Monday, May 17, 2010

The Diaper Debate of 2010


Before being pregnant with the peanut I really never thought about what kind of diapers to use. With cloth being relatively unused and disposables super easy and convenient I never thought twice. But now I am thinking twice.

Did you know that one child in disposables adds 1 ton of waste to a landfill? 1 ton!


Disclaimer: I'm not saying that I will use cloth diapers or disposable diapers for that matter. I may use both or only one or none at all. I may let my child roam naked in our hippie commune. He'll learn to pee on trees and be one with nature.

Oh wait, we live in Orange County.


Besides being more eco-friendly they look like they may be more comfortable. They have a much higher start up cost (so to speak) but I've heard they can save you anywhere from $1000 - $2000 per child. Plus, did you know its estimated that disposable diapers take an average of 250-500 years to decompose? So 50 million diapers a day or 1 billion diapers a year going into landfills and sitting there for several hundred years. So does this mean that every disposable ever made is still sitting somewhere? My brain hurts.


All that being said....I'm all for the ease of disposables. The thought of personally washing dirty diapers in the same washing machine that I wash my clothes (or peanuts clothes) freaks me out. I hear that you dump any large loads in the toilet and you rinse before you wash. I wondering what the cons are. But I do love the planet... I'm just not sure I love it that much. I shouldn't say that. I'm just unfamiliar with the non-disposable option.

Update: apparently there are also flushable and disposable biodegradable inserts to look into as well. They take anywhere from 50-150 days to decompose if you decide to compost them or you just flush them down the toilet.


So basically I have no stance. I know that cloth diapers have come a long way since little rectangles held together by pins. How on Earth do you pin a diaper on a squirming child? Just the thought gives me more anxiety than trimming their tiny paper-thin nails without hacking off their fingertips.

What do I do when I don't know what I'm talking about?

Well I ask you of course.

Does anyone have experience with cloth diapers? Or diapers with biodegradable inserts?


  1. With J, it was all disposables, but with Z, we used a combination of cloth and disposables. Cloth at home and disposables for when we're out. Cloth is much easier than I thought it would be. We'd used biodegradable liners, so these get flushed away and "usually" the diaper itself is pretty clean.

    After every diaper change, the dirty diaper (after being rinsed off) gets chucked into a bucket with Napisan (a diaper sterilizer) to soak for an hour or so. Then the whole load gets thrown into the washer to wash.

    Okay, if I were to be honest, I went the cloth diaper route with Z because the colors were so lovely!! The environment factor was a bonus. There. But really, once you get the hang of it, cloth diapering is really easy.

  2. I have to say that we did disposable with all three. And I didn't think twice about it....I am bad. But then my progeny are are 23,22 and 19.

  3. I just can't bring myself to do the cloth thing. Ans with my nerotic husband, there's no way they would be going in our washing machine! BUT... with the whole Pamper's Dri Max issues right now and others talking about how bad Huggies are, I'm stumped what to do. I have TONS of Pampers from my shower, but now I am hesitant to use them! (Baby is due on the 25th)

  4. I used cloth in the 1970s. But I'm fascinated with some of the new options.

  5. I'm so old that they didn't have disposable diapers when my oldest child was a baby! Actually, they were just coming out with them, but they were very expensive and I only used them for camping trips, travel etc. With my second child (6 years later) it was disposable diapers all the way. I was working full time and there was really no time to wash diapers. That being said, the cloth diapers aren't that big of a deal to wash. I always washed them separately from all of our other clothes and I can't say it was ever a big issue....

  6. I'm sure they've made great strides in the clothe diaper area. I think they even have diaper services that wash them for you. You might want to check in to that.

    But personally the convenience of disposable diapers make mommyhood so much simpler that it was a no brainer for me. It was just one less thing to have to mess with. Unfortunately for the planet that's how we rolled. I love all the research you are putting into your new role. You are gonna make such a good mommy:)

  7. I have to admit I did disposables the whole time. :P

    I did find these too, did you see them already?

    My only thought is that I wouldn't flush them - biodegradable or not, they're going to clog the pipes. But it says you can pitch them!

  8. We used disposable in the 80', I'm old. I wish they had some of the alternatives that are out now, I probably would have used the inserts method.

  9. Clip his fingernails when he's sleeping, so he won't wiggle around on you.

    I used a combo of cloth and disposable with #1, but was lazy with #2 and #3, using disposable. The biodegradable inserts sound awesome. That might have made a difference for me. I admire the 'new' moms today who seem to be trying harder than my generation, in doing what's right for the planet. Not that I would shun you if you choose disposables! :p

  10. We tried cloth diapers but as you have stated in the post above, I didn't like putting these clothes in that were soiled beyond belief with anything else. So you deal with that dilemma of having to do multiple loads of laundry. I choice to do disposable after my initial first attempts but love the options that are coming out now.

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  11. Hi! I found your blog from She Wears Many Hats - and had to comment! I use cloth for our daughter right now - and would never switch back! We started them at about 6 weeks old (before then they seemed too bulky).

    We use the regular pre-folds that we get from a service - so - no washing! The service picks up my dirties, and drops off a bag of clean ones. The price is comparable, if not cheaper, than the disposables and the covers are cute (we use thirsties covers). You no longer needs pins, google "snappies," and I use a wet bag (it has a water proof liner) when we go out. A lot of times I insert the diaper like a pad into the cover, which means no pins or snappies... but more cover washing.

    At night we use the bumGenius, which do require washing, but I found those to be the most absorbent and last throughout the night without too much wetness touching the baby's bottom.

    You'll feel great about the decision to use cloth if you can just get used to them... and you'll keep 6,000 diapers out of the landfill!

