Cloth Diapers vs. Disposable Diapers



The question of disposable vs. cloth or reusable diapers can be controversial.  Each type has its own benefits and downsides.  Among the benefits of disposable diapers are:

  • Disposable diapers are convenient and can be purchased readily at most retail outlets.
  • Disposable diapers are easier to dispose of when traveling.
  • Disposable diapers are more absorbent.
  • Disposable diapers do not leak as much as cloth diapers.
  • Disposable diapers have ready-made built-in straps.
  • Disposable diapers come in sizes that are appropriate to baby’s age and weight.
  • Many day-care facilities require the use of disposable diapers.

Cloth Diapers have some benefits, too. They can include:

  • Cloth diapers can be less expensive than disposable diapers.
  • It is easier to tell when baby is wet using a cloth diaper.
  • Some types of cloth diapers can use Velcro straps instead of pins.
  • Cloth diapers do not have the dyes and chemicals present in disposable diapers.

There is debate on whether cloth diapers are more environmentally sound than disposables.  On the one hand, disposables certainly take up a lot of space in landfills.  On the other hand, cloth diapers use a great deal of water and electricity.

There is also debate over which type causes more diaper rash.  Advocates of disposables claim that, especially with super-absorbent diapers, baby’s bottom is almost never wet.  Advocates of cloth diapers argue that these diapers lead to less changing, and therefore more rashes.  They also suggest that the elastic will cause chafing.

Allergies are another concern.  Some children may be allergic to materials in disposable diapers;  often, switching brands will resolve this problem.  Some children may be allergic to the detergents and fabric softeners used with cloth diapers;  switching to allergy- and dye-free detergents and fabric softeners may solve this problem.

Baby sleep can be an issue for some babies when thinking about diapers. Cloth diapers let a baby know when he’s wet much quicker, which can mean more waking during the night. On the other hand, as has been mentioned, disposables may possibly cause more diaper rash because your baby is wet longer.

When deciding on whether to use cloth diapers, it is important to sift through the rhetoric.  Those who are militant advocates of cloth diapering sometimes claim that there are wild conspiracies orchestrated by diaper companies.  Those who are militant advocates of disposables often don’t listen to the genuine concerns of the other side.  Ultimately, this is your decision, and you have to decide what is best for both you and for your baby.

Are There Risks With Co-sleeping?

Mom and Baby Sleeping

Cosleeping is sharing a bed with your infant. While cosleeping is widely practiced in many Eastern cultures, Western societies generally consider sharing a bed in this manner as questionable. However, when practiced properly, cosleeping is safer than leaving your infant alone a crib. So, which way should you go? Ultimately, the choice is yours, but there are some issues to consider.

Why Parents Choose Cosleeping

Supporters of cosleeping, as well as a number of studies, believe cosleeping:

  • Makes night time breastfeeding more convenient.
  • Allows you to get your sleep cycle to coincide with your baby’s.
  • During your child’s first few months, it helps your baby fall asleep easier.
  • Increases your child’s sleeping time at night. They wake up more often and take less feeding at a time. This increases you and your child’s sleep throughout the night.
  • Helps you retain closeness with your infant if you’re away from them in the daytime.

Risks of Cosleeping

Western countries, particularly the United States, frown on cosleeping. In fact, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends against such practices. Although they claim sharing a room is perfectly fine, sleeping in the same bed poses too many risks, including:

  • Suffocation can happen in your bed when your baby gets trapped between various parts of your bed and the wall.
  • Suffocation resulting from your baby being placed on his or her belly. This can happen on any sort of mattress or waterbed, as well as pillows and blankets.
  • Strangulation when your infant’s body passes through an area that traps your baby’s head.

Making Cosleeping Safe

Despite the risks, supporters argue that cosleeping is not only healthy for the children, but can also be done safely. Some precautions are:

  • To reduce the risk of SIDS, always lay your baby on his or her back.
  • Never cover your baby’s head.
  • Making sure your bed parts, including the headboard, footboard and mattress, fit together properly.
  • Instead of using comforters or quilts, try switching to sleepers.
  • Moving your bed away from curtains or blinds. Your child could be strangled by the cords if they’re too close to the bed.

Whether you’re for or against cosleeping, the fact of the matter is there are risks and rewards on both sides. If you’re in the United States where cosleeping isn’t recommended, it may be best to keep the practice quiet. Whichever path you choose, always take precaution to ensure your child’s health and safety.

Putting Your Toddler to Bed

Sleeping Soundly

Toddlers typically have an over-abundance of energy that allows them to be constantly on the move. During the times they’re tired, this is often still the case to a much higher degree. In those times, they tend to bounce of the walls even more.

