Many new parents struggle with the choice of cloth or disposable diapers, and it helps to consider the advantages of cloth diapers when thinking about diapering choices. The most important thing to know about modern cloth diapers is that they aren't your momma's cloth diapers. While many people associate cloth diapers with painstaking folding and pinning, cloth diapers actually come in a range of styles today, including very convenient designs which are just as easy to use as disposable diapers.
Many parents cite the savings involved in cloth diapers as a very significant advantage. Although the upfront cost of using cloth diapers can be high, these diapers are much cheaper, in the long run, than disposable diapers. Using a diaper service can also cut down on costs, as diapers are delivered in small batches as needed, rather than being purchased as a lot, and parents don't have to spend time, energy, and money on laundering.
Cloth diapers are also generally better for the environment, with a few caveats. The disadvantage to disposable diapers is that they take up large amounts of landfill space, and they release raw fecal material into landfills, potentially contaminating surrounding soil and groundwater. Cloth diapers don't take up landfill space, but they do use a great deal of water. However, they don't contaminate the environment, because washing water is typically processed through sewage systems, and when a diaper service is used, diapers are washed in large, energy-efficient batches, greatly reducing their environmental impact.
In addition to being generally better for the environment, cloth diapers are also better for babies. They don't contain the chemicals found in disposable diapers, and because they naturally breathe, they reduce the risk of diaper rash. Cloth diapers also encourage frequent changing, since they do not mask wet bottoms, and frequent changing is an excellent way to avoid painful diaper rash. Cloth diapers are also cooler, thanks to their breathability, which can be nice in hot weather, and many parents believe that they are more comfortable for babies to wear.
According to parents who use them, cloth diapers can also help with potty training. Because children are more aware that they are wet when wearing cloth diapers, they tend to be more eager to learn about using the toilet, accelerating the pace of potty training. Babies who were raised in cloth diapers also tend to be less prone to accidents after the diapering stage, since they are well aware of the consequences of voiding in one's clothing.