Parenting is a constant tug of war between what you plan to do and what you can do. Currently we are still struggling with potty training. We planned on having this sorted out by now, and thus having Piper in preschool already. Instead, it’s one step forward, two steps back. This is a drain on us more than me being stuck at home these days. It’s not cheap. Diapers are waging a terrible war on our pocketbook, and our position is untenable. Maybe it’s our own fault; we use disposable diapers. I don’t know how much the diapers cost, because at the store I just kind of throw my card at the cashier and look away. It’s hard to believe diapers cost 6 cents each at one time. Not anymore. No wonder there is a resurgence in the usage of cloth diapers. This newfound interest reignites the great diaper debate: should one go with cloth or disposable?
Perhaps the environmental issue is one of the biggest factors driving renewed interest in using cloth diapers. However, both sides of the debate cite enough scientific studies involving so many variables that the issue becomes a wash when it comes to “disposables in a landfill versus reusables in the laundry.” To quote the Dude from The Big Lebowski, “This is a very complicated case … a lot of ins, a lot of outs, what-have-yous.” Both sides have to contend with the cotton, pulp and industrial agricultural complexes. And the landfills are a subject that just won’t go away. Allen Hershkowitz, a senior scientist at the National Resources Defense Council weighed in on the subject:
“We don’t recommend one over another. A compelling argument for getting rid of disposable diapers absolutely does not exist. It’s a personal choice, but it really can’t be made on environmental grounds. There are costs both ways … there’s just no clear position to take. I wish it was that easy, but it’s not.”
Even though the moral and environmental issues of the debate are taken very seriously on both sides, there are logistical reasons why parents might choose one over the other. At this point, few daycare centers support the use of cloth diapers. Also, disposable diapers are better for traveling, and/or just being away with your kid all day. When you’re out, you can’t really pack up a poopy diaper to take home later. I guess you can, but I wouldn’t want to sit next to you on the L-train on the way home. On the flipside, resuables can save parents a lot of money, and would also save them from the monthly trek to the babystore for that giant box of “hand me your everything in your wallet.”
We gave it some thought, but went with disposable diapers without much consternation. I’m curious about those of you who might be using the clothies. What is your experience? Does it really save that much money, and does it outweigh the convenience of disposables?