So you are looking at cloth diapers? Thank you for your choice to use cloth! There are many different types of cloth diapers on the market, and most are a far cry from the old-fashioned pins & plastic pants (though those are still available and super cheap!). I offer several different options and what system you use will depend on what you like best. You will probably have noted that there are many "mommy wars" about which system is best, but here is a brief rundown and then some specifics about my diapers:
Here are some basics with pros/cons and common name brands so you can look them up to see pictures:
Pocket Diapers: (bum genius, fuzzibunz)
~ Easy to put on
~ can use snaps or velcro
~ can easily be made as a one size
~ tend to last longer than other diaper systems because they are lightweight and generally made of all man-made materials.
~ Removing the "stuffer" after an icky poop! Yuck! Nearly impossible to do without getting dirty (except with my front-stuffing pocket diapers!)
~ restuffing after washing
~ Easy to use
~ most like disposables
~ no pieces to lose
~ no dissasembly/reassembly required
~ can be bulky, especially as a one-size
~ can take a LONG time to dry because of sewn in layers
~ do not come as clean because of sewn in layers
~ may not last as long because of their weight and the
fact that the fabric may not dry all the way through the
diaper, leading to mildewing and fabric weakness
~ absorbency is not customized
All-In-Twos: (Gro-Via, SoftBums)
~ Easy to use ~ go on like disposables
~ absorbency can often be customized to reduce bulk or hold more as needed
~ because the soaker part comes out it gets cleaner and dries faster than All-In-Ones
~ requires 2 pieces to keep track of
~ soakers are generally NOT interchangeable with other diaper systems as they snap in
~ re-assembling after washing
Two-Part Systems (cover and diaper): (prefolds, gerber, bummis)
~ Most versatile system for sizing, absorbency, and multi-purpose use (such as swim diapers)
~ can use prefolds, snappis, pins, velcro, snaps, fitted diapers, contour diapers, or just POC (plain old cloth)
~ covers can often be reused without washing, just changing diaper portion to reduce number of covers needed
~ because these are generally simpler systems they often hold up longer working for multiple children without worn out parts/fabrics/elastics
~ covers can pull-up or wrap on, and be a variety of materials from PUL to wool to fleece, nylon, rubberized plastic, etc.
~ frequently the least expensive system to invest in and maintain
~ two-part system requires keeping track of more parts
~ some people HATE pins or even snappis
~ does require two steps when diapering on squirmy babies (diaper then cover)
Cloth diapers don't come with the little sticky tabs that disposables have, so you gotta' have some way to hold those babies on your baby. Some options include diaper fasteners, ranging from the good-old safety pins to snappi (TM) and boingo (TM). Other diapers come with closures on them: velcro/aplix and snaps are most common, though you can also find some that tie on or even button on.
If you are comfortable using pins or snappis than I would definately recommend getting diapers without closures when possible. You get much greater sizing flexibility since you can fold down the rise to exactly where you need it and close them at the waist exactly where the best fit is. They are also cheaper that way and that makes some reversible, so you get two looks for the price of one.
However, if someone other than you (hubby, grandparents, daycare) will be changing many of the diapers, you will want to be sure they are ok with pins or snappis too, most prefer velcro or snaps. Or if you have arthritis or some other difficulty with your hands or fingers, or you find your baby too wiggly for a good fit that way, you might prefer something with closures built in.
Velcro works just like disposables so it is very familiar to people, and it does allow more accurate waist adjustment than snaps since you can adjust it infinitesimally. However, it wears out over time (generally 12-18 months) and has to be removed and replaced. It also has a tendency to snag on EVERYTHING in the laundry, even WITH fold-back laundry tabs the velcro still finds ways to grab things at the edges. Snaps will outlast the fabric and are attractive, but do limit sizing flexibility somewhat since they adjust incrementally.
The absolute cheapest way to cloth diaper a child (and perhaps 2 or 3), is with old-fashioned cotton prefolds and one-size diaper covers.
For just cotton prefolds with PUL covers I would suggest 5-8 covers for daily wash (wash each by hand and hang to dry after changing, not difficult in the sink if you keep a small bottle of premixed soap at hand). 8-12 covers for every other day loads of laundry, and 12-15 covers for skipping laundry days. Another option is to get the 5-8 covers for daytime use and 2 wool covers for nights, this would allow you to reuse the nighttime covers without washing (read more about wool on one of my wool listings), and having one to use if one should be down with wash time, this sort of stretches your cover use without increasing your wash.
