Disposable or Cloth Diapers? What’s Best For Your Baby And The Environment?

Disposable or Cloth Diapers? What’s Best For Your Baby And The Environment?


The decision whether to use disposable or cloth diapers is one of the biggest ones you’ll make when welcoming your baby into the world. And it’s not always an easy one. Your choice impacts Portland Grunge your baby’s health and comfort, as well as your finances and the environment.’

When I first started thinking about this decision, my assumption was that cloth diapers were the way to go, for the health of both my baby and the environment. But I heard that some environmentalists were arguing that cloth wasn’t necessarily better, because of the water and energy used and chemicals needed to wash them. This could be as harmful to the environment as the waste created by disposables.

So I decided to do some further research.

First, I started researching disposables. The benefits include the ease of taking them off and throwing them in the garbage (convenience), and the dryness factor. And of course there’s no messy washing involved.

But I was quite shocked to learn about some of the harmful chemicals and materials used in making them. For instance, most contain sodium polyacrylate. Not only do many babies have an allergic reaction to this chemical, but it also can be linked to toxic shock syndrome. And cats have died when exposed to it. Basically, it’s not something I want to expose my baby to if I don’t have to!

Some other startling facts about throw-aways:

* Around 20 billion disposable diapers are thrown into US landfills per year. Most of the materials are non-biodegradable.

* Babies can pull apart disposables and put the materials in their mouth. This can expose them to the chemicals and dyes, and poses the threat of choking.

* Dyes used have been linked to damage of the liver, kidneys and central nervous system.

* Diaper rash was not as common when cloth diapers were the only option. Why isn’t this reported on more? Hmm, could it be that diaper rash cream manufacturers are making a huge profit off of diaper rash?

This was enough to convince me that I didn’t want to use your everyday disposables.

But I still had some further research to do. I had heard from a co-worker that cloth diapers weren;t as good for “blow-outs,” in other words when your baby produces a high-volume offering. She said that cloth diapers weren’t as good for holding in the goods, so to speak. And I wanted to know more about the energy and chemicals used to wash cloth diapers.

Also, what about the disposables that claim to be earth-friendly?

And how do the different options compare in cost?

Does anyone make organic cotton diapers?

And are there any OTHER alternatives?

I started looking in to options for cloth diapers. It turns out, this is a whole world of its own. There are MANY different solutions to every problem a new mother might consider when choosing cloth diapers. There are ways of folding the cloth diapers so that you don’t have to use pins. Some have Velcro tabs. And to address the blow-out issue, the answer is diaper covers. There are leak-proof diaper covers that you slip on over the cloth diaper and voila! No blow outs. As far as washing, you can either do it at home or have a diaper service come to your doorstep, take away the dirty ones, wash them and return them to you, all for about the same prices as buying disposables.