In my previous post, we saw what modern cloth diapers are and how they can take the place of disposable diapers. Now, let’s look at cloth diapers vs disposables and the frequently asked questions on this.
11 Frequently asked questions about cloth diapers vs disposables:
#1. What are the advantages of modern cloth diapers?
The advantages of modern cloth diapers for baby are as follows.
- Baby’s health:
Disposable diapers contain small amounts of chemicals, dyes and gels, some of which are known to cause cancer.
Although disposable companies claim that these chemicals are found in too small a quantity to cause harm to baby, why trust them? Some babies are even found to be allergic to the chemicals in disposables.
Cloth diapers, on the other hand, have minimal amount of chemicals which only comes from the residue of the mild detergent you wash them with.
Although cloth diapers involve a huge initial investment, they turn out to be much cheaper in the long run.
You probably need to buy only two sizes of cloth diapers from birth to potty training. You can also use if for the next baby or cousin, saving the cost even further!
- No running out of stock:
How many times have we found that we have almost exhausted our diapers and need to run to the shop to buy some urgently?
Forget about all that.
Open your cup board, and you always have a nice, cosy cloth diaper waiting to hug your baby.
- Better for the environment:
Disposable diapers cause harm to the environment in multiple ways.
During the manufacturing process, disposables drain a lot of raw materials from our earth and then pollute the water by releasing chemicals which are the byproducts of diaper manufacturing process.
The second level of damage happens after we put them on our baby and dump them into the trash without a second thought.
In other words, disposable diapers we use will be troubling this earth long after our great, great, great grandchildren are gone.
Cloth diapers are eco friendly. The only resources they use up are the water/ electricity we use for washing them and the detergent that goes into our water.
Choosing a biodegradable detergent is even better for your baby, and takes the eco friendliness of cloth diapers to the next level.
- Potty training:
It is also said that cloth diapered kids potty train early, because they are a little bit more aware of the wetness caused by the urine. Hence they are more aware of their bodily cues.
When you used cloth diapers with wool cover or no cover, they are more breathable than disposables.
The cloth diaper supporters even claim that the PUL backed up cloth diapers are slightly more breathable than disposables.
They come in nice colors, cute prints and designs. You may not even want to put a pant on top of those cute diapers.
#2. What are the disadvantages of modern cloth diapers?
There are certainly a few disadvantages to cloth diapers too. Following are some difficulties I have faced in my cloth diapering journey.
- Less convenient for outdoors:
When we go out for long hours, disposable diapers are a little more convenient because we don’t have to carry soiled or peed diapers back home.
- Long time for understanding:
I spent a lot of time researching and understanding cloth diapers. I also spent more time in the initial days of cloth diapering understanding how to wash them, sanitize them, avoid smells etc. But now that I have mastered that, I feel I save a lot of time, because I no longer have to search online stores for the best diaper discounts and keep ordering them from time to time.
Initially, I also found that I had to change cloth diapers more often. This is because, cloth diapers will take a few washings to reach their full absorbency. After this time, I also learnt how to customize them well. Now, in fact, I find zero leaks with cloth diapers (though I used to have some leaks when I used disposables).
- Cloth diapers restricted in daycares:
Many daycares are not aware of cloth diapers, as they are used to disposables. You need to talk to them to find out if they will be open for cloth diapers. If so, which type (eg: all-in-ones are as easy to use as disposables)
- Bulky appearance:
If you are using extra inserts for absorbency, they may become bulky for outdoor use. You may need looser pants to fit over them.
#3. Where to buy cloth diapers from?
There are websites dedicated to selling cloth diapers- like shopdiaper and alvababy. They sell pocket diapers, all in ones, pre-folds, additional inserts, disposable stay dry sheets and all accessories related to cloth diapers. They carry some good offers from time to time and ship directly to India as well.
The popular Indian online shops like Amazon, flipkart, firstcry and babyoye also carry pocket diapers and all in ones.
If you are looking for even more options like fitted diapers, wool covers etc, and if you have contacts in US or other advanced countries, you can get it through them.
#4. Which type of cloth diapers are best for you?
This depends on your own preferences, budget as well as the age of your baby.
