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Question of the Week: Why do you use disposable or washable baby diapers?

2009 March 9

Each week we ask a question related to the environment. Please let us know your thoughts as comments. Feel free to respond to earlier comments or post new ideas. Previous questions.

Cloth baby diapers require cleaning and care, but avoid replacement costs.  Disposable diapers are convenient but must be purchased and disposed of properly.

Why do you use disposable or washable baby diapers?

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed in Greenversations are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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202 Responses leave one →
  1. Mark permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We use disposable diapers, and we know that they are incinerated at a local trash-to-energy plant given its BTU value. Although its a good solution to create energy with plastic waste, what is really needed is an enzyme added during the manufacture of plastic that breaks down for composting or degradation in a landfill settings. If the plastic has an enzyme in it that degrades it automatically following its use, we would not have a waste-related problem. This concept should be applied to all plastics that are not readily recyclable such as plastic grocery bags. I understand that a major central america manufacture and distributor has a patent pending on such as enzyme to add to plastic as a nanotechnology to help with the degradation process. We need to act locally and think globally with how we go about our lives, run our businesses, and regulate responsibly to promote green initiatives in the U.S.

  2. Michael V. Fratini permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Really, I know nothing about this topic. However, PAMPERS recently has added a charity offering with each purchase so the timing is wrong for any kind of boycott of paper products! It’s much like
    T.P. if you want to look at the whole picture.

  3. Nikki permalink
    March 10, 2009

    For me it is all about time and money. I really don’t have the extra time to wash and fold cloth diapers. They just need to come up with bio-degradable ones…they have trashbags that do that..just need to translate that into diapers.

  4. Tom Rochester permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We haven’t used diapers for 40 years, but if we did it would be disposable. It has to do with where you live. In the midwest (Colorado), water is at a premium, hence the disposable. On both coasts, landfill space is at a premium, water – not so much – hence washable.

  5. Dave permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We used disposable diapers for convienence when our son was young. The interesting part of the conversation isn’t strictly “cloth vs disposable”, but rather “water and sewage vs landfill”. Cloth diapers must be washed, and in hot water, the hotter the better, to get them really clean. That takes energy, and all that water and soap must be treated from the waste stream.

    Disposable diapers are tossed, and become part of the local landfill. The interesting thing is the first thought that comes to mind is “OMG that can’t be green”. However, I read an interesting paper a few years ago that changes the perspective a bit. Landfills are filled with many things that shouldn’t be tossed in there, old batteries, electronics, etc., that are tossed into the waste stream rather than being disposed of properly. The article interestingly said that all those disposable diapers are great at leaching up liquids (interestingly, that’s exactly what they’re designed to do). So, all the leaking batteries, electronics, etc., were having some of that discharge sucked into the diapers.

    So, I don’t think it’s a one vs the other issue. BOTH have environmental concerns, both have environmental benefits. It’s a personal choice and either way has good and bad implications.

    So, make the choice, live with it, and try not to judge others for their choice. Yours maybe better or worse for the environment, I don’t think we really know enough yet.

    Dave

  6. Working Mom permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Disposable, because Daycare requires it.

  7. phaley permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Back in the late ’80′s early 90′s. I tried cloth diapers with a diaper service, since the bacteria required sanitizing and the time it would take a working mom to clean all those diapers.

    However, my son’s skin would break out from whatever it was they washed the diapers with! So we switched to disposables. Neither of my kids ever had diaper rashes.

    I remember my younger brother’s diapers had to be dunked in toilet and then washed with bleach and hot water then hung up to dry. A neighbor once counted that my mom had about a 100 diapers hanging on the clothes line after a lot of rainy days. She only had a wringer washer but it gave her great arms.

  8. Shawn permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I use washable because:
    1. Some of the disposable diapers smell toxic, and I don’t want the chemicals used in making disposables touching my children’s skin.
    2. I don’t like the idea of diapers overflowing landfills. Using disposable increases garbage collection fees. We would need to set out garbage every week, versus the current every other wk. I know this, because we used disposable when our washing machine didn’t work.
    3. Washables are a HUGE savings on diaper costs. It’s a one time fee, and we’ve used our set on both our children – resulting in EXTRA savings. It takes no time to put diapers in the washing machine. It does take a few minutes to stuff a whole load of inserts into their diaper covers, or just seconds if you do it one at a time. Disposables are very expensive, considering how many are needed per kid’s lifetime.
    4. Fuzibunz are very cozy on my children’s skin. The part that touches their skin is soft fleece.
    5. Research has shown that children in cloth diapers potty train much faster than children in disposables. There is no incentive for children in disposables to want to use the potty, when they can’t feel the pee in disposables. Cloth allow the children to notice they are peeing, because they can feel it initially. My daughter potty-trained before age 2. And my son has been talking about it for the past few months. He’s 19 months.

