Cloth Diapers Versus Disposable Diapers

Cloth Versus Disposable, Navigating the Diaper Dilemma

by Coterie Team

girl in coterie diaper
girl in coterie diaper

This article does not provide medical advice. The information on site is for informational purposes only. No material on this site is intended as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician, your child’s pediatrician, or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding your or your child’s health.

The moment you welcome parenthood is the moment you realize how many choices you need to make. What is the greenest option? What’s best for your little one? What’s best for your lifestyle?

Selecting diapers for your newborn can be a daunting task when you’re faced with these questions. One of the biggest decisions you need to make is if you’re going to primarily use cloth or disposable diapers.

Both diapers are perfectly suitable for changing a newborn’s diaper, but they each have their own unique advantages and disadvantages. Beyond finding the perfect diaper fit, you also want a diaper your little one loves, and you want to find a diaper that works with your lifestyle.

What Are Cloth Diapers?

Cloth diapers are reusable diapers that are made with fabric. These materials can range from natural fibers to human-made (usually plastic) materials, but often are made with a combination of both.

These diapers come in a range of styles, including:

  • Pre-fold: These are cloth rectangles that have been folded and stitched so that there are thicker layers in the middle to increase absorbency. These diapers require fasteners and diaper covers to help prevent leaks and improved fit for your baby.

  • Fitted cloth: These diapers are similar in shape to disposable diapers, with elastic around the front and back to create a more snug fit. These diapers are not waterproof and require a waterproof cover.

  • All-in-one: Also referred to as ‘AIO,’ these diapers are one piece that include a set of absorbency layers that are sewn directly to the waterproof cover.

For newborns, you will generally need two to three dozen cloth diapers or cloth diaper sets (including covers and inserts). Once they reach infancy, you will likely go through ten and twelve of these diapers a day.

The Benefits

One of the more prominent benefits of using cloth diapers is that they are hailed as the more eco-friendly diaper solution. Cloth diapers are usually not made with the same harmful chemicals found in disposable diapers. These diapers are also reusable and often gentler on your baby’s skin.

The Downsides

While having reusable diapers may seem like the greener option, these diapers are not actually environmentally neutral–they use a lot of water and energy resources to keep a clean supply on hand.

You need to invest in more diaper equipment when you go the cloth route. With reusable diapers, you need a diaper pail for at home, a waterproof ‘wet bag’ for used diapers on-the-go, disposable diaper lines, and diaper spray for removing solid waste.

Additionally, there is a learning curve to finding the right fit and way to fasten cloth diapers. One wrong move and you have a messy situation on your hands, and an uncomfortable little one. This can impact sleep, ability to move easily, and create a sensory overload for your baby.

What Are Disposable Diapers?

Disposable diapers are single-use diapers that can be disposed of after changing. Unlike cloth diapers, all disposable diapers are AIO-ready! These diapers use synthetic or natural materials (or a combination of both) to absorb waste and help prevent leaks.

The Benefits

Stanford Medicine’s Children’s Health Department reportsOpens in a new tab. that multiple studies indicated that disposable diapers may reduce diaper rashes when compared to cloth diapers. In the past, disposable diapers were often made with chemicals and materials that were absorbent but irritating to infant skin.

Now, Coterie makes diapers that are free of more than 200 chemicals, without latex, fragrance, or dyes that can potentially irritate delicate skin. Our diapers are fast wicking, highly absorbent, and made with more sustainable ingredients.

Disposable diapers are more straightforward to use than cloth diapers, which helps make changes faster and easier.

The Downsides

Not all disposable diapers are created equal. Many brands use materials and chemicals that leave a negative environmental impact and can increase the likelihood of diaper rashes and skin irritation.

The Verdict

There are pros and cons to both disposable and cloth diapers. Many parents value the convenience and comfort of disposable diapers, and still feel good about environmental impact with Coterie’s disposable diapers. If you’re ready to see what the hype is about, check out our collection today!