One sized or two sized diapers are available these days. One sized diapers are made in such a way they are designed to grow with your child by adjusting few snaps from birth till potty training.
Two sized diapers come in two sizes – from newborn till certain weight and from that weight till potty training.
Generally, these one size diapers don’t fit newborns or premature babies. They may fit well after the first month of the baby. It may be a waste of money to buy newborn sized cloth diapers.
For the first month, you can just buy pre-folds, which are cheaper. It can be used for additional absorbency as your baby grows older. Else, you can go for traditional nappies or disposables to save yourself the hassle.
- Type – wise
The different types of modern cloth diapers are pocket, fitted, prefolds and all in ones (AIOs).
#5. When to buy prefolds?
If budget is your constraint and you don’t mind spending a minute or two to put on the cloth diapers, you can go for prefolds.
You can buy snappis or diaper pins to make it easy to put them on. It may be a bit tricky to put on toddlers who are too busy to change diapers.
#6. When to buy a fitted diaper?
If you are looking mainly for night time use, fitted diapers have better absorbency (prefolds too!)
If you want more breathability for your baby’s skin, and you want to skip the outer cover some times, or get a wool diaper cover, then go for fitted diapers.
You can see in the photo my little one Vihaan showing off his thirsties duo fitted diaper. The diaper cover is made of wool. It is very comfortable at the same time looks stylish too.
The disadvantage, just like prefolds is that you need to buy the stay dry layer and outer cover separately. It also takes a bit of time to put the three layers on your baby.
#7. When to buy all in ones(AIOs)?
If you want the convenience of disposable diaper in a cloth diaper, and don’t mind the additional cost, go for it. Maybe a good option for kids going to daycare.
#8. When to buy pocket diapers?
If you want the convenience of a disposable diaper, but you are fine with removing the inserts before washing, and stuffing them before using, go for pocket diapers.
The benefits you get over AIOs are shorter drying times and better cleaning.
You can always go for a combination of these types and see what works best for which times!
#9. How to put on cloth diapers?
Let’s start with prefolds.
There are many ways to fold a prefold to use around your baby. These can be found in online tutorials. You will need to buy snap pins or diaper pins to fasten them on your baby. If needed, you need to add a stay dry layer inside the prefold and put a diaper cover over the prefold.
If you are using fitted diapers, you may need to add a stay dry layer if the diaper does not have one. You then put on the fitted diaper such that the velcro or snaps fit snugly on your baby. Add a diaper cover if needed.
For pocket diapers, add the insert that came with the pocket diaper into the cover. If needed, add additional insert for more absorbency. Simply put them on your baby to fit snugly.
AIOs- This one doesn’t need an explanation. Simply put them on like disposables!
#10. How often should you change cloth diaper?
The best thing about cloth diapers is that this is intuitive.
If the baby poops, change immediately. If you feel the wetness, change immediately. The usual rule is to change them every two hours.
Any diaper- disposable or cloth should be changed at regular intervals. At night, additional absorbency can be added to cloth diapers using extra inserts. You can change them less frequently.
Now that my son is two years old and I am tired of changing diapers in the night, I let him in a cloth diaper overnight and he never, ever leaked.
#11. How many cloth diapers to buy?
This will depend on the age of your baby, whether you cloth diaper full time, and how often you wash them.
Many of us in India use simple nappies or underwear when baby is at home. We use disposables for travel, nap and nighttime. It’s a good idea to replace the disposable diapers with modern cloth diapers. You can continue to use underwear at other times, like before
Newborns pee and poop often. So they need more diapers. As solid foods are introduced, this reduces. When potty training is started, this reduces even further.
Let’s say you figure out you need to change ten cloth diapers per day. Then you must be looking at buying around 30 cloth diapers. This way, they have time to be washed and dried.
Do not buy too many cloth diapers of one brand/ type without trying them first. Buy a few, try them on your kid for some days, then decide whether to buy more.
You can now read about how to wash and take care of cloth diapers the right way.
A lot of your curious questions on cloth diapers vs disposables have been answered by now. . If you still have any other doubts, please feel free to ask me in comments.
Are you already imagining your lovely baby wearing those adorable cloth diapers? Stay tuned.
More information on the way 🙂