Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Cloth or Plastic: Diaper Decisions

Photo courtesy SXC

Today many new parents are faced with the decision of cloth vs. disposable diapers. Of course, only those concerned about the environment and their baby's skin usually come across this question. Many parents start considering cloth diapers only if the diaper rashes get completely unbearable and they can't find any solution. In my research I have found that there is no clear answer to what is best, unless all you consider is the material itself - not its life cycle.

While cloth diapers are better for skin than petroleum products (especially pesticide free organic cotton), their environmental impact will be felt with those daily washing and drying regimens. At the same time, a disposable diaper will take hundreds of years to decompose in a landfill, with a very slim chance of it actually happening.

When it comes to cost, I have found that it evens out for both options when all things are considered. But, if you are coupon savvy and know where to find the specials - disposables can be cheaper than cloth in the long run. This site, Diaper Decisions, gives you a good cost comparison for various cloth and disposable options. But I find that their 0.36 cents per diaper change for disposables is quite high, I got a great deal on Seventh Generation diapers and paid only 0.18 per diaper. So financially there is no question for me. When it comes to convenience, there is also no debate. I believe that only a full time SAHM can attempt cloth diapering (all cloth diapering moms deserve a monument in their name). Ah, maybe I am just too lazy...

02/01/2010 UPDATE
We have been cloth diapering for five months now and all I can say is - I was a bit ignorant. :) No, you don't have to be a full time SAHM to cloth diaper and I guess, according to myself I deserve a monument in my name! :) I have overcome my laziness and I am so happy we made the switch. No more diaper rashes and peace of mind alone are worth it. We actually saved money too! Until you actually try cloth diapering, you can't argue against it, that is what I have learned!

1 comment:

  1. Another aspect to consider, when you think about costs, is toilet training. In Russia (and I am sure in most other countries), babies are toilet trained at six months or whenever they are able to sit on a potty. They are put on a potty 15 minutes after each meal, and get used to the procedure fairly quickly. Once trained, there is no need for diapers. The high cost of disposable diapers, and/or the hard work of washing the cloth diapers for a mother in Russia is another incentive to toilet train her babies sooner than later. Of course, in America, like in no other country on earth, the convinience comes above all other factors, and that's why we are faced with the diaper trash disaster and kids in diapers at age three, among other things.

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