Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cloth Vs. Disposable

I wrote this paper for my English class. I thought I would share it here for everyone to read.

Cloth Diapers Vs. Disposable Diapers

When a couple finds out that they are going to be parents, one baby item that is always needed is diapers. Soon-to-be parents start buying diapers from the beginning in order to have a stockpile since diapers are needed so often and so many are needed. Most parents go to the store and start buying disposable diapers, because they think that disposable diapers are their only choice. When parents hear the phrase “cloth diapers” they automatically assume that it is more expensive, more trouble, and not as absorbent as a disposable. Cloth diapers have changed since twenty years ago. Gone are the days of pins and wet clothes. While disposable diapers are what parents usually use, cloth diapers are just as convenient.

One of the first things parents think about is cost. They know that diapers are expensive and they are needed all of the time so there is no break in buying diapers. Many parents work buying diapers into a monthly budget and will allot a certain amount of money a month towards diapers. They think that disposable diapers are cheaper because the money will buy more. A box of disposable diapers is $40.00 for 100 diapers. Those diapers last two weeks before more have to be bought. A family with one baby can spend at least $80 a month on disposable diapers. If a family is struggling to make ends meet, that money towards diapers can mean the difference between having enough money to buy food or skimping on food for the month. As a whole, Americans spend $7 billion a year on diapers alone. That $7 billion can make a huge difference to a lot of families if it was saved every month instead of spent on diapers.

Cloth diapers are more expensive in the beginning but once a parent has enough, more do not have to be bought. Cloth diapers are a one-time investment and that is it. Once a parent has their stash of cloth diapers, there will not be any more late night store runs because the baby used up all of the diapers. One cloth diaper ranges from $10-$20 but that diaper can be washed and reused over and over again until the child is potty trained. Cloth diapering mamas recommend having no less than 8 cloth diapers for one day. Obviously a parent would have to do laundry, but having a baby means doing laundry so washing diapers is not much more work. Parents think that by washing another load of laundry, the electric and water bill will increase but in reality it only goes up a few cents a month.

Another thing parents like about disposable diapers is that they are easy to use. The caregiver takes the diaper out of the package, unfolds the diaper and places the diaper on the baby. The diaper is on, sometimes leak-proof, and the baby can get down and move around. After the diaper is soiled, the caregiver removes the diaper and throws the diaper away in the diaper pail and the process repeats. During a diaper change, sometimes diaper cream is used to heal or prevent a rash but the process is the same. The soiled diaper is removed, thrown away, and new diaper is put on with some diaper cream. The diaper changing process is done through out the day and even over night.

What most parents do not realize is that cloth diapers are just as convenient as disposable diapers. Most cloth diapers now are made with Velcro or snaps to secure the diaper on the child. Most cloth diapers are one diaper with no extra pieces needed for diaper changes. A parent takes the cloth diaper, unfolds it, puts it on the baby, and the baby can get down and run around. Leaks and messes are very uncommon with cloth diapers because they are more secure and fit the baby better. If the thought of messing with dirty diapers makes a parent shy away, there are disposable liners that can be thrown away or flushed. What most parents do not know is that with cloth diapers, very rarely is diaper cream needed because rashes are uncommon. When mixed with urine or feces, the perfumes in disposables cause bacteria to grow and can cause diaper rashes. In cloth diapers, there are no perfumes, chemicals, or additives so nothing is against the baby’s skin to cause a rash. Moisture is kept away from the baby’s skin better than in a disposable so it is more comfortable for a baby. The inside of a cloth diaper is mainly fleece or micro-fleece so it is extra soft to keep baby clean and dry.

Lastly, when parents decide between disposable diapers there is not much choice between colors and patterns. A parent gets a choice of Disney, Barney, or Blue’s Clues depending on which brand they decide to use. Most disposable diapers are white, gender neutral with a character on the front and back of the diaper. They are boring, dull and plain, but that is what is offered so a parent has to deal with it. If a certain brand does not work on your child, you have to buy another brand that is just as dull and boring. The outsides of diapers are not soft and often cause irritation to delicate baby skin.

What parents do not know is that there is an option in cloth diapers. A parent can get any color and any pattern of the rainbow on their diapers. There is a choice, and diapers can be bought to coordinate with outfits, seasons, likes, characters and softness. Most diapers are cotton outside which is soft and does not irritate the baby’s skin. Other diapers can be fleece, which is just as soft as cotton, and comes in more prints and patterns. Some diapers are mink, which feels like a blanket, and can help to keep the baby warm in the cold winter months. Cloth diapers can be custom made to fit what the parent likes, and to fit what the parent wants when it comes to a diaper. Some diapers can represent a favorite sports team, a favorite character or a favorite print. As babies turn into toddlers, diapers can be fun for them as well, especially if a diaper has their favorite cartoon character on it. With cloth diapers, there will be no more boring, dull, gender-neutral prints. Cloth diapers are fashionable and fun.

Disposable diapers have been the norm for years. Parents automatically grab disposable because they are “easier” and parents do not know better to change. Cloth diapers are just as easy, they are cheaper, and they are more fashionable than disposable diapers. Cloth diapers are also easier on sensitive baby skin than disposables, which cause rashes and irritations. As more parents become educated about cloth diapers, cloth diapers will become more popular. Eventually, cloth diapers will become a norm instead of a rarity.