The disposable diaper has been available to consumers since 1942. Since then the design and features of disposable diapers have evolved considerably, and they are the more popular choice over cloth diapers among today's parents. They do, however, come with their fair share of pros and cons, and it comes down to your personal preferences. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages of using disposable diapers that you might consider.
Disposable diapers are a lot more convenient to use than cloth diapers. When they are soiled, they can simply be tossed into the nearest trash bin, which is especially helpful when you are out in a public place. You must carry a soiled cloth diaper with you if you are away from home. At home they will have to sit until you clean them, and the smell can get a bit overwhelming for some people.
Disposable diapers offer the benefit of fewer leaks. It's difficult to predict how much waste your child will put into the diaper, but disposable diapers are filled with very absorbent materials, and there's less chance of a mess. Disposable diapers also wick the moisture away from the baby's skin, but a cloth diaper will hold it against the skin, and you will have to check the diaper more frequently. If you get into the habit of checking a disposable less often, however, this can lead to more diaper rash and is a bit of a disadvantage.
Disposable diapers are not great for the environment. They contribute a staggering amount to landfills. When they are in the landfill, they break down very slowly, sometimes over decades. The filling inside of a disposable diaper also often contains bleaches and chemicals that can then leach into the soil. Arguments have also been made that the amount of laundering and detergents required for cloth diapers is also bad for the environment, and there is still some controversy over this issue.
If you choose to launder your cloth diapers at home yourself, rather than using a diaper service, then going the cloth route is a lot easier on the wallet than purchasing disposable diapers. Disposables must be purchased until the child is potty trained, which can really add up over time. If you are looking for ways to save on baby care, this may be one area where you could make a big difference.