Cloth diapers have come a long way from when our parents and grandparents used them. They are First-Time-Mom friendly, often times Dad-approved, and economical (especially if you’re planning to have more than one child in cloth).
Thinking about using cloth for your little one? You’re not alone. Cloth diapering has become more and more popular over the past decade or so. Here is some information to help you get started. It is definitely not as painstaking as it can be made out to be.
You’re going to want to decide what type of cloth diaper you’re going to want to use. If you’re like I was, probably something similar to a disposable diaper is best to start, because it makes for less fuss and is a little more familiar. In my opinion, an All In One (AIO) diaper is the way to go here.
- All in One diaper means just that. (See above) The piece of fabric that absorbs and the part that prevents leaks is all sewn together in one piece. Pop the diaper on, whether it be by snaps or aplix (Velcro), take it off when it’s dirty, and that’s that. That’s pretty much the plus side to AIO. The down side is that you don’t always have room to add extra absorbency and drying time is longer. All In One diapers are often times made as a One Size (OS) fits 8-35lbs so there’s another plus, that the diaper can be used right up to potty training age.
- Pocket Diapers (see above) are what make up 98% of my diaper stash. This is similar to the AI2 except that at the back of the diaper is a pocket where you stuff in the soaker, or absorbent layer. Some parents loathe pockets because of all the stuffing before the diaper is able to be used. I don’t mind the stuffing. I’d rather stuff 50 diapers than try to match my family’s socks after a few loads of laundry! The other good thing about pockets is that you can add a few layers of absorbency in there.
- There are a few different types of insert available. (see above)
The most common is microfiber. There are also soakers made of bamboo, hemp, or cotton. The downside to pockets, in my opinion, is that often the soaker gets shoved to the front of the diaper in the wash so you have to reach your hand up there after a cycle to pull it out. I haven’t quite figured out a way to solve this one (other than handling icky diapers before the wash…)! Like the other types mentioned, pocket diapers are available in OS.
- Fitted Diapers are a little closer to the way diapers have been done in the past. The soft cloth part is the absorbent part and fits a certain size child. Usually these are marked as “xtra small, small, medium, large, toddler” or sometimes there are just two sizes “size 1, size 2”. Make sure that you check the specifics of the diaper before you buy, so you know which size will fit your child. With a fitted diaper, you snap or velcro the diaper on, and put a separate waterproof cover on top (much like the “rubber pants” some will bring up when you mention cloth diapers). I know of many moms that prefer fitted diapers because they can get away with having a handful of covers and just switching out the diaper underneath throughout the day. Sometimes fitted diapers are also One Size, but I haven’t come across them too often.
- Prefold Diapers (see above) also require a cover. These diapers are sheets of fabric with a strip down the middle that has 6-8 layers, usually made of cotton or bamboo. These worked great for us when B was too tiny to really fit in the OS Pocket diapers we had. The thing I liked about using the prefold diaper was that there are a few different ways to fold the fabric to ensure coverage and absorbency where it’s needed. We used nifty little contraptions called Snappis. They are easier and safer than safety pins and give the diaper a nice fit. A couple cons to prefolds, I found, were that they aren’t as absorbent as other options, they can be a bit bulky on a wee one, and there isn’t really an option for OS so you’ll be buying more prefolds as your child outgrows smaller sizes. I did like that they wash and dry pretty easily and quickly and resold fairly fast.
Another thing I want to touch on when it comes to choosing your diapers is the closure. Often times you have a choice between aplix and snaps. While this is usually a personal preference I think in the long run, snaps are my preference. Believe me when I say, I know how frustrating it can be to try to put two little snaps together on a squirming child. My 27lb-er gives me a run for my money! I’d rather deal with that than the tabs breaking down, getting clogged with fuzz, or just plain falling off the diaper after repeated use and washes. I will say that it is much easier to get a good fit with the aplix simply because you can attach it anywhere along the strip.