When it comes to diapering your child, it can be tough to know whether to go with a cloth diaper vs disposable diapers.
Which is better for your baby?
Which is easier to use?
More cost effective?
What fits better?
In this post, I want to answer all those questions for you, and more!
At this point, I’ve used both cloth and disposable diapers.
For the first fifteen months, my son wore disposable diapers. Then, we switched to cloth diapers, and plan to keep using them until we start potty training at two and a half years old.
While I can see benefits to both types of diapers, I do think one has more benefits than the other.
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Benefits of Cloth Diaper Vs Disposable Diapers
When it comes to cost, cloth diapers are by far the cheapest. Especially if you use them on multiple children.
While the upfront cost for using cloth diapers seems high, it is actually much less than the cost of using disposables over the course of a year.
The exact cost and savings depends on what you typically spend on disposable diapers per month, as well as the cost of the cloth diapers you choose to use.
For us, we didn’t make the switch to cloth diapers until our son was fifteen months old.
Up till then, we had been using disposable diapers on him since he was born. We had it set in our budget to pay $40 per month for disposable diapers and wipes, and we had never gone over that cost before.
We weren’t buying super expensive diapers, but we weren’t getting the absolute cheapest ones, either. (The cheapest ones didn’t quite fit correctly)
Related: 15 Ways To Save Money On Baby Items
What if my child is older but I want to switch to cloth?
If you do want to switch to cloth diapers when your child is older, like ours was, be aware that you will only save money if you switch with enough time to recuperate the initial start up cost before you want to start potty training.
This was a big factor we took into consideration before switching.
In the end, we decided to wait until he turned at least two years old before we tried potty training. After calculating the costs, I determined it would take us approximately seven months to pay ourselves back for the initial start up cost of diapers.
Since we decided to wait till two to potty train, we would save approximately $100 dollars by using cloth diapers with him until then. And of course, we will save even more when we use them with future babies!
If you plan to have your baby or toddler in diapers for more than seven months, odds are you will save enough money to make the switch worthwhile!
Which fits better–cloth diapers or disposables? For this aspect of diapers, it will likely depend a great deal on your child.
All diapers are not created equal when it comes to fit. For our son, some disposables fit better than others. And sometimes it changed depending on how close he was to moving up a size!
For us, I have found that cloth diapers seem to fit our son much better than disposables did.
The beauty of cloth diapers is that many of them are now made to be used from birth all the way up to potty training. Because of this, they are made to be adjusted as your child grows.
Of course, some types or brands of cloth diapers may work better for one baby and not as well for another. We decided to use Nora’s Nursery diapers, and found them to fit our toddler son so well! They definitely fit better than his disposables did.
Related: Best Diapers To Use On Every Baby
Ease of Use
Cloth diaper vs disposable diapers comes in a close tie for ease of use, in my opinion.
Obviously with disposables, all you need to do is change the diaper, wrap up the dirty one, and stick it in the trash. When your diaper pail/trash can gets full, you can take out the trash.
For the longest time, I always thought cloth diapers would be a lot more work. However, that isn’t what I found when I started researching cloth diaper as an alternative, vs disposable diapers. Cloth diapers have come a long way, and are now made to be easier than ever.
When we switched to cloth diapers, we went with easy all-in-one diapers from Nora’s Nursery. They are surprisingly easy to use–almost exactly like using a disposable.
And I’ve actually found that our diaper pail stink has reduced significantly since switching!
This point of cloth diaper vs disposable diaper is pretty straight forward. It is pretty unquestionable that cloth diapers are more eco friendly than disposable diapers.
Rather than thousands of diapers per baby ending up in the landfill, cloth diapers allow you to wash and reuse them. This cuts down on a lot of waste!
It doesn’t take a lot of water or electricity to run the washer a couple extra times during the week, making cloth diapers the definite winner when it comes to being friendly for the environment.
Diaper rash can go either way when it comes to cloth diaper vs disposable diaper, I have found.
While many babies–particularly young babies–get diaper rash while using disposables, your baby can get a rash from cloth diapers as well.
However. The one time my son started getting a little rash from his cloth diaper, it was when he had been in it too long (accidentally, of course).
As long as you change diapers every two to three hours, diaper rash shouldn’t get out of control with cloth diapers.
Some people find that their baby gets less rashes from cloth diapers, due to fewer chemicals coming in contact with sensitive baby skin.
Side Note: Do be aware that you can’t use certain types of diaper rash cream with cloth diapers. Make sure to get one that is safe for cloth diaper use!
As far as comfort goes, cloth diaper vs disposable is in another tie, in my opinion. One the one hand, the material in cloth diapers is definitely softer than disposable diapers. In that way, cloth diapers are more comfortable.
On the other hand, it seems to me that cloth diapers don’t feel quite as dry as disposable diapers do when wet.
If you plan to leave your child in a wet diaper for an extended period of time, disposables may be better for this.
Of course, you should always try to change your baby’s diaper as soon as possible after you know that he/she has wet or soiled it.
If you are prompt in changing diapers, you shouldn’t have any comfort problems with cloth diapers.
Prepping For Potty Training
Lastly, I have found that cloth diapers are best for prepping your baby or toddler for potty training vs disposables. This is because cloth diapers do feel a little bit wetter when your child has peed in it.
In my experience, I have found that my son has become far more aware of his need to pee/poo now that he is using cloth diapers.
In a very short time, he has become prompt to let me know when he has gone so that I can change his diaper for him. He has even begun letting me know before he has gone!
This is great for potty training, since you want your little one to become aware of their need to go so they know when to use the toilet.
If you are at all interested in preppy for potty training, I definitely recommend using these cloth diaper vs a disposable diaper!
Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers–Which Do You Prefer?
What kind of diapers do you prefer to use? Can you think of other differences between cloth and disposable diapers? Share with me in the comments below–I’d love to hear your thoughts!