If you plan on using plain prefolds and covers the best way to get started is buy 1 dozen DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds on the Internet. These can be found for about $25/doz and will be the best diapering investment you can make. To convince hubby and others to not be intimidated by them buy 3 or 4 SNAPPI or Boingo Diaper fasteners (Godsends for those of us terrified of diaper pins), then buy 5-8 PUL covers (I sell them in sets of 5 for $50). One-size fits all are your best value since you can use them for your little one's whole "diaper career".
That's it! Voila! You've spend about $85 and will NEVER have to buy diapers AGAIN! YEAH!!! If that's not enough reason to cloth diaper I don't know what is! Of course, it is addictive and you may find yourself buying different styles/types on down the road to test them out, or you may buy more prefolds and/or covers to reduce the amount of laundry you have to do. That's up to you. You CAN GET BY with just the 1 doz and 5-8 covers.
Commonly given reasons for cloth diapering:
~Better for environment - cut household waste 50% by weight
~Better for finances - save $1200- $1500/baby
~Better for baby's skin - breathes and has no chemicals
~Easier than ever - hundreds of styles and types of diapers
~Never have to run out in the middle of the night for diapers
~Cloth diapered babies tend to potty train an average of 6 months faster than their disposable diapered counterparts
~Cloth diapers are adorable - they are even trying to make disposable diapers that LOOK like cloth diapers, how crazy!
Find more information on cloth diapering try here:
Wool diaper covers have been around for hundreds of years, but are only now regaining in popularity as more people become concerned with the environmental and financial impacts of disposable diapering.
Wool is a renewable, and healthy alternative to plastic or PUL diaper covers. Wool breathes great keeping baby cool and dry and preventing diaper rash. When cared for properly (occasional lanolizing and gentle washing) it is a great moisture barrier since it is able to absorb up to 40% of its weight in water before feeling wet. High performance athletes have chosen wool because of it's great temperature and moisture regulation properties.
Wool diaper covers do NOT need to be washed every time they are used. The natural properties of wool prevent odors and bacterial growth. They only need to be washed every week or two or when they are soiled. Simply hang damp covers to dry and use them again! The lanolin in wool neutralizes urine leaving a fresh-smelling, leak-resistant cover time and again.
Wash in cool to warm water with a detergent made for wool. Every second or third washing you should add a dime-sized amount of all natural Lanolin (you can use Lansinoh or PureLan if you have it) or a Lanolin product made specifically for wool such as MamaBear Wool Wash.
A great thing about wool wraps is they enable you to use ANYTHING as a diaper, save money by laying in soft absorbent dishtowels, folded receiving blankets, old t-shirts, any absorbent material you have on hand! Snap, velcro, or pin the cover and voila! The cover holds the soaker in place.
Because MamaBear covers are one-size fits all you could potentially spend less than $100 on MamaBear wool wraps and take care of all of your little one's diapering needs using soaker materials from around your house! With care these covers have been used on two or even three babies, tripling your savings!
All MamaBear wool items are washed and lightly lanolized upon completion so that when you get them they are ready for your BabyBear to wear right away.
The "weight" of the cover refers to the thickness of the wool. In general the thickness of the wool deterimines it's leak protection. The thicker the cover, the longer it will last and/or more liquid it will hold before it leaks. Some lightweight or midweight covers made from very dense, finely knit or woven wools can provide the same level of protection as much thicker, bulkier covers.
Thick/heavy covers are really great for very heavy wetters, overnight, long car rides, etc. any time compression leaks (leaks through the cover from a SOAKED diaper) are likely. They are generally too thick to go under fitted clothes but work great under pj's, skirts, and sweats.
Midweight covers are great all-purpose covers. They are trim enough to go under most clothing but thick enough to work for overnight and naptime for most babies. These are what I generally recommend for first-timers to wool unless they know they have a very heavy wetter. Even if you're babybear generally leaks through covers, you can still use midweight and just bolster the absorbtion of your diaper by adding a soaker layer down the center.
Thin/lightweight covers are just that. These fit best on little babies and newborns because they are not bulky. In general they require frequent changes to prevent leaks although some trim wools actually provide very good protection. These include Merinos (which are ultrafine wools and so are densely knit yet lightweight) and Meltons (a dense, spongy, felted wool similar to what you find in outerwear like Pea Coats).
I primarily offer Two-Part Systems, All-In-Twos, and Pocket Diapers. You will find fitted diapers, hybrid prefolds, PUL covers, wool covers, and fleece Covers in my store along with options for turning covers into All-In-Two systems and Pocket Diapers and inserts.