The use of reusable cloth diapers is gaining popularity nowadays due to the efforts of several green parenting organizations and movements. However, there are still moms who prefer to use the disposable ones due to the following reasons: they're more hygienic, they keep the baby drier due to they're added super-absorbent features, and they're less prone to spills and leakage. Moms also find it inconvenient to change cloth diapers frequently, as cloth nappies are supposed to be changed immediately upon soiling.
One of the factors that will help you decide between reusable and disposable cloth diapers is both their impact on the environment. A quick online search would show you several research studies about the eco-friendliness of reusable diapers over the disposable ones. Disposable diapers, studies say, remain in landfills for almost a century while on the other hand, it only take six months for cloth diapers to deteriorate.
However, as stated in Wikipedia, there have been studies that support the idea that both reusable and disposable diapers have the same effect on the environment based on raw material and energy usage, water and air pollution emissions, and waste management issues.
As of 2010, cloth diapers can be bought by the dozen for $19.50. A newborn usually changes nappies around 70 times a week and around 10 cloth diapers are needed for a day's use. This will cost you $16.50 per day and this can be used week after week. Laundering costs usually vary depending on the water supply, electricity rate and the sources employed to heat the water. In a month, average monthly laundering cost is $22.96.
On the other hand, disposable diapers cost $9.99 for pack of 40. The household uses 10 diapers a day, so approximately 70 diapers a week are needed--an equal upfront cost at $17.50 per week or $70 per month.
According to a Mayo Clinic report, it doesn't really matter whether you're using cloth or disposable diapers when it comes to preventing diaper rash. Diaper rash is common in newborns and babies up to the first 15 months. You have to keep in mind that the following factors are the causes of diaper rash in babies: chaffing from tight fitting diapers, yeast or bacterial infection, introduction of new products such as baby wipes, introduction of new foods into the baby's diet and skin irritation from urine or stools.
Aside from the diaper rash issues, there are other health matters that you might want to consider. The absorbent gel in disposable diapers are said to be the same substances that were associated with the Toxic Shock Syndrome used in tampons. It also causes extreme dryness on the baby's genitals and the surrounding area. It has been shown that disposable diapers have significant levels of TBT, which contaminates plastics during manufacture.
Potty Training Issues
Reusable cloth diapers are advantageous when it comes to potty training. When using disposable diapers, children tend not to realize that they are already wet due to the diaper's ability to wick moisture away. Because of this, it is believed that disposable diaper-wearing children are more behind in toilet training than cloth diaper-wearing children.