Ok, so this is more like a quick and clean guide to cloth diapering but quick and dirty sounded better ha! This is my first time cloth diapering from the newborn phase–which is much better than from the toddler phase in all honesty. There was A LOT to learn and figure out and going through tons of information was really overwhelming. I’ve pulled out some of the most pertinent information to share here in case others have questions.
Different Types Of Cloth Diapers
This is probably the most overwhelming part–choosing the cloth diaper that works for you and your baby. It’s especially hard because most of us shop for the diapers before the baby is born. Here’s a high-level guide to the different types of diapers:
These are just like how they sound–they’re little diapers that look like underwear made from wool. They’ve been pretreated to prevent bacterial growth but wool naturally absorbs wetness and odors. These are more expensive and come as diapers and leggings.
These are just like disposable diapers but you wash them. There are no inserts as the the inner absorbable layer is attached to the outer layer. These are supposed to be great for newborns.
These have an outer shell that contains a pocket to be stuffed with either a folded prefold diaper or an insert. These are similar to the AIO’s in the design but dry faster.
These are kind of like pull ups but aren’t just for the potty training toddler. I just ordered some of these because they come specifically sized for newborns and the way my little guys thighs are set up we need something more fitted.
These are the rectangular cloths that are used with a water proof diaper cover.
These are similar to the prefolds but they have one level of absorbency for the whole rectangle and can be folded in various ways to be used as a diaper.
These are diapers that’s have been made to look like actual diapers and have clasps. They have to be used with an outer waterproof shell but they provide a closer fit.
What To Do When You First Get Your Cloth Diapers
This is important namely because I had no clue it needed to be done. Everyone knows to wash all baby stuff before baby wears them. I thought just washing my inserts once was all we needed but NOPE! When you get your inserts they need to be stripped to make them absorbent. How do you do this? You can wash them about 5-6 times in hot water with cloth diaper detergent or you can wash them with a cup of bleach and Dawn. The way that you know if the diapers have been stripped is with a simple test–sprinkle some water on the insert. If it absorbs it’s been stripped properly. If it rolls off, it needs to be stripped again.
But What About Leaks?
They happen. Leaks can be a sign of the following:
1. Your diaper inserts aren’t stripped.
Go through the stripping process again!
2. If it’s a boy, he’s penis is pointing up.
Who knew this would make a difference but it does!
3. They’re too big.
I learned this the hard way. Even though the diapers say that they’ll fit newborns that’s not always true. If you can fit more than 1 finger around the waistband and thighs, they’re too big.
4. You’re waiting too long to change them.
Sure, they have these super big, fluffy butts but that does mean they are more absorbent!!! Disposable diapers are specially treated to make them more absorbent–cloth diapers aren’t.
How Many Should You Have
This was one of my questions when starting out. I wasn’t sure if I needed ALL the diapers or just a few. I knew from diapering abc that I liked hybrid diapers but I also found from shopping in person that I liked the ease of the pocket diapers.
I registered for about 12 of the diaper covers and 24 of the inserts. By the time BC arrived, I was prepared with 24 covers and 36 inserts. I tried to calculate how many diapers a newborn would go through and add a couple more than that in case I didn’t do laundry daily. Since newborns go through quite a few diapers daily, I figured I was safe with 24. I’ve yet to run out during the day.
What Other Things Will You Need
In addition to the diaper and cover, you do need a couple other things to make your cloth diapering journey easier:
These will store your used diapers until time to wash. You need one for the main area in the house you’ll be changing baby in and one for on the go to keep in your diaper bag.
Normal diaper creams or Vaseline may stop the diaper from absorbing properly so it’s best to use diaper creams formulated with cloth in mind.
I love Molly Suds for my diapers but you’ll want a laundry detergent formulated for cloth diapers. It’ll keep them looking clean and smelling fresh. And yes, this actually makes a difference!
This isn’t a “need” as much as it is a matter of convenience for diaper changes. If you use disposable wipes you need to have a garbage can there as well as opposed to being able to toss the cloth wipe into the wet bag with the dirty diaper.
My Favorite Cloth Diapers
These are really well made pocket diapers. I was gifted some off Amazon and have fallen in love!
These are really cool hybrids that also give the option of having disposable inserts. Cool, right? If you’re in Atlanta, you can snag them from Happy Mango and if you aren’t, you can grab a starter kit here.
Fellow cloth diapering mamas did I miss anything? Mamas thinking of cloth diapering, do you have any questions?