Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloth Diapering

For those of you that are planning to start a family soon or even interested in having kids some day I wanted to write a bit about our decision to cloth diaper and the research that led up to it. To me, cloth diapering was something I knew I was interested in before we even got pregnant. It intuitively seemed right to me for a number of reasons. First of all it just seems more natural, no crazy chemicals or engineered substances next to the baby's skin, people have been using cloth diapers for centuries, seems like the way to go. I tend to be naturally drawn toward a more hippy, earthy parenting style and cloth diapering goes along with that so initially it was kind of an image thing for me as well.

I didn't know much about the topic though until I started researching it. Thank goodness for the internet! It can tell you anything you want to know about cloth diapering! What immediately struck me was how complicated cloth diapering has become! I was so overwhelmed by the sheer variety of options available. There are pocket diapers, all in ones, all in twos, flats, prefolds, soakers, liners and the list goes on and on. This was almost enough to scare me away from the prospect of cloth diapering however more you look in to it the easier it is to understand and will quickly start to see why cloth diapers are making a huge comeback. I am by no means an expert, especially since I haven't even tried any of this out yet but I just wanted to share what I've learned in my research and hopefully it will be helpful to someone out there. Here are some pros and cons to cloth diapering that spring to my mind.


Cost- Cloth diapering requires a larger up front investment than disposables but overall it will save you a ton of money. You can also reuse cloth diapers for multiple kids and if you use flats or prefolds you can continue to use the diaper part for cleaning and multipurpose rags long after your kids are potty trained.

Less wasteful- If you are environmentally minded cloth diapering is the way to go, think of all the wate you are eliminating by using cloth instead of disposable. You will use more water for washing the diapers but other than that your waste from using cloth is pretty much zero.

Natural Materials- As I mentioned before, using cloth is an easy way to eliminate synthetic or chemically treated materials that you might not want next to your baby's skin. You can easily find unbleached and organic options in the cloth diaper world.

Flexibility- There are so many options when it comes to cloth diapering styles, you are sure to find something that will work for you.


Time Consuming- Doing all that extra laundry will take some time. Also, if you use prefolds or flats with covers it will take a little extra time for each diaper change because there is an extra step in there (adding the actual diaper and then adding a cover on top of it). If you use all in ones they are really not any more time consuming to put on than disposables.

Difficult for travel- I am planning to use disposables when we travel, hauling dirty laundry around sounds like a pain.

I'm sure I am missing some things that will make themselves obvious later on. I will have to do an update on all this after the baby comes and I get to try all this out.

As I mentioned there are a number of options out there and you have to find the one that makes sense to you. Here is the gear I ended up with for cloth diapering.

A smal fraction of my cloth diaper stash just to give some examples.  A small wet bag to hold dirty diapers when we are out and about, some prefolds and covers and some diaper pins.

For my cloth diapering I went the prefold and cover route. All in ones are supposed to be great too but at the time I was picking baby gear out this made the most since to me. It's also the most economical option since you only need a few covers and the prefolds themselves are cheap. Each time you change a dirty diaper you just change out the inside part and you can supposedly use the covers quite a few times before you have to wash them.

Hanging wet/dry storage bag for storing clean and dirty diapers. When it's laundry time you can toss the whole thing in the wash with the diapers and covers.  

A close up of my prefolds and pins. The prefolds fluff and pucker up nicely after you wash them a few times, this makes them more absorbant. I really want to try using snappis instead of pins but I haven't acquired any yet. Snappis are a diaper fastener that is safer because you don't run the risk of poking your kid with a sharp object :-)

The brand of diaper cover I am using is Thirsties. I have heard great things about them, they are soft and come in cute designs. I'll let you all know how they work out!
I now have just about everything I need for diapering my baby until she is potty trained. I have prefolds in two sizes ( I am using osocozy prefolded diapers for those who are interested) and that is supposedly all you need. I also have an assortment of covers in two sizes and some diaper pins although as I mentioned before I want to get some snappis as well. I will definitely give everyone an update as to how all this works out. If this really does turn out to be all I need for diapering my baby (and any future babies that come along) I feel like a very savvy shopper! Only time will tell :-)

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