Cloth Diapers Versus Disposables:

Why I'll Be Glad to Go Back to Cloth

My washing machine broke down, and we're waiting on a part to come in.  I can tell you, there are some things I'd forgotten about disposables - and I won't miss when we can switch back to cloth.



My second baby has been lucky enough to wear cloth diapers for almost his entire life.  You might think that makes sense, since I write a website about cloth diapers, but I'm also a busy working parent, and disposables look mighty appealing at times too!  In fact, despite our commitment to cloth diapers, we went through at least one pack of disposables in single every size with my first.


We've done better this time, having used only a small pack of newborn diapers at the hospital, and some gDiaper inserts inside our cloth covers for travel.


But our washing machine broke down last week, and my husband hauled a week worth of laundry to the laundromat, dirty diapers and all.  The part is on order, but in the mean time, our cloth diapers are on hold.


We're into the second week without a washing machine, and we're into our second week with regular old disposables, too.  We could have continued to use cloth diapers - either by hand washing, or by hauling them to the laundromat, but we opted for simple: my husband picked up a case of Huggies disposables on his way back from the laundromat.


As convenient as disposables are, I really can't wait for that part to arrive so we can be done with them.  There are so many things that I'd forgotten.  And so, here's my list of things I won't miss about disposables.



6 Things I Won't Miss About Disposables

  • The Cost - My husband went to Super Store (a Canadian discount grocery chain) and came home with the biggest case of Huggies I have ever seen.    Size 3, 192 count - and $50.  That's more than a quarter per diaper!  (Yes, please don't remind me that they go on sale!)   A quarter at a time doesn't seem like that much, but quarters really do add up.  My son's dirty diapers add up to about $2 per day.


sagging disposable diaper


  • Slathering Rash Cream - while the odd diaper rash is almost inevitable whether you use cloth or disposables, both of my boys seem to be more sensitive to disposables.  I find that the "cloth-safe" creams we normally use rub off too quickly on the paper diapers, and so we've been battling a rash this week with Desitin.  It's sticky and stinky stuff.


  • Gel Crystals on Sensitive Areas - disposable diapers are so slim when you buy them.  They contain polyacrylate absorbents and other chemical additives that expand to absorb urine, resulting in a gel-like consistency.  Of course, as your baby moves around, the gel crystals sometimes work their way out of the diaper and onto your baby's bottom, leaving little globs of goo.


mushy disposable diaper


  • The Pile of Trash - the number of diapers your baby uses each day will depend a bit on their age.  At nine months, we do about 8 diaper changes per day for my son.  When we are using cloth, I usually fill the diaper pail in about 3 days.  With disposables, we are throwing out 50+ diapers a week.


disposable diapers in trash can


  • The Smell - We've always preferred Huggies to other brands because I think they use less perfumes (just my own observation) - but no matter the brand when we are using disposables, I can smell them immediately after they are wet. I find that in general, cloth diapers, even when wet, don't really have an odor, unless they are super-concentrated urine.  My husband would like to point out that my son's overnight cloth diapers do smell (these are super-concentrated).


  • Saggy, Mushy Bottoms - as the diaper gets wet, that gel we talked about earlier gets heavier and bulkier.  I absolutely hate the way disposables sag between a baby's legs, and how when you pick them up, you can feel the mushy consistency of the diaper in your hands.  I didn't miss that feeling at all!



saggy disposable diaper


And every time my toddler plops down on his bum, I'm pretty sure he wants his fluff back too!




Cloth diapers aren't nearly as hard as you might think.  Our Ages and Stages series takes you through cloth diapering from newborn to potty training.  Click here to read it now!


cloth diapers vs disposables




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