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BalloonPants

Cloth Diapers vs Disposable Diapers

36 posts in this topic

As one mother I spoke to worded it, "you can't stay neutral, you've got to pick a side". LOL!

Nonetheless, am curious as to why we chose what we did in the way of diapers. I recognize the fact that a few here raised children in the days before disposables, however, that still leaves a good number of us (like myself) who were diapering long after the introduction of disposable diapers.

I spent not a second in contemplating, debating, or waffling over what kind of diapers I would use if and when the day ever arrived, and it did, 5 times over. Had you asked me years prior to when I became pregnant with my first, what kind of diapers I would use, I would have answered, cloth.

Growing-up in a home with baby siblings, I changed plenty of diapers (all cloth), and I changed plenty more babysitting around the neighbourhood in my younger years (cloth diapers, too), so cloth was all I ever knew and was familiar with, so choosing cloth diapers for my own children just seemed right.

How about you?

  • What made you choose what you did when it came to diapers?
  • Did economics play a role in you choosing cloth diapers?
  • Or, did you choose disposable diapers over cloth diapers, because disposables were more convenient? Easier, less fuss?
  • Maybe you couldn't use cloth diapers, because you didn't have a washing machine at your disposal, or a proper place to dry diapers?
  • Maybe cloth diapers were the only choice for you, because you couldn't afford to use disposables?
  • How about baby siblings? What did your baby siblings wear? For instance, if your baby siblings wore cloth diapers, did that play a role in you deciding to use cloth diapers?
  • How about diaper-changing experience before you became a mom? Did you change diapers before having children of your own? If so, what kind of diapers did you change, and did that influence your decision when choosing diapers for your own family?
  • Is there anyone else here (like me) who was just so hopelessly old-fashioned, where cloth diapers were the only way? i.e. Cloth, and nothing but cloth?
  • How about friends and family? What did they use, and did their choice in diapers sway you to follow-suit and use the same?
  • How about tradition? You know, the fact that you wore cloth diapers, your children were going to wear them, too?
  • Maybe skin woes plagued your household? Tender, sensitive bottoms?
  • How about the multiple factor? Twins, triplets, quads? Or maybe you had several children (back-to-back), where you had more than one child in diapers at once? Hence the use of cloth diapers for savings.
  • What about outside influences (pressure tactics) from family/other sources? i.e. A high-pressure MIL swaying you to use one type of diaper over another? Maybe your own mother insistent on you using, say, cloth diapers, otherwise she'd refuse to babysit (sort of thing)?
  • How about babysitting? Many of us are old enough where we would have changed cloth diapers as sitters, so did that play a part in you diapering your own kids in the same?

Whatever your story, come share.

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Hnnn... diapers seem to be very much on your mind, these days, BP! :) I guess that's b/c of your current babysitting gig?

Anyhow, frankly, I used disposables w/ my children b/c they were easier - didn't have to wash diapers or bother w/ safety pins, etc. (Fortunately, neither of my DDs were allergic to them, so I didn't have that issue.)

When I was growing up, cloth diapers were the only option, as far as I know. But DM wasn't into washing them either, so when she and DF were raising my younger cousin, she used a diaper service. Said it was "so much easier and nicer that way." (As the youngest of my sibs, IDK if there was such a thing available when we were babies though, so she might have had to launder them, herself, back then.) That's what I would have done if disposables hadn't come on the scene. But I think I got my attitude about it from her - "easier and nicer."

This is definitely a debate topic - I've heard some moms arguing about it hotly. But, personally, I don't judge or concern myself w/ what kinds of diapers other parents use. Not my circus, etc.

ETA: If YDD had opted for cloth diapers, it would have affected me b/c I was her kids "nanny granny." But I would have respected her choice. (Still wouldn't have washed them, however. Wouldn't have first started doing that in my late 50s, LOL! Either she would have had to use a service or launder them herself.)

