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Beginners Getting Started Guide
When I first decided to cloth diaper my youngest I was completely overwhelmed by everything that I read online. It probably didn’t help that I spent months online while pregnant looking for what is the best cloth diaper system and the best way to clean them. Before my daughter was born I was so overwhelmed by the thought of having to choose the perfect cloth diapers. I ended up driving my big pregnant belly to the store and grabbing a giant box of newborn disposable diapers and effectively throwing in the towel on the idea of cloth diapering before I had even begun.
When considering if cloth diapering is right for your family it is so easy to get overwhelmed by the seemingly daunting task. So where does one begin with cloth diapering?
Flats, prefolds, covers, all in one, all in two, hybrid, fitted, pocket, liners, wet bags and trainers….AHHHH
There are so many different types of cloth diapers available today and they all have their own place in the world of cloth diapering. There are even shiny, birth to potty cloth diaper kits available which include everything you “need” to properly cloth diaper with that particular brand. These usually range around $400 and that is a huge hit the baby registry list.
You have time.
This was the biggest thing I have learned over the last five months of cloth diapering.
It is not an all or nothing kind of thing. It is okay to start with one or two cloth diapers to see if they fit into your life. It's okay to keep some disposables handy for when your house is crazy and you are running late. It is not a race to see who can be the most awesomest cloth diapering mama out there. Relax and find out what works for you.
So to get you started here is a quick and dirty cloth diaper run down.
Why would someone want to cloth diaper in the first place?
- Save Money (You can save a ton of money especially if you factor in having multiple kids in cloth diapers)
- Good for the environment (Consider that it takes a disposable diaper more than 500 years to decompose in landfills.. times that by thousands of diapers that our babies go through in one year)
- Healthy (No nasty chemicals no worries for you and baby)
- Adorable (Modern cloth diapers come in the most adorable prints and colors imaginable)
- Be a totally hip mom (Cloth diapering is totally back on trend especially since we are helping the environment and totally cute while doing so)
What are the different types of cloth diapers?
Flat– This is just a big piece of flat cloth, that is a single layer and you fold to use as a diaper. Does require a cover as well or everything will get wet.
Prefold– Similar to the flat, but this has been somewhat folded for you and then sewn into place. Usually thicker in the middle section then you just have to fold the sides in. Still requires a cover to contain the wetness.
Fitted– Consider this the next step. Add some snaps and elastic to the prefold and now you have a fitted diaper. You still need those covers to keep in the wetness.
Covers– To cover all the previous options. There is no absorbency here just a waterproof cover that will go over the aforesaid diapers.
All in one– This is the whole shebang. Easy just like a disposable but you wash and reuse instead of fill the landfills.
All in two– This is a diaper cover with snaps inside so you can just change out the liner and reuse the cover a few times.
Pocket– The outer shell then a fleece liner with a pocket inside that you can fill with absorbent stuffing. Sort of like a pillowcase but for baby pee.
Liners– these are just cloth or disposable sheets that lay in the diaper to catch solids. Makes for a little easier cleaning.
Trainers– You don’t have to worry about these until potty training, but these are the pull up of the cloth world.
Wet bags– these are what you keep dirty cloth diapers in while waiting for wash day. Waterproof on the inside then just throw them in with the wash.
Washing is actually incredibly easy considering the washing machine does all the work. And after a few rounds of washing it become like second nature.
- After 2-3 days, empty dirty diapers from the wet bag into the washing machine. Invert the bag and throw that in with the wash too.
- Cold rinse and spin, no detergent.
- Hot water, heavy duty wash.
- Extra Rinse
- Hang dry any of the covers so they last longer
- Tumble dry inserts
- All Done! Easy as a few clicks of the washer right?
So there you have it, a quick and dirty summary of cloth diapering.
It is okay to start slow and test the water when starting out and you should. Different brands will fit babies shape differently. Just like with disposable some will work better than others depending on babies frame and build.
There is a bit of a learning curve but just start and you will find out what works for your baby quickly.
PS… I have gotten alot of questions about where are the best places to buy cloth diapers and I buy most of mine from Nicki's Diapers.
Personally, I love Nicki's brand and they have a great rewards/coupon program! I am planning an entire post about Nicki's soon!