While it seems like the choice between paper or plastic started in your grocer’s checkout lanes only in recent years, the great diapering debate has been going on for quite some time. With diapering there are a whole lot of choices when it comes to providing your baby with a wearable, portable potty until he can take care of business for himself.
Google “diaper blogs” and you get more than 2 gazillion results; okay, well it’s really like a little more than 2 million results, but still! All of that talk basically boils down to choosing among three types of diapers: disposable, cloth, hybrid/green, or some combination thereof. Every family is different, and that’s good news, because that means with so many choices there’s likely a diaper just for you and your little one’s bum.
Green poopThe debate regarding cloth versus disposable isn’t as clean-cut as some would like. According to ConsumerSearch.com, more than 27 billion disposable diapers go into landfills in the US each year, making them 1% of all trash there. But experts warn that how you wash cloth diapers can reduce their “greenness.” If you use bleach in a high-temperature wash, dry them in the dryer, or have them delivered by a service that does the same then their environmental impact is comparable.
Popular cloth options include bumGenius and FuzziBunz, both of which start in around $20 per diaper for “one size” models that can be adjusted via Velcro or snaps as your baby grows. If you’re comparing costs, say experts at ConsumerSearch, a diaper service comes in at about the same as buying and laundering your own cloth diapers.
When it comes to the disposable categories Pampers and Huggies offer mega boxes that help with cost savings, and Seventh Generation and Earth’s Best give parents a chlorine-free disposable option for about the same price.
In the hybrid category, parents get a disposable liner that fits into a washable outer shell. Popular options include gDiapers.
Exploring your options
Whatever type of diaper you choose, you are going to need a lot of them - a baby goes through several thousand diapers from the time he’s born until he’s fully potty trained. Look for the following features:
- A foldable waist or notch area to keep the diaper away from baby’s umbilical area
- Elastic or gathers at the waist and legs for the best fit (read leakproof!)
- Absorbent core that wicks moisture from baby’s skin
- A soft natural outer shell or cover
- Easy, adjustable fasteners
|These were the first and are the most enduring diaper. Typically made from cotton or bamboo, they’re lined with additional absorbent cloth to soak up baby’s spoils.||Invented around 1949, most disposable diapers today have ditched the plastic feeling for a softer outer shell complete with elastic around the waist and legs for the best possible fit.||The best of these combine the convenience of a disposable (some even flushable!) inner liner with a cloth outer wrapper that looks more like clothing than a diaper.|
|Average $20 per “one size” cloth diaper.||$0.25-0.40 cents each.||Average $20 for an outer shell; $0.40 per disposable liner.|