One nice thing about being a nanny and voicing my opinions as a childcare professional, as opposed to a parent, is that I can talk about raising kids without worrying about the chorus of screaming mommy-warriors coming after me and attacking my parenting skills. It's much less emotional for me because these aren't my kids, and I get to go home at the end of the day and drink a bottle of wine and watch garbage TV and not think about my job til the next day. I'm not defending my own personal choices because when I go to work, I follow the prescribed guidelines and parenting methods that each individual family has laid out for their children. I totally understand why parents get so defensive about their kids, it seems there are always attacks being hurled about every single choice a parent can make. When in reality, all every parent wants is to have healthy and happy kids. Everyone has the same end-game.
Now that's not to say I don't have my own opinions about what I think is the right and wrong way to do things is. I most certainly do. But what I can tell you is that I have seen children raised every which way for the past 15 years: attachment parenting, Montessori parenting, simplicity parenting, over-indulgent parenting, strict parenting, nursing babies, bottle-fed babies, etc. And guess what? Each and every single one of these kids is JUST FINE. Let me say that again. Unless you are emotionally withholding or abusing your child, your kid will be JUST FINE. They will grow up with the same issues, problems, joys, and challenges as everyone else. Because unless you really go out of your way to fuck kids up, they'll eventually grow up to be contributing members of society. Their own personalities will dictate the choices they make and the people they become, not if you let them sleep in bed with you until they were 7, or if you used formula instead of breast milk.
SO, all you can do is find what method works for you. Because I actually think it's great that there are so many different parenting styles! I have used many, and found most to be successful! You just find what works best for your family, and for each individual child, and you go with that. It truly boggles my mind to see women who I grew up with and who were seemingly normal people, suddenly turn into hysterical banshees on social media, bashing women who make different choices than the ones they are making. Everyone CHILL OUT.
Which brings me to the actual topic of the day, disposable vs. cloth diapers. A hotly debated topic in the mom world, and which I have experience with! So please allow me to share my rather impartial view of this with you.
For those who are less familiar, there are two popular systems for cloth diapering these days. There are diaper services (commonly used here in NYC) such as Diaperkind, that bring you cloth diapers to your home every week and take them away to wash. The service provides you with pre-folds, and you supply diaper covers, which keep babies dry, and diaper clips.
If you have a washer/drier at home then you can use diapers such as these bumGenius diapers and wash them as needed in your home. This is by far the most affordable option, though they add about a load or two of extra laundry a week. It just depends on how you feel about doing laundry.
We all know about disposable diapers, as they have become the cultural norm. They are expensive, but easy and convenient. I will admit to my own snobbery here and say that I will always prefer Honest Diapers or Seventh Generation over big brand name diapers. It seems to me that if you are picking the least eco-friendly diapering method, then the least you can do is pick an eco-friendly diaper. From experience I find that Honest diapers leak significantly less than 7th Generation. I would not use 7th Gen diapers for overnights.
So those are your types of options, here are my personal opinions based on my experiences:
Babies who use cloth diapers get significantly less diaper rash. My theory is that it's because you have to change their diapers more often because they feel wet faster than disposables, combined with the fact that the cloth is better for their sensitive skin.
Using a diaper service is slightly more expensive than using disposable diapers, but not by much. The absolute cheapest option is to wash and dry cloth diapers at home, but this is also the most work involved.
Newborn poop is not gross at all. Changing cloth diapers does not get gnarly until babies start eating solid foods, so that shouldn't deter you.
Babies who have cloth diapers are typically potty trained earlier and quicker than babies who use disposables. (Also, the Libra in me loves the way cloth diapers look.)
Disposables are the easiest and most convenient option. They are significantly lighter to carry around in your diaper bag, and you can change the baby much faster with a disposable. In terms of convenience, disposables win.
What do I prefer? Honestly, you can get used to anything. The first time I started working with cloth-diapered babies, it felt like an enormous amount of work. These days, it's like nothing. Sometimes it's a pain to carry around a wet-cloth full of dirty diapers when we are out and about, but for the most part it's become routine and I don't notice it. Yes, the older they get, the grosser it becomes. But it is manageable. I'm used to it by now and it doesn't really bother me. That said, on days we run out of cloth diapers and we have to use disposables, it's like a mini-holiday. It's just a fact that it's easier and more convenient.
So, like everything else, just find out what works best for YOU AND YOUR FAMILY. It will be different than what works for other families. And that's good! Either way, your kid will be JUST FINE. Factor in finances and your lifestyle and just make the best choice for YOU. I promise you, your little one will be happy and healthy regardless.