The Diaper Debate: Are Disposables as Green as Cloth?

"Children don't feel the wetness in these disposable diapers, so they don't realize what's happening when they go," Parpia said. "When cloth is used, they feel wet and uncomfortable, which may help them learn sooner."

But when faced with such an onslaught of conflicting advice and study results it can be difficult to know what to believe. Even choosing between the myriad of diaper styles now available can be daunting. In recent years, a number of mostly small, largely online-based companies have started selling a variety reusable diaper brands. Among the available models parents can now choose from are traditional, flat diapers, pre-folded diapers, fitted diapers, diapers with snap covers, Velcro covers and no covers -- even diapers with patterns and colors.

For those who may be confused about the best route -- and diaper -- to choose, one parent, K. Moore of Southhampton, England, offered her advice in a recent letter to the London Times.

"The difficulties of raising a baby are enough without the added pressure of being told you are environmentally unfriendly," she wrote. "We just have to pick and choose when and where to do our bit."

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