I know that there are an abundance of blog posts about cloth diapering across the internet today. But that’s because there is SO much information out there! Just like with disposable diapers it’s hard to take someones word on if they are going to be good for your child. Every diaper brand fits each baby differently depending on their size, weight, height and build. If you find someone that has a similar sized baby they can probably give you a good start on where to go with your diapering, but you also have to take into account what kind of wetter you have. Some babies are heavy wetters and will soak through a regular diaper in a short time period where other babies won’t be that wet even if you have a huge gap between changes. (i.e. night time) Cloth diapering is a huge case of trial and error, what works for one doesn’t always work for another and this can vary between your own kids. Luckily you can experiment very cheaply if you know where to look. I’m not going to go into why you should cloth diaper because I really think it is a personal decision that you have to make with your family. I do it because it so cheap! I would never be able to afford to add diapers and formula into my monthly budget, so i am thankful that i was able to breastfeed and was given free cloth diapers.
From what I’ve researched here is a list / description of everything you should need to cloth diaper. I’ve created an index so you can scroll to the corresponding number for easier access.
1. Pockets (diaper with insert that you stuff inside a pocket)
2. Prefolds (large rectangle or square you wrap and pin needs cover)
3. All In Ones (diaper with snaps or velcro no cover needed)
4. Flats (Flat pad looking cloth goes inside cover)
5. Fitted (diaper with snaps or velcro needs cover)
6. Cloth Wipes
7. Diaper Sprayer
8. Dirty Diaper Storage
Cleaning & Maintaining
1) *Pockets* I’ve been using pockets for a year, and they are easy but I hate them. You spend a lot of time stuffing and un-stuffing them. I feel gross when it is time to take them apart and wash! Which is why I am switching to something else. Plus being that it is so icky no one else will wash them if i’m not able to. I’ve only used Fuzzibunz, but I really loved their quality. I’ve never had a leak. Also with pockets if you have a heavy wetter you can stick an extra insert inside of them to make them more absorbent. Most pocket diapers use microfiber inserts and they cannot be placed on babies skin because they will cause irritation. (personally I don’t understand why they make them then?? but I guess they are more absorbent) I can tell you buying cheap new diapers isn’t always the best idea. A family friend knew I was in need of a few more diapers and found some really cheap (like $2.00 per pocket diaper) BabyCity diapers on eBay. Let me tell you there is a reason why they were that cheap! They all delaminated after only a months use and they were the thinest diapers I’d ever used, leaked constantly! If you choose to cloth diaper, understand it’s an investment, there are tons of ways to get cheaper cloth diapers meaning on sale or used, not cheap quality!
2) *Prefolds* A lot of people I’ve talked to use Prefolds and covers, I don’t really like the idea of messing with pinning (pins, snappis) a diaper and putting a cover on. Little Miss battles me enough, without having to deal with that. But here is a few links that explain the process. This first one is the cheapest way to prefold diaper. And a second blog is a friend that wrote out her process. You don’t really have to use the pinning because you can just fold it in 3rds and lay it inside the cover like you would a flat.
3) *All In Ones* I really like the idea of the all in one, because you don’t have to mess with separate pieces you just put it on take it off, throw it in the wash. But I haven’t tried them yet. They are everything you need in one piece, the out side is leak proof and they have the fluff and stuff sewn in.
4) *Flats* Flats seem like a good idea but I have yet to get them to work for me with an active toddler. As she runs and plays they tend to bunch up in her cover which just creates a mess. The idea behind flats is that you use the same cover during the day and just replace the pad like piece inside at each changing. From the research that I have done, it seems the only way to prevent the bunching is to use a thicker insert or double them up. Once again you want to make sure that the inserts you are using are not microfiber because these are not meant to touch the babies skin as it can cause irritation.
5) *Fitted* Fitted diapers are on my list to try out. It is like a prefold with snaps! Or an all in one minus the leak proof protection on the outside. You have to put a cover over it so it doesn’t leak. You can also cover a Fitted with a Fleece or Wool Soaker.
