Cloth, Paper, Starkers: The choices for baby’s behind

Disposable Diapers


  • Easy
  • Portable
  • Highly absorbent
  • Leaks are rare


  • Most expensive of all options
  • Chemicals on baby’s skin
  • Can cause diaper rash
  • Tendency to leave them on too long
  • Bad for environment
  • Delays potty training


Cloth Diapers


  • Less expensive (especially if you wash your own)
  • Can be re-used with subsequent babies
  • Environmentally more friendly
  • Less chance of causing diaper rash
  • Earlier potty training
  • Can be purchased used, and also re-sold


  • Must be changed frequently
  • Bulkier to carry during outings
  • Diaper Service costs $$ (although less than disposables)
  • Extra laundry if you wash your own
  • Different brands fit different babies
  • Bad fits can cause leaks or blow-outs


No Diapers


  • Environmentally ideal
  • Free
  • No chance of rash
  • Enhances communication with baby
  • Much earlier potty training
  • Content baby never stews in own waste



  • Frequent misses (‘accidents’)
  • Inconvenient when out or busy
  • Works best with co-sleeping and baby-wearing (not a con if you are already doing these)
  • Challenging to implement in the city



Of course, you are not restricted to only one of these choices at the exclusion of the others. You can combine any of these options in whatever way suits you. For example, you can use cloth diapers during the day, disposables at night, and let your baby go diaper-free at home.


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