Image by MissMessie
All the cloth options out there, which ones I prefer, common acronyms, solutions for babies of different sizes, heavy wetters, etc. Modern cloth diapers are NOTHING like your grandma’s cloth diapers. If you haven’t seen them, you need to. They are a GREAT option! If you’re starting from no knowledge about modern cloth, I’ll provide you with some basic information and some resources on where to find diapers and how to use them.
Types of Diapers
- Flat Fold — These are your grandma’s cloth diapers. They are giant squares of plain cotton, a material called “Birdseye.” Folded up, it’s very absorbent. It requires a cover.
- Prefold — These are white squares with extra thickness (typically 4-8-4, with the extra thickness in the middle) that can be Snappi’d on (a “Snappi” is a brand of product that replaces pins). They don’t require special folds because of this extra thickness, hence the name “prefold.” These require a cover.
- Fitted — These diapers are baby-shaped (like a disposable) and fasten with hook-and-loop or snaps. They require a cover.
- All-in-One (AIO) — These diapers are exactly what they sound like. They are waterproof on the outside and absorbent on the inside. They don’t need anything at all; you just put it on like a disposable, then wash the whole thing!
- All-in-Two (AI2) — This diaper is like an AIO and a pocket (see below), but the absorbent material snaps into the diaper instead of being sewn in or stuffed in.
- Pocket Diaper – A diaper that is shaped like a disposable and functions like one.It is waterproof on the outside, and is fastened with either hook and loop (Velcro) or snaps.The inner layer wicks moisture from a baby’s skin so they don’t feel wet.There is an inner, absorbent layer which is tucked into the “pocket” of the diaper (hence the name).This absorbent layer comes out in the wash and unfolds for easier and more thorough washing and drying.It is re-folded and stuffed back in after washing. Some of these diapers can be purchased in a “one size” variety, meaning that it can be adjusted for babies of various sizes, usually 8 – 35 lbs. (approximately birth to potty training).
There are endless variations in size, style, and pattern, as you can see if you’ve clicked on any of the links!
Advantages of Cloth
Many diapers are made using organic fabrics, and are washed using eco-friendly detergents, not to mention they aren’t thrown in landfills!They can also be re-used for several babies.
2. Low Cost
The average cost of disposable-diapering a baby today, birth to potty training, is at least $2000 (more if the baby does not potty train by age 2.5 or if premium diapers are used).The average cost of wipes is another $500 – $700.The average cost of cloth diapering using purchased diapers is $400, and sewing your own is only $200 (and since these diapers can be reused, diapering subsequent babies is FREE!).This includes cloth wipes and solution too!
3. Better for Baby’s Skin
Because the diapers contain no chemicals and do not have to contain any synthetic fabrics (some diapers do use polyesters like fleece or suede cloth), babies do not get diaper rashes as often as they do in disposables.The diapers also allow more air to circulate, allowing rashes to heal faster.They also do not cause allergies, as some disposables do for some babies.
4. Less Mess
Believe it or not, cloth diapers are LESS likely to leak!The “blow outs” that are so common in disposables do not happen in cloth.Cloth diapers have stronger elastic, so messes can’t shoot up the back or out the legs.They also move with the baby more, resulting in a better fit (and therefore less room for mess).Cloth diapers only leak if improperly washed (fabric softeners or oils will cause them to repel moisture, this problem can be fixed if it happens by accident) or if they are simply too wet.
5. Easier “disposal”
When a diaper is dirty, it doesn’t need to be wrapped up in special trash cans or pails and thrown out every few days.Instead, the mess in the diapers is dumped (if necessary) in the toilet, and they are thrown in a waterproof bag.Every 3 – 4 days, the whole bag is dumped into the washer (including the bag) and turned on.Nothing to carry outside, no special way to treat each diaper, and no needing to ask where to throw a diaper away when you’re on the go!
We prefer pocket diapers, although we’ve used many different types. We’ve tried prefolds, AIO, and fitteds too. So far, at all ages, we’ve liked pockets best. Daniel was in one within hours of his birth, and Bekah still uses them at 21 months. Ben says he wouldn’t do cloth if he couldn’t use pockets!
The Cloth Diaper Report — product reviews and more.
Cloth Diaper Articles — tons of information on basics, wipes, patterns, and more from Zany Zebra.
Nicki’s Diapers — A popular store
Green Mountain Diapers — Best prefolds! (We stuff our pocket diapers with them)
Comparison with Disposables — Considerations in making the diapering choice. (I haven’t found a great one yet…to me, there is no comparison, cloth wins hands down. But disposable advocates are forever finding reasons why disposables are “just as green” as cloth, which is ridiculous.)