Big decision. Lots of choices. Lots to weigh up. This is seriously one of the most perplexing questions that parents face. Of course, for some the choice is simple, but I would say that I have spent a lot more hours discussing nappy choice than pram choice.
Firstly it will have more skin to skin contact with baby than you will. And we spend a lot of time changing them, so they are omnipresent. (And they do take up a lot of space.)
Here is some food for thought. (And don’t forget to check out our older posts on this subject.)
- Once you buy the full set, the main expense is done (only need to buy liners which are relatively inexpensive)
- Easier to toilet train – uncomfortable in wet diaper
- Limited landfill issues
- Good quality nappies can last multiple children
- Better absorbency in the newer, modern cloth nappies
- Home-delivery for cloth is an option although this obviously increases the cost
- Cot linen changes likely
- More likely to cause nappy rash
- Smell from soaking nappies
- Detergent, Power & Water usage increase, plus time for washing/drying
- Can be slow drying depending on the cloth used
- Can be reused for baby number 2 and even 3
- Highly absorbent
- Minimising night time changing – maybe more sleep for parents
- Less chance of nappy rash – with frequent changing
- Don’t require any accessories –they are an all in one solution
- Higher cost over the lifecycle of nappy usage
- May increase difficulty of potty training
- Environmentally unfriendly – take a long time to degrade in landfills
- In the first year the costs work out to be quite similar (we based our costs on Huggies 144 packs of nappies versus Pikapu All-in-One Full Time Pack of Cloth nappies)
- Year 1: cloth $1,308.55; Disposable $1,318.88
- Year 2: cloth $653.35; Disposable $1,271.42 (cloth cost is based on using disposable liners for every nappy change)
- Obviously kids toilet habits are different, volumes may differ; there are cheaper & more expensive nappies on the market than Huggies; and costs fluctuate. The above does not include costs for buckets and nappy covers. You need to do the exercise for yourself considering the brands you want.
My advice – don’t sweat it. And don’t be black and white about it. It doesn't have to be either/or – it can be a combination. Don’t forget that there are great disposable options now that decompose quicker than the mainstream nappies, if you are trying to balance environment with convenience.
I am a combination user – the cloth nappies I have are amazing. They just don’t leak. They don’t. Even when there is major stuff leaking out of the baby. But I use them at home and during the day only.
Ultimately, you have to do what you feel is right for you.