Disposable Diapers vs Cloth Diapers vs The Tired Mama

What would you recommend? Cloth or disposable diapers?

I'm a mother who had a child in her late 30's and boy, was it difficult. I had a Cesarean section and was on the table for almost 5 hours. My obstetrician told me later that I almost suffered a rupture of membranes and if I had gone into full blown labor, it may have become life-threatening. So I was in severe pain after childbirth. To make matters worse, I had difficulty breastfeeding and had to bottle-feed my son. As a newborn, my son was in a different time frame- he slept during the day and was fussy at night. Good thing it was only a phase that lasted for 6 weeks because if it had lasted longer I would have suffered a breakdown. Although it was possible for me to sleep during the day when he slept, I couldn't because of a number of chores I had to do. And most of the bulk of my chores was the laundry.

My son's paternal grandmother believed in using cloth diapers. I actually bought 2 dozen flat diapers or the bird's eye cloth (in Filipino, the traditional lampin) to use as a spit-up towel when burping and not actually to use as a diaper. For convenience, my partner and I had decided to use disposable diapers knowing that a newborn pees like a faucet and may poo as often as he likes. Unfortunately, it was vetoed by the grandmother and so comes the problem that any tired mama doesn't want to have.

Cloth diapers.
Image credit: Pixabay
I understand the fact that disposable diapers aren't environmentally friendly. According to research, it'll take 200-500 years for a diaper to decompose. Now that they have biodegradable plastic, I would think that manufacturers of disposable diapers would have come up with eco-friendly diapers by now. I've read that there are "green" disposable diapers in countries like the US/UK/Canada but, I have not heard if it is available in the Philippines. I believe that because of the prevailing market here in the Philippines, this kind of disposable diaper would be hard to sell. Majority of Filipinos are poor therefore predominantly makes use of the cloth diaper, and I'm not talking about those cute colored adjustable snap cloth diapers with linings, I mean actual cloth held by safety pins or baby briefs/panties. In rural areas, they have beds made of bamboo that facilitates the use of cloth diapers. If a baby pees, the pee just falls to the ground through the cracks of the bed. A quick wipe with a dry rag, change of the cloth diaper and the baby is clean and dry. The mother doesn't have to wash any sheets nor mop the floor as the pee is absorbed by the soil. Not bad right? But, in an urban setting, cloth diapers are a bit difficult to commit to. And I have firsthand experience how difficult it was to use them on a newborn.

Anyway, the main argument with cloth diapers is basically affordability. They are reusable. You don't have to make sudden trips in the middle of the night to the nearest convenience store if you're about to run out. Also, it is eco-friendly and prevents from diaper rash. My baby did suffer from diaper rash in the beginning but I was able to find a brand that didn't give my baby a rash even if I missed the 2-hour change routine. Yes, don't listen to the ads saying that the diaper will keep your baby dry for 8 hours. If you have a newborn, changing diapers should be done as frequently as possible with air drying in between. This is when briefs or panties can be used. Sitting outside for a while with your baby can eliminate the possibility of him peeing on his beddings or crib. I would do this so I wouldn't have to clean as much and to keep my house from smelling like urine.

As I had said, my son's paternal grandmother didn't like the idea of using disposable diapers. My partner told me to just use cloth diapers while his mother was helping us (I really appreciated the help) since she is a mother of experience. If the cloth diapers didn't work, then we can proceed in using disposables like we originally agreed on. I accepted his proposal and hoped it was as easy as what other mothers swore by. In reality, with the huge amount of cleaning and laundry I had to do plus the repeated complaint of the house smelling like urine, I highly recommend using disposables on a newborn rather than cloth.

Disposable Diapers
Image credit: Pixabay
Babies feed often thus they pee often. 2 dozen cloth diapers weren't enough. And after washing, they don't dry as quick as the baby pees. If you don't have a clothes dryer at home and dry clothes by hanging them under the sun like me, then I recommend you buy at least 50 of those liners because if you run into rainy weather that lasts for days then you are going to have a problem.

Another problem was the wetting of the sheets, the comforter, the mattress, even the crib. And it was worse of a problem when poo was involved. There were times when I'd be cradling my son and I'd get pooed on. I'd doze off while my son seemed to be napping just to be awakened 5 minutes later because he is wet. It seemed as if no amount of preventative measures would keep the beddings from getting soiled. Juggling soaking the wash, cleaning the beddings, and soothing an ever so fussy baby was overwhelming.  The time and effort spent washing all the laundry every day and cleaning after aren't worth the affordability of cloth diapers.

If all those cloth diapers had the ability to get clean on their own and included the sheets then I wouldn't have cause to complain.

All in all, I was a tired mama in pain with a fussy baby... I didn't want more to do. A newborn is a lot of work and is overwhelming if you are a new mother. This is the reason why I recommend using disposable diapers for a newborn to save yourself from the hassle. Change as frequently as possible and do not think about the costs. The time spent doing laundry or cleaning should've been the time I was sleeping and healing.

In summary, my reasons for recommending disposable diapers:
1. Less laundry.
2. Less time and effort cleaning.

Now that my baby is older and has a routine and is being potty trained, I now use cloth diapers and baby briefs or boxer shorts.  This is the time which I recommend the use of cloth diapers. The child understands what being wet is and that it's uncomfortable. This pushes your child to potty train making disposable diapers a thing of the past.


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  2. Hi,
    I also had a boy by ceasarian. This is my 3rd son anyway. I use disposable diaper for logic reasons: I need to make it practical to raise a baby.

    My 1st and 2nd sons used cloth diaper due to their sensitive skin. They got rash. Now, this new baby is happy with disposable diaper.


    1. Yes, I believe it's all about the brand and how frequent you change. Most Filipino families believe that cloth is better to use on a newborn since it isn't hot and the baby can air out properly. As for me, I stuck to disposables til he was a bit older. I couldn't deal with the mess. It really made me more tired. Hahaha.


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