This post is a repost of one I had written a while ago on a different family blog. Since I’ve decided to blog here exclusively I want to go ahead and make sure this info is intact so I can continue to pass it on when my friends and family have questions about cloth diapering. This post does contain affiliate links. To see my disclosures and policies click here.
THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CLOTH DIAPERS
- Prefolds/Covers: These are more or less what you probably think of when you think of cloth diapers. These have a cotton piece of cloth that is secured with a snappy (moms used to use safety pins). A plastic covering is used over the cotton prefold to prevent wetness from leaking through. We tried this method with our first born at first but found it cumbersome and not effective.
- Pocket diapers: These diapers are essentially a ‘pillowcase’ with a plastic cover on the outside and (generally) fleece on the inside. These are the most popular type of modern cloth diaper. Inserts are stuffed into the inside of the pocket. The fleece whisks moisture away from the baby. The benefit to using the insert system is that you can take wet inserts out and put dry inserts in and reuse the diaper for multiple changes. Inserts are generally made of microfiber, hemp, or bamboo. We use pocket diapers for our son and found them to be very effective. When he was younger and didn’t wet as much we could use 1 pocket diaper through 2 or sometimes 3 changes because the fleece wasn’t wet to the touch. Now that he is older we change the entire diaper each time. At 18 months we use about 4-5 diapers per day.
- All in one diapers: These diapers are very similar to the pocket diapers but instead of having a fleece liner and inserts the inserts are sewn directly to the cover. We chose not to use this method because there was no barrier to whisk away moisture and you had to change the entire diaper every time. We also thought that they were a bit on the bulky side.
There are 2 types of cloth diaper closures: velcro and snap. When our oldest was little and we first began using cloth diapers we LOVED the velcro. (We own BumGenius & Imagine velcro diapers.) However over time (9 months-1 year) our son figured out how to unfasten the velcro and we’d see a streaker running around the house! Outside of that I’ve come to really dislike the BumGenius velcro diapers because they didn’t hold up well. The velcro strips have started to peel up so they don’t stick anymore (we have had to begin using the snappy to keep them closed). Anymore we only use these if it an emergency. The velcro on the Imagine diapers is still going strong and we have no problems with them. Though I will say that both brands of velcro diapers have snagged my other diaper covers in the wash. It doesn’t matter how well you fasten those velcro tabs they always come loose! We primarily use our snap closure diapers because they stay closed, little mister can’t get them open, and they provide the best fit (I’ll get into this later). I’ve not had any of my snaps pop off and the diapers are in great shape. I do recommend that in the beginning, especially if you’re unsure about using cloth, to start with velcro diapers. Snap closures are not hard to use but in the beginning velcro fasteners are much easier to master.
You’ll probably have noticed that there are tons of different brands of diapers on the market. Some of the most well known are the BumGenius and FuzziBunz. I never tried FuzziBunz so I can’t give an opinion on that product. When we first started out with cloth diapers we chose to go with the BumGenius because it had such great reviews and was recommended to us by the store we were at. We later added Imagine diapers and Sunbaby Diapers to our stash. A friend of mine just got some Fuzzibunz and they look pretty straightforward with a slim cut.
My honest opinion is that the BumGenius diapers are not the best bet for the money. The velcro on my diapers has worn out and the elastic hasn’t kept it’s elasticity well. I also find that because they don’t have an adjustable thigh snap or elastic that they leak because there is no way to close the ‘gap’ on the inner thigh. They are bulkier than most other cloth diapers I’ve seen. For babies with slim legs (like ours) they do not fit well. Overall they are not my highest recommendation to anyone wanting to get into cloth.
After we got into cloth and figured out we needed more we picked up two Imagine diapers. They were inexpensive so we thought we’d try them out. They provide an excellent fit, with good elasticity and absorbency. The downside is that the outside cover consistently got caught in the other diapers velcro in the wash and ended up with the worst pills. I would say that the Imagine diapers function well but didn’t look great on the outside. We had no problems with performance tho.
On a recommendation from a friend I ordered a set of Sunbaby Diapers. I LOVE THEM! They are a company based out of China, and they offer tons of patterns (you can’t always find diapers with a pattern), colors, and they are cheap. Seriously, they are so cheap. All of the diapers are a snap closure with an adjustable snap for the leg and come with a slimmer design so your baby doesn’t have a huge butt (they do offer 2 sizes). We like these diapers so much we’ve ordered 2 different sets for ourselves and another set for a friend. We have both the microfiber and bamboo inserts. I like the bamboo but prefer the microfiber. They have held up excellent with no issues and I rarely have leaks. This diaper is an A+ in our book for both quality and price.
- Can you wash pocket diapers with the inserts in them? Yes you can. We generally don’t but I know a lot of people who do. We don’t do this because although the washing machine will pull out most of the inserts out of the diapers about 1/3 of the inserts don’t come out in the wash. In my experience they just ball up in a corner. It makes me feel like they aren’t getting as clean. If you forget to pull the inserts out of the diaper before putting them in the dryer they won’t get dry. Then you’ll have to stick them back in the dryer after the rest of your diapers are done.
- How do you wash your diapers? We do one wash in cold water followed by a wash in hot. We use detergent with both cycles. A lot of people do just one so it’s personal preference but I feel like they get cleaner.
- What do you do about stains? We haven’t had a lot of problems with staining on our diapers. (Not for lack of trying on our son’s part!) I think the biggest reason is because we use a diaper sprayer so the ‘dirty’ doesn’t sit in the diaper very long at all. Plus by spraying it out you are essentially giving the diaper a pre-wash. You can’t use traditional stain fighters on your diapers and you really can’t use bleach. The best way to get rid of stains is to dry your diapers in the sun. You can do this by line drying them or by laying them in front of a window.
WHAT YOU NEED IN A DIAPER STASH:
- 2-3 wetbags. We keep 1 large wetbag (with a strap to hang it on the changing table) in the nursery, then we keep a smaller wetbag in the bathroom with the diaper sprayer. We also have a very small wetbag that we keep in our diaper bag for the on the road changes. Some people just use a trash can for their diapers. (I’ve received numerous questions about if the diapers smell, if the room smells, etc. Cloth diapers do not smell better or worse than traditional diapers. When the wet bag is zipped up there is no smell at all, exactly the same as if it were in a diaper pail.)
- Diaper Sprayer: The baby is going to poop and you don’t want to put ‘dirty’ diapers in your wetbag with the other ones. What you do is spray out (or just flip it) into the toilet. We keep a 2nd wetbag next to our toilet for the dirty diapers.
- Most people recommend to have 24 diapers for a full stash if you’re planning on doing CD’s full time. We have about 18 and I do diapers about every 3-4 days.
- There are multiple variables that will affect how much it will cost to invest in your diaper stash. You can expect to spend anywhere from $250-$500 on average. If you were to buy a full stash of 24 Sunbaby Diapers with 48 inserts, a diaper sprayer, and one or 2 wet bags you’d be looking at about $250 (this is insanely inexpensive). If you go with another brand of diapers it could be more or less I would expect it to be more. I have seen cloth diaper stores advertise diaper stashes around $1500. That sounds like a lot but over the course of your child it actually does save money, especially if you have more than one child who can also use the diapers.
I hope this information is helpful to someone out there. If you have any questions feel free to leave it in the comments!
I’m sharing this post with brokeGIRLrich’s & Raising Memories link up parties!