In Defense Of Sustainable Diapering, Sort Of

Are Commercial Diapers A Threat To Your Baby’s Health?

Babies and their skin are sensitive. How is a parent to know what products are best for their newest family member?

The amount of information spouted at parents today makes it, at best, difficult to know what’s merely advertising and what really is best for your child. It’s super easy to get lost in the myriad of “expert” opinions, some of whom don’t even have children!!

Every decision regarding your baby has to be handled carefully and given a significant amount of thought. Much of your child’s comfort, and health are based on decisions you make as a parent. We already discussed a few options on cloth diapers. But now we dive more into why you should seriously consider them.

Pay particular attention especially when it comes to quality of items that will be pressed against your child’s skin for extended periods of time. Only the best, most well-researched items should be used in such cases.

However, for many parents, the choice of materials for something as mundane, boring, and consistently used as a diaper can easily be overlooked. When faced with a poopy bum bum, a parent tends to gravitate toward the more easily and readily available products that are convenient despite the many possible disadvantages.

Typical store bought diapers, though very much the standard for convenience and ease of use, are, in all reality, not the best option available either for sustainability purposes or even for baby skin safety. Some parents prefer organic and natural materials for their baby’s bottom. Others prefer cloth diapers with varying materials.

I haven’t heard of anyone just letting baby go au natural, but I guess to be comprehensive, that is an option too. The first two choices are also typically touted to prevent or at least significantly reduce negative allergic reactions.

The big brand disposable diapers seem like a good solution due to their convenience and cost. But there are many, many chemicals and solutions used in the production of common disposable diapers. The lining inside some disposable diapers can be harmful to a baby’s skin.
The best thing about commonly manufactured disposable diapers: they can absorb about 100 times their weight in urine moisture. This is a serious bit of technology that parents who have meager incomes and little time take into account.

On the other hand, cloth and other natural diapers vary in their ability to control moisture leakage and poop leakage, but are generally thought to be far healthier choice for both baby and Mother Earth.

Some mothers have reported that in a seven month span of cloth diaper use, no leakage occurred. Well, this parent has used cloth diapers for over a year and contend that perhaps their children were…dehydrated. The other possibility is that they are exaggerating in order to tout cloth diapers as some kind of landfill savior.

The sentiment that disposable diapers are time savers and cost effective is not a myth, no matter what cloth diaper enthusiasts would claim. Cleaning and drying a cloth diaper is, in my humble opinion, a time-suck, not to mention that you need to reassemble them in preparation for the next use. If you need to double the number of absorbent pads used per diaper (as we did), this becomes an exercise in zen buddhism patience building.

Cloth Diaper Benefits:

Fact – Cloth diapers save more money compared to disposable ones due their reusability.
Fact – Cloth diapers can also be resold or donated if not in use. This adds to the money saving mentioned above.
Fact – Many new parents are realizing the versatility, utility as well as the significant non-world polluting value of cloth diapers.

The New Wave of Cloth Diapers

There are companies emerging that have interesting cloth diaper versions. Bumkins Finer Baby Products sells one of the most popular cloth diapers in the market. They market their diapers as an all in one solution, which is appealing to many mothers due to its simplicity.
Bumkins also has superhero inspired cloth diapers that look cooler than average. Bumkins diapers are (relatively) inexpensive and they have even designed swim diapers for recreation use. They also sell a cloth diaper sprayer which is a recommended buy for completely cleaning a diaper.

Fuzzi Bunz by Mother of Eden offers even more useful features for mothers and fathers that want to stick with a cloth diaper. Their diapers have pockets so the mother can regulate the absorbency of the diaper. You can even put a hand towel in the diaper and it will work just as well, although…I wouldn’t.

Motherease cloth diapers are popular for their cheap prices and recognized quality. You can get an all-in-one diaper for as cheap as $20. These diapers come in various shades of blue, purple, yellow and green. Each has a little whale sewn on the diaper, making them a cute buy.

More Benefits of Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers

Every new baby costs about $2,000 in disposable diaper costs over the course of two years. As a matter of fact, roughly 600,000 disposable diapers can fill a landfill. Official reports have stated that parents use 27.4 billion disposable diapers every year. That number is hardly surprising, but what is surprising is just how long it takes for typical diapers to bio-degrade. Some estimate that it takes 500 years!!!

Now if you were to buy cloth diapers, you would only need to buy between 12 and 20 sets, depending on how often you want to clean em. Personally, I’d recommend 12 and clean them quickly and often. If you don’t, the smell…well, I am sure you can imagine. This will set you back roughly $500. If you are planning on having more children, you can reuse them.

Also, there are rental diaper services that allow new parents on a budget to get in on this sustainability thingy. However, you do not get to choose which cloth diaper style you want through these services.

So, there you have it, cloth diapers are better for the environment. About 0.5 percent of fecal matter coming from cloth diapers might end up in the a landfill. However, a heaping 92 percent of disposable diapers and their contents end up in a landfill.

This difference in numbers is astonishing. Here’s another fact: disposable diapers make up at least 50 percent of a household’s waste, when they are in use. Disposable diapers simply do not decompose. These diapers are still going to be here on the Earth five generations after you and this is unfortunate, but preventable.


Diaper rashes are a serious issue with disposable diapers. Many parents have reported no diaper rashes with cloth diapers. I am not among them. However, I believe that limiting the amount of potential toxins from pee to poop to sodium polyacrylate (found in typically manufactured disposable diapers) touching your baby over time is by far the most logical and sensible way to avoid rash and other unknown long-term health problems.

Perhaps it’s because cloth and natural fiber diapers provide better airflow for a baby’s bottom. At the end of the day, cloth diapers make more sense here, too.

One of the strongest features of cloth diapers is the lack of chemicals. Disposable diapers contain chlorine, plastics, and other chemicals that have the potential to harm a baby’s sensitive skin. In fact, these chemicals harm humans in general. Tributyl-tin is a toxic chemical that can lead to hormonal issues with babies. No thoughtful mother wants to expose their child to chemicals that can cause problems in the future.

It’s Your Choice To Do Sustainable Diapering

The options are vast. While it is relatively straightforward the advantages of using cloth diapers over disposable diapers, the benefits extend beyond finances and environment. Babies are fragile members of the family, whom require their decisions for their safety be made by the people responsible for them. While it may take trial and error, any new information that leads to their protection is an asset.

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