New parents have heard the argument time and again from their own parents or grandparents. “You young people don’t know how good you have it with those disposable diapers for your babies! When you were a baby I had to use cloth diapers on you and they smelled terribly, I had tons of laundry to do, I stuck myself with pins, and I walked uphill in the snow both ways to get to the diaper service…” and so on. The fact is that, less than thirty years ago, disposable diapers were considered something of a luxury while today they are the norm and people using cloth diapers for their babies are considered to be strange. There are several reasons that modern parents may choose to utilize cloth diapers instead of disposables, however, and in some circles cloth diapers are making a bit of a comeback.
The biggest personal reason that a parent may choose to clothe her baby’s bottom in cloth diapers as opposed to Pampers or Huggies is financial. Cloth diapers are simply cheaper than disposables, even if the parents are paying a diaper service to haul away the soiled nappies and bring fresh ones each week. In most cases the makers of disposables would win over a number of holdout customers if they could figure out a way to make their products cheaper.
Disposable diapers are made primarily of plastic surrounding a pad of absorbent cotton. It is well known that plastic doesn’t biodegrade very well at all, which means that our landfills are stacked with diapers that are going to be with us for centuries to come. While many people believe that the convenience offered by disposable diapers outweighs this fact, environmentalists believe that by using cloth diapers they are just doing one more thing to “do their part” to protect and preserve the Earth for future generations.
Those argumentative parents and grandparents may still have a thing or two to say to the modern parents who do choose to use cloth diapers because the cloth diapers of today are very different from the ones that they were using on their kids and grandkids way back when. Gone are the days of complicated folding methods and misplaced safety pins. Today’s cloth diapers are pre cut and shaped to cover baby’s nether regions quickly and easily. They also come with Velcro fasteners or snaps for ease in fastening. Best of all, many now have available a flushable, biodegradable paper lining that will catch solid waste, allowing it to be easily disposed of in the toilet so soiled and smelly diapers don’t sit around and there is no messy job of rinsing the solids away.
Cloth diapers are, in many ways, a thing of the past, but they are by no means gone forever. For the parent with financial or environmental concerns they are still a very viable option for clothing the bottoms of their babies.