First, let me say congratulations! If you’re reading about diapers you’re either expecting a child soon or have recently had one— so welcome to parenthood! It’s an incredible journey filed with highs and lows. And let’s be honest, diapers tend to be the poopy end of parenting.
So you are asking yourself:Why should I use cloth diapers?Why should I use disposable diapers?
First let me say there is no clear answer— it all depends upon you and your family’s needs. Not all families are the same, therefore there is no one size fits all answer. The single best parenting advice I’ve been told is: do what is best for your child(reg) and your sanity.
Here are my top three thoughts to consider in the diaper world. I have left a few other questions to ask yourself and child raising partners at the end to help you decide what’s best for you.Personally, I have done cloth and all sorts of disposable diapers. There are major pros and cons to both sides.
#1Cloth Diapers cost LESS than disposable
This must be compared to the entire time a child will be diapered to see your overall spending. The average child wears a diaper for 2-3 years. (Many are toilet-trained somewhere in their 2nd year, but again every family is different.)
For the sake of this argument, I’ll use the leading brand of diapers used in most hospitals— Pampers. Newborns will dirty 8-12 diapers per day. A 2 year old may only dirty 4. So the consumption will slow down over time. But the waste material will change according to what the child eats…
Disposable diapers need to be priced per diaper. The larger the bulk option you can buy, the cheeper the diaper. At Target, size one Pampers diapers tend to be priced at $40 per largest box. We must divide the price by the amount. So your salutation would look like this 40.00/162 = .24 That’s $0.24 per diaper. Other brands will have different prices. And bargain or store brand diapers will be less. And if you want to consider disposable bamboo made diapers, they will cost more. In the first month, you’re looking at nearly 360 diapers. That’s 2 boxes of the Size 1 162ct. That’s $80. That will add up to around 2, 500 diapers in the first year!!! That can be upwards of 7,500 diapers before 3 years old. In addition, your child will get sick and need more at different times. That’s roughly $80-$90 per month for 36 months… that’s $3,240 over the course of 3 years.
The average cloth diaper will cost you $20 or so. But you will need several. I’ve heard some moms live on 20 cloth diapers and some need 30. Many cloth diapers do fit several sized babies. They contain several snaps and bra strap like interior adjustments if you get an all-in-one. There are other options, but these do make cloth diapering more simple. So this will total you around $400 for 20 cloth diapers at $20 each. That $400 will cover the course of the 3 years, and then can be reused for any following children.
#2 Cloth Diapers require cleaning… often!
You will have to wash out those cloth diapers very regularly. Depending on how many you own will determine how often you’re doing laundry. All solids have to be rinsed off before its thrown into the washing machine. Liquids don’t necessarily have to be rinsed off, but pee will sit and smell until washed. You can choose to have someone pick them up and wash them. Larger cities have these options. Or you can wash them yourself at home. If you choose at home, let me suggest vinegar for getting rid of the pee smell. Also, there are hoses for toilet connectors to rinse of solids. They will need to be stored in a wet/dry bag while traveling.
#3 Disposable diapers don’t breakdown.
Disposable diapers will sit in landfills for nearly 500 years before they decompose. Does that bother you? Let’s be honest, some people love this earth dearly and hate the idea of hurting it anymore. However, there are some people who don’t give 2 poops about it. (We’re not here to say which is right or wrong)
Synthetic Diapers vs. Biodegradable DiapersSynthetics take 500 years (These will be cheaper)Biodegradable take 3-6 months. (These will cost more)
Your child may require a certain diaper due to allergies. Hughes and Pampers regular options can cause raises on some children with sensitive skin. Many diaper companies offer less harsh, preservative free options now. Disposable diapers can be changed and tossed into trash can quickly.
So I’ll leave you with these questions to consider:
- Will you use reusable wipes or disposable wipes?
- Are you staying at home with your child? Do you need to save money? Is money not problem?
- Are you planning on more children in the future?
- Are you constantly going from event to event? Are you taking your child with you on trips?
- Will you be placing your child into a daycare? Do they require disposable diapers? Are they familiar with cloth diapers?
- Are you okay with getting your hands dirty? Are you breastfeeding, formula feeding or on to table foods? (Each creates a different type of solid waste )
Remember, not all families are the same and how you chose to get through the toughest, most sleepless years is up to you.