Edited by RoseRed135
typo
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LOL, RR! I believe you have a point in mentioning the babysitting I've been doing as of late. Definitely makes one think about the past, which for me helps inspire conversation topics such as this. :)

I absolutely understand the convenience of using disposables, which eliminates a lot of fuss associated with cloth diapers, particularly old-fashioned cloth diapers, though diapering my kids the old-school way, I never viewed it as being a fuss. It was just something us older moms did to be thrifty. Too, being raised in diapers myself, I always carried with me the idea, if I wore the old, my kids are going to wear the old. Ha! And that's, that, sort of thing.

I definitely believe we're influenced by our upbringing when it comes to things such as this. We watch - we do.

I don't know, tossing everything off to the side for a moment as far as having to use cloth diapers when my kids were little, due to the tight household budget we were under, I often wonder, had my siblings worn disposables, would that have changed my approach as to what kind of diapers I used, had our household budget allowed for disposables. Maybe, maybe not.

Like yourself, RR, I, too, avoid judging anyone on this sort of thing, but it's always interesting venturing into the field of "why".

So true about dealing with cloth diapers in your 50's and beyond. I remember when my oldest daughter was diapering her children the old-school way, and me having to dunk diapers in the toilet again like I did when raising my own children. Believe me, the thought of using disposables did cross my mind a few times. Grandma could have easily kept a supply of Pampers on-hand.

Thanks for joining me on this chat, RR.

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  • Did economics play a role in you choosing cloth diapers? Absolutely!
  • Or, did you choose disposable diapers over cloth diapers, because disposables were more convenient? Easier, less fuss? No disposables (ever).
  • Maybe you couldn't use cloth diapers, because you didn't have a washing machine at your disposal, or a proper place to dry diapers? Nope, used cloth, had my own washing machine. dryer, and clothesline.
  • Maybe cloth diapers were the only choice for you, because you couldn't afford to use disposables? True
  • How about baby siblings? What did your baby siblings wear? For instance, if your baby siblings wore cloth diapers, did that play a role in you deciding to use cloth diapers? Baby sibs wore cloth diapers and rubber pants, and yes, to a degree, growing up changing them made using cloth diapers on my own children easier for me, because I was familiar with the drill. 
  • How about diaper-changing experience before you became a mom? Did you change diapers before having children of your own? If so, what kind of diapers did you change, and did that influence your decision when choosing diapers for your own family? Yuppers, changed heaps of diapers before I had kids... both cloth diapers and disposables, and yes, it definitely influenced my choice in diapers. I changed cloth diapers the most, so choosing cloth was automatic for me.  
  • Is there anyone else here (like me) who was just so hopelessly old-fashioned, where cloth diapers were the only way? i.e. Cloth, and nothing but cloth? You already know my answer on this! LOL!
  • How about friends and family? What did they use, and did their choice in diapers sway you to follow-suit and use the same? Family and friends (mostly) used cloth diapers, but I was my own boss
  • How about tradition? You know, the fact that you wore cloth diapers, your children were going to wear them, too? To a large degree, yes. Can't argue with this.
  • Maybe skin woes plagued your household? Tender, sensitive bottoms? No skin conditions in our house other than an occasional diaper rash. 
  • How about the multiple factor? Twins, triplets, quads? Or maybe you had several children (back-to-back), where you had more than one child in diapers at once? Hence the use of cloth diapers for savings. No multiples, but usually two in diapers at a time, so cloth diapers worked well.
  • What about outside influences (pressure tactics) from family/other sources? i.e. A high-pressure MIL swaying you to use one type of diaper over another? Maybe your own mother insistent on you using, say, cloth diapers, otherwise she'd refuse to babysit (sort of thing)? LOL! My mom was pro-cloth diapers, but I blazed my own trail and didn't care what other thought.
  • How about babysitting? Many of us are old enough where we would have changed cloth diapers as sitters, so did that play a part in you diapering your own kids in the same? Indeed, cloth diapers are the diapers I changed 99% of the time when I used to babysit, so yes, I believe that played somewhat of a part in my decision to use cloth, however, I believe my own mom using cloth, sealed the deal for me as far as me using cloth diapers went.

