The Evolution of the Cloth Diaper


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There’s a reason why disposable diapers came into fashion in the 1950s after being introduced into America by Johnson and Johnson in 1949. They’re convenient, especially when compared to the cloth diapers of the day. Of course, no one at the time could have imagined the considerable drawbacks which disposable diapers present, including:

  • Increased pollution and raw waste in landfills.
  • Increase in diaper rash with incidents totaling more than 7 times the incidents of diaper rash in babies with cloth diapers.
  • Male infertility linked to use of disposable diapers and the excess heat produced on baby’s private parts.

At the time, it didn’t even matter that using disposable diapers was somewhat more expensive. They were new, they were convenient (after all, you simply throw them away when baby makes a poopy), and they didn’t take long to become the dominant trend in diapering.

The cloth diapers of the day, by contrast, were somewhat bulky, needed to be laundered or picked up by a diaper service after scraping the baby poo off of them, and came complete with big, sharp diaper pins, which were perfect for accidentally sticking yourself or the baby.

The cloth diaper in common use through the 1950s and beyond had not changed much since the 1800s when cotton diapers became the standard. Maybe it was because they had the market cornered and saw no need to improve on a good thing. Even as disposable diapers came into more common use, many parents continued to use cloth diapers. Not only were they cheaper, but the advantage of having less diaper rash to deal with quickly became apparent.

It wasn’t until recent years, however, that serious strides were made to reinvent the cloth diaper. These days, cloth diapers are every bit as convenient as disposables, and have a number of features which arguably make them more convenient. The task at hand for cloth diaper manufacturers today is to get word out about their product, largely because many still view cloth diapers as bulky white cotton and baby pins.

Cloth diapers today come in a variety of colors and styles. Disposable diapers have covered baby’s bums with cartoon characters for some time, but cloth diapers are just starting to pick up on the trend.

The more practical innovation available on modern cloth diapers include a disposable liner and safety tabs. The safety tabs make the diapers as easy and safe to put on baby as disposables, and the disposable liner makes diapering as convenient-maybe more so- than disposables. Unlike a disposable diaper, where you wrap baby’s waste up and throw it away, sending it off to the local landfill, disposable liners are designed to be flushed, where the waste will be treated and the actual diaper reused.

Today’s cloth diapers are more environmentally friendly, safer, and every bit as convenient as disposable diapers. If you haven’t already started using them, why not switch now?



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