  9. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I totally disagree:

    1. I found daycare that will cloth diaper. The woman running it actually used to clothdiapers all babies there and wash all the diapers herself. I find in general she cares much more about the children under her care, and she is about half the price of the big chain daycare facilities.

    2. It literally takes me about 30 seconds to thow a load of diapers in the machine. We just wash them twice a week… thats a minute a week. I used disposables for about a month, and once on a trip, I found having to run to the store takes much more time than throwing in a load of laundry.

    3. Cloth diapers are much much more breathable than disposables (this is assuming you dont just get the really crappy birdseye prefolds and vinyl covers from Walmart, but actually get some ligitimate onces). A doctor reccomended them for diaper rash to us. Especially if you use wool or fleece diaper covers. Also, the baby feels being wet faster so they dont sit in their pee and poo as they do with disposables. My daughter had diaper rash when we use disposables… but never so much as a dot of it on her bum with cloth.

    I find so many people refuse to even try cloth, and I think thats sad. I love cloth diapers, they are fun to shop for and oh so cute. And disposables take 500 years to degrade (that is if they ever do degrade after being thrown into a plastic bag and then sealed into a landfill).

    Oh, and my daughter is just now turning one, and she is well on her way to being out of diapers. She goes about half the time in her potty, and we never even tried to potty train her. Hows that for convenient and cheap?

    Check out diaperpin.com it really has so much great info and resources on cloth diapers.

  10. Shawn permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Cloth diapers are much improved today than 31 years ago. No need for pins, as many have handy little snaps. No folding required. Just inserting an absorbable “insert” into a little pocket on the diaper cover. Laundry is quite easy, especially if investing in a $30 “toilet shower”, a small handle that attaches to your toilet and allows you to spray the chunks off before putting in laundry. No need to soak frequently. Also, one of the reasons why cloth diapers can tend to stink after a while is the over-use of laundry detergent. If you use half of what the directions call for, there will be less build-up. Probable a soaking in ammonia every once in a while would help. I’ve been using my cloth diapers for almost 5 years (my 4.5 year old used them until she was potty trained at 19 months, and my 19 month old son is now using the ones she used to) and they probably could use a soaking now, but I never have in all those years.

  11. Joe Webster permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Disposable diapers will continue over clothe diapers due to convenience and cost of cleaning the diaper. However, in latin america we have provided such countries as Peru, Argentina and Columbia with a solution that they are implementing. The diaper once disposed and ending in a landfill typically will not degrade. Just like newspaper degradation must be encouraged by one or more mechanisms. Biodegradation is pervocative but without the right conditions and microorganisms in the soil it will not occur at rates that lab test show as positive. Therefore, other mechanisms that degrade the diaper faster to reduce landfill waste volume followed by degradation to the point where microorganisms can feed (Molecular weights below 500) take control. We are now doing this for the last year but the US is not interested !! Lots of talk but politics instead of science continues. We must take science to Asia or Latin America before anyone will listen to home grown solutions.

  12. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    You can compost wet g-diapers. They degrade in a month or something. As for flushing, if you wait to flush them with your own bathroom visits the water consumption isn’t any different than for yourself. As for what you are flushing, its pee, poop, and paper pulp, just like your own stuff but smaller. I don’t see how that would end up in your drinking water and have the same effect as a disposable diaper sitting around in a landfill for eons. Just think about if every baby under 2 on earth (around a billion) used disposables for just 1 year (about 2000 diapers per kid per year). The entire earth would be covered in plastic wrapped poop, ew.

    G diapers arent as good as cloth, but they are definately better than regular disposables.

  13. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Andrea meant that if you took the savings from cloth diapering and put it in a savings account. And actually kids are taking longer and longer to get out of cloth diapers these days. They say if they are potty trained by 5 its okay. So 18 really isnt that much of a stretch.. ha.

  14. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Whoops I meant to get out of disposable diapers.. not cloth.

