All About Cloth Diapering

I  ♥  C L O T H  D I A P E R S

First off, let me just say that I’ve loved the idea of cloth diapers ever since my Mom told me that she used them on my brother and myself. I completely romanticized the whole thing growing up… imagining only the finest quality of fabrics touching my soft, perfect little bottom. I imagined perfectly placed matching pins with something adorable like plastic, pink bows on them. I help my head up a little higher knowing that my parents weren’t cool with contributing to the growing landfills full of diapers that would take a million years to decompose. I knew that when I had my own someday I would be a cloth diaper mama! I had no idea that it would take me in other directions- i.e. breastfeeding, natural home birth, baby wearing and all of that other hippy dippy stuff, but that’s a whole other story!

I have been determined to understand and utilize cloth diapers for my little baby Noelle from the beginning!

Here’s why: first off, cloth diapers are recommended for babies with sensitive skin. What does that tell you? All babies have sensitive skin, why not use gentle everything on your little bundle of joy? Secondly, while the initial investment may seem like a lot- it’s NOTHING compared to the money you spend on disposable diapers! The average amount spend on disposable diapers is $40 per month, so that’s $480 a year for approximately three years totaling about $1440! Even if you factor in the cost of electricity and water to wash the diapers it still comes out cheaper! Also, there’s the environmental impact- which I won’t get too preachy about. I do use paper towels sometimes & I don’t drive a hybrid car or anything but I figure it’s the least I can do for our earth. Oh, did I mention cloth diapers are freakin’ cute!?

S O  M A N Y  D I F F E R E N T  K I N D S !

There are so many different options with cloth diapers! It’s not like your mama remembers it. The three most popular kinds are pre-folds with covers, pocket style & all-in-ones. I am currently mostly using chinese pre-folds, closed with a snappi and a cover. I got my pre-folds from Alpine baby hub and I bought three dozen of them just to be safe. They look something like this:

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When I say cloth diaper covers, I mean covers with no padding inside. They only go over pre-folds, they look something like this:

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Some people make cloth diaper covers with the option to use them with an absorbing insert (disposable or fabric) instead of a prefold OR you can use a pre-fold and and absorbing insert. It really depends on what kind of wetter your baby is. Honeybuns makes OS (one size) cloth diapers with an insert option or to use as a cover! Honeybuns are my favorite as far as designs go as well. Other companies that sell prefolds are Babykicks and Diaper Rite. Some companies that make diaper covers (sometimes with liner) are Thirsties and Bestbottom.

Here is an excellent video on basic cloth diapering with pre-folds and covers:

The second most popular kind of cloth diapering is the pocket style. Pocket style diapers really resemble disposable diapers. You just stuff super fluffy and absorbent liners into them. You can put in one liner or two depending on your baby. The liners can be made of lots of fibers including microfiber, hemp, unbleached cotton and even flushable material. You don’t necessarily wash the diaper after every pee, you just replace the liners and then eventually you’ll wash the whole thing after a couple times. This pocket style diapering is a little easier than a whole new pre-fold every time but not as easy as the all-in-one, which I feel is a use once and then into the pail! Pocket style cloth diapers generally look like this:

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Lastly, a very popular type of cloth diaper is the AIO (all in one).An all-in-one system has only one part. In this setup, the absorbent material is sewn into the waterproof diaper wrap. This type of cloth diaper is the closest in form and function to a disposable diaper.The downsides are that they stay wetter than disposables, so they may be more uncomfortable against baby’s skin once they’re soiled. Also, all the washing will be done at home, since diaper services don’t typically pick up and deliver all-in-ones. Finally, and perhaps most troublingly, they tend to leak more than disposables. But that’s an issue with most cloth diapers, regardless of type. I have a few AIO’s but mostly just use them as backup. Here is what they generally look like:

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So that kind of narrows it down for you. Three basic types:

Diaper wrap (pre-folds with covers) — In a diaper wrap system, you have two separate pieces, the cloth and the wrap. The cloth, simply a piece of fabric that gets folded and placed against the baby’s bottom, is the absorbent component of the setup. The outer wrap is the waterproof part.

Diaper insert (pocket style)– This system also has two separate parts. In this case, it’s a waterproof wrap and an absorbent, fabric insert. The insert gets tucked into a pocket in the wrap, so it’s typically less bulky than the straight diaper-wrap setup.

All-in-one — An all-in-one system has only one part. In this setup, the absorbent material is sewn into the waterproof diaper wrap. This type of cloth diaper is the closest in form and function to a disposable diaper.

C L E A N I N G  &  C A R E

Here is what I do with all styles of cloth diapers. When they are wet with pee, I put them into the diaper pail. When they have poo in them, I sprinkle some baking soda directly onto soiled area and put into the diaper pail. I do diaper laundering every day so this works for me. When I’m ready to do a load of laundry I do a cold rinse load first- I set the washer to cold water and run the rinse setting with NO detergent. Just rinses all the poop and yuckies down the drain. Then, I run the load in warm water on regular wash and add Ruby Moon Scent of the Month Club ($14.40) a month detergent! I get a wonderful new scent monthly and I use cloth diaper specific detergent to keep any residue off of my diapers and keep them as absorbent as possible.

Once the diapers are freshly cleaned, they are ready to go in the dryer or be line dried. The heat from the dryer or the sun help to sanitize the diapers. Generally, you should dry your diapers on hot for 60-90 minutes. Some AIOs or extra thick diapers may take longer. Make sure you check the washing and drying instructions for every brand of diaper you buy in order to extend the overall life of your diapers. DO NOT USE A DRYER SHEET! It’ll leave a waxy coating on your diapers making them less absorbent.

I N  C O N C L U S I O N

From my experience I have learned taking the plunge and just trying some sort of cloth diapering choice, you’ll learn quite a bit rather quickly. You’ll find what works for you, because it turns out there are a lot of ways to cloth diaper, and no one way is the right way. You’ll get a feel for what works best for your babies bodies and your budget, and you can slowly add to your cloth diapering system, as your pocketbook and needs allow. I am throwing a cloth diapering party at my house in April to learn even more from a local cloth diapering guru! I cannot wait to get even more information on this ever expanding world! I hope this narrows it down a bit because there seems like there’s always more to know on the subject and it can easily get overwhelming. Happy Diapering!

– M

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