6) *Cloth Wipes* I personally don’t use cloth wipes, for me they are a hassle that I don’t like dealing with. So usually I buy the bulk box of sensitive wipes at Target. But you can pick up cloth wipes just about anywhere, or you can make them yourself. I soaked mine in a wipe solution (i used baby oil, baby wash and water) ever morning in a wipe warmer so they could be used all day. But you can also keep a wipe solution in a spray bottle and spray the wipes down before use. You can also use a travel wipe container to store cloth wipes when on the go. Oh and I’ve tried this paper towel wipes idea and it worked great as well.
7) *Diaper Sprayer* I think these things are a needed investment but defiantly something you can get by without. I don’t have one yet because they are kind of pricey in my opinion for what they are but I can see how they would come in handy after cloth diapering without one for a year now. Here is a link to make your own as well.
8) *Dirty Diaper Storage* The most common place to store dirty diapers is in wet bags or trash cans with reusable liners. I haven’t wanted to spend the money on a wet bag so i’ve been using a container with a lid. Just something I had laying around the house so FREE is always the best option 😉 You will also want to get a small wet bag to keep in your diaper bag so you have something for on the go changes. Something that works awesome when on the go are dog poop pick up bags. They are starting to come out with them for diaper bags but you can buy them in bulk on Amazon for dogs. They contain the smell and are easy to toss in the diaper bag.
9) *Doublers* Whenever you are having night time leaks an easy fix is to double up on inserts, they also make inserts specifically for this purpose.
10) *Washing* Just like everything else that has to do with cloth diapering there are a ton of options for how to wash them. I have an HE washer, and this is the process that I have found to work the best for us. Rinse & Spin (Cold) Extra Water, Extra Rinse. Wash Normal (Hot) Soil Level High, Extra Water, Extra Rinse.
There are a ton of soap options. I was just using the same soap as I used to wash our clothes, Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin. But I felt like it was leaving build up on the diapers so I have switched to Tiny Bubbles, it seems to be working very well. Keep in mind what kind of water you have when choosing a soap as well (hard or soft) because there are options for both and it can make a huge difference.
You can also make your own soap, I’ve heard a ton of horror stories on this front. Some where the home made soap clogged up the washer and they paid a ton of money multiple times getting the washer fixed before they realized it was the soap. (they owned an HE washer) so that has pretty much scared me away from trying to make my own.
11) *Drying* It is really important to pay attention to what the diaper recommends when it comes to drying. There are many cloth diapers out there that you cannot dry in a dryer! Or they have to stay below a certain temperature. Most people line dry regardless as to get the most life out of the diapers. Also l want to note that sunning the diapers will remove stains.
12) *Stripping* In a perfect environment, perfect water, perfect washing, perfect amount of soap. etc. You shouldn’t have to ever strip your diapers. But because of hard water, soap build up and such your diapers will become less absorbent and you will have to strip them. (meaning get rid of all that build up!) This website is the best explaining and method list that I have found.
13) *Buying* There are a ton of places to buy used diapers which are just as good as new because they have a really long life span especially if washed properly. There are a million Buy/sell/Trade groups on Facebook, normally I just watch what people are selling them to get an idea of what i want to spend etc. Also BabyEarth does this clearance party Monday – Friday from 9a – 4p on their website where they discount items and they get cheaper the longer they are on the website and when the time runs out they put up a new item so you can get really cheap new diapers there. I usually see one to two cloth diapers pop up on it.
It was mentioned in a previous link but Cotton Babies has good prices on prefolds, and they carry a good amount of cloth diapers and accessories.
Here in Austin there is a door to door sales person that sells diapers and accessories, there might be one in your area to check out.
Finally you can rent cloth diapers, there are services that will deliver cloth diapers to you for you to use then return and they will wash them, I haven’t really looked into it that much for here but it’s something i’ve heard about, and it’s apparently not too bad on price.
14) *Learning* I am always learning about cloth diapering, it is a ever changing and evolving thing so there is always new information to read about. One of the best places that i’ve come across to find information other than google is a group on Baby Center. They have a handy search feature, so you can find every post that has been made about your question. Way more efficient then actually posting and asking the question. lol
Also, this blog as a lot of good articles on cloth diapering.
I hope this inspired you to look into cloth diapering, I’ve calculated how much I’ve saved multiple times and I’m telling you cost alone it is worth it hands down! If you have any questions or want to add information to what I’ve said please feel free to comment. I will come back and update this post as i get new information.