Choosing the best baby diapers for your child can be a very confusing task. With so many brands offering more or less, new parents are bombarded with a never-ending list of choices.
It is important to consider what type of diaper best suits your lifestyle before you shop for diapers. There are three basic types of diapers: standard disposable diapers, Natural diapers, and cloth. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
1. Disposable Diapers
There is no doubt that disposable diapers are the most convenient option. They don’t require washing, pinning, or inserts. Traditional disposable diapers, however, may contain chemicals and other potentially harmful ingredients such as dyes, fragrances, plastics, chlorine bleach, and polymer gels. In one study, mice exposed to standard disposable diapers showed asthmatic-like symptoms. In addition, respiratory and skin irritations have been linked to absorbent gels. If you prefer to use disposables but don’t want to expose your baby to chemicals, chlorine, or gels, there are cotton-blend natural diapers available.
2. Natural Diapers
While still disposable, natural diapers are made from sustainable materials and are safe for your baby’s skin and for the environment. Natural diapers contain natural ingredients and are minimally processed. These products are free of harmful chemicals such as dioxins, phthalates, and fragrances. When buying diapers for your baby, read the ingredients on the package to get a better idea of what you want – and don’t want – to put on them.
3. Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapers are another option but require more time. The plus side is that they can save money and reportedly result in less diaper rash and earlier potty training. Additionally, you can avoid toxic pesticides, chemical fertilizers, chlorine bleaches, and dyes. Despite the fact that all of this may be true, in the end, disposable natural diapers are more convenient and sanitary. In addition, cloth diapers aren’t any better for the environment since the washing and delivery of cloth diapers waste natural resources.
Ingredients to Avoid in a Diaper
VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds)
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that VOCs can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat, headaches, and damage to the liver, kidney, and central nervous system. There is even some evidence that some VOCs may cause cancer in humans.
Phthalates increase the flexibility and durability of plastics. Among their health concerns are endocrine disruption, diabetes, some cancers, birth defects, and effects on the heart and reproductive systems.
Super Absorbent Polymers (SAPs) – Sodium Polyacrylate
Many disposable diaper fillers contain sodium polycarbonate, a super absorbent chemical compound that appears as gel-like crystals. The lining absorbs fluids and creates surface tension, which helps prevent leaks. Unfortunately, it has been linked to skin irritations and respiratory problems.
In traditional diapers, the core contains TBT to act as an antifungal. EPA reports that this toxic pollutant disrupts endocrine (hormonal) function and is extremely harmful to sea life. TBT’s effects on humans are unclear and need to be studied further.
Chlorine and Dioxins
It is not uncommon for diapers to be bleached with chlorine in order to achieve that pearly white finish. Why does chlorine harm babies? When chlorine is used in bleaching processes, it emits the byproduct dioxin. In addition to being highly toxic, dioxins are also listed as highly carcinogenic chemicals. According to the World Health Organization, dioxins can cause skin reactions and altered liver function, as well as damage to the immune system, nervous system, endocrine system, and reproductive system.
Is it bad for babies to use scented diapers? Conventional perfumes and fragrances contain a mysterious combination and quantity of chemicals. This mixture is considered a trade secret, so it is not required by law to be transparent – a ‘secret recipe’ sounds exciting until you realize your baby can be harmed by it.
What Ingredients to Look For in a Diaper
Chlorine Free Wood Pulp
Among the safest diapers, the absorbent core is made of pulp (cellulose). Cellulose is the primary component of plant cell walls and vegetable fibers. Eco-conscious companies source pulp from sustainable forests, which is a great choice for mama earth.
Premium Super Absorbent Polymer
A diaper with these particles holds up to 20 times its weight in liquid, effectively turning pee into gel. Look for an absorbent core that is chlorine-free and sustainably harvested. Super absorbency is essential to keeping your newborn dry and comfortable and reducing the incidence of diaper rash caused by exposure to moisture.
The top sheet is the material you feel when you unfold a diaper, and it feels really smooth. It should feel super soft and cushiony to your baby’s bottom. The best natural diapers use a top sheet made from 100% cotton.
To make the back of the diaper watertight, this film is near the bottom layer of the diaper. This is necessary to keep all your little one’s mess trapped in the middle, not on your child’s skin, clothing, or sheets, and without any leaks through the back.