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Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers for the Frugal Mom

When my first child was born, 27 years ago, I planned to use cloth diapers. I had the old-fashioned pre-folded diapers, pins and rubber pants (with uncomfortable-looking elastic legs!). I put one on my son before he went to sleep at night. When I got him up the next morning he did not have a dry stitch on his body. Anywhere. I went back to the Pampers that the hospital had conveniently given me a sample of and never looked back.

To say that cloth diapers have changed a lot since then is an understatement! They come in a dazzling array of colors and prints, and have Velcro or covers that close with Velcro so that they are as easy to change as disposable diapers. I'm jealous! I wish these had been available when I had babies!

So what are the facts? How can a new parent decide whether to use cloth diapers or disposables?

There are four main considerations for your choice:

  • Cost

  • Your baby's skin

  • Environmental concerns

  • Convenience

Costs of Cloth vs. Disposable

Experts say that using cloth diapers instead of disposables will save an average of $2000 per child.

Your savings will be based on:

  • What brand of disposable diapers you use - name brand or generic - and how much you pay for them based on your shopping habits, etc.

  • How many cloth diapers you buy and what "extras" do they have.

  • How old your child is when they potty train will determine how many diapers you go through if you use disposables.

  • What type of detergent you use and what type of washer or dryer you have (high efficiency washers use less energy, detergent and water).

Your Baby's Skin

Disposable diapers contain many chemicals that may be harmful to a baby's delicate skin.

In addition, they contain super-absorbent gelling materials which have been linked to an increase in childhood asthma and a decrease in sperm count among boys.

Environmental Factors

There is no question that using cloth diapers is better for the environment than using disposables. One estimate states for every child that wears disposable diapers a TON of waste is added to our landfills. And they are not biodegradable and take generations to decompose.

The Convenience Factor

As a mom that used disposable diapers, I believe that the strongest reason that most disposable users have for not choosing cloth diapers is convenience.

It seems so much easier to throw used diapers into a trash can (especially if you are not at home) than to rinse them out and wash them to use again lately.

In my interview with interview with Emi Stapler , though, she said that she considers the cloth diapers of today to be just as convenient to use as disposables.


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