Some children are naturally good sleepers, while others aren’t. Fortunately, you can train your little one to go to sleep by on his own, and eventually, to sleep through the night. Here’s some tips:

  1. Start early. Toddlers that have been typically active don’t just stop and be expected to go to sleep. If you’re in the middle of the bedtime routine when dad gets home, he’ll want to avoid riling them up. Instead, he should read the kids a story, instead of playing an adrenaline filled game.
  2. Follow a nightly routine. A common routine many parents follow is dinner, bath then turn the lights out as you tell a story or sing a song to your child. Try to keep your child’s routine simple. You want to project an impression of predictability, safety and calm. Part of this routine includes setting a regular bedtime.
  3. Set up a cozy bed. To assure discomfort doesn’t wake your toddler, make sure her sleeping area is quiet, dark and warm. Achieving this is as simple as turning down the television, closing the window blinds and putting pajamas on your child. You’ll also want to make sure she’s used the bathroom right before putting her down.
  4. Bedtime snacks. Something predictable, calming and sugar free, is the best choice. Before brushing their teeth, allow your child to eat in their room as you read them a story. You can efficiently complete the bedtime ritual this way.
  5. Lay with them. This feeling of comfort helps your little one sleep easier. If you’re nursing or rock your child to sleep, and he wakes up, you’ll need to do this again for your little one to fall back asleep. To help him fall asleep in his bed himself, put him in bed when he’s awake.

Teaching your child to sleep on his own is a process that is learned over time. You shouldn’t expect your toddler to take to the routine immediately. Over time, however, following the rules you set forth will have your little one in bed and sleeping like a baby in no time.


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Top 5 Must-Have Baby Travel Items

Baby car seat


Traveling with an infant can be intimidating. Many new parents, afraid of what exactly is involved in the process, try to stick close to home for the first six months or maybe even a year of their baby’s life. While long-distance travel can be frustrating with a baby at times, if you have the right equipment there’s no reason you can’t go where you want to go.

Here are 5 items you must have when traveling with your infant:

  1. Medical necessities. Anytime you travel with baby, you want to make sure and have a thermometer to take your babies temperature, and you want to make sure you have some acetaminophen in case of a fever or pain.
  2. Plenty of bibs and burping cloths. While there may be laundry facilities at your destination, chances are pretty good you’re not going to be able to wash these items on the way. Make sure you have extras so that you don’t run out while traveling.
  3. An appropriate car seat. You should already have one of these in your car, if baby travels with you anywhere at all. Make sure your car seat is appropriate to your baby’s size and age, and make sure that your car seat isn’t on any recall lists.
  4. An extra diaper bag. If you’re going to visit family or friends, you never know when you or your partner might be out with baby. Keep one in your car, and keep one inside the hotel room or house where you are staying.
  5. Toys. Your infant is likely to get bored with travel as you are. Make sure and bring some of baby’s toys, and rotate between them as you travel. If your child is teething, make sure you bring teething rings and other appropriate teething toys.

Traveling with your baby can either be a pleasurable experience, or can be a bit of a nightmare. If you’re lucky, your baby is the kind that likes to sleep on a car ride. If not, make sure to provide plenty of distractions, and stop from time to time to take an extended break so that baby can rest.

Cloth or Disposables: Which Diapers are Best for Your Family?

DDNB stack

For thousands of years, parents wrapped their little ones in cloth diapers. Disposables didn’t even come on the scene until we figured out how to make plastic and elastic. While disposable diapers have a distinct advantage in the convenience area, cloth diapers are believed to be friendlier for the environment.

Let’s take a look at how cloth diapers stack up against disposable diapers in several different areas:

  1. Health. The most important health aspect of diapering isn’t the material used, but rather how often you change the diaper. It needs to be changed every time your baby’s diaper is full. While this does happen more often with cloth diapers, as long as they’re changed they’re not unhealthier. Soiled diapers lead to diaper rash, which is unpleasant for your little one.
  2. Comfort. How comfortable diapers are varies from one baby to the next. Some babies seem to prefer the softness of a cloth diaper. However, disposable diapers are more breathable, which some babies prefer. In some cases, the absorbing and moisturizing chemicals in disposables can irritate baby’s skin.
  3. Convenience. Cloth diapers today aren’t nearly as inconvenient as they used to be. Today’s cloth diapers have snap or Velcro closures and are shaped to fit your baby. They have waterproof leg and waist bands, and even removable linings. You do need to change cloth diapers more often, though, because they aren’t as absorbent as disposable diapers.
  4. Cost. Disposables and cloth diapers cost about the same, if you use cloth diaper laundering services. However, if you launder the diapers yourself you’ll pay around half the cost. If you have other children and can reuse your cloth diapers, you’ll save even more.
  5. Environmental factors. Disposables use more resources to create and take up more space in landfills. However, the process of washing cloth diapers can use a significant amount of clean water and energy. The true net environmental benefit to cloth diapers is disputed; it’s possible cloth and disposable use about the same (albeit different) resources.

Whether to use cloth or disposables, really, comes down to your baby’s personal preference as well as your own. There are potential cost savings for cloth if you launder them yourselves, but disposables mean less frequent changing.