Cloth Diapering: A Brief Look at its Roots

The baby diaper industry is a huge business, especiallly in developed nations such as the United States. The majority of parents use disposable diapers and the market for such diapers are never ending. The reason for this is because they find it more convenient to use than cloth diapers, as it presents an easier clean-up without having to launder them.

Disposables became commercialized starting the 1940s, but its rise to popularity was slow, as most households found them too expensive and the only people who could afford ones more likely had servants to wash them and babysit their children so they did not see it as practical. Also, the first disposable diapers were only available in one size and did not fit all babies well. Since they did not fit very well, the first commercial disposable diapers also leaked more than its cloth counterparts.

Disposable diapers started to become available in different sizes in the 1950s. The rich were the only ones attracted to buying them more than anybody else. It was only in the 1970s that disposable diapers, together with other products made of plastic, that disposable diapers became affordable for the majority of consumers. Soon, caregivers realized how convenient disposables were that cloth diapers suddenly seemed to look unhygienic and old fashioned in comparison.

From then on, with each passing decade, improvements on the disposable diaper could be seen: they became moreabsorbent, better fitting, and lighter in weight. Different designs for girls and boys started appearing that made them look cute, and due to consumer demand, were made with more environmentally friendly materials. Now, a good number of large manufacturing diaper companies exist, all claiming that their brand is the best for your baby.

But starting in the late 1990s up to 2000s, cloth diapers started making a comeback along with the back-to-nature and green living mentality, primarily out of an awareness in protecting the environment. People are now concerned more than ever at the alarming rate at which garbage is increasing in the landfills. Pro-cloth diaper advocates determine that the electricity, detergent, and water involved in washing cloth diapers are of lesser concern than the soiled disposables that accumulate everyday around the world.

In these last 50 years, cloth diapers also underwent major makeovers. The diaper cotton is now treated to make it softer and easier to wash more than ever before. They also started becoming available in different colors, patterns, and designs to increase its aesthetic appeal. Even its accessory, the diaper pin, has gotten more attractive, and has now beccome optional with the invention of snappies, button, and velcro-fastened diapers.

Out of the neccessity of laundering them, other accessories to cloth diapering have also been manufactored such as the cloth diaper liner and cloth diaper pails with covers, which contain the soiled cloth diapers along with their odor. There are even deodorizing disks which you can put in the liners for this very purpose. In some states and areas, cloth diapering services have started to exist where they launder your soiled diapers in batches and return them to you clean.

On the advantages of cloth diapers, children who wear them tend to become toilet trained earlier because they will feel the uncomfortable sensation of wetness more. However, cloth diapered younger babies are also more likely to wake up more often for this very reason. The main highlight of cloth diapering, aside from its being more environmentally friendly, is its being less irritating on babies’ bums and being very friendly on the pocket as they are a one-time investment which you can use over and over again, even with your future babies, until they finally outgrow the need for them.

Parents whose babies are cloth diapered say that their babies have never experienced diaper rashes or eczema, and find that they actually enjoy using cloth diapers more than disposables once they get the hang of it. Some moms even enjoy it so much and become passionate enough about it to establish cloth diaper trading clubs that can now be found in several communities, where you can avail of the said diapers at a much lower cost compared to buying brand new sets.

Nowadays, both disposable diapers and cloth diapers are popular, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. It’s not even an all or none deal; some use a combination of both. Whichever you choose with all the options available, you are certain to find one that would be perfect to fit you and your baby’s needs.

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