11 Reasons Why Pampers Is Right And You Should Use Disposable Diapers on Your Baby

Colorful cloth diapers

1. You don’t mind if your infant gets a chemical burn. As Michigan mom Cathy Valentine told Reuters, her four-month old daughter’s skin turned pink and started blistering and bleeding from using plastic diapers. A pediatrician diagnosed the angry red rash as a chemical burn. American parents believe that all babies get diaper rash. This simply is not true. The super absorbent chemicals in plastic diapers often irritate an infant’s sensitive skin. P&G, which makes Pampers, has a long and unfortunate history of ignoring product safety and belittling parents who speak out against their diapers at the benefit of profits.

2. You don’t want your baby to be the cutest on the block. Cloth diapers are reusable and adorable. Disposable diapers are chemical-laden single-use products that create foul-smelling trash. This cloth-diapered cutie is opening the morning mail from his dad, who was stationed overseas.

A super cute baby wearing a super cute diaper opening the morning mail

3. You’d rather buckle your baby in the car and drive to the store to buy more diapers than do a load of laundry. The number one killer of children in the United States according to the CDC? Injuries due to accidents like car crashes.

4. You don’t want to have any stylish custom-made diapers for your baby.

Baby in a custom-made cloth diaper. Photo courtesy of Erika Douglass

A cloth diaper made from United States Air Force fabric. Photo courtesy of Erika Douglass.

5.  You don’t care about killing trees. Every year at least 300 pounds of wood, 50 pounds of petroleum feedstocks, and 20 pounds of chlorine are used to produce disposable diapers for one baby, according to this report.

6. You don’t mind the smell of plastic off-gassing each time you open a new package of plastic diapers.

7. You have all the money in the world. The Real Diaper Association has detailed calculations about savings from not using disposable diapers and concludes that plastic diapers cost parents nearly ten times as much as cloth.

8. You don’t want soft real cloth next to your baby’s most private parts, you’d rather have something plastic that is advertised as cloth-like. “Protect your little miracle with blanket-like softness” is one of Pampers’ slogans. Ah yes, all parents know that off-gassing plastic really is “blankie soft.”

Pampers advertises diapers as having blanket-like softness. Plastic is not soft. This ad is a scam.

9. You don’t care about the amount of trash your family is generating. Most people don’t know something that is truly disheartening. Plastic diapers were invented in the early 1960s. Not a single one has decomposed fully since that time. Every plastic diaper that has ever been put in the landfill is still there. Experts estimate it will take between 100 and 500 years for a single plastic diaper to decompose.

10. You think it is healthy for your baby to have a product that contains trace amounts of dioxins, a chemical group so toxic even in the tiniest amounts that the World Health Organization claims they “can cause reproductive and developmental problems, damage the immune system, interfere with hormones and also cause cancer,” as well as Tributyl-tin (TBT), an endocrine disruptor, and sodium polyacrylate, a type of super absorbent polymer that can absorb 300 times its weight in tap water and is a known eye and lung irritant, in contact with his privates all day long. 

11. You want your child to stay in diapers as long as possible. It’s common to see three, four, and five-year-olds wearing diapers in America these days, which baffles my friends from West Africa who ask me if there is something physiologically wrong with American children that they are unable to learn how to use the toilet. Plastic diapers do such a good job of whisking the moisture away that a baby does not make the connection between peeing and being wet. Though every child is different, parents who cloth diaper report having a much smoother transition to underpants. There’s nothing convenient about having a three-year-old still wearing diapers.

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Jennifer Margulis, Ph.D., is a senior fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and the author of The Business of Baby.


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Categories: diapers.


  1. Bethany

    I find this to be pretty belittling and not helping the mommy wars at all. I cloth diaper my kids and am all for it. However, this post is rude and will not convince people to cloth.