  15. Rob permalink
    March 10, 2009

    There is a tremendous amount of research on this question. As I understand it, from a life cycle standpoint, the balance is dependent on a host of factors, including availability of water (there is a disadvantage to using cloth diapers in areas experiencing drought), how the diapers are washed and dried, the cost of the time to wash diapers, the exact type of diapering system, the local waste disposal system, etc.

    A good summary is available at:
    http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/housingandclothing/DK5911.html

    Rather than ask the question, why not provide a useful summary of the science, or at least have an EPA professional reply to comments.

  16. Edward T. Mapp permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Because a company is only producing “Biodegradable” ultra-thin sanitary napkins with wings and a panty liner for daily use. When they start making Biodegradable diapers I will switch. Oh! I don’t have kids and I’m not a woman, but I thought for those that do, and for those who are, this bud’s for you!

  17. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    That sounds interesting, what are you doing to the landfill? Do you havce any links to a webpage that explain what you are talking about?

  18. opa57 permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Also in consideration of cloth diapers you must also include pins which you never can find again and can become injure a child or person putting the diaper on. Also you will probably have to replace a few of them over time. With the cost of washing and drying and the cost of medicine for diaper rash in my opinion it is a wash. Perhaps what we should work on is the material disposable diapers are made of perhaps make them breakdown faster in the landfills.

  19. arthur permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Are you kidding you wasted time on this?

    Well, there is no residual bacteria or detergent on the disposable ones.

    The time I save using disposables allows me t o work a second job so I can pay the outrageous Obama Taxes and the expense of conforming with asinine epa regulations.

  20. carmen amaya permalink
    March 10, 2009

    My daughter is a new mother. Before having har baby she planned for cloth dipers. As she was growing up, we always discussed the lack of responsibility when soiled dipers were left under a park car tire, or in a parking lot. Her baby (my grandaughter) has never suffer from diper rash, and her husband and herself have enjoyed the resposibility they have to the world.
    Happy grandmother (nana)

  21. Sara Frazier permalink
    March 10, 2009

    My family uses disposable diapers. We purchase chlorine free Seventh Generation as much as possible and supposedly the absorbent material inside is non-toxic. Chlorine is having devastating effects on our environment. When our sons have a poop we flush the stool down the toilet for the septic system to take care of.
    I used cloth and a diaper service with my first child, and yes, she developed a horrible rash.
    Now that they are not newborn and need changes less frequently I will start using organic cotton cloth diapers as well–but I am having trouble finding diaper pins!!!

  22. Lana Yotka permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I have a new grandchild and her Mom said she wouldn’t like the odors that one might have with cloth diapers. Also the initial expense of purchasing the diapers too.

    She also felt that the cloth diapers were not as convenient and more wash to do for a working Mom.

  23. Christy permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I use cloth (pocket) diapers and LOVE THEM!!!! At first I wanted to do a diaper service so as to not have to contribute sooo much trash to the world but I couldn’t find any in my area. We’d just moved back from living in a 3rd world country (with the Peace Corps) where there was no trash disposal system so we learned quickly how fast your trash can accumulate. We saw the poorest women ever using cloth and figured it couldn’t be that hard? I thought I’d have to do the pins and covers, which made me a little weary, but once I saw the amazing diapers that are out there now with snaps and no plastic pants, we were hooked. We registered for them before our first child was born, and when people asked what we needed, we asked them to get us one or two more. So, in reality, the cost to us was EXTREMELY low! My first son used them for over 2 years and now my second son is on the same ones. Talk about savings!!! The brand we use has different sizes. The smalls we figured out we broke even on vs. disposables since the first son was only in them 6 months, but our second son was smaller and used the smalls over 1 year (all at no cost since we already had them). The mediums the first son wore for at least 20 more months, and the second son is just starting to use them. The diapers lasted so well that we’re still using all the original ones 3 years after they were purchased. Some friends have done the comparison on environmental impact, and esp. if you air dry them, there is much less energy used overall with cloth. The extra laundry was very easy to get used to. Start the wash when the boys go to bed. And if you use the dryer, throw them in that night before we went to bed. TA-DA! Clean diapers in the morning. I would rather have to wash than run to the store and pay MORE money for disposables. Cloth diapers was one of the best choices we ever made. Minimal rashes too!! (We have switched to disposables at night to minimize night waking with wet pants, so that was our one compromise). Now we spend less than $8.00 a month on diapering our kids!

