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We’ve talked about basics of cloth diapers, researching cloth diapers, pocket diapers, and even sewing your own. Now it’s time to build up your stash. Where do you start?
First, do you know what type of diapers you want? Choose what style you will use: flat, prefold, fitted, pocket, all-in-one. Many people buy more than one type, but typically a stash is made predominantly of one type. Pocket diapers are the most popular, but all-in-one diapers are also popular. AIO or fitted diapers are more popular for newborns, while pocket diapers are more popular for babies who are 10 lbs. to potty training. You may want to keep this in mind, because even if you choose “one-size” diapers, they will probably not fit until around 10 lbs. (no matter what the diaper company says).
I recommend, if you are buying diapers, to buy either fitteds or prefolds and covers for the newborn stage. Prefolds are a lot cheaper and a lot more versatile; they can be used as burp cloths, all-purpose clean-up cloths, and stuffers for bigger diapers. We have newborn prefolds and infant prefolds (which supposedly fit 5 – 10 lbs. and 7 – 15 lbs. respectively) and still use both. Stuffed in a medium diaper, an infant prefold still lasts Bekah (almost 30 lbs.) overnight. It’s been the most versatile, useful purchase we made.
Second, what style of diapers do you want? One-size or sized diapers (small, med, large)? Do you want hook-and-loop or snaps? Keep in mind that if you select sized diapers, you will need to buy x-small/newborn, small, and medium for sure (although a few babies skip small entirely). Bigger babies will also need large diapers (though many never do). If you choose one-size, you will need a solution for the first few weeks when the baby is too small for the smallest setting; also these will be rather bulky in the early days.
My recommendation is to buy prefolds and covers for the newborn days, then buy medium sized diapers that will fit from 12 or 15 lbs. to potty training. (The “small” diapers that I sew fit from about 10 – 30 lbs., because Daniel fit in them at 10 lbs. and Bekah can still wear them now, in a pinch.) Or, if you don’t mind the “bulky” aspect, buy one-size diapers for after the newborn period. I also recommend snaps for all diapers.
Third, what brand of diapers do you want? You will be somewhat limited by the other options you’ve chosen. Not all brands have snaps, for example, or one-size diapers. Search around and consider trying out a few different brands to see what works best for you. It may not be possible to simply buy your entire stash when you’re still expecting your baby (I wanted to, but…just couldn’t visualize how the diapers would fit my baby). Try popular and less popular brands. You may get a great deal on a less popular brand but it could still work perfectly for you.
Here are some guidelines:
*Buy 24 – 36 newborn diapers or prefolds, as newborns usually go through a LOT of diapers (plus you’ll be too tired to wash very often).
*Buy 18 – 24 (or more, if you like) small/medium/one-size diapers.
*Have enough inserts to have one per diaper (most come with inserts, but not all)
*4 – 6 doublers
*6 – 12 liners (in case you need to use diaper rash cream)
*24 cloth wipes (you can use regular wipes, but I wouldn’t, it’s annoying to separate the wipes from the diapers, etc.)
*Wipe solution or water in a spray bottle
*2 large wetbags (waterproof, zippered or drawstring bag for holding dirty diapers until wash)
*1 – 2 travel wetbags (for the diaper bag)
Some will say you need a diaper pail; I’ve never used one. Others will say you need a diaper sprayer; I hate them. Be aware that they’re out there in case you feel the need to get them.
Also, cloth diapers have great re-sale value. You can buy them used for $10 - $12 each (instead of $18 new). But you can also SELL them for those prices. So if you’re not planning to have another baby, or at least not right away, it may work out better for you to sell the smaller sizes as you’re finished with them and use that money to offset the cost of bigger sizes. If you buy used, you may come out diapering practically for free!
Check out DiaperSwappers for used diapers.
What’s in your cloth diaper stash? What do you recommend for new parents?
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