The Disposables vs. Cloth Question: Making a Diapering Compromise

Dainty Mom’s Going Green” feature highlights people, places and products that inspire and challenge me to live a more green and earth-conscious lifestyle. Today’s Going Green feature is a sponsored post by Baby Leaf, a premier online baby shopping site for Earth-friendly and award-winning baby products.

Bear with Diaper

Did you know that the average baby will use an average of eight thousand diapers before being potty trained? That’s pretty scary, considering that disposables take over 500 years to decompose — at least, that’s what studies only predict, it’s not sure exactly how long they last. This is worrisome, considering diapers make up 3.4 million tons of waste per year. And these are made of harmful materials, such as bleached paper fibers and chemicals such as sodium polyacrylate absorbent gels and dioxin (which may be carcinogenic).

Scary. I didn’t even know this until recently, when I began to use cloth diapers more and more on my son, especially in the last year. And even then, cloth diapering requires a lot of effort, too, and isn’t even 100 percent environmentally safe. I mean, how much energy is used running washing machines, or how many tons of detergent are used by families the world over for washing diapers?

Choosing between disposables and cloth is really, well, choosing between two evils, essentially. Unless you can potty train your child from infancy, then you’re stuck with the diapering choice.

Me? I’ve decided to compromise. And really, that’s OK. At home, we’ve been using cloth diapers on our child ever since he was born. We used everything from the traditional pre-folded diapers and snaps, to the more current two-in-one variety, and most recently, the one-size cloth diapers. These are, by far, the easiest to use, and the most comfortable for my baby.

We still use disposables today, mostly for when we travel or take our son with us when we go out. But since learning about the harmful effects of most disposable diapers, we’ve been taking safer steps in terms of diapering. For instance, we don’t use more than 12 disposables a week, because we cloth diaper at home. That, or we let our son roam “free,” if you know what I mean. Especially these days since our son is potty training, so we’ve taken to un-diapering at home while he learns his cues to use the potty on his own.

We’ve also been buying the safer, greener options for disposables, such as those made from organic, unbleached bamboo or hemp fibers and chemical-free materials. While safer and biodegradable, these types of disposables are very pricey, especially here in the Philippines. We’ve continued to cloth diaper at home, mixing it in with environmentally-safer (albeit more expensive) disposables when we’re not at home.

Today, parents have more options when it comes to greener, more responsible diapering. While I can’t claim to be a 100 percent successful cloth diapering parent, I can admit that I make things work with this compromise. It’s not so much a question about which is safer or more cost-effective, cloth or disposables. Making a compromise between the two is really about me making better and informed choices about the diapering issue, simply because we have more options today, for both types. And I’m comfortable with that.

This post was sponsored by Baby Leaf, a premiere online boutique specializing in Earth-friendly, award-winning mom and baby products. 

Photo: ryan_fung

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