Apr 10 , 2020
Cloth diapers have been shaping up to be a more inexpensive and economically-friendly alternative to disposable diapers. Instead of buying new diapers every week, all you have to do is wash a cloth diaper then use it again once it’s done drying. These parenting products might seem strange and difficult to use at first, but they can indeed save you a lot of wasted time and money in no time.
There are many different cloth diaper options out there to try out. Parents who prefer to do things the old fashioned way can have fun using flat or prefolded cloth diapers at home, while other parents might find washing cloth diapers in one go to be much easier and time-saving. Here are a few tidbits to know before buying cloth diapers for the first time.
Types of Cloth Diapers
- Flat Cloth Diapers: Flat cloth diapers are what you’re most likely to see in old-timey movies and cartoons. As the name implies, these cloth diapers are flat pieces of cloth that don’t come with any special shapes, flaps, or inserts. Though flats have been phased out in favor of more convenient cloth diaper varieties, you can try using them if you prefer to make special adjustments or folds yourself.
- Prefolded Cloth Diapers: These cloth diapers don’t require as much folding as flats since they already come with several folded layers that have been sewn into the middle and sides. The middle section of most prefolded cloth diapers, in particular, is usually designed to be extra thick for maximum absorbency. When the diaper gets dirty, all you have to do is remove the soiled layers and replace them with clean ones. Parents who find other cloth diapers to be out of their budgets should definitely try using these inexpensive and absorbent alternatives.
- Fitted Cloth Diapers: Fitted cloth diapers are designed to fit babies more precisely and securely than prefolded diapers. They come with gussets that can stretch to better fit your baby’s skin without any chafing or tightness. Another great thing about fitted cloth diapers is that the whole diaper itself is meant to be absorbent, so you don’t have to replace any inserts or remove any layers.
- Contour Diapers: Also known as snapless fitted diapers, contour diapers don’t come with any fasteners or elastics. However, they can still provide a secure fit for your baby since they’re designed to be tapered around the legs. Most contour diapers come with two absorbent layers, making them a popular choice for newborns. Some contour diapers also allow you to insert filters inside special pockets for additional absorbency. When using a contour diaper, it’s also important to use a waterproof cover to avoid soiling your baby's clothes.
- Pocket Cloth Diapers: Like contour diapers, pocket diapers also use a two-part absorbency system. These diapers are designed with an outer waterproof cover, as well as an inner pocket that you can stuff with absorbent cotton inserts. Pocket diapers also come with adjustable wings to ensure a more secure and comfortable fit for your baby. When this cloth diaper gets dirty, you’ll need to wash the outer cover and insert separately.
- All-In-One Cloth Diapers: These diapers are the easiest option for most parents since they don’t require any folding or stuffing. Instead of unfolding any flaps or removing pins, you can just take this diaper off like underwear and wash as needed. Like pocket diapers, all-in-one cloth diapers also use an inner absorbent layer as well as an outer waterproof cover. Some of these diapers also come with adjustable closures for an easier and more secure fit.
- All-In-Two Cloth Diapers: These cloth diapers don’t take as long to dry as All-in-one diapers. These diapers also use leak-free soaker pad inserts that sit directly against a baby’s skin. As opposed to All-in-ones, which use soaker pads attached directly to the diaper, all-in-twos give you the option to remove and wash absorbent inserts separately.
- Hybrid Cloth Diapers: Like all-in-two diapers, hybrid cloth diapers also use removable absorbent inserts. The main advantage of these diapers is that they don’t use any chemical materials. Instead, most hybrid cloth diapers are meant to be natural and environmentally-friendly. Even people who aren’t aiming to lessen their carbon footprint will still find hybrid cloth diapers a convenient and incredibly useful tool.
How Many Cloth Diapers Are Necessary?
It’s generally recommended that first-timers start out with around 20 cloth diapers. However, the number of cloth diapers you’ll need to buy and use mainly depends on how often you plan to do the laundry. If you’re the type to launder clothes every day, you might do just fine with at least a dozen diapers in the household. On the other hand, if you prefer doing the laundry just once or twice a week, you might want to stock your nursery with at least 24 diapers.
Most newborns will need to use 15 cloth diapers every day, while older babies will only need to use around 8 to 10 diapers a day.
How Often Should I Wash A Cloth Diaper?
It’s important to change your baby’s cloth diaper every two hours. Otherwise, the diaper won’t have much absorbency to spare. Your baby might also end up suffering from diaper rash if they aren’t changed as needed.
You can tell when a baby’s diaper needs to be changed by observing the fabric. Cotton and other similar fabrics tend to hang lower and feel somewhat heavier when they’re splashed with water. If your baby’s cloth diaper is sagging or sticking too close to the skin, it definitely needs to be changed.
Washing Cloth Diapers
You don’t need to look for special cleaning products to wash cloth diapers. Any of your favorite household detergents will do. Since you’re going to be washing something that will be in direct contact with your baby’s skin, you might want to avoid detergents with dyes or too many chemical additives. It’s best to test out any detergents you plan on using first in order to avoid diaper rash or other negative skin reactions.
You’ll need to wash diapers separately from other articles of clothing (for obvious reasons). Do take care when using detergent as it contains strong chemicals that aren’t great for a baby’s delicate skin. Instead of placing it directly on the diaper, place it in your washing machine’s bleach dispenser instead. Avoid using fabric softener since it can lessen the cloth diaper’s absorbent properties.