How to Choose?
The most overwhelming part of cloth diapering at first was choosing which system we wanted to use. In fact, I can’t really say I’ve made a decision as to which is best. I can share a little info about what’s out there, some pros and cons, and examples of how much I paid for each.
– Prefolds or Flats and Covers – This is probably the cheapest way into cloth diapering. It’s the system your own parents may find familiar with a few updates. Basically, you have a piece of cloth, you fold it into a diaper on your baby, pin it (or don’t), and put on a waterproof cover. You’re unlikely to use those diaper pins your parents probably used on you. Now we have Snappi’s (and Boingo’s, but I’ve never used those). Snappi’s are rubbery three-headed grabbers that hold the diaper in place. Some people just fold their prefolds into thirds and lay them inside the cover. After the baby has soiled the diaper, you take it off, throw it in your wetbag and replace it. As long as the cover didn’t get poop on it or wet anywhere other than the waterproof lining (PUL), you can reuse it a few times, so you don’t need that many. The biggest problem I’ve had with prefolds is finding the right size. The ones I have are just a little too big for my baby right now, so he winds up with giant butt.
Fitteds – These diapers are similar to prefolds and covers, but they are already shaped into a diaper which must be snapped or velcroed on. They are not waterproof, though, so you do need a cover. These can be great for nighttime because they’re very absorbent and easy.
– Pockets – These are diapers with pockets into which you stuff inserts. Some people also stuff prefolds into their pockets. These are nice for a few reasons. It is really simple, just take off the soiled diaper, throw it in the wetbag, and replace. Also, unlike many other styles, most pockets wick the moisture away from the baby’s skin. You can also increase absorbency by adding more inserts or using natural fiber inserts like hemp or bamboo which is particularly useful at night. Since the parts separate, these diapers dry faster than some other systems too. The issue most people have with pockets is the time it takes to stuff the diaper before use, but really it’s just a few minutes extra. Pockets make up most of my stash.
-All In One’s (AIO’s) – These diapers are just what they sound like, all one piece. The diaper has a waterproof outer layer with absorbent strips sewn into the inside. They are super convenient, just like a disposable, remove and replace. They do, however, often take more time to dry since they are all one piece.
All In Two’s (AI2’s) and Hybrids – These are just like the AIO’s, but the liner is removable. That means they dry a little faster, and the cover can be used more than once. Many systems have different kinds of liners to choose from like organic, stay-dry, or even disposable.
Most diapers come with snap or velcro options. One-size diapers (OS) usually fit from about 8 or 10 lbs up to 35! Most of my diapers came from DiaperSwappers, a forum where you can find lots of cheap, sometimes even new diapers!
You will also need some sort of wetbag, maybe two, and a travel one if you do cloth on the go. Cloth wipes are a great idea too because you can just toss it in the diaper when you’re done. Many people just moisten them with water and maybe a little tea tree oil.
Also remember, you don’t have to jump into cloth full-time. I’m currently still using disposables while he sleeps. Some people use disposables when they’re out of the house. Just remember, every little bit helps!
If you’re looking to buy some diapers (or a ton of other great stuff) I found this deal from MamaSource:
I have my eye on that water sling…
Don’t forget, I try to share all the good deals and contest I find on my Baby Contest page!