I am the Mother of Two boys and let me just say it has been a journey. Tonight I have been going through my collection of diapers, and thinking to myself, “If I only knew what worked for us, we wouldn’t have ended up with so much cloth diapering stuff.” So instead of just pondering over this, I am putting thoughts to the keyboard… Kind of like pen to paper. =) As I have been on this journey of Motherhood, I am now at a place where I choose and love breastfeeding my baby, hold steadfast to Attachment parenting, and really enjoy clothdiapering. My first one was breastfed, and I would have cloth diapered, but I didn’t have the slightest clue of where to start. I have learned there are more brands of cloth diapers than there are disposable diapers, sometimes known as “sposies.” Cloth diapering has more abbreviations than the medical field, or so it seems. =) What one would need to know is this, there are different styles of diapers- prefolds/flats, pockets, fitteds, All-in-Ones, and Covers that go with some of the types listed here. I am going to breakdown these styles, starting with pre-folds and flats. First off, there are different types of materials- cotton, hemp, bamboo are your most common. The material has everything to do with the preference of the Caretaker, and the child’s needs. One might take into consideration how eco-friendly they want to get, is there a skin sensitivity involved etc. A prefold/flat is the most traditional diaper, it is cost effecient and simple. There are many different ways to fold the diaper, and pre-folds do require a cover. Sometimes for more thickness, one will “double up” with the prefolds or use some type of a liner for added absorbency. Pocket diapers are more popular and convenient in the eyes of many. Some of the big names for Pocket diapers are Bum Genius, FuzziBunz, Thirsties, Kawaii, Sun Baby Diapers. They can range in price and come with inserts that are normally microfiber, or hemp, and bamboo. Again this comes down to preference and absorbency. The “insert” looks like a big pad and slides into the “pocket” of the diaper/cover. The pocket diaper has a material known as PUL, polyurethane laminate and this acts as a waterproof barrier and keeps leaks in. These pocket diapers come with velcro (also known as aplix) or snaps to keep the diaper on.
Our next style would be fitteds, this would be a two part system because you need a cover with this style also. They are like a compact diaper with all the needed layers in one diaper, besides the waterproof outer barrier, that comes in the cover. Fitteds are also velcro or come with snaps for closure, some can tend to be thick/bulky because of the layers all compressed into one solid diaper. But many popular companies like Good Mama Diapers, Thirsties, Rumparooz, Motherease make a high-tech fitted, so there is less bulk. The covers are also made of PUL, or some caretakers will choose a more natural fiber for a cover like wool. And they look like a pair of pants, or shorts that go over the fitted diaper.
All-In-Ones (AIO) are another diaper, somewhat similar to the fitted, but the inner layers are attached and can be “stuffed” into the diaper. So when being washed it comes out, but stays attached towards the back of the diaper. These can be great for someone who wants to cloth diaper, but is worried about others who will be changing baby’s diaper. You could hand this off, and they would put it on like a regular diaper, and when dirty, instead of throwing it away, it would go in the soiled bag/ (wet bag) that the Mom/Dad would have in the diaper bag. This would be the case for any cloth diapers, when soiled they go into the diaper pail or the wet bag. As for a “diaper pail”- this is simple you get a 13 gallon trash can with a lid, get a diaper pail liner, which is a big bag with elastic and you put it in the trash can. It is real cost effecient and easy to change out.
As for covers most are PUL or a natural fiber that are knitted or crocheted, some are factory made as well.
When washing cloth diapers you want to stay away from detergents that have bleach, or additives like optical brighteners. Some detergents out there are RockinGreen, Allens Soap, Thirsties Wash, Charlie’s Soap, and tons others. Diapers can be washed in a rinse cycle first, then hot wash heavy/regular cycle, with extra rinse. The extra rinse helps to get the soap residue so it doesn’t leave build up on diapers. For drying diapers can be hung to dry or placed in the dryer. You DO NOT want to use dryer sheets, you can use wool, or dryer balls without anything on them or in them.
So, when it comes to pricing diapers range in price from 1.00 a prefold to 25.00 a diaper. Covers can be 7.00 to 13.00 for PUL covers, and wool can be more expensive, because of the labor that goes into making them. There are sites like craigslist where you can buy used diapers, or diaperswappers.com There are also tons of on-line sites that sell cloth diapers. Target on-line is selling cloth diapers, Sears does as well. Amazon is another good place to look.
Well, I hope this helps anyone out who has wondered about the basics of cloth diapering. Just remember it isn’t as hard as it seems, it can be better for your baby’s bottom, the earth, and your pocket book. And it isn’t so bad once you get the hang of it. For detailed questions please feel free to ask, this was just basic info to get interested parties some info, so it doesn’t seem so overwhelming. I also want to thank my husband for supporting me during our time of learning and establishing our cloth diapering system. =) We ended up going with Thirsties Pocket Diapers, they fit our lifetsyle and we buy second hand via certain websites, saves us money, and we get great diapers. We also have a diaper sprayer that connects to our toilet, it has helped now that the baby is getting older and starting to pass solid BM’s. Happy tushy hunting!!
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