Be honest, when you found out you were expecting a little bundle of joy, you began reading a mountain of books that would tell you what to expect throughout pregnancy, labor, delivery, and beyond. You began shopping for clothes, toys, furniture, and food and through every step of the process you considered the parts and processes used to make each individual item so that you could ensure your baby’s health and safety. And yet, despite your best intentions where your child is concerned, you probably never saw any advice or thought to ask questions regarding one of the most basic items for your baby: the diaper. Of course you have heard of cloth diapers, but nobody really uses them anymore, do they? With the widespread acceptance and advances of disposable diapers in the last forty years, cloth versions have become the symbol of a bygone era, something that was used by your grandmother, not you. And yet, many modern mothers are opting to forgo the supposed ease of disposable diapers in favor of cotton nappies, and the main reason is because of the many health benefits they offer.
For starters, cloth diapers are made with natural, breathable cotton fibers that are not only comfortable for your child, but are toxin-free. Disposable diapers are just the opposite. They are generally manufactured with synthetic fibers and plastics meant to absorb moisture and avoid leakage. They also contain traces of bleach along with chemical dyes and fragrances to make them look and smell nice. Unfortunately, all of these bells and whistles meant to attract adult consumers are apt to wreak havoc on your baby’s sensitive nether regions. Chemicals found in disposable diapers have been known to cause all kinds of allergic reactions, from simple (albeit unpleasant) rashes to chemical burns, and even toxic shock syndrome. And that’s just when they’re on your baby. They are also a choking hazard since most babies can remove and shred them. Furthermore, disposable diapers that are applied incorrectly can chafe or even cut your baby’s tender skin. That’s quite a laundry list of complaints.
While some claim that cloth diapers will cause diaper rash because of exposure to moisture, the same could be said for disposable diapers. Although most disposables claim to be able to absorb far more moisture than cloth, they do so through the use of a hydrogel that turns your child’s urine into gel. That process in itself should raise some red flags where health and safety is concerned. And the truth is that cotton is plenty absorbent and infinitely more breathable, so if you change your baby’s diaper frequently, one is really no better than the other in that respect.
Proponents of disposables also claim that using cloth diapers could lead to the growth of microbes or bacteria. However, urine is sterile and again, if re-usable diapers are changed frequently and washed correctly, this is essentially a non-issue. In short, disposable diapers are a virtual breeding-ground of potential health issues where your child is concerned. Women used disposable diapers for hundreds of years and they worked just fine. So if you’re worried about the health and well-being of your child, forego the chemicals and synthetic fibers of disposable diapers and opt instead for natural cloth diapers. Your healthy, happy baby will give you all the reassurance you need that you made the right choice.