Disposable diapers are convenient, but they come with a lot of baggage of their own. What if you could get the convenience of disposable diapers in the goodness of cloth? Read on…
By Pallavi Utagi
If the recent trends in baby care are to be observed, cloth diapering seems to be fast catching the attention of new age, conscientious parents across the globe. It is, therefore, not surprising that Vogue magazine mentioned it as a key trend in millennial parenting. While already a popular diapering choice in the US and UK, in India it is only now that cloth diapering is getting noticed, and for all the right reasons. With their chemical-free nature and eco-friendly qualities, these reusable nappies are certainly becoming a preferred choice for most parents. Not to mention the fact that they look super-cool on baby bums!
Cloth diapers or 'Advanced Cloth Diapers' as they are popularly called are made up of three main parts, namely the outer waterproof fabric, an absorbent pad, and a dry-feel layer on top to keep baby’s skin dry. Together, these make a system that works for hours together just like any disposable diaper.
What is interesting is that the outer waterproof layer is breathable, letting air pass through but not water. The entire diaper is thus made up of cloth, so it is 100 per cent washable and reusable, for 300+ times! In the United States in fact, pre-loved diapers are very popular with parents diapering on a budget.
Disposable diapers stay on the earth for more than 500 years. They contribute to 30 percent of non-biodegradable waste in American families. In India, while the penetration is low, with each baby using a good 5000+ diapers from birth till potty training, they are fast gaining notoriety for being the worst contributors to the landfills. Cloth diapers, on the other hand, can be reused so a set of 10-15 advanced cloth diapers can take care of the entire diapering phase of a child! What's more, these colourful diapers come in adjustable sizing so the same diapers do fit for 3.5 years.
Today, in India, there are companies that are making this trend popular by spreading awareness about cloth diapering through paediatricians and online campaigns. Advanced cloth diapers, in fact, are very popular for their lovely prints and designs. They look far more beautiful than the plastic-filled disposables and can, in fact, be counted as a functional fashion product for babies. It is not for nothing that some of the popular social media hashtags are #ClothDiaperAddict and #BuyAllThePrints.
Cloth diapers come in various types and forms depending on how the pad is attached to the outer portion. There are pocket diapers wherein the pad is removable while there are all-in-one diapers for heavy absorbency wherein the pads are attached. There are also cover diapers, wherein a parent can replace the pads and reuse the outer pants, an economical and versatile option. Most parents begin with one type or try all of them, and eventually develop a preference for one.
The all-in-one or ‘plus’ absorbency diapers are typically made up of more absorbent fabrics such as organic bamboo cotton, which absorbs for hours together, even overnight.
Parents who want to give cloth diapering a go should take the first step by trying any one type of diaper and then trying some more. While there are multiple options available online to choose from, it is also important to choose a good quality diaper while using the first time to get the right fit and feel of cloth diapering. Check for CPSIA (Consumer Protection Safety Improvement Act) compliant and tested diapers, which are safer on baby skin. It is also good to find trim crotch diapers that are much more comfortable for the baby.
Advanced cloth diapering is a brilliant alternative to disposable diapers and traditional cloth diapers such as langots (cloth nappies). While there are parents who choose to exclusively cloth diaper their babies, one can easily find a middle ground by using cloth diapers during the day and disposable diapers during the night. Even if we save a few disposable diapers from going into the landfills, it will be worth it. And of course, the prints are totally adorable.
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