Cloth Diapering 101

When my first son turned two I decided to give cloth diapering a try. Most people make these decisions before the baby is born, but I’m a little slow.
After doing some research online, and ordering some diapers to try, I discovered it’s not only easy to do, but the shopping for stylin’ dipes can be a little addictive. Who knew? Furthermore, I get a personal high knowing we’re no longer slaves to the disposable diaper industry.
Since the conversion, my mother seems to think I’m now an expert of the modern-day cloth diapering subject and feels compelled to send every interested mother my way. Honestly, any reason to blab about my kids diapers gives me such a pleasure; I’m almost embarrassed to admit it. Instead of hiding my “passion,” I’ll dive right into full blown lunacy and devote an entire page to cloth diapering.

So many choices!

You could use the Gerber cloth diapers, rubber pants and pins from the store, but they aren’t known to be very absorbent and the better cloth purchased online isn’t much more.
There are basically four styles of cloth diaper:

  • Prefold diapers: flat rectangles folded on, cover required. Pin, Snappi or just lay inside a cover.
  • Contour diapers: Shaped to bypass folding, cover required.
  • Fitted diapers: diaper-shaped with elastic in the legs and snaps on, cover required.
  • All-In-One diapers: diaper-shaped with elastic in the legs and snaps/velcros on, no cover required.

The list ranges from least to most expensive, and least to most convenient. Most cloth users I’ve encountered use a combination of styles, depending on the circumstances; one type for home, another for the diaper bag, and yet another for night-time and so on.

How many do I need?

Newborns use up to twelve diapers a day and toddlers use an average of seven. Depending on how often you want to do laundry will determine the number of diapers you’ll want to buy. It has been recommended to purchase 36 diapers for one newborn, and one to two dozen for a toddler. If the diaper choice requires a cover, an average of four to six covers are recommended.

How do I wash them?

A mini-shower attached to the toilet is an easy way to spray off poops. The diaper can then be thrown into a dry pail until wash day. (We chose a cheapo trash can with a lid from Target, without a bag inside.)
When its time to do a load, a cold rinse to start, can help prevent stains. Then it is recommended to wash in warm or hot with 1/4 of the recommended amount of basic detergent (Tide, or any cheap brand without bleach). An extra rinse to complete the wash will help wash out any leftover detergent.
Any detergent build-up can cause the diapers to hold on to nasty odors.
Never use fabric softener because it will coat the diapers and reduce the absorbency.
Bleach is not recommended, as it is harsh on the fabric and will wear out the cotton quickly.
Diaper covers can be washed the same, with your diapers or with regular laundry, but it is not recommended to put them into the dryer. Hanging them to dry will preserve the elastic, and keep them looking new.
NOTE: Most diaper companies will include their own washing instructions and some variations may be indicated. For example, wool covers and diapers require different care than regular cotton

Let’s shop!

Many, many, many online stores exist. WAHM Cloth Diapering Boutique Links is a great resource for a lot of them.
Reviews of different brands can be found at Diaper Pin.

Royal Mom’s Personal Picks

One Response to “Cloth Diapering 101”

  1. Maryanne Says:

    I didn’t go with anything fancy. Just plain, old-fashioned cloth diapers with diaper pins and rubber pants. It was second nature for me to choose this route and i’m glad i did.

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