Are you considering cloth diapering? Using cloth diapers is great for the environment and can be much easier on the wallet (as long as you don’t get sucked into buying the super cute limited prints).
This post will give you all the information you need to get started. And – surprise! – it probably isn’t quite as gross as you think!
Benefits of Cloth Diapering
There are a ton of benefits to using cloth diapers if you choose to do so. They are much cheaper and much better for the environment.
Here are a few facts:
- Disposable diapers take an estimated of 250-500 years to decompose.
- Disposable diapers were first mass produced in 1948. (Which is why we aren’t totally sure how long they take to decompose.)
- The average cost to diaper one child in disposables from birth to potty training is $2400. (While you can purchase used or off-brand cloth diaper lot for just a few hundred dollars, and they can be used on more than one child.)
- Disposable diapers include instructions to dump fecal matter in the toilet. (Although most caregivers do not.)
Cloth may also be a good option for children with sensitive skin.
Popular Types of Cloth Diapers
There are four main types of cloth diapers. Which one you should choose will be based on your needs and your budget. In general, there are two parts of a cloth diaper – the cover, which is waterproof and prevents leaks, and the absorbent layer. Different cloth diaper styles combine these components in different ways.
AIO(All In One)
These diapers are just one piece – the absorbent layer and the waterproof cover do not separate, you just toss the entire diaper into the wash. These are the easiest to use and mimic disposable usage closely. Instead off tossing in your trash can, you just toss in your wet bag. (Unless your kid is on food, then you dump the poop into the toilet) They do take longer to dry, as you cannot separate the inner and outer layers.
These diapers have a waterproof shell and a (usually) flannel liner. The absorbent layer is ‘stuffed’ into the pocket, but can also be laid on top of the flannel. These diapers make it easy to adjust absorbency, as you can add more layers or choose different liners.
These are ideal if you have a heavy wetter.
Prefold Cloth Diapers
This is likely what comes to mind when you tell your mom or grandmother you are thinking about using cloth diapers. They are plain rectangular pieces of cloth, usually with an absorbent middle layer, that are fastened using clasps or diaper pins.
They are less convenient, not as cute (Have you seen some of the cloth diaper prints out there? Adorable.), BUT, they are much more affordable.
And since one size diapers don’t usually fit newborns well, they can be an economical option for the first few weeks.
Hybrid Diapers (All in Twos)
This type of cloth diapers features a waterproof outer shell that can be used with a variety of absorbency inserts – including disposable ones. This design makes them very flexible and ideal for most families. For example, you could use only disposables if the thought of washing poop grosses you out. Or, you could stick to cloth inserts at home, but use disposables when the grandparents watch the kids.
How to Wash Cloth Diapers
For most parents, washing cloth diapers is quite simple. Take the diaper off, toss it in a wet bag or bin. Every two or three days (or every day, if you are so inclined), toss in the washing machine. Simply wash your diapers on warm or cool with an extra rinse cycle and Tide detergent. Yes, they are specific detergents but for most people, Tide works really well.
Since this is a short guide, I am not going to get into issues that might arise if you have hard water or an HE washer, or if your diapers start to smell. I highly recommend digging into Fluff Love University if you are having issues!
How Many Cloth Diapers Do I Need?
The number of cloth diapers you will need totally depends on how much you plan to cloth diaper (We do cloth during the day and disposables at night and when we go out.) It may also change by age; newborns may need more, while older children need less.
In generally, a solid cloth diaper stash is 15-24 diapers.
Are Cloth Diapers a Good Choice For My Family?
Cloth diapers are not the best choice for everyone. While cheaper overall, some families may not have the resources to purchase cloth diapers out right. Or, your state might not allow day care providers to use cloth.
Doing more laundry might sound like your own personal hell. Or, this might just be a crunchy battle you don’t want to fight. And that is totally okay. #nojudgement
But, I do hope you have the information you need to make the decision for your family. And, cloth might not be quite as difficult or gross as you thought. (Also, if the poo part grosses you out, you might consider using flushable liners. )
This is not a comprehensive guide to cloth diapering, just a beginner’s guide to getting you started.
Here are a few trusted resources if you would like to learn more:
Got tips, favorite cloth diaper brands, or other resources to share? Please leave us a comment!
Image Credit: Featured Image Edited By Author from Pixabay.
Inpost Image: By Author.