Disposable Diapers are NOT the Devil

When I was pregnant, I was incredibly interested in cloth diapering. I mean, what’s not to love – it’s better for the environment, it’s cheaper over the long run, and there really are some ADORABLE cloth diapers out there. And I mean ADORABLE.

But then, life got in the way. I discovered that cloth diapers are expensive. I read all about how they needed multiple rinse cycles every washing. I read about doing the wash every 2-3 days. I read about how front loaders are a pain in the butt to wash them in. Then my husband sealed the fate on the whole cloth diaper thing – he informed me that the drain for our washer is incredibly jury-rigged so poop and other items would get us into a bit of trouble. And thus, I set aside that dream and have used Pamper’s Swaddlers from day one.

I read endless posts about how cloth diapering is the way to go and I’m happy you can use cloth, I really am.  But please, for the love of god, don’t tell me how endlessly superior cloth diapers are when a lot of your reasons are just not true.

Myth One: Cloth diapering is incredibly cheap. People spend thousands on disposable diapers that they just throw away!

From what I’ve seen, cloth diapering is NOT cheap at all for the first kid. Your average brand name diaper costs $22. Times that by the 20+ diapers you’d need for a newborn to make it two days before doing laundry. That’s $440. Add the special soap that you can’t buy at Wal-mart, doubling inserts for the heavy wetter, the diaper sprayer many spring for, the wet bags, doing a load of laundry every 2-3 days with multiple rinse cycles, and all the other accessories, you’ve spent a LOT of money. Meanwhile, the $28 I spent on my last box of diapers will last Mason a month. Which means if he’s in diapers until age 2, that’s $672 from start to finish. No surprise costs, no frittering away $20 here and there on some new cute pattern. I realize that many people less expensive cloth diapers, skip some accessories, etc, but also many people buy cheaper disposables too. Either way, unless you’re buying the stupid 20 pack for $9.99 at your grocery store, disposable diapers will NEVER cost thousands of dollars a year and I’m sick of hearing this argument. And I fully realize that for those who have 2+ kids, you no longer have that initial $440 expense, thus making cloth diapering MUCH MORE cost effective. I’m not having a second kid, so that’s not part of my reality.

Myth Two: Disposable diapers cause a rash. My baby will never get a rash because we use cloth.

Come on folks, this argument doesn’t make sense either. Rashes are caused by moisture on the skin and/or sensitive skin. My son is 16 months old and has never had a diaper rash despite daily disposable use. I see many cloth mommies on twitter trying to figure out how to wash their diapers to stop a diaper rash from continuing. I see posts cloth users who have switched to using disposables for a few days while a rash clears up. I see posts about trying out a few cloth diapers while a disposable diaper wearing baby’s rash clears up. Diaper rash happens. Disposable users aren’t doomed to them any more than cloth users are exempt from them.

Myth Three: Disposable diapers cause chemical burns and I can’t believe you expose your baby to that.

There HAVE been cases of chemical burns by diapers, I will not deny that. But studies also show that every time one person claims their baby received a chemical burn from a diaper, thousands more people “phone in” claiming their diaper rash that they never thought twice about before was really a “chemical burn” hoping to cash in on a lawsuit. After the big Pampers debacle last year, it was found that a huge majority of the complainants had never even used one of the “new” formula diapers. Most of the hysteria is people crying wolf. In any matter, billions of babies wear disposable diapers every day without any sort of chemical issues.  I sometimes hear of “ammonia burns” in the cloth diapering world, so apparently there are similar risks with either diaper. Either way, if you poll your friends, parents, and relatives, I bet none of them were ever adversely affected by the “evil chemicals” in diapers. We all wore diapers. Diapers are more advanced today than they were 5, 10, or 20 years ago. These things are tested. Stop trying to make me feel like I’m feeding my child to coyotes because I’m putting a disposable diaper on him.

Anyway, I just wanted to put that out there. My 16 month old son wears disposable diapers despite my original intentions and he’s thriving. We’re not poor, covered in chemical burns and diaper rash, and while I think your cloth diapers are super duper adorable, I’m secretly happy I can throw his poop filled diaper in the Diaper Genie after my 10 hour workday instead of worrying about doing yet another load of laundry. I hope we can still be friends.

One Year Ago – 5 Month Photos 

10 thoughts on “Disposable Diapers are NOT the Devil

  1. Shell Post author

    Amen, girl.

    I used disposable and that was what worked best for my family.

    Just another choice that moms end up judging each other on. SIGH.

  2. Tricia @ Allegro Mama Post author

    Coming from a Mom who did cloth diaper, I agree. It was expensive to get started, but we also had to buy ‘sposies for daycare… In the end I wouldn’t change anything, but I totally agree with your perspective.

