So you have seen all these blogs talking about cloth diapers and you think one of 2 things, these mothers are crazy hippies no way am i doing that, or looks interesting but i don't know where to start?
Now I'm going to be honest i actually fell into that first category and i bet alot of new moms do for one reason because no one showed you how simple cloth diapering really is. I was lead to believe that cloth was those things we all use as burp rags pinned on to a baby covered by plastic pants and that they were messy,gross, and required lots of time and effort. BOY WAS I WRONG!!! Cloth diapers come a long way from the time our parents used them. They are easy to use, easy to wash, and come in such a variety there really is a system that can work for everybody. Oh and did i mention the adorable colors and prints! They get addictive for sure! I plan to publish several post in this series to go over as many aspects of cloth diapering as i can think of from how to buy,washing,tips,accessories and resources and maybe some more any suggestions are welcome.
Ok so maybe you have done alittle research on the subject and maybe got a little overwhelmed with the variety like me. And thought oh god what do i buy? What will work best? Here are the different kinds of and break downs of how they work. And cloth diaper lingo.
All in one: AIO
These are the easiest of the diaper systems to use nothing to stuff or fold. It is all sewn together with a water proof PUL liner. These diapers are favorites of daddy's and new to cloth parents.
pros: easy to use, absorbent,water proof
cons: more expensive per diaper, long time to dry, can be bulky,needs to be washed every use
All in two:AI2
Very similar to the AIO except that the insert will either snap onto the diaper or is sewn to front/back but comes out when washing so cuts down on dry time, Usually has pocket opening to add more absorbency
pro: less drying time than the AIO, easy to use
cons: slightly expensive,needs to washed every use
These are one of the more popular types of diapers available now. These are the type i personal started using when i started and still have them around for daddy and grandma. They are PUL waterproof outer layer. The inside of the diaper is usually a stay dry micro fleece or suede cloth that draws moisture away from baby. The term pocket is because you "stuff" the insert of your choice into the opening of the diaper. Most will come with a micro fleece, Bamboo, or hemp insert you can also use prefolds as well and double up for overnight use. Some parents don't like having to stuff and pull out inserts but i don't find it to be that much work. Cute pic i found on google
cons: need to stuff inserts,need to wash every use
These are the best of modern cloth diapers and are great for the "on the fence" parents. They combine different elements of many systems. They generally consist of a waterproof shell/cover and have liners that snap into place and shell can be reused. The great part is that there are disposable inserts available as well for most hybrids for times when you may not want to have to wash diapers.
pros:very easy,reusable shell ,quicker dry time,disposable liner use
cons: can get spendy buying disposable liners, only snap in liners made for diapers can be used
These are the closest to what our parents used. Fitted are sewn and sized according to your baby so you will need to size up as baby grows they are hour glass shaped and usually have elastic gusset legs to keep in the mess and are made of various absorbent materials. Keep in mind they are not waterproof on their own and require a cover to be water proof. They are held on with either pins or snappis(they are grasp diaper and hold on without pins) Prefolds are the diapers that need to be folded onto your baby and will take some practice to get the hang of it but are the most economical way to go for diapering. You can use them as the diaper and put a cover over to make water proof just like with fitted or you can also trifold them and use as insert. Here is a good video to demonstrate folding as well- video
pros: cheapest way to diaper,faster drying,
cons: not waterproof alone,takes practice
Covers are my favorite way to cloth diaper. They are easy (all though my husband still loves pockets better),versatile and reusable. There are lots of different kinds of covers. I like the PUL you can choose what to put in them as far as inserts and when they get wet simple wipe down replace insert and use again till soiled. i can generally use only 2 covers a day which is great come wash day. There are also wool covers that are referred to as soakers or longies i have personally not tried them so i cant claim to have expertise on the subject but i can say that people who use them swear by it. From what i read they are great at regulating temperature and excellent at keeping dry and don't need to be washed very often. Here is a link on wool care.
pros: easy, versatile, cost effective
cons: not daddy friendly?
Ok alot of info to read thru so that is where i will end for now. Keep an eye out for the next in the series: Sizing and options