  24. Linda Huff permalink
    March 10, 2009

    What pins? The cloth diapers I use are all in ones with velcro closeures or covers with very convenient snaps, several in a row so they can grow with your child.

  25. Disha Kumar permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I grew up in a small village in countryside India. We had no diapers at all! Babies go without bottoms in their clothes. You can tell when a baby has to go, because all of a sudden his mother picks him up and runs out into the yard, holding him at her arms lennth.

    No laundry or disposables, but a lot of quick bathes for baby! Ha ha ha. It is true.

  26. kchick permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Thanks for the lively exchange going on, but please keep in mind the Greenversations comment policy when leaving a comment.

    The comment policy prohibits vulgar language, personal attacks of any kind, or offensive terms that target specific ethnic or racial groups; the promotion of services or products (non-commercial links that are relevant to the blog post or comment are acceptable); comments that are far off-topic, or comments that make unsupported accusations.

    Thanks again for your participation, and I look forward to reading your comments.

    Kelly Chick, Greenversations Manager

  27. Linda Huff permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I loved using cloth diapers. I used all in ones that made it easy for even teenage babysitters to use! My daughter was never in a daycare situation, but I do have friend that worked with their daycare provider to use cloth or g diapers. I have g-diapers as well at home. I never noticed a smell and neither did any one who came to visit.
    Early on my daughter was strictly breastfed which makes the diapers very easy to clean and the poop is not stinky at all, and then when she got older, I used an old garbage can with a reusable leak-proof liner in it (It also had a tab for putting essential oil to freshen the can). The poopy diapers I would put in another garbage can partially filled with water close to the washer. It really helped the stains come out very fast.
    Also, Charlie’s soap was a diaper wonder! If things did get stained I would just set them out in the sun for a bit. I still have most of the diapers from our first daughter for any new ones to come along.
    My daughter never had diaper rashes, though friends who had children in disposables seemed to be plagued with them. And it has been very easy transitioning to going potty. My daughter could always feel the wetness, as opposed to most disposables.
    I did not feel that the laundry was that much more. It was maybe one to two extra loads a week.

  28. Brandy permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We made cloth diapers before my daughter was born. Cheap, but not easy. As far as washing, etc. I didn’t feel that it was that time consuming. My diapers didn’t require any special treatment, just soak, wash, dry. Everybody’s always talking about how it’s time consuming or unsanitary to use cloth diapers. Does it really take that long to do an extra load? How long will the same amount of diapers sit in that landfill? Why has convenience become more important than responsibility for our future? I’m not trying to say I’m perfect (until recently I used disposable wipes :( ), but if we can all just take little steps toward using less waste, it’ll not only be better for the environment, but will teach our kids to be more responsible, too!

  29. Brenda B permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I’m seeing a lot of ignorant answers to cloth diapers here and I am don’t mean to upset anybody but ignorant is the first word that comes to mind.

    If cloth diapers are used right and clean right there should be NO rashing and NO bacteria. It’s easy to disinfect and easy to put on. MOST cloth diapers are just as easy to use as disposable diapers and simply throw them into the washing machine.

    Did disposable diaper users know that after a bowl movement that you are suppose to empty the contents of the diaper into the toilet? If you do not and it goes to the landfill, it’s raw human waste that contaminates our drinking water. ICK! Also, it takes OVER 500 years to biodegrade in a landfill assuming it has light and air to help break them down. Now, did anybody know that the chemical called
    Dioxine is used in disposables? If anybody remembers Dioxine that was a chemical used in tampons and BANNED in 1985. So why are they used in our babies diapers???? Let’s not forget that the bleaching agents are in the diapers as well and when these chemicals get wet, they sit against our precious babies skin and soaks into their bodies.

    As for washing the diapers, that is no harder than washing your clothes, sheets or towels. It’s maybe 2 more loads per week than what you are doing now. You never run out of diapers and there are no perfumes to cover up the smell of when your baby has eliminated and therefore you can change them as soon as they go. That makes for healthier baby bums.

    The other thing I am reading is the water usage. I wish I had some links on hand but in all actuality the amount of water used to make disposable diapers is GREATER than the water used to wash and reuse cloth diapers. Please research this one for yourselves.

    Another issue I have read about both on sites and in debates is the jelly beads in the disposable diapers that if these pop out of the diapers on a baby girl she risks a reaction from the Dioxin contained therein and for a boy the disposables contain his body heat and keep the temperature too high and MAY impact fertility later in life. The jury is still out on that one though.

