Thursday, April 4, 2013

Considering Cloth Diapers? Points to Ponder

Before Critter was born, we decided to look into cloth diapers. My husband wanted to save money, and I was pretty sure I wasn't interested in the idea, but I would look into it to make him happy.

I had no idea what I was getting into.

Would you rather have this sitting around your house for a week? or fresh and clean diapers every other day?



Times have Changed


The first thing I discovered was that cloth diapering is nothing like it was a generation or two ago. I started looking into cloth because I wanted to see if it would save me money. Here are a few fringe benefits:
  • Cloth diapers are chemical free
  • Cloth diapers are reusable
  • Less blow outs
  • There are TONS of styles and brands to choose from
  • Many babies are less likely to get diaper rash with cloth
  • Cloth diapers are way cuter than plastic
Of course, there is still the option of using a folded up piece of cloth with safety pins and plastic pants. But why would you want to do that with all the other options available?

So Many Options!


It didn't take long to discover that cloth was much more doable than I had anticipated. Now the big question had changed from choosing between cloth and disposable to choosing between the varieties of cloth!

All-In-One (AIO): These diapers are as simple as they come. Everything is in one piece and you change it just as you would a disposable, except you put the diaper in the laundry instead of the garbage.

All-In-Two: This type of diaper has a waterproof cover with an absorbent layer inside. When the diaper is wet, just take out the absorbent part and reuse the cover.

Pocket: The stay dry layer and the waterproof outerlayer have a removable insert put in a pocket inbetween. When the insert is wet, just shake it into the diaper pail and re-stuff it with a clean one.

Fitted: These cute little diapers are an absorbent layer that can snap on around baby and have elastic around the legs. Great for keeping in blowouts.

Prefolds and Flats: Flats and prefolds need to be folded to fit the baby and can be held in place with a snappi or diaper pins. They are absorbent and should have a cover over them.
After deciding on the style, then you can choose the brand and fabric. I use cotton, but would love to have some bamboo diapers. I recommend against using the cloth diapers you find at the supermarket. These make excellent burp cloths, but pay a little bit more and get something that is more efficient.

When choosing whether to have sized diapers or one-size-fits-all, there are a few considerations. If bulk on a newborn doesn't bother you, an adjustable size is a good option. If you like to keep the diapers trim, sized is a good plan. While you can reuse diapers for multiple kids, they will eventually wear out, so keep that in mind as well.

After going through over a hundred diapers in a week right after Critter was born, I got online and ordered a cloth diaper trial. I had researched options, and this place had the best risk free trial I could find.

After trying out lots of different styles for a few weeks, I had a pretty good idea of what worked best for us. I found an awesome local cloth diaper shop so I could get a few more ideas face to face as well as supporting a local business. The owner was super helpful, and being able to see and feel other diapers helped a lot.

Our System

We found a system that works well for us, and I'm so glad it involves going to the dryer for new diapers instead of the store! Doing diaper laundry every other day isn't hard for me, especially since utilities are included in our rent.

We decided upon flats and prefolds over other fancier options for a few reasons.
  • Least expensive option, by far
  • Easy to wash, even hand wash in a pinch or for fun
  • Different folds make it easier to fit on growing baby
  • Bulk doesn't bother  me, especially considering the tradeoffs
  • This system keeps in blowouts better than anything else.
  • I can decorate them however I like :) (Even if I put a cover over it anyways)
  • While the thought of folding a diaper up to fit on my baby was pretty intimidating at first, it didn't take long to realize it isn't that scary. 
After using some prefolds in our cloth diaper trial, I decided to try out flats. I don't care how much bulk is on the bum if it means it will keep poop from exploding onto my lap.

That being said, we use mainly flats throughout the day because they are trimmer, and a toddler size or econobum prefold at night or other times that I know we won't be able to change for a while.

If he starts getting a rash, we let him go without a cover and change him as soon as he is wet. It usually gets better pretty quickly.

We just reused a plastic garbage bag for a while, but now we have a wetbag that we wash with the diapers occassionally, it is also nice for travel.

We wash about every other day with Country Save detergent. These diapers are cotton and don't require the special care that some of the fancier fabrics do.


After starting to cloth diaper, I never wanted to turn back. It is so much easier than I expected. Even if it is hard to find people nearby that do cloth (but you will find them when you least expect it!), there are lots of resources available to help out with any problems you encounter. After I started cloth diapering, I felt like I had joined some sort of club because of all of the support and help that is available online and elsewhere.

With the cuteness and versatility of cloth, diapering seems a lot more fun than it would be if I used disposables. I love putting on the cutest cover I have with a tie-dye flat when I think I will have a chance to show off his diapers. I enjoy showing older women that cloth diapered their children or younger people that never imagined cloth was a reasonable option.

I know cloth doesn't work for everyone, but I love it. It isn't much more work than disposables once you get the hang of it. For anyone who is unsure of the diapering system they want to use, give it a try! What have you got to lose?

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