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11 Things to Know About Cloth Diapering


Cloth diapers have come along a long way from back in the day, there are a lot more easy and practical solutions now available.

Plus, cloth diapers are an easy way to save money while proving comfort to your baby. See how to change a cloth diaper here.

Here are 11 things to know about the benefits of cloth diapering.

1. They Cost Less, Eventually

a baby holding a piggy bank

The exact savings can be tricky to work out, but you will undoubtedly save money if you opt to use cloth diapers for the majority of your baby's diapering days. Cloth diapers do require a greater initial investment than disposables: experts say you'll need at least 12-15 cloth diapers to get started, and more if you don't want to do laundry every day or two. So you'll need to drop at least a couple of hundred dollars to stock your changing table with cloth diapers and the necessary accessories. But compare that with the thousand or two experts estimate parents spend on disposables in a baby's lifetime, and the savings become evident.

2. They Are Probably Better for the Earth

Baby boy lying at bed and his mother changing diapers

Disposable diapers might be easy enough to remove from your home — just pop them in the trash and put it on the curb — but they're basically never going to go away in a landfill, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They don't break down, but instead sit in a dump leaking toxic waste into our waterways. Plus there's the petroleum used to make them, and the energy required to truck them to the landfill... there's just nothing environmentally friendly about disposables. But cloth diapers require a lot of water, the use of which leads some people to equate their environmental impact as equal to disposables'.

3. There Are Many Options

a baby sitting next to pile of cloth diapers

Google "cloth diapers" and you'll quickly see there are a lot of options to choose from. Cloth diaper styles range from some that are so easy, they might as well be disposables, to others that require a little more work (but a lot less cost). Fabrics used include natural fibers like organic cotton, bamboo, and hemp, to quick-dry synthetics like micro fleece. And almost all styles feature an adorable array of colors and patterns. Click through the next five slides for descriptions of some of the most popular types and styles.

4. All-in-Ones

three cloth diapers

All-in-Ones are just like they sound — the diaper that has it all together. This easy-to-use "fluff" has snaps or Velcro to easily secure it to your babe, and is available in an adjustable one-size or sized diaper. When you do a change, just drop the whole thing in your diaper pail for washing. Because they are so simple to use, All-in-Ones are great to send to daycare or for parents who want to cloth diaper without any fuss. But they're also the most expensive type. All-in-One brands include bumGenius!, GroVia, Thirsties, and Smart Bottoms.

5. Pocket

some cloth diapers on a clothes line

Pocket diapers consist of a waterproof outer shell and a lined interior featuring a pocket for an absorbent, reusable insert. When you change a pocket diaper, you swap out the insert and reuse the shell (until it gets wet or soiled) by stuffing it with another insert. Parents like this style of diaper because they can adjust its absorbency by adding an extra insert or two. Some brands that make pocket diapers include Imagine Baby, Rumparooz, and Blueberry.

6. Hybrid

some cloth diapers drying on a clothes line

Hybrid diapers are similar to pocket diapers in that they have a waterproof outer shell and an interior section where you stuff or attach an insert. That insert can be either washable and reusable, or you can purchase disposable inserts that you toss after use. The waterproof outer shell can be reused through several diaper changes. GroVia, Flip, and BestBums all make hybrid diapers and a selection of inserts.

7. Fitted

the cloth diapers

Although they are deemed the best for heavy wetters, fitted diapers are ironically not waterproof and require the use of a waterproof cover. The covers are available in several fabrics — including thirsty microfleece and wool — that further the diapers’ absorption power. Brands offering fitted diapers include Kissaluvs and Bummi.

8. Pre-fold and Flat

a baby wearing a cloth diaper

The most budget of all cloth diapers are pre-fold and flat styles. Pre-fold diapers are used with many of the other styles as inserts or for extra absorption, but they can also be used on their own. Since they are basically just rectangles of fabric they do require the use of pins or other fasteners, plus a diaper cover to contain the wetness. Flat diapers are similar to what your mom or grandmother used; they require you fold them into a diaper shape before use but are great for traveling because they are so compact. Both of these styles go straight to the diaper pail or washing machine after a change. Some brands of pre-folds and flats are Econobum and Blueberry.

9. You'll Need These Accessories

Mother with her boy in baby carriage in the supermarket

In addition to the diapers themselves, you’ll want a handful of accessories to get started. A diaper pail or wet bag for dirty diapers, waterproof diaper covers, and disposable or reusable diaper liners will all come in handy to make the task of cloth diapering easier. Some CDing moms also purchase a diaper sprayer attachment that hooks onto their toilet to efficiently rinse soiled diapers.

10. Traditional Diaper Creams Are a No Go

a range of baby products

Readily available diaper creams will destroy cloth diapers because they contain ingredients that will clog the diapers’ fibers. Not to worry, there are a handful of diaper rash creams on the market that work well on both baby and diaper. To further keep their diapers in tip-top shape, moms also use diaper liners, which lie on the inside of the diaper like a panty liner. These liners are peeled off and flushed (along with the poop!), helping keep the shells cleaner and safe from any diaper creams used.

11. You Wash Them In Three Cycles

Shot of a mother and her baby girl playing while doing laundry

Given what they're used for, it makes sense that cloth diapers can't just do one spin on short wash! Cloth diaper online retailer Kelly's Closet recommends running them through three cycles, first a short wash without detergent, then a regular wash, then an additional rinse.


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