The Loving Cedar, LLC

The Great Diaper Debate, and The Rash Behind it

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I am Leah. Welcome to The Loving Cedar LLC. Here is where you will find parenting tips and tricks to help you simplify life.

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Table of Contents

Many countries still don’t even consider putting a diaper on their baby, but diapers have come a long way. However, many parents are still trying to choose what type of diaper to use. Today’s post will explain the pros and cons of cloth and disposable diapers. There is no right or wrong, but it is essential to get the facts on both to make the best choice for your family.

Let’s start with some fun facts. I say fun, but they are more like an eye-opener in helping you make your diaper decision. 

  • Newborns can go through 10 or more diapers a day!
  • On average, your baby will use over 8,000 diapers before potty training!
  • 70% of disposable diapers are made of plastic-based ingredients for absorbency. Unfortunately, this means they are not readily biodegradable, causing landfills to have diapers in them for years. 
  • Not all countries have their babies in diapers. 
  • Most countries today still use cloth
  • In the United States, disposable diapers have become the “go-to” diapers.

The Cloth Diaper

How fun is it to have cloth diapers with designs and patterns on them? Today’s cloth diaper companies are really taking off with better-quality cloth diapers. The cloth diapers are waterproof, made of natural fibers, and have those oh-so-fun patterns! Most diaper companies use natural fibers, but there are choices for synthetic materials as well. Side note: Synthetic materials can be much cheaper, but they tend to hold odors more.

Cloth diapers typically have two layers: an insert or absorbent layer and the cover or waterproof outer layer.

What are the typical natural fibers used if I choose to stay away from synthetic?

  • Cotton
  • Bamboo
  • Hemp
  • Wool

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of a cloth diaper.

Pros:

  • Less expensive
  • Environmentally friendly: less landfill
  • Fun patterns
  • Washable
  • One-time purchase
  • You know what materials are being used, with a less likelihood of having chlorine, latex, perfumes, or other harsh chemicals.

Cons:

  • Less absorbent, which means more likely to cause diaper rash
  • More loads of laundry, which means use of water and electricity
  • They are not as convenient, but they are quick and easy to use, like disposables, but not as readily available to purchase in a diaper emergency on outings.

How do I wash cloth diapers?

Solid waste can be disposed of in the toilet and rinsed out in cold water. Soak the diaper in mild detergent or bleach. Make sure to wash it separately from the other laundry. It is highly recommended to line-dry. Diaper companies have instructions specifically created for their diapers. It is important to follow the instructions for the best results. This can help make the diaper last longer as well.

The Disposable Diaper

The disposable diaper is the popular choice these days, especially in the United States. Although the cloth is making a big comeback with new and improved diapers, the disposable is still super convenient to toss and go. So wait, is super convenient healthy? What is a disposable diaper made from? Unfortunately, diaper companies are not required to list every material used. The outer lining is made of polyethylene film, basically plastic wrap. The inner lining that touches the baby’s skin is polypropylene, a material found in items like thermal underwear. Both materials are considered safe, but the added material is where some parents question whether a disposable diaper is worth it. Many disposable diapers include dyes, wood pulp, and polymers to help with the absorption and scents to help prevent pee and poop smells. Nowadays, many disposable diaper companies sell dye-free and perfume-free diapers, and they limit the use of other ingredients that may irritate. So, there are options out there!

Ok, Let’s get to the pros and cons of the disposable diaper:

Pros:

  • Convenient: toss and go
  • More absorbent, which can help keep the wet off baby’s skin
  • Easily purchasable, especially in a diaper related emergency while on an outing
  • Less Laundry

Cons:

  • Takes an environmental toll-landfills can have diapers just sitting there for years due to them not being very biodegradable
  • Chemicals can irritate baby
  • Super absorbent, I know this is on the pro list as well, but sometimes it is so absorbent you can’t tell if your baby is peeing or not.

Now you can see why there is such a debate as to what is better. Like many other parenting decisions, it really is important to choose what is best for the individual family. For example, I actually went with both, cloth and disposable. When my son was 4 months old, we traveled to Sri Lanka for a few months. I decided to take disposable diapers because water wasn’t always readily available for washing. But, you could also argue that it was really difficult to find disposable diapers as well. So, learning the hard way, I took both the next time we traveled. Looking at the big picture, again, there is no right or wrong way in choosing which type of diaper to use. Find what works best for you and your baby and stick with it! Keep it simple! 

Ok, let’s get off track a tiny bit and talk about diaper rash…

 

What is a diaper rash?

Diaper rash in a nutshell is a common form of inflamed skin (dermatitis). Most often it is related to a wet diaper, or infrequent changing of diapers. Babies who have skin sensitivities are more prone to rashes as well. Some food intolerances can cause diaper rash as well. Climate can also take a toll on that little bum. Bottom line, it is the moisture and wetness of soiled diapers on the skin for long periods of time. The rashes can cause redness, itchiness, and pain. Diaper rash can be bacterial or yeast.

How can I treat diaper rash at home?

Typically diaper rash creams like A+D diaper ointment or other petroleum gel-based creams are recommended by pediatricians. Organic diaper balms or natural oils like coconut oil can be used to treat rash also. Breastmilk, yep, you heard me correctly, gently rubbing breastmilk on diaper rash is a quick remedy as well! Watch the diaper rash, if it keeps getting worse or has lasted longer than 4-7 days, be sure to call your healthcare provider. 

How can I prevent diaper rash?

  •     Change diapers frequently
  •     Clean skin at each changing
  •     Make sure baby is dry before putting a new diaper on
  •     Let your baby go without a diaper for a while. 
  •  Rub a few drops of natural oil around the diaper area before putting the new diaper on.

Ready for a couple more tips and tricks?

  •    Never leave a wet diaper on the baby too long
  •     Natural oils like coconut or olive oil can help prevent diaper rash by creating a barrier between the diaper and the skin. It helps clear it up as well.

  Pro tip:  Help clean the skin easily from that tar-like meconium. A few drops of olive oil rubbed around the diapered area will keep the meconium from sticking to the skin!

Decide on what type of diaper is best for you and your baby?

Helpful links and highly recommended products!

Want to learn more about cloth diapers?

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More to explorer

What type of diaper did you decide on? Do you have any more questions or concerns? Please feel free to contact me! I love hearing from you!

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