A newborn baby in a family is certainly the biggest joy in life. But changing diapers is probably not as cute as babies are. They have to be changed every two to three hours and from the time your baby is born until become potty trained you have to change from 5,000 to 8,000 diapers. Nowadays there are several diapering options that are available and you can choose the one that is best for the baby and for the family budget. And of course for the planet, though some studies claim that there is no significant difference in the environmental impact between disposables and cloth.
At first, let us see the disposables:
In the 1960s, cloth diapers were the only diapering solution, but times changed and disposable diapers appeared. It was a well welcomed relief of the extra laundry for the new parents and the disposable market boomed. As a result, 95 percent of all babies in America wear disposables rather than cloth. Almost 27.4 billion disposable diapers are used each year in the United States and this represents more than 3.4 million tons of waste dumped into landfills. Disposable diapers make up approximately a half of the garbage by volume for a family with only one baby. And those diapers stay in our landfills for the next 500 years! There is also an other problem with disposable diapers. This is the number of trees that are used to make them. 250.000 trees are cut down every year to make disposable diapers (for American market). Furthermore, all those diapers filled with untreated body excrement are brought to landfills, contributing to groundwater contamination and attracting insects and pests that breed diseases. Finally, there are researches that say that disposable diapers raise the temperature of a baby’s genitals. This increased temperature could be particularly harmful to baby boys, leading to adult infertility.
As a substitution, green disposables can be used. They are disposable eco-diapers that are easy-to-use diapers, just like disposables, but are made without the use of dyes, fragrances, chlorine-bleached papers, and other toxic chemicals. A huge number of these eco-diapers are made from wood pulp harvested from sustainably managed forests.
Even a better solution is to use cloth diapers. Cloth diapers have changed since the days when plastic pants and safety pins were used. They have become more convenient and can be found in a huge array of colors, shapes, and styles. Instead of traditional plastic pants that were used to give cloth diapers their waterproof covering, water-resistant covers made of merino wool, nylon, or polyurethane laminate are used now. We can choose among several different styles of cloth diapers:
1. Flat diapers are the original, old-fashioned option. They are found as one-layer diapers, generally made out of 100 percent cotton gauze.
2. Prefolds are similar to flats, but have multiple layers in the middle of the diaper, thus the absorption is much better. They appear in a variety of sizes and thicknesses. Like flats, prefolds must be fastened with safety pins and covered with a waterproof pants
3. AIOs – All-in-Ones. As it is implied by the name, all-in-one diapers combine the absorbent cloth diaper with the waterproof cover and make a product that is easy to use. The advantage of this kind of diapers is that they are less time-consuming. However, they take a longer time to dry than other types of cloth diapers.
3. Pocket diapers are cloth diapers that have a pocket in the back that can be stuffed with any absorbent layer. This type of diapers is easy to use and change. Also, you can control the thickness of the absorbent layer that is inserted in the pocket.