    Now the style of cloth is a story in itself! You can still find the prefold and flat style of diapers our Grandmothers used with the plastic pants and wool covers and those are the most basic and the cheapest. I can attest that BOTH are doable and BOTH work with amazing results! I have rarely had leaking issues and NEVER a rash from these diapers. EVER! You can also get diapers fashioned like disposable diapers but you can disassemble to get completely clean. Please research all in one diapers, pocket diapers and fitted diapers. This is a whole new world out there that most people didn’t know existed! It’s amazing, wonderful and can knock the boots clean off of disposables! Try this site to get all of your questions answered: http://www.diaperswappers.com I highly recommend them for clearing up cloth diapering misinformation that I am reading SO much of in this thread.

    Oh, I almost forgot that you no longer need diaper pins! Check out Snappi’s. They’re awesome! You can also toss the idea of having to dunk dirty diapers because now you can use a diaper sprayer that hooks up to the tank of your toilet and the waste goes where it is suppose to go………IN THE TOILET! No more dunking, diaper is ready to go in the wash and no worry.

    Somebody else had issues with going out of the house in cloth and that really is a non-issue here too. Simply take diapers with you as you would have to with disposables anyway, use a rice paper liner inside (biodegradable and flushable) so if they poop it simply goes into the potty while out and a wet bag (a bag that is waterproof). Place the soiled/wet diaper into the bag and carry home with you. Easy!

    So, here is my list:

    1. Healthier for my child (no chemicals/dioxin)
    2. Healtheir for the environment (doesn’t take over 500 years to degrade)
    3. Convenient, NEVER run out of diapers
    4. completely portable, just like disposables!
    5. breathable and more comfortable than disposables
    6. Economical
    7. Less smell
    8. Anybody can use them and you don’t have to use pins anymore!

  30. Mary Beth Karchella-MacCumbee permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Cloth baby diapers require cleaning and care, but avoid replacement costs. Disposable diapers are convenient but must be purchased and disposed of properly.

    Why do you use disposable or washable baby diapers?

    *************************************************************
    Today’s modern cloth diapers are convenient and easy to use, unlike the old school thought of what grandma used. They are made in a variety of fabrics from the high end sustainable organics to your base line cottons and more. There has been a huge surge in the cloth diaper world and it continues to take a larger slice of the pie at pace that continues to pick up speed.
    I used washable cloth baby diapers for several reasons.
    Reduced Toxins in cloth — no dioxin – a cancer causing agent.
    No risks to male infertility.
    No links to asthma.
    Reduced need for replacement and can be used for multiple children or donated to a Miracle Diapers Program.
    The waste water/energy debate is a thing of the past with the High Energy Efficient Washing and dryer systems now available. It is very economical (always has been) to wash diapers at home. Easy too.
    On an obvious environmental impact relief — no diapers in the land fill = no diapers in the landfill.
    But it expands further than that.
    By choosing a reusable cloth diaper/wipe/attached parent carry system you are choosing to reduce waste long before the items hit the shelves.
    ie:
    It takes manufacturing water/resources to produce the materials to transport to the diaper company where they in turn use loads of resources to manufacture their product – then to ship their items to their retailer warehousing – to the store location. There are resources in petroleum and water used to manufacture the plastics for packaging too.
    The consumer resources to purchase and return home with items, dispose of items. The disposal resources to get them to the landfill. The large amount of energies used to maintain and move the land fill around. Even thought the landfills have containment — there is always the chance of fecal/diseases/medications that eliminate into those disposed diapers seeping into our ground/ground water environments, impacting the animal life around them.

    Hands down — cloth here.

    MB – mom to three – owner of E-a-poo’s….bringing cloth alternatives to family since 2002.

  31. Don permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We used cloth diapers for our first child for green reasons. When our second child came a year later, we had 2 in diapers for a while, and switched to disposables. The logic/factors behind this switch were:
    1) Since mom and dad worked full-time jobs each, we appreciated the time savings that disposables afforded us. Plus, cloth diapers are generally messier.
    2) We live in an area where our trash goes to a state-of-the-art, very clean waste-to-energy facility, which means the more diapers we burn for fuel is sold back to the power grid and reduces our dependence on (other) fossil fuels.
    3) There are energy costs associated with the added laundry burden of choosing cloth.

    I would not second-guess any parent’s decision, as long as it was a thoughtful one. There are local and personal factors, as the poster who grew up in India noted.

