Cloth Diapering 101

I have vague childhood recollections of helping my mom with my little brother’s cloth diapers.  I would have been somewhere between 3-5, but I distinctly remember plunging them in the toilet, and a tub full of cloth diapers. Unfortunately, that is all I remember about it, but just that memory has inspired me to look into cloth diapering in this day and age and see if it’s right for us and our little ones.

I have two main reasons for wanting to cloth diaper:

1) Cost efficiency. “Diaper Changes” by Theresa Rodriguez Farrisi calculates that $2180 is spent on disposable diapers from birth to potty training, while a person can cloth diaper for $1,250 and then reuse those same diapers for at least 2-3 kids!! So while disposables are literally throwing money down the trash can, cloth diapers are actually an investment.

2) Environment.  I am not a tree hugger.  I’m not even nearly as “green” as I should be, but I still see that we have a responsibility to take care of the earth that God has given us.  After all, we only have one!  Disposable diapers go straight into landfills and will never break down into anything usable again.  This doesn’t even mention the chemicals used in those diapers to make them so white and absorbent, or the fact that those landfills are full of feces. (Apparently, the manufacturers recommend knocking off the waste into the toilet before throwing diapers and wipes away, but who does that??)  At any rate, it’s only common sense that at some point, we will run out of landfill space, and that’s probably not going to be very long since the United States throws us a whopping eighteen billion disposables in any given year.  I just don’t really want to contribute to that:-)

With these two main factors in mind, I plunged into research on cloth diapering.  I read books, perused dozens of websites, and found myself more convinced than ever that cloth diapering was right for me.  A lot of people think it’s a lot of extra work, but once you get the hang of it, it really isn’t much more work than disposables–especially with some of the amazing options they have nowadays!

I soon found myself completely overwhelmed by the amount of choices I had in cloth diapering.   No longer is it your simple Chinese prefold, I now have to consider contour, fitted, pocket, and all-in-ones!  Because I find these diaper revolutions so amazing, I had to share a bit about them along with our conclusions.

First option, and of course the cheapest, is the Chinese prefold.  Everyone has probably seen these! But no longer do they have those scary huge safety pins! You can either use a Snappi or, my personal favorite option, simply fold the diaper and place it inside a Thirsties diaper cover, velcro over Baby, and voila! Stays in place and soaks up the necessaries:-)



Diaper cover

Diaper cover

Slightly less complicated and for a few dollars more are the contour diapers.  These simply skip the step of folding, but still require a cover.  Doublers can be added for extra absorbancy.



For another jump in price and a little extra convenience, there is the pocket diaper.  This has a pocket into which to place your doubler and a sewn on cover, so there are only really two steps to this diaper.  Most options have multiple snaps so diaper can grow with baby.

Pocket Diaper

Pocket Diaper

And for our most expensive, most convenient option, we find the all-in-one.  This acts just like a disposable except you throw it in the wash instead of the trash after use.  These cost a pretty penny and tend to wear out faster, but they are at least handy for babysitters or grandparents:-) This also has options to “grow with baby.”



After much deliberation and confusion, I finally decided to just drive into Naperville to walk into a real cloth diaper store and choose what I wanted.  After the saleswoman went through all the options once again, I was firmly settled: the prefolds are by far the cheapest, and they really aren’t that complicated!

So, along with a couple of the other kinds for being out-and-about and babysitters, that’s what we got.  For the last four days, I have been washing and air drying these diapers multiple times so they can reach their maximum absorbancy.  In a couple days, I will go buy the changing table and put everything in its place.  Now I just can’t wait to fasten one of them on this Little Guy!


One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Mom on November 10, 2009 at 8:30 pm

    Hey, I read this ages ago, but forgot to leave a note! Amazing all the stuff out there for babies bottoms now! Can’t wait to fasten one on him either 🙂


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