Cloth Diapers 101

cloth diapers 101

Countless times I’ve received emails from friends and readers asking about the basics of cloth diapering. It’s a big world filled with lots of lingo and choices so it’s no wonder it can be confusing to a new mama (or even a seasoned one thinking about giving cloth a go).

Today, I’m going to collaborate all those email responses I’ve sent over the years and give you a summary of cloth diapering from my perspective. This is the info I’d tell my dearest friends after cloth diapering my two baby’s fluffy bums. Ready? Here it goes …

First of all, cloth diapering can easily be broken into what you need and what you want. Cloth diapering as its’ foundation is a great way to save money and opt for a healthier and more environmentally friendly option for your baby’s bum. But, as with any baby purchase you can easily go overboard with styles, prints and “must have” gadgets. In my opinion, here’s a culmination of what you’ll absolutely need to successfully cloth diaper.

24 pocket or all in one (AIO) diapers | These are the easiest and most daddy/grandparent/caregiver friendly. My favorites are theĀ bumGenius 4.0 and the bumGenius Freetimes. I’ve also had luck with Fuzzibunz and Thirsties Duo and AIO diapers.

Covers and Inserts | As an alternative to pockets or AIO diapers you can also use a hybrid system with a PUL (waterproof) cover and prefolds or microfiber inserts. This is a more cost effective option as you only need to wash the covers if they get soiled. So, overall you can purchase fewer covers than pre folds/inserts. If you go 100% this route I’d recommend 8 covers and 24 prefolds or inserts. My all time favorite covers are by Thirsties; they’re called the Duo Wrap Diaper. They come in two sizes for a good fit and have a double gusset at the leg openings to minimize blow outs and leaks. I’ve used Econobum and Flip covers as well and have no complaints. The Flip organic prefolds are my top pick followed by the Flip stay-dry microfiber inserts. The great thing about covers/inserts is that they can be used interchangeable. So if you find a great cover, you aren’t necessarily tied to that brands insert – you can mix and match for whatever works for you!

Personally, I have a mix of pockets and covers with prefolds and inserts. I use pockets for on the go changes and covers and prefolds or inserts when we are at home. Either option can be amped up when it comes to absorbency by adding hemp insert underneath your normal insert. This is what I do to turn any of the above into a night diaper.

Also, the decision between snaps and aplix (also known as hook/loop or Velcro) … I am 100% a snap girl. I find that my diapers have a much longer lifespan and my kids can’t undo the snaps themselves. Yes, snaps do take two seconds longer to put on, but to me, the trade off is worth it. You’ll find die hard Velcro gals out there too, so ask around and see what everyone’s reasons are before taking the plunge with one or the other.

Dirty Diaper Storage | Other necessities include some type of wet bag storage for dirties. I opted for a garbage can (this is the exact one I got) and a PlanetWise pail liner. You can also consider a hanging zippered wet bag. It’s nice to have a smaller version for diapering on the go too. This one is by far the best since it has a wet space (for dirties) and a dry space (for clean dipes).

Diaper Soap | Last, but not least, diaper soap. It’s extremely important to research what type of detergent is best for the diapers you have. After such an investment you definitely don’t want the wrong detergent clogging up or compromising the absorbency of your diapers. Personally, I purchase the Rockin’ Green Soap and absolutely love it. I’ve tried a handful of others, but none compare to the cleanliness I experience from a good ol’ wash with Rockin’ Green.

These are the must-have necessities to get you started. You won’t NEED much else. But what you might want is a totally different story … I’ll be back with my favorite wants soon!

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Gretchen hails from the beautiful Pacific Northwest along with her husband and two young children. Before transitioning to life as a stay at home mom, Gretchen worked in sales and marketing while earning her Masters in Management and Organizational Leadership. Now her days are focused on managing meal plans and nap times while organizing her sewing stash and children's toy bins. My oh my, how life changes in the blink of an eye! Gretchen writes frequently about natural parenting, becoming more environmentally conscience, her affinity for thrifted treasures, and hopes of making it out of yoga pants each day on her blog That Mama Gretchen (www.thatmamagretchen.com).

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