So we talked about why you should cloth diaper and briefly went over how much the initial investment can be if you choose to cloth diaper. Granted, that initial investment can be intimidating but it’s really not if you know what you’re looking for. I also said something about used diapers, yes USED diapers, buying some of these bad boys can get you a LONG way. So this post is to help you find the best diaper system for you and to save money doing it.
A good starting number to have (in my opinion) is 24-30 diapers but this doesn’t mean go out and buy 30 OS Fuzzi Bunz diapers and expect them to fit or be your “dream diaper.” At least I wouldn’t suggest it, especially if you’re new to cloth diapering and you don’t know what system will work for you. So here are the different types of systems, are you ready?
- Flats – These are the old-school diapers your mama warns you about when you tell her you’re going to cloth diaper. They are a single piece of cloth usually made out of Birdseye weave cotton but this doesn’t mean that they’re totally “useless.” Some parents prefer to use these because they are easy to wash and fast to dry. It’s also the cheapest way and if you’re worried about absorbency, I know I would be, you can slap an insert in there or double up. Flats can also be folded in many different ways to fits your little ones bums and then they must be fastened with diaper pins or a snappi. You can also use these as burp cloths and inserts for other diapers.
- Prefolds – This is a system that is a favorite for newborn squishies! Prefolds come in ALL sizes, including one size. They are made up of layers of cloth and the middle part (has the most layers) is the most absorbent, they can be folded in different styles. These different styles include; newspaper fold, bikini twist, angel wing fold, sidewall (jellyroll) fold. They can also be used as an insert or a lining for other diapers, so they have MANY uses. With a prefold, you will need a snappi/diaper pin. If your little one is just hanging out at the house you don’t have to have a cover (or if they’re prone to diaper rashes), otherwise you will need to put a waterproof cover over! An ideal amount for a newborn is 2 dozen. (24)
- Contoured – These diapers are similar to prefolds except that they are shaped to fit your baby, they don’t have snaps/velcro but apparently don’t need a snappi or diaper pin. Like prefolds, they are made up of layers but the middle part has the most layers for maximum absorbency. These are not waterproof and will need a cover.
- Fitteds- These diapers are great for runny poo! So these are also preferred for newborns, these diapers usually have velcro or snaps. You will need a cover for these diapers as well, especially if you’re putting clothes over this diaper or going out somewhere. Like prefolds and flats you must change the WHOLE diaper when soiled even if you use an extra insert for more absorbency. You can let your little one run around without a cover around the house but beware that the outside of the diaper may become wet, if you’re going to do this I suggest adding an insert (or two) in there even if you have extra inserts in there on the go, you will need a cover. They also come in all sizes, including one size.
- Covers – So these bad boys are what you put over prefolds, flats, and fitteds (and other diapers that don’t have a waterproof casing); the newer, cooler (literally), cuter version of rubber pants. These come in all sizes as well; included one size. If you don’t know already, you need these to put over diapers that are NOT waterproof to prevent leaks and blowouts because we all know that both REALLY suck. They usually are made out of PUL, Polyurethane Laminated, which is used a lot in the medical field. PUL is stretchy ( too a point ), completely waterproof, durable, and is still comfortable enough to be worn next to skin. So usually it’s a piece of fabric then PUL and then you’re prefold/flat. But some diapers (a lot) are made with “hidden” PUL. Cool right? Covers come in all types of patterns, so these are the cute part.
- All-In-Ones (AIO) – These are easy peasy to use, I like to call them “daddy friendly”. They are EXACTLY like disposables except better because they’re NOT disposables. There is no insert to put in there, not cover to put over. You change this diaper exactly like a disposable, which means when the diaper is spoiled you must change the WHOLE diaper and then put it in your wetbag/diaper pail. These take a while to wash/dry due to all the layers. They come in all styles and sizes, including one size. You have the velcro/snap option as well.
- Pocket Diapers - These are similar to disposable diapers, you must change the whole diaper NOT just the insert. Before putting the diaper into the diaper pail or wetbag, you pull out the insert. These diapers ARE waterproof (they have the PUL we talked about earlier), so no cover needed. Pocket diapers have a liner with a “pocket” usually found on the top that you put the insert into. You control how many (or little) inserts you want and this usually depends on if your baby is a power wetter or not. A lot of parents like to use pocket diapers at night because you can double/triple stuff for maximum absorbancy. These come in cute styles and all sizes, including one size. You have the velcro/snap option as well.
- All-In-Twos (AI2) or Hybrids – These are just like disposables & AIO’s. The difference? You don’t have to change the whole diaper just the insert. This means you take out the soiled insert, replace with a fresh one, and continue to use the same diaper. These are also “daddy friendly” and it also cuts down on washing/drying time which cuts down on the wear and tear. However when washed they take a significant time to dry, just like the AIO’s. You have the velcro/snap option as well.
So now that we’re through the types of cloth diapers, what about the accessories I was talking about during the descriptions. Well here’s information on all of that too.
- Snappis - These are the safer (poke free) and faster version of diaper pins. They are shaped like a “T” and they only go through the first few layers of fabric but are nice and snug! They even make them for toddlers. See? Everyone is included!
- Diaper Pail Liners – These are basically just reusable trash bags. They come in different sizes and styles they are waterproof. You put your soiled diapers in the liner and then laundry day you throw the whole shebang in the washer.
- Wetbags- These are basically the same thing as pail liners except they are portable. They come in all shapes and patterns, when you’re on the go you stick your soiled diapers in there and then wash the whole shebang.
- Doublers- These are made to be put on top of inserts or stuffed in pockets to maximize absorbency.
- Disposable (flushable) diaper liners – You put these on the inside of the cloth liner and when it’s soiled you just throw the whole thing in the toilet and flush! Bye-bye waste!
- Diaper Sprayer – This is basically like a kitchen sprayer for your bathroom, used to spray off soiled diapers instead of holding your diaper in the toilet and holding on for dear life as you flush it hoping it doesn’t go flying out of your hand and into the drain causing the clog of the year. Because we all know THAT would be fun. You can also use your shower head.
- Inserts – Inserts come in different styles, colors, and sizes. You can add as many as you want for maximum absorbency, they come in different types of fabric to address your little ones specific needs. You can even make your own inserts out of any absorbent material you have around your house!
There are a few accessories for your little one’s cloth diapers. There are a few more things that we need to cover before we are completely done. Lets quickly go over your wool/fleece options and then we will finally be done! When you think of these two, you think “hot” but really they breathe better than PUL . Both fleece and wool fabrics have a different process to be prepped then your diapers listed above.
- Wool Covers - These are generally made out of a wool fabric instead of crocheting or knitting. However, they can be crocheted or knitted these are just called longies or shorties, I’m sure you can tell the difference between the two. Hehe. Wool covers need to be lanolized to help “waterproof” them and prolong the life. So it’s obvious how you use these bad boys, they’re covers!! These come in all styles and sizes, including one size.
- Fleece Covers- Fleece breathes a lot better than PUL, they’re soft, and they’re amazingly waterproof (great for all those super soakers). They can withstand all that laundry abuse and they’re quick to dry.
We’ll get into how to lanolize and care for these (and all other diapers) soon!
P.S. If you see any typos or have any questions/concerns; please email me – firstname.lastname@example.org