Photos from Pixabay
I’ve done them both, and I’m here to tell you why I support moms who cloth diaper and those who chose to go with disposables. A little background: we cloth diapered for the first nine months of our son’s life, and used cloth wipes for an additional ten months after that. Since then we have exclusively used disposable diapers. Now that we’re in the middle of potty training, we have experimented with both cloth and disposable training pants.
Here’s why I liked cloth diapering:
You spend most of the money up front, and then you are done!
With cloth diapers, we spent the money up front and then didn’t really have to worry about budgeting monthly for diapers. This was especially nice because my husband and I were both in grad school and trying to stick to a tight budget. While you probably will have to buy a few things here and there (especially when your baby transitions to solids), the bulk of your diapers will be bought at the beginning.
You don’t have to worry about running out.
Along the same reasoning as the last point, once you build up your stock, all you have to do is keep up on washing them. You don’t have to worry about doing a diaper run late at night when your supply gets low.
They are eco-friendly.
This is probably the biggest reason why cloth diapers are better than disposables. They are just better for the environment!
They can be colorful and fun.
Often cloth diapers come in vibrant colors and patterns. We even had two pairs that were a jean pattern. While I know disposable diapers have patterns, I felt they just don’t compare to the brightness and variety of cloth diapers.
Cloth wipes are usually one and done.
We decided to continue to use cloth wipes because it was so much easier to clean off our baby’s bottom with just one wipe. Now it seems we have to use 3-4 for really stubborn poops. It also was nice saving money on wipes for over a year.
That said, we did eventually transition to disposable diapers. Here’s why:
They fit newborns better.
Newborn disposable diapers generally will have a little cut out spot to better keep the umbilical cord dry. Cloth diapers do not have this option, and they generally will be more likely to keep the cord wet because if your baby pees, the cloth will be soaked. For this reason, we waited until our baby’s cord came off before cloth diapering.
They are less work.
Disposables you change and throw away. Cloth diapers you have to put in a special bin to soak, or in a cloth lines garbage can for a maximum of three days. Then you have to wash and dry them. And in our case with pocket diapers, we would spend up to a half hour a week just assembling them for easier use.
It’s easier for sitters.
Depending on the cloth diapering system you use, it can be difficult for a sitter or relative to figure out. If you do want to keep up with it, I’d recommend using All in One diapers, which are the closest to disposables as far as how they go on and off.
They aren’t as bulky.
Usually when cloth diapering with infants, you will have to size up for pants and onesies because the diapers are so bulky. If you want to stretch out your clothing supply, using disposables helps you stay in the smaller size longer. Additionally, disposables take up less space when traveling.
They are more absorbent.
While you can find really absorbent cloth diapers, I feel that they still don’t compare to disposables. Our son would constantly wet out of his diapers at night, and it was just easier to buy disposables than to experiment with different types of cloth in order to find one that was absorbent enough.
Ultimately, I am pro-cloth and pro-disposable diapers. I support moms who chose to cloth diaper and those who prefer disposables. As far as cost goes, we ended up breaking even with our cloth diaper supply. Honestly cloth diapers really save you the most money towards the second year of using them. And in the end, it’s mostly a lifestyle preference. If you are wondering which system would be best for you, I suggest trying both out. Buy a few cloth diapers and a pack of disposables and experiment. You may find out you like not having to restock on your cloth diapers. Or you may discover that doing laundry every 2-3 days is not on the top of your priority list. Either way, diapering will become a major recurring event for the next few years, so choose the system that works best for you.