Eco Baby: The Diaper Discussion

August 12, 2008 at 12:21 pm 8 comments

I have to admit- while I am trying to make choices in my family life to make the world a better, greener place- there is something plaguing my conscious that involves my 6 month old……Disposable Diapers.  In the world of diapers, it feels like damned if you do- damned if you don’t! Before anyone passes judgement, consider the factors that went into my reasoning:  1.  Convenience convenience convenience 2.  Money   3.  My perception of cloth diapers being uncomfortable, unsanitary and not as eco friendly as we thought (the chemicals used to clean them in diaper services have been rumored to have as detrimental effect on the environment as the disposables).  

Since we are a work in progress, and I am willing to open my mind a bit more towards cloth diapers- especially after coming across this site Diaperaps.  If you are in the process of making the choice between cloth or disposable, I encourage you to include this site in your research.  They give really good reasons to use cloth diapers:  

Good Reasons for Choosing A Cloth Diapering System

1. Cotton is the Most Natural Diaperyou can put next to your baby’s skin. There is no need for gels or chemicals.


2. Do you know how a Disposable Diaper works? Do you know what’s in a disposable diaper (there are no ingredients listed on their package) ? Try this — cut a disposable diaper in half. Pour water on half and watch what happens. There are tiny chemical crystals that turn into a spongy gel when water hits them.

3. The Environment. A baby will use either 7,000 disposable diapers or 80 cotton diapers. A disposable diaper is used for 2 hours – a cloth diaper is used for 3 years. Think of all the resources used to produce a product that will last for only 2 hours and then be thrown away. Think about where all the billions of throw-away diapers are going to end up.

4. Less Diaper Rash. Studies have shown there is less diaper rash with the use of cotton diapers than with disposable diapers.

5. Cloth costs Less-a lot Less. You will save about $2000 if you use cloth over disposables. While disposables are priced very cheaply for the newborn sizes, as your baby grows the diapers start costing a lot more.

6. Cloth Diapers are Easy To Use. In your mom’s day you needed pins, rubber pants, and time to fold a long flat cloth into a diaper. Now with cotton prefold diapers and Diaperaps diaper covers, it is quick and easy to change your baby.

7. Babies Potty Train Earlier when they use cotton because they can feel the wetness.

8. It takes a cup full of crude oil to produce the plastic for one disposable diaper.

9. Babies learn by imitation. You can teach them by example, the responsible way of dealing with waste. You don’t just wrap it up and throw it away.


In addition, this company addresses my other fears about cloth diapering and gives me more reasons to consider this option:

My Fear:  Using pins in the diaper- NO THANKS!

The Diaperaps answer to my fear:  No pins.  They use a hook and loop system resembling velcro- evidently it is also really durable.

My Fear:  The awful chemicals used to clean the diapers 

The Diaperaps answer to my fear:  The site contains detailed instructions on how to launder and sanitize the diapers at home-using your washing machine.  

The Bottom Line (no pun intended): Lots of parents report that cloth diapers made of natural fibers such as cotton or hemp are better for their baby’s skin than the synthetic materials found in disposable diapers.  When used correctly, cloth diapering systems have been known to reduce skin rashes.  Clearly the disposable diaper issue needs further exploration and research- but I do encourage parents of a baby or toddler to consider both options before making a decision.


Entry filed under: Eco Baby. Tags: , , , , .

So Charming Egggcellent & Healthy Recipe

8 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mrs. Domino  |  August 12, 2008 at 5:44 pm

    I’m biased (I work for a cloth diaper company) but I definitely agree with the great reasons to use cloth. But, once you have one really stinky, poopy cloth diaper, you start to reconsider and wish you could just throw it away! 🙂 My favorite part about the cloth diapers is the cute colors they come in. They look like cute little bloomers!

  • 2. Heather  |  August 12, 2008 at 6:38 pm

    I have found cloth diapering to be just as convenient as disposables. I used disposables with my first two and switched to cloth with my third. I was all of cloth diapers with a tablespoon of tide free detergent. I use the pocket diapers and all in one and use the prefolds with covers at night, just for extra asorbency. Total cost for my medium size diapers (should last through potty training), lot of about 20 diapers, was around $300. I haven’t purchase disposables since he was 4 months old, my son is now 15 months.

  • 3. B  |  August 12, 2008 at 7:21 pm

    The environment argument really gets me. We (Americans) give ourselves way too much credit for our impact on the environment. It’s a pretty arrogant argument. No matter what we do (using paper plates, napkins, disposable diapers, not recycling water bottles) will not stop people from blowing themselves up in the middle east. Or China’s unthinkable smog. There’s some good pollution for ya.

  • 4. Lisa  |  August 12, 2008 at 9:42 pm

    My mom used cloth diapers for all 4 of us kids; big, scary pins and all. I think there are definitely trade-offs no matter what kind of diaper you use, but there are some great eco-friendly disposable diaper options out there such as Nature Baby Care and gdiapers. Don’t feel you have to stick to cloth diapers to get the best performance for your baby or the environment.

  • 5. Ryan_D  |  August 13, 2008 at 3:07 pm

    I use cloth bags at the grocery store, carpool, and recycle. Does that build up enough good Karma for me to not use cloth diapers? My babies skin is fine, and it’s soooooo much easier to use disposables.

  • 6. Erica  |  August 13, 2008 at 10:08 pm

    Well, Cloth diapers are MUCH less expensive than disposable diapers, now you can get brands that are as convenient as disposable diapers, like bum genius. They are slightly more expensive but they are still ultimately less expensive than disposable diapers. If you don’t like pins you can use the cuter more expensive diapers that close with snaps or Velcro, or if you use the less expensive pre-folds you can always use a “snappi”. As for chemicals, if you wash at home you can use all kinds of natural detergents. A lot of cloth diapering mamma’s like “soap nuts”.

  • 7. girlamy  |  August 18, 2008 at 5:28 am

    Gosh! Thank you everyone for your comments- lots of interesting points of views! Great suggestions from cloth diaper advocates.

  • 8. Eileen  |  August 28, 2008 at 4:15 am

    Great article GirlAmy. I think there is a lot of misinformation out there about cloth diapers. Probably put out by the disposable diaper companies. I have heard about the chemical thing too. But if you think about the number of disposable diapers a baby uses in the first few years of their lives, it really is shocking. Washing diapers is easy and a nice soft diaper has got to feel better against a babies skin then plastic. I do wonder how we fell for the disposable hype. I don’t think they are any easier than cloth, they certainly are way more expensive, and the time it takes for them to break down in landfills is undisputable.
    I think we started using disposable diapers about the same time we discovered fast food. I think we have all seen by now that fast and convienient has its consequences.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

Subscribe Here

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner


I Tweet!

Follow me On Facebook


RSS Tax Resolution

  • An error has occurred; the feed is probably down. Try again later.

%d bloggers like this: