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The Age Old Argument Cloth vs Disposables

Updated: Jun 10, 2022

bABy Bunnykins

Copyright © Baby Bunnykins, , 2023.

All rights reserved.

Now to start this off I'm going to declare I am an avid supporter of cloth for 2 reasons and the first one is because of my age.

Terry Nappy my favorite fold Chinese fold

I love cloth because as a baby that was what I was put into and that is what I was attracted to when I became an AB around the age of 11.

How did that happen? Well, I remember as if it was yesterday. One day I had 1/2 a day off from school to go to the dentist. In the UK when I was a kid you would get free checkups via the school. Anyway, on the way home, I was walking along Park street in Kingston upon Thames when I passed a house with a baby's pram parked outside. I stopped to look at it, I don't know why, but then I spied a terry nappy sitting in a tray under the pram.

Now don't ask me what had me run in and take it but that is what I did. I ran in and grabbed the nappy, stuck it inside my school blazer and ran.

I ran down an ally and went into a vacant piece of land we called the jungle and tried putting on the nappy. Now imagine, I had no idea to put on a nappy as there were no babies in my immediate family, so after trying I gave up stuck it back in my jacket and went home.

When I got home I hid the nappy in a box of other blankets, thinking no one would find it and went about my business of homework etc. Later that evening when my father came home, he went straight to the box I had hidden the nappy in and pulled it out. I guess my mother had found it and told him. He lectured me and then tanned my backside with a belt and told me to return it. I didn't I just walked down the street and hid it in my secret place and returned home.

Pros and cons of Disposables

Cons of disposables.

One of the many problems of using disposable nappies is the chemical mix. They contain many types of chemicals that will present health risks to the baby. Very scary, right?

When you look at each layer of a disposable diaper you see they each layer serves a different purpose, with the inner layer whisking the wetness away and keeping your baby's bottom dry, the middle layer absorbs the urine while the outer layer contains as it is waterproof. So each layer of the disposable contains its own group of chemicals to complete its job.

For example, the absorbency layer in disposables is made from sodium polyacrylate, a super-absorbent polymer which was removed from tampons because it caused toxic shock syndrome. Furthermore, disposable nappies can release volatile organic compounds into the air as they are worn. This has been shown to cause asthmatic conditions. Bleached nappies contain trace amounts of dioxins which are highly damaging to the immune system and reproductive system. Dioxins can also interfere with hormones and cause cancer.

Many other chemicals are found in nappies. Perfumes and dyes, for example, have been shown to cause allergic reactions in babies.

The impact of disposables on the environment

A frightening statistic. In Australia, parents use 5.6 million every day. This works out at 3 billion nappies a year going into landfills. Who is to blame for this? The companies that make them. Many parents choose cloth over disposables just for this reason alone. It takes at least 500 years for a disposable to dissolve back into the environment but is leaching chemicals into the soil making it unusable.

There is another problem from using disposables as most are just thrown away soiled and not flushed down the toilet to be treated correctly. That means billions of dirty nappies in landfills that could potentially cause disease.

Then we have to take into account the manufacture of the disposable nappy. Manufacturing disposable nappies require a huge volume of pulp, paper, plastic, water and energy, which waste natural resources. In fact, manufacturing disposable nappies uses twice as much water, three times more energy, and 20 times more raw materials than reusable nappies.

They cost far much more in the long term

We all know the initial cost of cloth nappies are expensive and one disposable cost a fraction of the price, but over 2.5 years that you have your baby in nappies, the disposables turn out much, much more expensive and that is even when you add detergent, water and electricity to the cost of cleaning cloth nappies.

We can see when we add up the cost the difference between disposable and cloth. Disposables cost anywhere between $2500 and $3500 over the lifetime of a baby approx. 2.5 years while in comparison using cloth can cost between $500 and $1100 over the same time period. You can verify for yourself online. Pros of disposables.

The upside to disposables is that they are convenient, they are practical and easy to use and nappy change is much quicker, this makes it easy for anyone to change the nappy. Because of this, it makes them the nappy of choice for many such as daycare centres, daddies and sitters. They are easy to dispose of once finished although they are difficult to really dispose of.

They are compact that they are easy to carry and it is possible to fit more than one in a nappy bag and once used can be put into a waste bin.

Disposable nappies tend to hold more liquid than cloth nappies. This is because of the superabsorbent polymer in the absorbent layer, a chemical that binds with water molecules. If you’ve used disposable nappies, you may have noticed the squishy feeling of a wet nappy. When the super-absorbent polymer binds with liquid it creates a jelly-like substance. This keeps liquid from squishing out of