are made from super absorbent cloth material such as microfiber, hemp and bamboo. Prefold cloth diapers, on the other hand, look like ordinary flat ones but are made to look like they have areas where you can easily fold it. The middle part is thicker in order to absorb wetness. The fitted diapers are the ones that look like disposables in terms of being ready to wear. The only problem is that it has no wetness absorption feature.

Pros and cons of reusable diapers

Let’s start with the pros. Cloth diapers are efficient when it comes to not spending too much money on buying new ones. You just buy a set of how many you think you can use until the next washing cycle. Then you can just wash the used ones and use them again after they’ve been cleaned. There is no need to choose from a range of brands and compare features. Cloth is also safe and comfortable for a baby’s sensitive skin. There are no harsh chemicals for absorption.

The downside to using cloth diapers is that you still have the risk of bacteria sticking to the cloth even after washing it. A cloth tends to still stay wet even after absorbing the pee, which makes it uncomfortable for the baby. This makes your baby prone to rashes and bacteria build-up.

It may only absorb one-time peeing due to its nature. You need to change diapers more frequently. You cannot also keep the soiled cloth diapers for so long because it of the foul smell. If you are willing enough to have the energy needed to wash every after use, then it’s advisable. Another con is the hidden cost of washing. You still have to spend money on water, electricity, proper detergent, and if possible, how to sterilize it for the next use.

Tips For Washing Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers can be a bugger to wash. I hear this often from cloth diaper using folks and because I’m out of the diaper phase it is hard for me to give solid advice on washing and drying cloth diapers effectively.

Over the years I’ve heard of some tricks and tips that I’m happy to share but recently Whirlpool offered the Whirlpool Moms a chance to ask tough laundry questions and of course how to best wash cloth diapers arose.  I thought I’d share these tips with you and get your feedback because they align with what I’ve come to learn over the years.

The Whirlpool staff on our call recommended using HE powder detergent because it has the best PH balance to remove protein-based stains often found on cloth diapers. In addition to using a HE powder detergent it was also advised to do the following:

  • Presoak cloth diapers in a mixture of warm water and HE powder detergent that has an enzyme. You can check your detergent’s label on the box to see if it has an enzyme in it.
  • Presoak in this mixture for about 20 to 30 minutes
  • Take the cloth diapers out and put them in your washing machine and wash the diapers per the detergent’s dosing guidelines (also found on the package)
  • Wash using Whirlpool Duet’s heavy duty cycle and if there is anything remaining on the diaper wash one more time.
  • My tip, line dry on a sunny day and the sun will bleach out the stains.

I’ve enjoyed my Whirlpool Duet washer and dryer can safely tell you that the heavy duty cycle cleans my husband’s work clothes and the children’s tough grass stained clothing like a charm.

Best for baby, best for you

There is certainly no easy choice when it comes to diapers. Whether it is cloth, which is way better for the environment and your purse, or disposable, which is all about convenience.

Ultimately the choice is down to what is most important for you.