I’ve been meaning to blog about cloth diapering for over a year now. 

 

I receive frequent emails from readers, inquiring how and why I use cloth, such as this recent question from Krista:

 

I’m having my first baby in July and am strongly leaning toward cloth diapering, but don’t quite know where to start. I noticed in your about me section that you do cloth diaper. I wondered if you could give me tips on what to purchase, what to expect, if it is even worth registering for Cloth diapers at Target, or if they are not as good quality. I don’t even mind if you turn this into a cloth diapering 101 post.

 

I’d really appreciate help. I’ve tried reading other sites on this subject, but they are confusing.

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Krista’s question gave me another gentle nudge… and an idea!  Cloth Diapering 101— sounds great!!  I decided to turn my reply into a series (instead of one, long, encyclopedia-length post) on cloth diapering over the next few weeks (months?).

 

If you’re not into cloth diapers, or don’t even have babies in the home, don’t worry: I’m not ditching all other topics in favor of talkin’ cloth.  I would like to touch on the subject once-a-week or so, or until I run out of fuzz.  🙂  

 

So, where to begin?  How about…

 

First things first.

 

The first thing I discovered when I started using cloth diapers (nearly four years ago) was that they leak unless they have a good cover.  I didn’t know about much diaper or covers… but I quickly learned!

 

So first of all, you need a diaper and, depending on the style of diaper (more on that in a minute), you need a good cover

 

Some mamas use wool soakers as a diaper cover, but my favorite kind is a basic, water proof cover, such as the ones offered by Mother-ease.  These come in a variety of sizes and styles, are inexpensive, wash easily and dry so quickly.  They are available with either velcro or snap closures.

I do not recommend the cheap “plastic pants” available at Walmart!  I tried these and they do not work.  They may be fine for potty training a toddler, but they will not prevent leaks on a diaper-wearing baby.  
Cloth diaper styles and how they work
To my knowledge, there are four basic “types” of cloth diapers.  These differ according to how they fit and how long they fit a baby or toddler.  Some types of diapers need a cover, others do not. 
 
First, there’s the one-size diaper.  This style of diaper usually has snaps that can be adjusted to fit a tiny baby up to a toddler.  One-size diapers tend to be bulky on an infant, but they are great once a baby hits about 6 months old and up.  The beauty of a one-size diaper is that you can use them with more than one child at once if you have two in diapers.  I did this with Emily and Keith for a few months before Emily was potty trained.  One-size diapers generally need a diaper cover. 
Secondly, a fitted diaper.  This diaper is just what it says- fitted for particular sizes
and weights.  There are usually newborn size diapers, then smalls, mediums, larges, etc.  The handy thing about a fitted diaper is that it is less bulky than a one-size diaper, since there is less diaper involved.  The draw back is that it is necessary to purchase multiple sizes as your baby grows.  I used a fitted newborn diaper for our babies when they were infants.  Fitted diapers also require a cover.   
Thirdly, An all-in-one diaper.  The all-in-one diaper (generally referred to as an AIO) is probably my very favorite style of diaper.  The reason being: it does not require a cover!  AIO’s have a built-in cover attached to the cloth diaper so it’s not necessary to use an additional cover.  [Do you see the difference in the pictures?  The others are plainly cloth, while this one as a water-proof cover attached; the “cloth diaper” is on the inside.]  This makes for quick changing since you only have to mess with one set of snaps.  AIO diapers do tend to be a little more expensive than other styles, since they include a cover– to me, they are worth it!  
Fourthly, a prefold or flat diaper.  These are the types of diapers women used for centuries, long before all the fancy do-dads were invented to make cloth diapering chic.  This style of diaper has to be folded and attached in place– in “the old days”, with a big safety pin; nowadays, with a SnappiPrefolded diapers definitely require a water proof cover to prevent leaks.  Although they are not nearly as convenient as other styles of diapers, the drawing point of prefolds is that they are so cheap.  I used prefolds with Mother-ease covers until I was able to build up a stash of “better” diapers.  Prefolds work just fine as long as you have a good cover and enough “inserts” (or diaper liners) to keep them from leaking.   
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I’m by no means an expert on cloth diapering, so please feel free to add your own observations or tips to what I’ve shared here!
I’d like to touch on a few of the various cloth diaper brands available, how to prevent leaks with a good diaper insert, cloth diapering newborns and toddlers, how to fit cloth diapers into a tight budget (that was a biggie for me!), how much money you save with cloth diapering, etc.  
Mamas, your questions are welcome!  Just leave a comment or email me if there’s a particular aspect of cloth diapering you’d like me to address.  I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll be glad to share what I’ve learned along the way.
 
Love,
Kristy
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