Diapers, who knew there were so many choices? For new parents, diapers are a fact of life. If you are a new or soon-to-be parent, the choices can be overwhelming - disposable diapers, cloth diapers, hybrid, diapers - which should you choose?
Different Diapers - Different Priorities
Once upon a time, there were only cloth diapers. You washed diapers, dried diapers, folded diapers ad nauseum - because you didn't have a choice. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, you have many choices today. Which diaper you choose depends on your needs, your preferences and what's most important to you.
Yes, there are still people today who use cloth diapers. Many cloth diaper fans choose them because they are kinder to their baby's bottom as well as being more environmentally friendly. It's true that cloth is better for your baby's bottom, but only if you change the diapers frequently and on a regular basis. Leave your baby too long in a wet or soiled soggy diaper and you'll soon have killer diaper rash on your hands - not very good for baby.
Cloth diapers are also not as environmentally friendly as they first appear to be. It's true that they don't contribute to the landfill problems, but they consume more energy and more chemicals go into the water table by washing them.
These diapers have obvious benefits. Simply get one out of the pack, put it on the baby, and throw it away when dirty. You can't get much more convenient than that. If convenience is your number one priority, disposables are the way to go. If, however, you're concerned about the environment, you might want to consider. An estimated 21 million disposable diapers end up in the landfill every year in the United States.
Hybrid - sounds like a car, doesn't it? Like hybrid cars that use two different energy sources, hybrid diapers combine two different diaper types. Hybrid diapers use a thin liner inside a cloth diaper. When your baby soils the liner, you simply remove it, flush it, and add another liner to the cloth diaper.
You still have to wash the cloth diaper when it gets dirty, but by using a liner, it doesn't get dirty near as often as when using just the cloth diaper alone. Manufacturers make these liners using natural ingredients without chlorine bleaching so they're easy on your baby's skin.
Choosing the Right Diaper
Choosing the right diaper is important for both you and your baby. Consider your lifestyle and how much time you have to devote to diapers. If you don't have time to wash dirty diapers, go with disposable or hybrid diapers.
Consider cost and environmental impact. All diapers are expensive. With cloth diapers, your cost is a one-time, upfront cost. Disposable will cost you every week for at least two years. Disposables pollute the landfills and cloth diapers don't, but you still need to take into consideration the energy usage and chemicals involved in washing cloth diapers. Hybrids may be the best of both worlds, giving you a happy compromise between being environmentally friendly, cost and time conscious.
No matter how you look at it, as a new or soon-to-be parent, you can expect to spend a lot of time and money on diapers. Consider all of these features and choose the diaper that's best for your baby, you, your budget, and the environment.