When it comes to your baby’s diaper, is there a wrong choice?
It’s common knowledge that the arrival of a baby takes a lot of planning. Before the baby is born, decisions range from whether you want to know the sex of your child to whether or not you want an epidural. Once your bundle of joy finally arrives, the choices only multiply. One ongoing debate many parents struggle with concerns what types of diapers are best for their baby: cloth or disposable.
Pediatric nurse practitioner Ginny Fowler from Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn, Ill., says that there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to choosing a diaper.
First and foremost, it’s important for parents to keep in mind that some children have allergies to disposable diapers. In these cases, cloth diapers will likely work better. Many advancements have been made in terms of cloth diapers, and they are now equipped with Velcro or snaps to fasten the diaper, a waterproof outer layer, a stay-dry inner layer and an opening to insert a soaker. Fowler warns that if you do choose to use a cloth diaper, it’s important to change soiled diapers more frequently than with disposable diapers.
Another factor that parents typically take into consideration when determining which type of diaper to use is diaper rash and which type is better at avoiding it. Fowler explains that when it comes to diaper rash, which type is better depends on the child. “Everyone’s skin is so different. If a child is having skin issues with one type of diaper, it may be a good idea to try another. Certain brands of disposable diapers may work better than others,” she says.
Fowler also advises the best way to combat diaper rash is to be proactive and prevent it before it starts. The best preventative method is applying a barrier cream with all diaper changes. It is also important to change diapers frequently, whether cloth or disposable. She also suggests cleansing wipes that are soft, wet and do not contain any alcohol or fragrances, as this can irritate your child’s skin. If skin irritation is already present, parents should consider soaking the child in an oatmeal bath to help soothe the irritation.
Finally, Fowler offers these words of wisdom to new parents when it comes to diaper etiquette:
- If you are using cloth diapers, infants usually need 10-12 diapers a day, while toddlers may need 8-10 a day. Make sure you are purchasing enough diapers so that you only need to do laundry every 2-3 days. Diaper laundry services may be helpful.
- If your child has a diaper rash, avoid tight clothing so air can circulate to the skin inside their diaper and promote healing. If the rash doesn’t improve or gets worse after 2-3 days, you should call your primary care physician or your child’s pediatrician.
- For infants who still have an umbilical cord present, it can be beneficial to place the diaper below the cord so that the cord does not get soiled and is exposed to air, allowing the cord to dry and fall off on its own.
So which is better, cloth or disposable diapers? Like many choices when it comes to children, Fowler says there is no “right choice.” She advises parents choose based on their child and what feels right for them.
About the Author
Tiffany Nguyen, health enews contributor, is a public affairs and marketing intern at Advocate Support Centers in Downers Grove, IL. She is a graduate of Northern Illinois University with a degree in public health. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Business Administration focusing specifically on healthcare management at Lewis University. Tiffany enjoys hanging out with her friends, exploring new restaurants, and binge watching Netflix shows.