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Want to add, this topic is open to any and all. Aunts, extended family, those without kids...

Always open to hearing from anyone and everyone on the topics I start. The more - the merrier! :) 

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I used disposables on my son but when my daughter came along I used cloth. I had just bought a washer and dryer so I knew I could wash them and save money.

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Having

2 minutes ago, homeygfunk said:

I used disposables on my son but when my daughter came along I used cloth. I had just bought a washer and dryer so I knew I could wash them and save money.

Having a washing machine and dryer (I think) is the bomb for mothers wanting to use cloth diapers. I remember going with my mom to the Laundromat for a number of years when I was really young, because we didn't have a washing machine at home.

Aside from the expense, washing diapers at a Laundromat would (for surely) make for an inconvenient process.

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At the moment, diaper days are over- No immediate family members have a need -- but hey, who knows as we age .. although I imagine cloth may not be anyones first choice .. ? I guess it "depends" .. Ba-dum-thump-ch .. :)

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1 minute ago, Komorebi said:

At the moment, diaper days are over- No immediate family members have a need -- but hey, who knows as we age .. although I imagine cloth may not be anyones first choice .. ? I guess it "depends" .. Ba-dum-thump-ch .. :)

ROFLOL! Silly you! :) 

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3 hours ago, BalloonPants said:
  • Did economics play a role in you choosing cloth diapers? Absolutely!
  • Or, did you choose disposable diapers over cloth diapers, because disposables were more convenient? Easier, less fuss? No disposables (ever).
  • Maybe you couldn't use cloth diapers, because you didn't have a washing machine at your disposal, or a proper place to dry diapers? Nope, used cloth, had my own washing machine. dryer, and clothesline.
  • Maybe cloth diapers were the only choice for you, because you couldn't afford to use disposables? True
  • How about baby siblings? What did your baby siblings wear? For instance, if your baby siblings wore cloth diapers, did that play a role in you deciding to use cloth diapers? Baby sibs wore cloth diapers and rubber pants, and yes, to a degree, growing up changing them made using cloth diapers on my own children easier for me, because I was familiar with the drill. 
  • How about diaper-changing experience before you became a mom? Did you change diapers before having children of your own? If so, what kind of diapers did you change, and did that influence your decision when choosing diapers for your own family? Yuppers, changed heaps of diapers before I had kids... both cloth diapers and disposables, and yes, it definitely influenced my choice in diapers. I changed cloth diapers the most, so choosing cloth was automatic for me.  
  • Is there anyone else here (like me) who was just so hopelessly old-fashioned, where cloth diapers were the only way? i.e. Cloth, and nothing but cloth? You already know my answer on this! LOL!
  • How about friends and family? What did they use, and did their choice in diapers sway you to follow-suit and use the same? Family and friends (mostly) used cloth diapers, but I was my own boss
  • How about tradition? You know, the fact that you wore cloth diapers, your children were going to wear them, too? To a large degree, yes. Can't argue with this.
  • Maybe skin woes plagued your household? Tender, sensitive bottoms? No skin conditions in our house other than an occasional diaper rash. 
  • How about the multiple factor? Twins, triplets, quads? Or maybe you had several children (back-to-back), where you had more than one child in diapers at once? Hence the use of cloth diapers for savings. No multiples, but usually two in diapers at a time, so cloth diapers worked well.
  • What about outside influences (pressure tactics) from family/other sources? i.e. A high-pressure MIL swaying you to use one type of diaper over another? Maybe your own mother insistent on you using, say, cloth diapers, otherwise she'd refuse to babysit (sort of thing)? LOL! My mom was pro-cloth diapers, but I blazed my own trail and didn't care what other thought.
  • How about babysitting? Many of us are old enough where we would have changed cloth diapers as sitters, so did that play a part in you diapering your own kids in the same? Indeed, cloth diapers are the diapers I changed 99% of the time when I used to babysit, so yes, I believe that played somewhat of a part in my decision to use cloth, however, I believe my own mom using cloth, sealed the deal for me as far as me using cloth diapers went.

