Anyone who has a baby will tell you- that diapers are the number one item you will buy during the course of your baby(ies’) early life. (Well it certainly feels like it!) A new baby will go through diapers faster than you can change one and a potty training child will stubbornly notify you they need to “use potty” after they have already gone in their diaper.
Did you know at one point in history during the warm, summer months, Americans would let children run free of diapers? Their solution was early potty training! Click here to go to the source of this information and more history on the American diaper. Fortunately, we have more options today and I want to review one of them in great detail today.
Please note, my blog post today is taken from The Real Diaper Association and they deserve all the credit for research and information below.
Cloth diapers were used for centuries and have come quite a long, LONG way. Although I have not personally used them, my mother-in-law used them as well as friends I know. So why cloth?
- “No one knows how long it takes for a disposable diaper to decompose, but it is estimated to be about 250-500 years, long after your children, grandchildren and great, great, great grandchildren will be gone.”
- “Disposable diapers are the third largest single consumer item in landfills, and represent about 4% of solid waste. In a house with a child in diapers, disposables make up 50% of household waste.5″
- “Over 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby EACH YEAR.”
- A 1991 attempt to recycle disposable diapers was found as “unfeasible.”
- “In 1988, nearly $300 million dollars were spent annually just to discard disposable diapers, whereas cotton diapers are reused 50 to 200 times before being turned into rags”
For information on the effects on the Environment please go directly to the source of this information The Real Diaper Association.
The Real Diaper Association assumes that each baby will need 6,000 diapers during the 1st 2 years of life.
- “Disposables. For these calculations, let’s assume that a family needs about 60 diapers a week. In the San Francisco Bay area, disposable diapers cost roughly 23¢ per store-brand diaper and 28¢ for name-brand. This averages to 25.5¢ per diaper. Thus the average child will cost about $1,600 to diaper for two years in disposable diapers, or about $66 a month9.”
- “Diaper Services. Subscribing to a diaper services costs between $13 and $17 each week depending on how many diapers a family decides to order. Let’s assume the family spends roughly $15 a week for 60 diapers a week. This equals $780 annually and averages to $65 a month. Over the course of two years, the family will spend about $1500 per baby, roughly the same cost as disposables, depending on what type of covers are purchased and what type of wipes are used. If one adds in the cost of disposable wipes for either diapering system, the costs increase.”
- “Cloth Diapers. For cloth diapering, each family will probably need about 6 dozen diapers10. The cost of cloth diapering can vary considerably, from as low as $300 for a basic set-up of prefolds and covers11, to $1000 or more for organic cotton fitted diapers and wool covers. Despite this large price range, it should be possible to buy a generous mix of prefolds and diaper covers for about $300, most of which will probably last for two children. This means the cost of cloth diapering is about one tenth the cost of disposables12, and you can spend even less by using found objects (old towels & T-shirts).”
For information on the cost please go directly to the source of this information The Real Diaper Association.
3. Dryness and Rash
Although cost can be a factor, I will more likely be sold on something because it is better for my child rather than someone telling me the cost is low. If you feel that way too, check out these facts from The Real Diaper Association.
What they have found, is there is no significant difference between disposable and cloth when it comes to diaper rash.
- “The most common reason for diaper rash is excessive moisture against the skin.19″
- “Newborns should be changed every hour and older babies every 3-4 hours, no matter what kind of diaper they are wearing.20″
- “At least half of all babies will exhibit rash at least once during their diapering years.”
So you can rest assured whichever type of diaper you use, you are not promoting the occurrence of diaper rash from that alone. What is more important is what they eat and how often you are changing them.
- “Disposable diapers contain traces of Dioxin, an extremely toxic by-product of the paper-bleaching process. It is a carcinogenic chemical, listed by the EPA as the most toxic of all cancer-linked chemicals. It is banned in most countries, but not the U.S..1″
- “Disposable diapers contain Tributyl-tin (TBT) – a toxic pollutant known to cause hormonal problems in humans and animals.2″
- “Disposable diapers contain sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer (SAP), which becomes a gel-like substance when wet. A similar substance had been used in super-absorbency tampons until the early 1980s when it was revealed that the material increased the risk of toxic shock syndrome by increasing absorbency and improving the environment for the growth of toxin-producing bacteria.3″
- “In May 2000, the Archives of Disease in Childhood published research showing that scrotal temperature is increased in boys wearing disposable diapers, and that prolonged use of disposable diapers will blunt or completely abolish the physiological testicular cooling mechanism important for normal spermatogenesis.18″
This is all great information, but I think it is important to note that as far as this research goes number 3 has not be proven to cause any harm. Simply because something is similar does not mean it is that SAME. Do not panic if you have been using disposable diapers. It is also important to note that they have not clearly defined what “prolonged use” is in number 4. I recommend going to The Real Association of Diapers to find out more details if you feel concerned.
The Real Association of Diapers is a GREAT website. Seriously! I had no idea one could actually wash cloth diapers at home, without paying of a service. It has tips on how to switch, support groups, testimonials, etc. Check it out if you are interested! And no matter which type of diaper you choose, be well informed. You know what will be best for your family and child.
Finally, if you find that you are sold on this cloth diaper idea check out THESE adorable ones from Ramparoo!! Or ones from gdiaper, which are a hybrid biodegradable disposable cloth diaper. I may start on this and my child is almost out of diapers