  12. YES~! We did them, and we had the inserts. They were wonderful and saves us a ton of money too! I loved the velcro tabs and we only used disposeables for long car rides, and church nursery type things. I say do it. Plus, I just watched a movie about "No Impact Man" and feel totally convicted about how much garbage we produce!

    The only problem, was keeping the smell down. It's really gross to swish them around in a toilet, then plop them into a diaper pail, but I used a part water, little bleach and part laundry soap combination inside a lidded container, and did laundry about every two days. Not fun, but again, worth the savings.

  13. hmmm, I used disposables, it was so easy and let me tell you some of the poops were so yuckie, and gross I would hate to clean that out of a re-usable will see what I mean soon enough, but I think it is good to think about the planet and yes there is way too much waste going into the landfills..hard choice. You are going to be such a good mommy with all your research!!

  14. We use disposables, and I must tell you, I AM ASHAMED!!! I'm so environmentally conscious. What am I doing???? But at least they're 7th Generation or Earth's Best. And, it makes me feel a little better that with Bug we didn't use disposable wipes. We used those tiny thin washcloths from Target and a spray bottle of water. It was easy. They sat in a container full of Biz water in the laundry room until wash day. But then when the twins came I knew time was going to be short, so we went to disposable wipes. But with 7th Generation and Earth's Best options, I feel ok about it. Not great, but okay. My dear friend uses only cloth diapers and she LOVES them. My goal is to just get these kiddos OUT of diapers FAST!!! Oh please God please let them potty train soon!
    Anyway, I think you are a gem for even thinking about this! The earth needs us to be conscious consumers and you have just started a great discussion here!

  15. It is a big decision, isn't it? Of course, I did cloth .... cause that's all we had in the dark ages ... by the way ... what DID they do for thousands of years before they had cloth for diapers?
    Once you get into the groove of it ... it just becomes routine. And you can always use the disposable in a pinch.
    I love it that you are even considering cloth diapers ...

  16. Have you ever heard of split pants? That's what they use in rural China. The kids just go into the field, squat, and out flow everything, onto the ground. Just do a Google images search for Chinese split pants (but don't scroll down TOO far!). Anyway, Naomi was delivered to us wearing a disposable diaper inside split pants. Very funny.

    I applaud you for doing the research and for being environmentally conscious. It seems like using cloth is getting easier and certainly more fun with all the cute covers! Good luck with your decision!

  17. I thought about it but wasn't sure Dave would be as keen to help out with changing if we used washables! Mikey is in extra large nappies from the nhs so we're not in a position to change there... and I'm hoping Dan will be out of them in the summer. Perhaps we'll think about it again with next baby (once they've grown out of the 20 nappies a day newborn stage!!!!!)


  18. I've used both and I like all the new options they have for the cloth, although I've never made the investment but used pins and "rubber pants." It's a LOT of work. I've never tried this, but you might be interested or at least get a laugh out of it, Elimination Communication. It's potty training for a new born!!! I don't even know what to say about it.
    Good luck figuring it all out.
    ☺ Celeste

  19. That's such a tough call. I like the convenience factor too. My friend uses the inserts, and I think they're fairly easy to use. Maybe if you do even half and half that would help.
    It's too bad they don't make disposable diapers biodegradable, instead of just the liners. Good luck with your choice! You'll have to tell us what worked best for you.

  20. Well. This was before my time. I think??? I don't think they had these four years ago? I always wanted to use disposables but then... I just couldn't. I needed the ease of disposables. I'm jealous, all of the new options look awesome!-Holly

  21. DAWN!! I didn't even know until I decided to check out your blog!! Congrats!! The baby is so lucky to have such awesome parents!! I am just completely overjoyed for you!! Enjoy the beginning gets a little uncomfortable but I'm sure you'll be just a little doll with your baby bump!! Please give my regards to the family!! xoxoxo

  22. My biggest objection to cloth is diaper rash. With disposable the baby never sits in pee because it is wicked away. Every friend I knew who used cloth had a kid with a flaming bottom going all the time. I just would not have that with my kid. Sorry about the land fills but I wanted my kid to have a pain free bottom. I don't know about these inserts, maybe they solve that problem. But it's something to think about. Diaper rash is awful. The few times my kid had it (say after a bout with the runs) it was painful for the kid and terrible for me to even look at. Disposable just keeps them more comfortable. Jaxx

  23. We switched to cloth nappies (baby beehinds) when our daughter was 2 weeks old. She only occasionally gets a little bit of nappy rash - and she got that in disposables also. A barrier cream helps prevent it. We have found that cloth nappies are really not hard work at all. You just get the poo off (we have a 'little squirt' to spray it off easily), put the nappy in a bucket and then when you have enough you just chuck them in the washing machine (this is for the beehinds - I am not sure about other nappies). The only leakages we have had have been with disposables. Oh and the cloth nappy bottom makes the baby much easier to hold!

  24. I'm glad you mentioned this on your blog, because I've been contemplating the same issue.

    I am seriously leaning toward cloth. I think it'll save money and it's way better for the environment. Plus the designs are so cute! And the covers are so soft and they appear more comfortable than disposables.

    More research is to be done, but I think I've made my preliminary decision.

  25. I have such a strong opinion about cloth diapers that I forbid myself from writing it here. Because if I did, you would have no bandwidth left.

    But anyway, cheers for fluffy bottoms!

    On a separate note, yes, we went to Centennial Farm in Costa Mesa =) We live in the Whittier area. So if you're nearby and looking for playdates when that bambino comes along, you should give me a holler. Also, I host a weekly storytime playdate at my house so if you're normal and don't hate children, you're always welcome =)

  26. I think I will stay out of this debate.

    I will just say that I used disposable all the time 16 yrs. ago.


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