What are the Health Risks Associated with Modern Cloth Diapering?

What are the Health Risks Associated with Modern Cloth Diapering?

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If you’ve told anyone that you plan to cloth diaper, chances are that you’ve heard a laundry list of reasons why you shouldn’t—like cloth diapering is expensive, bad for baby’s hips and not as healthy as disposable diapering. But what’s the truth? Are modern cloth diapers actually bad for my baby’s health? 

Many healthcare providers agree that using modern cloth diapers does not pose any significant health risks to babies. In fact, cloth diapers are often considered a healthier option than disposable diapers as they do not contain chemicals such as chlorine, perfumes, or polyacrylate, which can strip away good protective bacteria on the skin and change the pH balance of the baby's skin, causing dryness and skin irritations1. This is why many families that choose to cloth diapers report fewer, if any, diaper rashes. 

Diaper rash is a common condition that can cause redness, irritation, and discomfort in a baby's diaper area. Diaper rash is usually caused by skin being exposed to moisture from urine and bowel movements for too long. This moisture irritates the skin and then the skin starts to break down and the skin can become damaged when it rubs against the diaper. Many modern cloth diapers are made of soft fabric moisture wicking materials that pull moisture away from baby’s skin to keep them feeling dry and clean. 

It is important to note that improper cleaning and maintenance of cloth diapers can lead to health risks such as diaper rash, chemical burns and other infections2. If you are struggling with cleaning your cloth diapers, please reach out for support. We’re happy to help provide wash routine guidance and help you troubleshoot possible trouble areas in your routine. 

But what about the developmental risks of using cloth diapers? 

One of the most common misconceptions about cloth diapers is that they will cause developmental delays in babies—specifically in regards to rolling over, crawling and walking. Studies have found that cloth diapers do not restrict movement or delay development in babies1. There is no scientific evidence to support the thought that babies will walk slower or become bow legged from wearing cloth diapers3. 

Some parents believe that cloth diapers can lead to earlier potty training for babies, as they allow babies to feel the wet sensation against their skin and become more aware of when they have gone potty2.

Overall, cloth diapers are a safe and healthy option for babies and do not cause developmental delays. It's important to weigh the benefits and drawbacks of both cloth and disposable diapers and choose the option that works best for your family and lifestyle.

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