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Cloth Diaper Types

When you think of cloth diapers, do you think of the plain foldable diapers that are closed with diaper pins? Those were the diapers of years ago! The cloth diapering world of today has actually become very hip and versatile. There is a type of cloth diaper for pretty much anyone! I want to give a brief description of some of the most common types of cloth diapers on the market today and then explain exactly how you can get started using cloth diapers.

First, we do have the flats or prefolds which are the closest to the cloth diapers of years ago. These diapers are rectangular shaped diapers (think dish towel) and can be laid in a waterproof cover to prevent leaking and then put on a baby like a disposable diaper. The covers come in various colors and prints. Many people love this option and find it to be the most economical.

Next, we have the fitted cloth diapers. These diapers are similar in shape to a disposable diaper and are shaped to fit baby, they do require a cover, but they will have snap or Velcro closures and elastic around the waist and leg holes.

There are also pocket cloth diapers. These diapers are one of the more popular types of cloth diapers on the market today. Pocket diapers will consist of a waterproof outer, normally PUL (polyurethane laminate) with an opening in either the front or back that allows you to stuff inserts in the “pocket” to absorb the messes. This is a super easy way to customize the absorbancy to your baby’s needs by choosing different types of material (microfiber, hemp, bamboo to name a few) and even doubling the inserts if necessary. Doubling inserts can be especially helpful for overnight.

Next, we have the all in one cloth diapers. These diapers are just that, all in one! There is no folding, no stuffing, it is all done for you and is as easy as a disposable diaper to put on the baby. The outer is again waterproof and the absorbent soaker/insert is sewn into the diaper for convenience. These are very popular choices for daycare and super easy for dads!

Finally we have the hybrid diapers. These diapers consist of a waterproof cover with a snap in insert. The insert can be removed when wet and a new one snapped in, using the cover again until it is soiled or after a few changes. These are super convenient for outtings and take up much less space in the diaper bag because all you need to bring are the extra inserts and maybe an extra cover depending on how long you will be out.

Getting started with cloth diapers can be an adjustment. The various diapers will work differently on babies and it’s important to find the right fit and comfort for your baby’s size. The wrong fit can cause leaks and frustrations. When I was pregnant I bought several different brands so I would be able to try a variety of diapers when my little guy was born. I really thought I would like pocket diapers best, but I ended up LOVING all in one diapers. They are so quick and convenient the only difference is the laundry and the fact that I feel good about making less of an impact on our Earth!
Diaper laundry is something that we do every 2-3 days. You will really want to figure out how often you plan on doing diaper laundry because the number of diapers you will need depends on this very thing. When a diaper is soiled, we spray it off (there are diaper sprayers available that attach directly to your toilet) or you can rinse in a wash tub and then put it in a wet bag waiting for laundry day. Wet diapers are just put into the wet bag immediately. Once laundry day arrives I do one prewash, one regular wash and one extra rinse to make sure all detergent is out and won’t irritate baby’s skin. We only do about two or three extra loads of laundry per week. We also use a special detergent for the cloth diapers because regular detergents can affect the absorption of the diapers plus you want to make sure you aren’t putting harmful chemicals that can be in regular detergents into something that will be closest to your baby’s sensitive skin. We pay about $14 and it lasts for approximately 40 loads or 3 months. You may see a slight increase in your water bill, however, my husband watches the bills like crazy and didn’t say a thing after we started cloth diapering, so for us this increase was minimal.

Cloth diapering can be overwhelming in the beginning as there is a lot to learn, however, I feel the rewards outweigh the work. We save a large amount of money (I love never having to buy disposable diapers), our son has extremely sensitive skin so we do not have the worries of the chemicals that are in disposable diapers affecting his skin, and we are saving literally thousands of disposable diapers from entering the land fills each year! Won’t you consider making this change?

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