  3. Sara Post author

    I love Walgreens and CVS brand diapers. They are SO cheap, and since Oliver’s not a HUGE wetter, they work just as well for us.

    I have 5 cloth diapers that I won in a blog giveaway. They are great, and I keep one in the diaper bag for emergencies, and use the others as home-swim diapers!

  4. Miranda Post author

    I’ve used Pampers from day 1 and never had a problem, in fact they’re my loyalty brand. I’m all for the environment and all but since I’m only doing a few loads once a week of laundry, I think I’m doing pretty good ;).

  5. Shawntae Post author

    You have some really good valid points her but some of them I can answer you with.

    You don’t really have to have “special” detergent. You can use good old plain Tide if you really want too. If not the Rock it green is sold at any whole food store and it’s more pricey but you only use about a tablespoon each wash. The poop isn’t going into the washer, you are supposed to spray that off or dump it in the toilet. Yes, it may be expensive up front to buy cloth diapers but in the long run you are saving tons of money. Like shit loads. If you do that math and really think about it then you are saving. You don’t have to buy all those cutesy CD they sell. You can use them with more than one child. We bought our cloth diapers at a used childrens store and they were only 12 a diaper…

    Your baby is fine that he’s wearing disposable. King still wears them but we plan on switching to CD full time. It really does work and you can go about it cheaply if you need to at first then go up from there. 🙂

  6. Mama Post author

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for writing this post. This is what I would have written had I ever had the balls to write it. You rock.
    And by the way, I’ve been using Pampers Baby Dry diapers since Cole was a month old and Cole has never had the chemical burn. In fact, I’ve tried other diapers recently and none add up. I remember being in a boutique that sells cloth diapers and the store owner made me feel like crap telling me that the diapers I had on my newborn caused chemical burns. I researched the hell out of it afterwards and realized exactly what you did – it was all (mostly) BS. Thank you again for your courage in writing this post.

  7. Amanda M. Post author

    I’m glad somebody finally put that out there! I hear so much about cloth diapers and how that is “the way to go.” But honestly, disposable ones are great. I’ve never had problems with diaper rash, chemicals burns or any of that nonsense. And the diapers are in the budget just like groceries. It works for us. I’ve thought about switching to cloth, but every time I bring it up my husband reminds me about doing laundry every other day and that the cost is really the same either way. Sold. Disposables for us, thank you.

  8. Colleen @ Mommy Panda Post author

    Well you know I have to comment on this one!

    1. I’ve wanted to write a post similar to this about breast feeding, but feared the lactivists.
    2. I’ve never understood the cost argument b/c of the points you mentioned.
    3. Actually, for the longest time, The Munchkin DID get rashes when I used sposies, but he never did in cloth. I think it took his butt a while to get used to whatever makes sposies so absorbent.

    We don’t have a washer in the new house yet, and are using sposies. It makes me sad, but I don’t want to spend every day in a laundromat! Sorry, planet!

  9. Liz Post author

    This is an awesome post! Your a winner on my blog and I will email soon. I seen you were also a blog mom so I wanted to check out your site. My son has used disposable diapers, huggies since the day he was born. Has only had a diaper rash once! My friends with cloth diapers their kids have constant rashes. I love the planet in other ways, I am sure mother earth will understand lol

  10. Gracie287 Post author

    Someone showed me a link to this post today, and it’s great! Thanks so much for writing this! I’m happy for moms who like cloth diapers, but I am OVER the guilt trips some of them (probably the vocal minority, but BOY are some of them vocal!) like to lay on anyone who doesn’t cloth diaper!

    I especially agree with the money argument. You probably do save money over the longterm, especially if you have multiple kids (although if you have a 2nd kid when the 1st is still in diapers, don’t you have another pretty big investment the 2nd time around, too?), but the “stats” some people throw around (saving thousands of dollars a year) are beyond ridiculous. They must have found it in a book somewhere is all I can guess. When you add in the cost of a diaper service, in some places there’s no cost savings at all!

    The “chemical burn” thing has gotten way overblown too. My son has never had any chemical reactions, and has had 1 diaper rash in 8 months of disposable diapers. I’ve never seen a study on it, but based on the posts I’ve read and conversations I’ve had with moms who use cloth diapers and moms who use disposables, it’s really hard for me to believe the rate of diaper rash is demonstrably lower in babies who wear cloth diapers. As you note, diaper rash is caused by wetness and exposure to fecal matter, not the kind of diaper the child is wearing!

    Yes, I feel a little guilty about the environment, but I do 2 loads of laundry a week, for the entire family (me, my husband, and my baby), I don’t have to spray down multiple poopy diapers a day, and I’m more than happy with my choice and would never do anything differently!

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