    • kkudirka@gmail.com

      I agree so far with the commenters who say this article is belittling and unhelpful. It’s never a good idea to try antagonism as a means of winning hearts and minds. I also find it interesting that no mention is made of the resources required to launder “34” cloth diapers over and over and over and over and over and over and over. It may be that ultimately the electricity, water, detergent and associated processing *does* make less of a mark on the planet than the production/use of disposables, but I would like to point out that when you’re using cloth, you’re not JUST using cloth. Unless, of course, you do your laundry in your bathtub with your feet using soap you made yourself from lye, which you made yourself from hardwood ash from the fire you made yourself (hopefully to heat the water) (but omg the trees!!), and water from a spring or a well with a hand-pump, and didn’t use bleach unless you also know how to make bleach from scratch (I don’t), and hung the diapers to dry. Oh also you’ve got to attach them to the baby NOT with safety pins (because those are manufactured, mostly in China, which means not just the use of resources in manufacture but also import costs). And what about the ink/dye used on all those super-fashionable cloth diapers pictured in the article? That probably didn’t use any “chemicals” in processing but just appeared magically on the cloth from thin air instead of via machinery which probably ran on electricity, which was fueled by…?

      P.S. I believe is a minimized carbon footprint. If I had babies, I’d probably use cloth diapers. I’m concerned about unnecessary chemicals and irritants and their effects on the world. I just don’t think being condescending and sarcastic is going to change anybody’s attitude.

  2. Kat

    The way to get a point across is not to be rude and demeaning. This article just creates more fuel for mommy wars. How very sad.

    • ReneeRenee

      I think you have the wrong idea and I think you frankly were looking to be offended. Please be an adult on the internet and if you don’t like what it has to say then browse somewhere else.

      • Bethany

        I think you missed the point. The article is rude and prenttious. I am a cloth diaper mom and found it offensive because the writer implied that driving to get diapers would put a child in danger. I mean, come on.

  3. Renee

    I think it’s a great way to get parents to stop and think “what AM I putting on my little one?” and too many parents are just looking to be offended. It’s sad really. The info is out there and I wish more people would stop and look at it. Great blog mama!

  4. Julie

    Reason No. 3 about the car – seriously? You never take your baby out of the house? I’m a cloth diaper user, but some of these reasons are absolutely ridiculous.

  5. Pamela

    The only thought this provoked was “this mom has a holier than thou” opinion of her parenting choices, which is sad. I don’t think people came looking to be offended. I came looking to be entertained. What i found was rude, demeaning and not at all helpful. If you want to educate people on the benefits of using cloth, this is not the way to do so. I am a cloth diapering mom, for the record.

  6. Funny coy. Not to worry about the mommy wars… Its true that disposables take 100-500 years to decompose. If people were really concerned about their children’s futures and the air they will be breathing, they’ll consider using cloth. There’s not much to rebut about that fact.

  7. Mara

    This article is totally obnoxious. I can’t imagine a single person would be swayed to use cloth because of this. There are plenty of kind, persuasive ways to share the love for cloth diapers. This is not the way/

  8. Sleepy Mommie

    I know that some people might not like your approach, but I personally know of one mama who hadn’t realized a few of these things, read this blog posted by a coworker, asked the cloth diapering coworker, and has already purchased a complete stash for her little one… Sometimes what fuels debate also opens the mind for deeper thought. 🙂 Thank you for being willing to cross some lines.

  9. I am totally in the minority. I find it quite convenient to have a 3 year old in diapers. How is it more convenient to have to take a three year old to a grimy public restroom where they will inevitably grab the toilet seat. While having to wrangle whatever other small children you have with you. Then its time to wash their hands, which will probably end up with water all over their shirt and yours. Or you can lay them down, change the diaper, wash your hands and be out of there. Way more convenient.

    • Lexxy

      I dunno about your kid, but my daughter is 2, and she knows that when you go potty, you go into the stall, you pull down pants and panties, hop onto the toilet, do your business, wipe, hop down, pull clothes back up, flush, wash hands, dry hands, throw paper towel away. and when I am stuck on the pot and she is with me, i have something for her to do….

  10. Wow, This is one of the most biased and un-educated article I have ever read…PERIOD.

    When will people realise there are 2 sides to every coin and just making a blanket statement that cloth is better is completely rediculous and makes the writer sound like a prejudice moron. Seriously, I suggest you re-read this and think about what you have said. I could make an argument like this about atomic bombs or smoking or just about any other thing.

