Disposable diapers offer a convenience unsurpassed by cloth diapers. They are easy to put on, easy to take off, and don't require laundering. Disposable diapers are almost fool-proof by design, making you an instant diapering pro.
Disposable diapers have a waterproof outer lining, an absorbent core that holds wetness, a water-permeable, non-absorbent inner lining, and a breathable plastic outer layer.
The absorbent core is made of a softwood pulp and a chemical powder called "Absorbent Gelling Material" (AGM). The "AGM" absorbs many times its weight in liquid, creating a gel which reduces the amount of moisture on your baby's skin. Disposable diapers are available with regular or ultra-thin super-absorbent cores.
Disposables have a contoured shape, adjustable tape fasteners, elasticized waistband and elasticized legs which contain leakage and ensure a comfortable fit. They are available in many sizes, from newborn diapers with a cut-out for umbilical cord care to pull-ups for toddlers who are potty training.
The costs vary between sizes. Most increase in price with each size and decrease in the number of diapers per package. You can cut costs slightly depending on the features you want, where you shop, and whether you use brand name vs. store brand disposable diapers. Sales, economy packs, coupons, and warehouse club store cards can make a big difference in total savings. Getting your diapers by the case from a wholesaler can help you cut costs significantly.
You may want to try a variety of different brands to find the brand that works best for your baby. Some disposable diapers offer absorbent padding in areas most suited to boys or girls, preventing leaks better than other generic brands.
There are always environmental and health concerns associated with disposable diapers. The plastic covers on disposable diapers make them non-biodegradable so they continue to pile up in landfills. New technology has improved their ability to decompose, but the large number of existing disposable diapers in the landfills still remains a health hazard.
An additional health hazard arises from the fecal matter wrapped inside disposable diapers that end up in landfills. Fecal matter is meant to be filtered through sewage treatment plants because of the intestinal viruses that are excreted in stool. Flushing stool down the toilet before throwing disposable diapers away will help reduce this hazard in landfill sites. Never flush disposable diapers down a toilet.
Disposable diapers are not as environmentally-friendly as cloth diapers, but they are easy to use, convenient, and let you focus on time with your baby, not laundry.