Diaper Debate: Cloth Diapers or Disposable Diapers

My 3-year-old, Aarna, freed herself from the diaper menace about 8 months back when she was fully potty-trained. The “Diaper Debate” has been going on ever since people started using disposable diapers. The advantages and disadvantages of each type of diaper have been debated over by many parents. Moms (and Dads too) would turn to their mothers and grandmothers for parenting advice. Thanks to the internet and the age of blogs, we can now look up for information from more than one source. In fact, parenting blogs are what helped my husband and I sail through the initial years of parenthood.

With my kids being about a year apart and currently 4 years and 3 years old, I’m something of an expert when it comes to diapers. I’ve tried and tested different types of diapers.

Here’s my take on each type.

Traditional cloth diapers

When my son, Aaarav, was born, my mother strictly asked me not to use diapers of any kind saying diapers are not good for newborns and that I can start using them later on when I get back to work after the 6-month maternity break. I was not excited about this rule but went ahead with it because what did I know – I was a first-time mommy! Oh, but what a horror show it was. Our bedroom, the living room, and everything smelled of baby pee and poop. Like smelling this all around the house wasn’t enough, we had to wash so many pieces of cloth every single day. We didn’t want to put the pieces of cloth directly into the washing machine so we would first hand wash them and then put them in the washing machine.

Pieces of cloth stacked up next to a newborn.
As much as I love diapers, can I not wear any, Mom!

Disposable diapers

About 2 months in, I gave up and decided to go for disposable diapers (much to my mother’s disappointment). No other life transition was as significant as this one. I had so much time on my hands that I breezed through the next 1 – 1.5 years (you can tell that’s an exaggeration, but disposable diapers were definitely a blessing!).

The downside of disposable diapers, however, is the disposal. Since it’s essential to change the diaper every once in 3 hours, or when the baby poops, we’d use about 8-10 diapers in a single day. So you could imagine the amount of waste we were producing in a day. It got us thinking about the ill-effects this would have on the environment too – given that India’s waste disposal system is not at its best at the moment. In addition to this, disposable diapers burn a fairly large hole in the pocket.

A newborn looks at the camera while his mom gives a kiss on his tummy.
To pee or not to pee, that’s the question.

New-age cloth diapers

When Aarna was born, I skipped going through the hassle of using pieces of cloth and went straight for disposable diapers only to find out that my little one gets rashes from the disposable diapers. I did everything right. I made sure I cleaned and moisturised before I made her wear the new diaper because I was told that rashes mostly happen when the genital area is not clean. I also gave it some air-dry time between diaper changes to let the skin breathe. I realised my baby must have been allergic to one of the materials used in the diaper.

Around the same time, my friend told me about the new-age cloth diapers (I was completely unaware of this until then) that work just like disposable diapers but can be washed and reused. I bought a few and it worked just fine. They are a cost-effective and eco-friendly alternative too. Also, they come in bright colours and the cutest prints!

A newborn wearing a cloth diaper.
These teddy bear prints have my heart.

Conclusion

In my experience, both disposable and cloth diapers have worked fine. I’ve had no issues of leaks or smelly diapers. My daughter’s allergy was the main reason I switched to cloth diapers. They are just as absorbent as disposable ones and are cheaper too. So, it’s safe to say cloth diapers are the better bet, as long as you have the time and energy to wash and dry the diapers. Otherwise, you could go for disposable ones while making sure you follow the clean-up, moisturise, and air-dry time routine between diaper changes.

Do you prefer cloth diapers or disposable diapers? Do share in the comments section below.

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