    To everyone reading this page…do your own research and try all options for diapers and do what you feel is best for you and your baby. This kind of biased crap doesnt help anyone.
    John recently posted…11 Reasons Why Pampers Is Right And You Should Use Disposable Diapers on Your BabyMy Profile

  11. Michelle

    It’s time for ALL moms to support each other. Not constantly attack moms who make different choices then you. I’m a cloth diaper mom and this offended me.

  12. Jessica

    I loved this article. It has a sassy, sarcastic undertone (which did not offend me because I realize this) and it had some info on it I didn’t know. I will definitely be considering cloth diapering my 3rd. Thanks!!

  13. A

    Not all moms have time to sit at home and make diaper covers and do a load of laundry every time their child puts a load in their pants. Some of us work full time outside of the home.
    And your comment about children who use disposals diapers not being potty trained till much later is a load of crap! My daughter is 2 and all our friends children were potty trained before 4. And none of our children have ever had any medical issues caused by the diapers!
    Your article is just RUDE!

    • Jennifer

      As a full time working mom, I do not sit around and do a load of laundry each time my kid poos in his cloth diaper. I do laundry twice a week only and it literally involves adding another 15 minutes into my day twice a week to get that accomplished. To dispute cloth by stating it adds loads of time onto your life to use it is just plain false – it’s just people looking for an excuse not to use it.

      And, writer correct me if I’m wrong here, but the majority (not all) of cloth diapered children tend to be potty trained around 2 1/2 years old. I would consider age 3 and 4 to be potty trained late. I’ve cloth diapered both my kids who were potty trained at 24 months and 27 months. I really do believe it’s true that the dots are connected easier for them because they always feel when they pee in a cloth diaper versus a disposable.

      And, although your friends children may not have had medical issues with disposable diapers, there are plenty of kids that have, my oldest being one of them. Pampers gave him one heck of a chemical burn when we tried them.

  14. Natalie B.

    I’m not the most savvy internet user, but is this some kind of spam, Jennifer? I never knew that there were so many cloth diapering moms out there who were offended by articles that promote the use of cloth diapers! Amazing! And these moms found their way to your blog, or have read your writing, where your views are plain for all to see? Huh? Weird.

    I reread it, looking for what might be so off-putting, but I don’t see it.

    Your article in Mothering (Diaper Dilemma) is one of my favorite pieces, and I appreciate the thorough research that you do.

    • Thanks Natalie B. It’s interesting to me that those who have taken the time to criticize this article have been personally attacking the writer (yours truly) and saying that the ideas are “moronic.” And then being angry that my piece is somehow fomenting mommy wars.

      Instead of arguing with, nuancing, or correcting the facts, people resort to name calling. It hit a nerve because it exposes some painful truths about diapers and about the lifestyles we lead that we all take for granted despite the devastating climate change and global warming we’re creating.

      Americans do not want to be told that driving is dangerous. You can be angry about the fact that every time you put your child in the car you put her–and other people’s children–at risk. But the anger won’t make it stop being true.

      I always appreciate your thoughtful comments, Natalie B. Thanks for reading.
      Jennifer Margulis recently posted…Delicious orange cake sweetened with agave, made with a whole orangeMy Profile

  15. Man so many people are mad at this post. Honestly I loved it. It’s funny. I don’t think it should be read for mom that are thinking about gooing cloth diapering but for mom that are already doing it and need a good laugh. Geez people come down. It’s just some truth in between something to laugh.

  16. Lori

    We have a new adopted 14 year old daughter whom we have had now 3 months and from the first day we brought her home,we started her off in the Pampers cruisers diapers in the size 8 for older kids and put adult size rubberpants over the pampers for added protection.She wears them 24/7 and we are thinking about switching her to cloth diapers as the size 8 pampers are expensive and not good for the environment.Her baptism and christening is comming up soon and we are doing the traditional white,poofy,short sleeve,above the knees baptism dress on her with the matching bonnet,lace anklets and white shoes.We are planning on doing a thick cloth diaper with blousy fitting rubberpants over it under the dress instead of the pampers.

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