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Friday, October 9, 2009

Cloth Diapering 101

If you’re new to cloth diapering, or can think back to when you were, you know how confusing it can be. There are so many different kinds of diapers to choose from, not to mention all the accessories. You probably have a million new terms running through your head like prefolds, all-in-one, fitted, insert, liner, and wet-bag, to name a few. Hopefully I can help you clear up any confusion and you can make the right choice about which type of diaper(s) will work best for your situation!

First, let’s talk types of diapers. We’ll start with the most basic (and least expensive) and move up to the most expensive and most like disposable diapers.

Prefolds- Before knowing much about cloth diapering, you probably thought that cloth diapers were all what your mom and grandma used back in the day with pins and plastic pants. Those diapers are still around and are a lot easier to use than you probably imagine! Gone are the days of pins and plastic pants, though! We’ll talk about that in a second. Prefolds are rectangular diapers with an absorbent pad sewn in. They come in a variety of sizes and thickness as well in bleached or unbleached. Prefolds need to be folded and secure with a Snappi (no more pins, remember?!) or just trifolded. Prefolds are not waterproof so they need to have a waterproof cover put over them.

Pros of Prefolds-

  • Least expensive diapering option
  • Fast drying
  • No need for as many different sizes
  • Versatile - can be used for other functions such as inserts/doublers, burp clothes, rags, etc.

Cons of Prefolds-

Fitteds- A fitted diaper is tailored with elastic around the legs and waist to fit closely to your baby’s body. They close with either snaps or Velcro and require no folding. These do require a waterproof cover.

Pros of Fitteds-

  • Still convenient yet less expensive than an All in One
  • Easy to use
  • Very absorbent - great when used as a nighttime cloth diape

Cons of Fitteds-

Pockets- Pocket diapers are perhaps the most popular and well known type of diapers in the cloth diapering world with big brands like Bum Genius, Fuzzi Bunz, and Haute Pockets leading the way. The type of diaper is essentially a waterproof diaper cover with a pocket opening that you stuff a prefold or a specially designed insert into to absorb liquid.

Pros of Pockets-

  • Fast drying
  • Gives a very trim fit
  • Most like an all-in-one diaper making it very convenient

Cons of Pockets-

  • Cloth diaper cover with pocket needs to be washed after every use
  • Can be expensive
  • Need to "stuff" each cloth diaper with a Chinese prefold or insert

All-In-Ones- If you’re looking for something that is most like a disposable diaper, apart from the fact that you wash it, you’re probably looking for an all-in-one diaper. These diapers are an absorbent inner material sewn onto a waterproof cover. They close with snaps or Velcro.

Pros of All-In-Ones-

  • Most convenient
  • Easiest to use
  • Most like disposable diapers

Cons of All-In-Ones-

  • Most expensive
  • Usually takes longest to dry

Now that you’ve got a grasp on the types of different diapers, let’s look at diapering accessories like inserts and doubles, liners, and wetbags.

Inserts and Doublers- A diaper insert is a pad that is used to add extra absorbency without adding bulk and is usually about 3"X11". Inserts are usually used for babies under 6 months old. A diaper doubler is a larger pad that is used to add extra absorbency without adding bulk and is usually 4"x14". Doublers are usually used for older/larger babies.

Liners- Generally, a liner is a piece of material (most likely fleece, silk, or a flushable material) that sits between your baby’s skin and the diaper. Liners do not add extra absorbancy but perform other duties! A flushable liner can be used to catch solid poop and can just be flipped off into the toilet as oppose to scraping or using a sprayer. A fleece liner allows moisture to pass through it, being absorbed by the diaper, but keeps baby’s skin feeling dry. Poop is also easier to remove from fleece than from cotton (like a prefold). A raw silk liner also helps keep baby’s skin drier and also has anti-microbial properties that may keep diaper rash and yeast at bay.

Wetbags- A wetbag is essential to all cloth diaperers! Toss your dirty and wet diapers into a wetbag to prevent smell and moisture from getting on other things in your diaper bag. You can also loop a hanging wetbag over a doorknob and use it the same way you’d use a diaper pail. Planetwise wetbags and wet/dry bags are specially seam sealed to keep ALL moisture and smell contained!

When it’s broken down, it seems a lot easier to grasp, doesn’t it? If you’re still confused or have any questions at all, never hesitate to call us or drop us an email! You can even ask questions in the “comments”. Better yet, if you’re nearby, Nicki does a FREE Cloth Diapering 101 Class at our Madison location where you can see and TOUCH all the diapers in person! Keep an eye on our classes calendar for when the next one will be and come check it out!


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