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Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Cloth vs. Disposable

Cloth vs. Disposable

When Lorelei was born, I didn’t know I had a choice between cloth and disposables. Like many moms, I knew cloth diapers were out there...but I thought they were the same diapers my grandparents used. The flat cloth diapers that you folded, pinned, and then swished in the toilet. And, for me...that wasn’t even an option.

It wasn’t until a few months ago, that I started doing research. I wanted to know what was going to be best for my baby. And, if I helped the environment and saved some money...then great.

I wanted to make some of your searching for information a little easier. I’m a little partial to cloth, but I understand the convenience of disposables as well. So, below I’ve compiled some facts for you.

-Easy to use, little to no learning curve
-Convenient to use...like paper plates.

-Sodium Polyacrylate (the super absorbent gel) which is argued by both sides of its toxicity. Disposable diaper manufacturers argue that it’s safe, while others argue that it can cause irritation, cause organ damage, allergic reactions, has been linked with Toxic Shock Syndrome in Tampons, and is very harmful to pets.
-Dioxin and dyes- According to the EPA, is known to cause damage to the Central Nervous System, kidneys, and liver.
-Fragrances - FDA has received reports that some fragrances in disposables caused headaches, dizziness, and rashes.
-Problems reported to the Consumer Protection Agency regarding disposables include: chemical burns, noxious chemical and insecticide odors, babies pulling disposables apart and putting pieces of plastic into their noses and mouth, choking on tab papers and linings, plastic melting onto the skin, plastic tabs tearing into the skin, and ink staining the skin.
Cost between $40 - $80/ month
In order for the “biodegradable” disposable diapers (not all are) to decompose, they must be exposed to to oxygen and sun (which is unlikely if they are in a landfill).
Roughly 5 million tons of untreated waste and a total of 2 billion tons of urine, feces, plastic and paper are added to landfills annually.
It takes around 80,000 pounds of plastic and over 200,000 trees a year to manufacture the disposable diapers for American babies alone
It can take several hundred years for the disposables to decompose, while some of the plastic material never will.

Cloth Diapers:
-Larger start up cost, depending on which type of diapers you choose to purchase. ALTHOUGH, if you choose to use the “old-school” cloth diapers, cost is VERY minimum for start up
-Many Daycares refuse cloth diapers
No monthly cost UNLESS you hire a diaper service
Feels better on baby’s skin
Because of updated diaper styles, vinyl pants, pins, and “swishing” is no longer needed.
You can expect to pay a start up cost of $60 for flat diapers OR $200 and up (NOT PER MONTH...one time), depending on the style of diaper you choose
You can reuse cloth diapers with subsequent children
Will increase laundry load, although only by a couple of loads a week
Will cut down on baby rashes and decrease chemical exposure
Some styles are more bulky than disposables (although not all are).
There are ALOT of choices for cloth diaper styles, meaning it can sometimes be overwhelming to switch.
Some styles are just as absorbent as disposables, while others are not.

Whether you choose disposables or cloth, like everything else...it’s always good to know your options and to be informed. And, with all diapers, it is important that wet diapers be changed frequently.


Melinda Zook said...

This is a great comparison! Really helpful for new moms.

Jose said...

What exactly is a diaper service?

~Billie~ said...

Great blog! We are thinking about using cloth diapers this time around. Thanks for the info!