Professor's House

Cloth or Disposable Diapers

Cloth or disposable diapers? Is that even a debatable question in these times? Apparently, it is and many people today in the face of environmental concerns are opting to return to a time of cloth diapers. Not only are they supposedly better for baby’s bottom, but they don’t end up waterproofing landfills across the world either. Even so many moms and dads couldn’t bear the thought of going without good old disposable diapers.

First, let’s compare cost! Absolutely cloth diapers in the long run are cheaper or are they? Ignoring all the consensus available about how many diapers parents go through (because we all know it’s not true), the average regular sized pack of powder-scented diapers is around $7.50. The average pack holds around 35-40 although as your child gets bigger the numbers dwindle, which is just another incentive for potty training. Essentially you will be blowing anywhere from $30-40 bucks a week on something you are quite simply going to roll up (hopefully) and throw in the trash. Disposable’s can be washed time and time again, bleached and dried and you can get around 3 dozen high quality ones for the cost of a week’s worth of diapers. But, wait, you have to figure in the costs of washing them, which includes laundry detergent. If you are a newbie to parenting or have an infant on your hands, you have no doubt been rooked into buying Dreft, which is pricey. Some parents say that the scent is actually made of something euphoric and highly addicting. Then there is all that kid safe, HE and perfume free softeners you will have to buy, plus the price of water and electricity to constantly run a washer and dryer. You still have to buy baby wipes unless you are using wash cloths (gross) and probably have to invest a little more in Desitin just to keep there bare bottom from getting raw. No mathematician here, but in the end you might end up about the same monetarily speaking.

Time too is money. The time spent harnessing, storing, washing, folding and tending to the cloth diapers is more intrusive than the 3 seconds it takes to change a diaper and you have to wonder how sanitary the washing machine is after washing heaps of cloth diapers. This would make any type A clean freak want to purchase an additional washing machine that is used just for soiled diapers and that can be tossed in the trash at the first hint of potty training. (Wonder how long a washing machine takes to disintegrate) Do you really want to wash your bras in there after that? And using the sanitary cycle on our souped up fancy washing machines is even more energy using. In the case of cloth or disposable diapers, there might just be no winner and the best way to please all sides would be to train children like we do puppies using the outdoors for their bathroom or allowing them to crawl and roam the house naked with potty patches spotted throughout each room.

Lest we forget the environment? In this case, we should but since that seems to be the only good reason to choose cloth diapers we can delve a little further. The landfills are a problem and the eons it takes for diapers to deteriorate is a tad ridiculous. It is amazing that there hasn’t been a ‘green conscious’ diaper invented yet (besides cloth ones). Diaper recycling is not even an option however, it seems that at least they are offering some sort of benefit to the landfills (purely editorial of course). They may soak up some of the retched scent, absorb some of the liquids in the landfills and in the years to come when the landfills are covered over and subdivisions are built on top of them; the natural ingredients left in the diapers are as good as any compost pile around. Those residents will have great gardens and baby powdered scented breezes that last all year through! Still, contemplating how many intact water bottles are thrown away every day and thinking of the energy cost and emissions to the environment that all that washing, drying and bleaching (not to mention the containers they come in) of cloth diapers takes up the choice becomes a toss up at best.

Then, of course, there is the obvious. Gross, germy, smelly things are found in diapers. Certainly, there are a handful of children whose skin does not tolerate disposable diapers and that for health reasons do much better with cloth. Keep in mind though that few daycares or nurseries will agree to the cloth diaper routine for many reasons. Also, bare witness to the fact that as your child grows from the little bundle of joy who only poops small piles of ‘pleasant’ smelling yellow dung they will become poo-monsters soiling cloth AND disposable diapers to the result of seepage. There will come a time when you look at your baby or toddler and wonder how in the world something so large came from someone so small and ruminate about the amount of times each day that they actually pee. With disposable diapers it is sometimes impossible to tell if they peed or not and it is common parenting logic to wonder why seashores are eroding when there are materials so absorbent as disposable diapers available so readily. Perhaps replacing sand with disposable diapers may make for a cozy beach?

Bottom line is this. Parents who choose cloth diapers are not crazy or more invested in their children. They are quite simply thread from a different cloth that may be more green minded or health conscious. Others are forced into cloth diapers because of health concerns or allergies and some are just old fashioned. They are also no doubt iron stomached and have more time on their hands than the rest of us. Those who choose disposable are going for ease of use, not all that concerned about where diapers go in the end and strutting along with societal norms that allow them to be devoid of guilt over their choice. Cloth or disposable diapers? It’s just one of those choices parents have to make for themselves and one that should be judged not regardless of the decision.

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