In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to cloth diaper my little one. I didn’t cloth diaper J, my first daughter so I knew this would be an interesting adventure. I don’t know anyone other than online that uses cloth diapers. I did lots of research on the benefits of cloth diapering. Hours and hours of research were done to get me ready to cloth diaper. I tend to over research, I get THAT from my mother. I learned there are several systems of cloth diapers. Much different from when my grandmother used cloth diapers. You have way more options than cloth and vinyl pants. Before we go forward please know that I am available and willing to help you choose which system will work best for your family. Before I overwhelm you with all the following information plesae know that I am now doing free cloth diaper consultations! Please feel free to email me with any questions you might have. Please also email me if this just seems like rambling and you need clarification on something!
The first thing was to decide what system.
There are all in one diapers (AIO). These require no work. You just out them on like a disposable (sposie), take them off when soiled and put a new one on. These diapers do not require a cover or wrap the waterproof layer is built-in. When you wash diapers you just throw the whole thing in the wash. Easy peasy. But these are the most expensive option and take the longest to dry. These will run you 16-30 dollars and there are lots of options, from Bum Genius to Work At Home Mom WAHM) diapers that you can find Hyena Cart and Etsy. You could just search for cloth diapers. All in two (AI2) diapers are the same as AIO but allow for removal of the stuffer for quicker drying time.
Pocket diapers are right under AIO as far as ease of use. These diapers also have a waterproof layer built-in and do not require a wrap or cover. There is a pocket that allows you to use stuffers to customize the amount of absorption you need to your baby. There are lots of different types of doublers and stuffers that you can put in your pocket diapers. Since they come apart they clean better and are easier to dry. Some people don’t like taking the stuffing out of a dirty diaper so they do not like this option. However, these are actually the most popular diapers. There are pocket diaper options that the insert will agitate out during the wash so you don’t have to pull them out. Fuzzibunz and the Thirsties Duo Diaper are name brand examples of these. There are lots of other options in this category as well. I have found some really inexpensive pocket diaper options through the women on The Baby Center Cloth Diapering board. Pocket diapers usually cost 14-25 dollars per diaper.
To diaper only in AIO or Pockets and to wash every other day you would need around 24+ diapers for a newborn and less as they get older and go to the restroom less. When shopping for AIO or Pocket Diapers, there are options out there to buy diapers based on size, in which case you would have to buy the next size up when your child grows out of them. There is also the option to buy diapers that grow with your child from newborn to potty training. The cost would be between $350 to $750 for 25 diapers.
Next on the list of diapers are fitted diapers. Fitteds require a bit more work. You have to put those on the baby, usually with a Snappi or diaper pins and then use a waterproof cover over it. There are so many different cover options with Thirsties and Bummies Whisper Wraps being the most popular. There are also WAHM options that you can find by searching Etsy or Hyena Cart (links above). You would just search for Diaper Covers. Fitted diapers run from $9 to $20 dollars . You would need 24 of these to wash every other day. Some of these are made with snaps or velcro but some of these will need to be pinned or Snappied. A Snappi usually costs around $4. With fitted diapers you would need 6 covers. Covers can be wiped out between uses for pee diapers and put in the pail to wash when poop gets on the cover. I usually wash my covers once a week unless there is a poopy mess. Covers cost from $9 to $16. You could get started with fitted diapers for $280 to $580.
The next option is prefold cloth diapers with covers. This is so far my favorite. You would need 24 prefold cloth diapers and 6 covers. Again Covers would cost from $9 to $16. Prefolds usually cost $1-$2. The most common type is Unbleached Indian Prefolds and Chinese prefolds. The Indian prefolds tend to be softer when prepped and the Chinese prefolds are said to be more durable. You would need a Snappi or Diaper pins. A Snappi would run you $4. This method requires folding or stuffing in the cover, but once you get used to it, it is pretty easy. You could get started with Prefolds and covers for $82 to $148.
Prefolds and covers or fitteds with covers require the most work but cost the least. I enjoy the customizable fit I get with my prefolds. With any of the prefolds, you buy them in sizes and have to buy the larger size once your child grows. It seems that you would only need two sizes in prefolds. The size R is in now goes from 7-15 pounds and the next size up goes from 15-30 pounds.
There are also hybrid systems now. The covers can be used with prefolds, their cloth inserts or a disposable insert when you are away from the house. Several companies offer this option. Grovia, Flip and Gdiapers are the main brands. For a cost example, Flip offers a package that comes with 2 covers and 6 stay dry inserts for $50. An 18 pack of disposable inserts runs around $5, If you want the ability to choose cloth sometimes and use disposable during other times, this is the option for you!
I currently use a trash can with a trash bag in it to put my dirty diapers in. To control odors, I put baking soda on them as I put them in the pail. My daughter is breastfed so the poop is water-soluble and washes out in the wash. For older babies who are eating solids or formula fed babies, you would knock off the solids in the toilet and rinse the diaper off. They make diaper sprayers for this. Pee diapers you just drop in the trash can. Every other day I wash them. I do a wash on cold with baking soda, then a hot wash with detergent and an extra rinse. I then just toss them in the dryer and I am done. I also use cloth diaper wipes that I made from old receiving blankets and homemade wipe solution. There are tons of accessories that you could buy. Some people buy large bags to go in their trashcan and the bags are made to go in the washer as well. You can buy cloth wipes and solution at sites online. Also, you would need to make sure that your diaper rash cream is cloth diaper approved. California Baby Diaper Rash Cream is a good one and you can usually find it at Target.
It may seem like a lot of information at once and the cost may seem high to get started, but when you compare it to the cost of disposable diapers it isn’t much at all. There is also a good cost comparison chart here. They recommend more diapers to get started though. But it even factors in energy costs. Going with cloth will save you money and also help the environment. In two years the average child will go through 2 tons (4,000 pounds) of diaper trash! Even using one diaper a day will save you $200 dollars and keep 200 pounds of trash out of the landfill.
I apologize if I jumped around a lot. This information probably isn’t perfect, as I said, I picked this all up from research!
You can get all of the supplies mentioned above at Everything Birth.
I couldn’t resist putting some of R’s cloth diaper cuteness on here. She is wearing a Flip cover (pink), a Thirsties Cover small (purple) and under those covers a Unbleached Indian Prefold with a Pink Snappi