In Australia 15 years ago, 95% of babies wore cloth nappies most of the time (maybe disposable nappies when out or just when holidaying) because the available disposables weren't great at keeping babies dry!!
Now, the stats are reversed, with only about 5% of babies wearing cloth!!
What has changed? Is our time more precious now? Do we care less about the environment? Do we have lots of extra money to throw away in the rubbish bin?
Nope!! What has changed is that hospitals now use disposables (changed over in about 2000-2002!!!), more disposables are available - used to be a couple of shelves of them in the supermarket - now they take up half a supermarket aisle!!)!!! Cloth nappies and covers used to be available at every baby store - now only a few have these available.
My mother and my MIL used cloth. So did my grandparents. So do I. I have converted a couple of friends. However I had one friend, with two in disposables, who had fortnightly rubbish collections of a very small bin, and they had to make sure everything ELSE they bought or brought into the house was recyclable so they could manage their waste!! They also didn't scoop of faecal solids! The rreality is that we create our own perceptions of work, and for many people, spending $25 a week on nappies and throw away wipes is worth the work they need to do to make the money - I can't justify the cost and don't mind the time spent using cloth! And they are MUCH cuter!! Even when FULL of wee!!
When people comment on my use of cloth nappies, I tell them they are being conned by the very wealthy advertising budgets of Disposable Nappy companies to buy a throw away product they don't really need! I suggest that unless I think I am more important or special than my predecessors or my children, I shouldn't use disposables! Future generations will thank me for using cloth as I am helping to keep our environment cleaner and also teaching my children to value the resources we have, to not join the throw away society as infants! If my baby dirtied their outfit, would I throw it out? No I wouldn't, I would wash it. Nappies are just the same!