Everything You Need To Know About Cloth Diapers
Cloth diapering offers many benefits — environmentally and for your baby — but with so many kinds and so much information out there, it’s hard to know where to start. Here’s a break down of some of the why’s and how’s you’re probably wondering about.
Why Should You Use Cloth Diapers?
Cloth diapers are economical. Yes, they’re an investment at the beginning, and will be each time your baby changes sizes, but overall cloth diapers are cheaper than disposables. They are also more comfortable for your baby and of course better for the environment, and what better time to consider your environmental impact than when bringing a new person into the world. They are super convenient; you won’t be running out or rushing out, as you would be with disposables.
Some say potty training is faster, earlier and easier for toddlers who were cloth diapered, as they learn to understand their bodily functions and feelings earlier on.
What You Need
- Diaper pail: as with disposable diapers, you’ll want a diaper pail or bag that can trap in odors.
- Wet bag: this is a waterproof bag for your diaper bag or stroller for when you’re out and about and have a diaper that needs to be taken home to launder.
- Storage spot: cloth diapers can take up a bit more space than disposables, so make sure you have a shelf or drawer set aside for them.
- A spray nozzle: this would attach to the toilet to easily spray solids off of cloth diapers. This is by no means necessary, but a preference for some.
What Is The Difference Between Types Of Cloth Diapers?
There are six main kinds of cloth diapers to choose from:
Flats: flat pieces of fabric, must be used with a separate cover: these are the cheapest option.
Pre-Folds: flat pieces of fabric, but these are sectioned into 3 parts (the middle section absorbs the most). They also require a separate cover.
Fitted: easy to wash, these are diapers shaped like, well, diapers. They snap closed so they do not require folding, but they still require a cover.
Contoured: these diapers are shaped, but don’t snap closed on their own.
Pocket Or Sleeve Diapers: these are both pre-folded and shaped, ready to snap closed, and require an insert that can be removed when the diaper is wet or soiled. The difference between these is whether the “pocket” or “sleeve” has one opening or two. Some brands have inserts that snap into place, rather than being inserted. Hybrid diapers also fall into this category, which are the same basic concept, but with the option of a disposable insert, which some parents prefer for outings.
All-In-Ones: the least complicated of the bunch, all-in-ones come in one piece, inclusive of absorbent layer, waterproof layer and closures. You use them like disposables, but throw them in the wash. However, these are the most expensive of the bunch.
How Many Should I Buy?
Newborns will need up to 12 diapers per day, an older baby will need 8. If you’re planning to do laundry on alternate days, that’s 24 diapers for a newborn and 8 for an older baby. The older baby gets, the fewer you’ll need in each size. If you’re worried you might not get to laundry that often, buy enough for an extra day in each size.
Is It Harder To Use Cloth Diapers Than Disposables?
It really isn’t. They might be harder to get used to, but once you cross the learning curve, you’re good to go. New parents are constantly doing laundry anyways, so an extra load of diapers every other day isn’t the hassle it might have been in your pre-baby days. Especially if you consider that you’re not spending that same time trekking to and from the store to buy diapers.
What About The “Ick” Factor?
This is the question so many parents-to-be are wondering, so let’s get it out of the way. No, cloth diapering is no grosser than changing disposable diapers. Dirty diapers smell bad regardless of what they’re made of. If anything, with cloth diapers, solids get shaken into the toilet and flushed away, whereas they stay put in diaper bins with disposables.
Buy a few individual types or brands to try out before investing in the full set. You’ll want to see what works for you and your baby.
Reusable swim diapers exist and work! If you’re planning to have a water baby, make sure you check out the swim selection, too.
Cloth diapers can be adorable as well as practical! Check out brands with diapers or covers in cute colours and prints.