I knew while pregnant with my first that I would like to save money and landfill space by using cloth diapers. I figured that generations upon generations (in fact, every single generation before us) did it, so how hard could it be? It's not like I'd be washing them by hand. In fact, before we moved into our current house I used to have to go outside and around the house to access our washer and dryer and so I even used a cloth diaper service for a few months the first time around so I never had to schlep wet diapers up and down our stairs in the rain. So really, how hard could it be?
Fortunately for me, I soon received two large collections of lightly used cloth diapers including many brands and styles and over the past nearly 20 months of diaper mayhem I have my formed opinions and recommendations.
Today's cloth diapers can be broken down into three main categories:
- All-in-one diapers (that is, diapers that have an absorbent insert sewn together with a non-removable cover) are a nice idea and the most like a disposable but not worth the money. Pocket diapers are a type of AIO. These are the most expensive diapers and you need a lot of them; every time you wash the diaper the whole thing goes in the wash as the insert and cover are "all in one". The waterproof-ness does not last as long as separate covers as they get washed a whole lot more often.
- Fitted diapers are my preferred option. With this system you need two parts: cloth diapers and 1/3 as many removable covers. I've got something like 18 diapers to 4-6 covers per child; I wash diapers every 3 days and always have a clean cover to use. With this method you put the soiled cloth part in the diaper pail and assess the cover at each change, only washing the cover if it's dirty. Not only do the covers last longer being washed less, but you don't need to buy one for every corresponding cloth component.
- Prefolds are closer to the old-fashioned diapers that my generation were diapered in. They are rectangles made up of layers of fabric with more layers in the middle for absorbancy. They can be folded into a cover or held on with diaper pins or the modern-day, no-prick version of pins called a Snappi. While these are the most affordable option I haven't found them to be as leak-proof as a fitted diaper and they're more confusing for alternate care givers, though they're easy enough once you're in the swing of things.
|Bummis super whisper wraps in celery dot|
As a side note, I must also confess to appreciating the convenience of disposables and understand why so many parents who might not love them end up using them. I myself use disposables overnight (1 per child per night is a small price to pay for the convenience of not having to wake up a baby to change him), as well as when traveling or when I feel the need to fit my kids' big cloth diapered butts into cute little outfits for special occasions. You do, as a cloth diapering mama, need to find which brands of baby clothes are sized to accommodate whichever style of diaper you choose.