Cloth diapering can be extremely intimidating if you’ve never done it before. In fact, I was just talking with a mama friend of mine recently and she described how she was completely and utterly overwhelmed after visiting a local cloth-diapering store before her baby was born. Needless to say, she never went back. Well, I hope this posting will help all the newbies out there, as I’ve spent a TON of time trying to decode all of the lingo and cut through the mountains of information in my quest to find what works for me (and baby!).
And, now, some of the basics…
There are quite a few different styles of cloth, all with varying degrees of cost and effort associated with them. (Note: closure options are usually Aplix/Velcro or snaps – except on prefolds).
Prefolds are usually made of folded cotton or hemp and need to be secured using a pin, snappi (modern plastic clip) or can be used with a waterproof cover. Prefolds are the most economical type of cloth diapers to buy, but the least convenient as well.
All-in-Ones (AIOs) don’t come apart, most function exactly like a disposable. Very convenient, but drying time is longer.
All-in-Twos (AI2s) are All-in-Ones that come apart into 2 pieces. Best of both worlds – convenient, yet dry quicker due to separate inserts.
Pockets are diapers that have pockets in the lining that you stuff with various absorbent inserts – usually microfiber, hemp or bamboo. Convenient, quick to dry and ability to choose your insert/use boosters; but, you have to stuff diapers. (I personally don’t mind this… 🙂
Hybrids are covers with multiple insert options. Many of these have available compostable/flushable inserts for times when you want the convenience of a disposable.
All of the above – except prefolds – often use micro fleece or something similar as the lining material. This is because fleece wicks moisture away from baby’s bum (cotton, on the other hand, stays VERY WET!!).
Many of these styles have two options – One Size or Sized diapers.
Once you’ve learned a bit, it really does come down to experimentation. Just like clothing brands, each diaper brand fits differently. This is where cloth diaper forums come in – other parents share their experiences and opinions, and we all benefit! Here are some links to get you started:
- diaperpin.com (I use the forums and product reviews tabs the most)
I highly recommend visiting this link for a listing of the pros & cons of each diaper style. It’s a great place to start when searching for a style that would work best for you.
Laundering Cloth Diapers
1. rinse in cold (or rinse/spin, if you don’t have a dedicated rinse cycle available)
2. hot wash using 1/4 of the recommended amount of detergent
3. extra rinse cycle
Occasionally, the microfibre inserts need to be stripped (a term meaning washed once with no detergent… it’s meant to get out all of the detergent build-up). I know I need to do this when I start to see a decrease in their absorbency.
In short, there’s a lot of information out there and it can be a bit overwhelming, but please don’t let that stop you from trying cloth diapers! If you’re considering it, hopefully this helps you in some way… I’d love to hear your comments.