  32. Venetia permalink
    March 10, 2009

    In today’s fractured economic status, many parents must choose between food and disposable diapers. I chose cloth diapers for my children because not only were they cost efficient, they were better for the environment. They weren’t difficult to clean, just soak, wash and dry. During the summer months I would hang them outside in the back yard to get bleached by the sun. When the children were finally potty trained, I had some great cleaning rags – the best for polishing furniture!!

  33. Amara Wagner permalink
    March 10, 2009

    We use cloth for so many reasons I cannot even think of all of them to write down a the moment. Off the top of my head:

    1) For the health of our children. The chemicals that disposable diapers contain are known carcinogens. The gels that are in most diapers are also known to be toxic and I have changed friend’s diapers and seen pieces of those gel beads on the baby. The only brand we have found that doesn’t contain gel is Tushies and they are more expensive than even regular ‘sposies.

    2) To save $. The cost savings is unbelievable. The price we pay to run a load of diapers a week is far less (and only takes me about 30 seconds to load the washer) than it would cost to drive to the store and pay for diapers. We purchased a set of diapers for what some families spend on two month’s supply and we’ll use them for two kids!!

    3) To do our part in making sure there is a planet for our children to live on when they grow up. Diapers do not decompose in a landfill. Also, most towns are not equipped to have human waste in the landfills but I don’t know anyone who uses disposable diapers and actually flushes the poop (which you are supposed to do regardless of what kind of diaper you use).

    4) They are so easy to use. The process is the same as using disposable. Instead of tape on the side, ours use velcro. Instead of throwing them our and going to the store to buy more we toss them in the washing machine. My teenage babysitter (who never changed a diaper before) has no problem with them.

    5) No diaper rash. Friends who use disposables on their children speak of horrendous diaper rash, we’ve never experienced a rash–ever.

    6) Earlier potty training. Because kids can actually feel when they are soiled they tend to potty train earlier.
    My son was potty trained during the day 100% by 2.5

  34. courtney permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Didn’t have the time or money to continually wash diapers, plus the mess. I probably would use cloth now because I’m more aware. Diaper services are rare in small towns.

  35. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I havent heard of anyone using diaper pins in the past 20 years. If the prefold does need to be secured beyond that of the diaper cover… you can use a Snappi. No pins, no needles. And if you do use diaper pins for some odd reason, they couldn’t cost more than 50 cents a piece. A package of infant diapers is 10-15 dollars!

    I really wish people wouldn’t bash cloth diapering when they clearly have never tried it or even looked into it.

    As for “the cost of medicine for diaper rash,” as I said in an earlier post, good cloth diapers reduce diaper rash as long as you buy good ones and not the cheap vinyl pants. Doctors recommended cloth to me to help with diaper rash! Disposables do not breath at all, cloth does!

  36. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    That’s because you don’t need diaper pins with today’s cloth diapers. I just put a prefold in a diaper cover, some people use a Snappi. Works wonders. Or use an all-in-one or pocket diaper. Check out diaperpin.com they have all the info you need to cloth diaper.

    If the diaper service diapers gave your kid a rash I’d say they are washing them in something harsh, or beaching them. Wash them yourself and save the money and hassle.

  37. optimist brad permalink
    March 10, 2009

    My wife and I used disposable diapers for our twin girls because we valued our time with our kids and with each other. We figured the time savings would be considerable and the convenience was worth the “green guilt”. Honestly, we might make a different decision now if we could, but as new parents with twins, we looked for any conveniences.

  38. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    There is no residual bacteria or detergent in the cloth diapers I put on my baby.

    The money I save using cloth allows me to not have to work a second job so I can spend time with my baby.

  39. jsk permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I used disposables until my daughter was 11 months, and then switched to almost full-time cloth.

    I’ve never used a diaper pin.

    I’ve never washed them with bleach (a little plant-based detergent and a little vinegar).

    I hang them to dry.

    I work full-time outside the home. Our day-care had no problem with cloth – we included flushable liners for use at daycare so they could just pick up the liner by the corners and dispose of in the toilet. Our daycare provider said it was no more work than disposables.

    We use a dry pail to store dirty diapers, and there’s no smell.

    I did for a while keep a pack of disposables in the house for emergencies (when I hadn’t done a load of laundry etc) but my daughter started refusing to wear them – when she became more verbal she said they were “scratchy” and “hot”. That speaks volumes to me.