I think my mom used flats and pre-folded- Occasionally towels when she ran out ..

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Komorebi. My mom used the same, flat cotton diapers that needed folded.

My mom was a fuss-nut when it came to housework and organization, so she always had folded diapers ready in everyone's room who wore them, though I do remember (on occasion) having to fold a diaper when changing someone.

One stack of diapers were the daytime folds, and beside the daytime stack were the thicker, double nighttime folded diapers, which we used for when the sibs went down for an afternoon nap or at nighttime.

Same for my kids, cotton flats.

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9 minutes ago, Komorebi said:

I think my mom used flats and pre-folded- Occasionally towels when she ran out ..

Do remember an old neighbour of ours that used to line her kids diapers (cloth) at nighttime with a folded towel for added absorbency. If I remember right, she used plain white terry towels.

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My mom used cloth diapers for all of us. She had the flat white ones, too. I (the eldest) was allergic to disposables and got a severe diaper rash. My dad was a student until I was almost 6, by which point my parents had 4 children, so finances were often tight. Cloth diapers saved us a TON of money. Mom did use disposables when we went on vacation. If Hubby and I are able to have more children, we're thinking about using cloth, too, in case our babies have the same problem I did.

ETA: We had a particularly humorous experience when my sister was in Kindergarten. Mom was asked to be the parent helper so she brought my second-youngest brother, who was a baby. (This would have been in the early 90s, for context.) While she was there she had to change his diaper. A good portion of the class wanted to know what a diaper pin was. Apparently they'd never seen one.

Edited by agnurse
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Just now, agnurse said:

My mom used cloth diapers for all of us. She had the flat white ones, too. I (the eldest) was allergic to disposables and got a severe diaper rash. My dad was a student until I was almost 6, by which point my parents had 4 children, so finances were often tight. Cloth diapers saved us a TON of money. Mom did use disposables when we went on vacation. If Hubby and I are able to have more children, we're thinking about using cloth, too, in case our babies have the same problem I did.

Yep, flat white ones, that's right. Honestly, I don't remember prefolds from back in the day, everyone used traditional flats.

Agnurse. I remember babysitting for a family that used Pampers, and both kids (a baby and a toddler) had red irritated bottoms all the time, yet all the other homes where I babysat used cloth diapers, and aside from a diaper rash here and there, the cloth diapered kids had healthier looking bottoms. No redness.

Yes, cloth diapers really do save a household serious money, especially the old-fashioned ones that you and I are familiar with.

If I was raising a grandchild today, I'd use old-fashioned standard flat cotton diapers. I think the old-fashioned flats are better diapers than today's modern cloth diapers. I support your stance on using cloth diapers if you have another baby, and you can still get the pins and rubber pants and everything, just like it used to be.

Yep, that would definitely be the route I'd choose if I was diapering a baby today.

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17 minutes ago, agnurse said:

ETA: We had a particularly humorous experience when my sister was in Kindergarten. Mom was asked to be the parent helper so she brought my second-youngest brother, who was a baby. (This would have been in the early 90s, for context.) While she was there she had to change his diaper. A good portion of the class wanted to know what a diaper pin was. Apparently they'd never seen one.

OMG! LOL! How times change. And when I was growing up, I never knew what a diaper tape was, because no one in our family (immediate or extended) used anything other than cloth diapers and pins. Same went when I started babysitting. Cloth diapers, pins, and rubber pants.

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32 minutes ago, agnurse said:

ETA: We had a particularly humorous experience when my sister was in Kindergarten. Mom was asked to be the parent helper so she brought my second-youngest brother, who was a baby. (This would have been in the early 90s, for context.) While she was there she had to change his diaper. A good portion of the class wanted to know what a diaper pin was. Apparently they'd never seen one.