    I really fail to see how a one-use product, manufactured with bleach, perfumes, and other chemicals, thrown away usually containing un-treated human waste, can possibly be “better” or even a “wash”.

  40. imagreen permalink
    March 10, 2009

    i use disposable diapers so i can throw the away in the walmart parking lot for someone else to throw away ;-0

  41. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    My daycare does cloth. Its just a convenience factor for most daycares, they dont want to have to deal with cloth and have a system set up for them. Most in home providers/ daycare centers based out of homes will cloth diaper.

  42. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I love your comment about watching TV. So true.

  43. Donna Schindler permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I used cloth diapers for the most part for my 4 children. I sometimes used disposable if I was going somewhere. Cloth is softer. Also, unlike disposables, you change them immediately if they wet them. Since they are used to be dry, they like that feeling and it is much easier to potty train them. Cloth diapers seem so much more sanitary to me. No-one who uses disposables changes them right when they wet them. They sometimes wear them for hours and are quite wet and heavy when changed.

  44. Breanna permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I think you are refering to the claim Pampers made (or maybe it was Huggies..). They were comparing the water, energy and gas it took to manufacutre and distribute disposables (yes disposables require quite a bit of water to make) to that of the services provided by a diaper service. They provided no numbers or studies, just a random claim. They didnt try to say they were more sustainable then cloth diapering without the service. Please look at all the studies out there that acutally can substantiate their claims.

    Why do all the posts against cloth diapers talk about how the diaper pails smell? When I used disposables the smell couldnt even be contained by a diaper genie. With cloth, if I notice a smell I just sprinkle some baking soda on it… or hey… I just do the laundry!

  45. Dave permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Okay as a father of a 2+ month old I have an issue with cloth. The need to change baby up to 20 times per day makes the practicality of disposable hard to pass up. We have friends that tried to compost…don’t go in their back yard!

    I want to know if those who state they use cloth started at day one or did they start when the number of changes per day is more manageable? I see someone started at 11 months…that seems reasonable.

  46. March 10, 2009

    We researched and thought a lot about cloth vs. disposable. Energy and resources are used to produce both. Huge cost up-front for cloth (and hopefully you buy a brand that fits your child), plus smaller continued costs for detergent, bleach, electricity, water, gas (only a few weekends for a few months can we line dry in the sun), or diaper service. And heck, I really didn’t want a bucket of bleach in my house. Lower, continued costs for disposal, no additional costs. Energy and resources are used to wash and dry cloth, space is used to dispose of disposables. Neither is without flaws, don’t fool yourself. Nothing in life is.

    You have to choose your battles and do what works for your family. We both work. We are horrible at doing laundry, that’s just the way it is. But we know we’re really good at doing other things, like growing our garden, going to the farmers market, making baby food / nursing, recycling, walking to the store, eating vegetarian……

    Everything takes time and has costs (monetary, resources, and exposure) we’d rather spend our few free moments doing these things with our child rather than rinsing diapers and doing laundry. Hence we selected disposable (and NO rash problems).

    You have to look at the whole picture. I don’t appreciate some people acting like they are holier than thou because they use cloth diapers. I’m glad you did that if it works for you. It’s not a competition to see who’s “better” at being “green” or who cares more about their child. And if one thinks it is, you might want to take another look at yourself. We did buy a nice cloth diaper with velcro to try out, it is really cute and soft but leaks; but we still use it sometimes.

  47. Dee permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Actually, I live on the west coast, in San Diego. San Diego is a desert, and water AND landfill space is at a premium.

  48. Lydia permalink
    March 10, 2009

    I used washable, they save money, kinder to the baby, and better for the enverment.

  49. 01/20/13 permalink
    March 10, 2009

    Keep government out of babies’ butts.

  50. Child Care Surveyor permalink
    March 10, 2009

    The idea of a child care provider using cloth diapers is concerning. The more someone has to handle soiled clothes and diapers, the greater chance for spreading Rotavirus and other diseases that can cause havoc in day care. Our state prohibits providers from rinsing out or washing soiled clothes of day care children for this reason-they are to be placed in a plastic bag and given to the parents as-is. I would be more concerned about leakage with cloth diapers, and therefore, with potential contamination of the home environment.
    I tried cloth diapers on my oldest child and didnt like the mess. Disposable may cost more, but are well worth it. They are more sanitary, contain leaks better, and are a better choice for parents on the go. Who wants to cart dirty diapers with them when out shopping or doing other errands with children???

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