Good on your mom for using cloth diapers into the 90's! And old-fashioned ones at that! :) 

I had two grands in the same at the time (early 90's). I remember babysitting them on weekends, and setting-out their laundered diapers and rubber pants on the line, and feeling as though I was being critiqued by the watchful-eyes of nosey neighbours, because I wasn't swinging with the times and using disposables like everyone else.

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1 hour ago, agnurse said:

My mom used cloth diapers for all of us. She had the flat white ones, too. I (the eldest) 

Being the eldest, did you help with the diapers? As in changing?

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Early 1980's Pampers Disposable Diapers! Remember how awful old-fashioned disposable diapers used to be?

  • No elastics...
  • Tapes that tore the plastic...
  • Bulky fit (much the same as traditional cloth diapers)
  • Poor fit...
  • Costly...

Thanks to my Dear SIL for the picture. Yes, she used these on occasion.

EDIT: Apologies to all, as I tried (twice) to post a picture my SIL sent me as of today, however, it disappeared both times.

Edited by BalloonPants

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32 minutes ago, BalloonPants said:

EDIT: Apologies to all, as I tried (twice) to post a picture my SIL sent me as of today, however, it disappeared both times.

Ahhh, the vagaires of the internet...

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When my son was born, disposable diapers were not available.  Five years later when my daughter was born, I tried disposable and she had an allergic reaction.  Since then I've had 6 grandchildren who were all raised in disposable.  They are convenient!!! But now I've become more concerned about the environment and think that today I'd choose cloth diapers for that purpose and  you can't beat the fresh smell of diapers hung on a line in the sun to dry!

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15 hours ago, jenenon said:

When my son was born, disposable diapers were not available.  Five years later when my daughter was born, I tried disposable and she had an allergic reaction.  Since then I've had 6 grandchildren who were all raised in disposable.  They are convenient!!! But now I've become more concerned about the environment and think that today I'd choose cloth diapers for that purpose and  you can't beat the fresh smell of diapers hung on a line in the sun to dry!

There's no arguing the convenience of disposables, but pinning my kids bottoms up in soft fluffy diapers never failed to provide me with a sense of self-satisfaction, knowing they were well-padded in comfortable cotton diapers, and there was just something about fastening a diaper with pins that always had a way of making me feel more like a real mom, likely, because diapers and pins are what I remember all mothers using when I was younger.

Without a doubt, at the end of the day it's about what works best in your home that counts. I know a ton of kids that wore both types of diapers, and all survived just fine. :) 

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None of my three kids nor my three grands ever had a cloth diaper on their behind. I gagged at too many of my little brother's to ever put myself through that again.  I would not have babysat my grands if I had to change cloth diapers. 

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16 hours ago, nonna23 said:

None of my three kids nor my three grands ever had a cloth diaper on their behind. I gagged at too many of my little brother's to ever put myself through that again.  I would not have babysat my grands if I had to change cloth diapers. 

LOL! Oh my word, yes, I, too, gagged over many-a diaper, changing baby sibs and neighbourhood kids I used to babysit, but that didn't dissuade me cloth diapering my own children. I was actually happy that oldest daughter cloth diapered her kids, but can't say I was overly thrilled when the time came for me to relive the old days of rinsing and dunking dirty diapers up and down in the toilet. :)

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Posted (edited)

We never did cloth, for a multitude of reasons.

One, although it's generally considered cheaper in the long run, it's an expensive (at least on my budget) outlay upfront. Two, I have no illusions about my laundry organizing abilities. Kid would end up wearing a towel on a fairly regular basis, due to forgetting stuff in the washer.

Oh, and a 3rd reason w/the younger two: I'm functionally one armed. The reality of hauling heavy diaper pails, etc made it a no go for me, and Wolf flat refused to deal with cloth.

Edited by ImpishMom
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I've gagged over the contents of disposable diapers....What have they been feeding you?!?!?!? The poop (on a 2yo) was kelly green...turns out it was a blue raspberry slurppie. I usually had the kids toss their own dirty diapers (if they could walk) "Where does the dirty diaper go?" 'IN THE TRASH" so I'd hand it to them and they would take it to the can...sometimes the outside can.

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