Cloth Diapering 101 {part 1}

Ren and I were so excited to host our first work shop in the store a few weeks ago. It was the fulfillment of a vision we had when we first started talking about what the store would actually become. First topic on our list: cloth diapers. We ourselves were very anxious to learn more on this topic. At first glance it is something that seems like it should be rather straightforward (especially if you recall the cloth diapers of our youth), however we quickly realized that there are options out there. Beyond the many types and styles of diaper there is a whole different language that adds to the confusion.  Hopefully in some of these posts we can help to lift the veil a little bit, and simplify the process!

Today I wanted to share basic terminology and some of the types of cloth diapers available. I am mostly going to focus on the styles we carry here in the store, but it will give you (hopefully) a good starting point. We currently carry cloth diapers from Cotton Babies.

ALL-IN-ONES (or AIO’s)

We fondly refer to this style as the “cadillac” of cloth diapers. This style is perhaps the easiest to use. It is simply, as it states, the cover and the lining all in one piece. When the baby needs to be changed the entire diaper is removed (like a disposable) and placed in the laundry. It is always recommended to have approximately 2.5 days’ worth of diapers available. A minimum recommendation for this type of diaper would be 24 diapers to start.  Twenty-four of these diapers would cost just under $500. Considering the cost of disposable diapers is an estimated $2,500-$3,000/child the initial investment seems like a smart one!

example of the AIO BumGenius Freetime

The Pocket Diaper

The pocket diaper is what it sounds like; a diaper with a water proof outer layer, an inner layer that wicks the moisture away from the baby, and a pocket for inserting another layer for absorption. With that middle layer there are several options. A microfiber insert is made of material which also quickly wicks moisture. If another layer is necessary (at nighttime, for instance) a doubler can be used in addition. A doubler could simply be another microfiber insert, or we also recommend a hemp insert. Hemp should never be placed directly next to the baby’s skin, but it has the capability of holding a lot of liquid making it a good companion liner in the pocket style diaper. Another option for the pocket diaper is something called a pre-fold. Think of the cloth diapers of old… With a pocket style diaper the cost is similar to the All-in-One and you would still discard the entire diaper system with each diaper change.

Bum Genius 4.0 Pocket Diaper

Example of a prefold insert (can be folded the wide way or the narrow way)

Example of a pre-fold insert (can be folded the wide way or the narrow way)

Hybrid System

At Over the Moon we also carry a hybrid system. This is a combination of a cover and an insert, but no safety pins (or Snappys) needed. This might be my personal favorite because of the versatility this system allows. The cover ideally only needs to be changed when soiled, so approximately every three diaper changes. This system is less expensive than other styles. Cost ranges between $250-350 depending on the insert of choice. Again with this type of diaper there are choices of insert. The flip system we carry has a microfiber option (very similar to the microfiber insert pictured above), an organic prefold (see pictures above), and even a disposable insert for ease while traveling or use at the babysitters’.

Flips Hybrid diaper with a reusable insert (hook and loop tabs)

NewBorn Diapers

We carry BumGenius all-in-one newborn diapers. They are specially designed for baby’s first few weeks-months. The diaper is cut lower in the front to make allowance for the presence of an umbilical cord. They are slightly more fitted around the leg to prevent any leakage. They are simply smaller reducing the bulkiness between your newborn’s legs. The BumGenius newborn diapers are recommended from 6-12lbs. Like regular all-in-ones the entire diaper is placed in the laundry with each diaper change.  Another popular type of newborn diaper is called a “fitted” diaper. These diapers require a cover, but are more tailored or contoured in design.

Newborn Cloth Diaper by BumGenius

Newborn Cloth Diaper by BumGenius

Infant cloth diaper on left  v. regular one-size cloth diaper on right

Infant cloth diaper on left v. regular one-size cloth diaper on right

Closures and Sizing

All of the diaper styles we carry come with the option of two different types of closure. Snaps are simply, well, just snaps. All of our diapers come sized to fit babies from 8-35lbs. The snaps can be adjusted to fit your baby’s particular anatomy from the skinniest legs to the chunkiest thighs. The snap closure diapers stand the test of time through multiple children. The downside might be that each diaper change takes a bit longer to get all of those snaps fastened. Parents report the custom fit, and the fact the babies have difficulty removing the diaper on their own make the snaps a favorite.

Hook and Loop is the other closure type. Hook and Loop is simply Velcro (Like Xerox and Kleenex, Velcro is a proprietary name, womp, womp). This velcro is not your average velcro. It is made to withstand many, many washes and uses. Each diaper comes with special “wash tabs” that the velcro can be fastened to so that it doesn’t catch on other diapers during the wash cycle. The only snaps on the Hook and Loop style are the snaps to make the diaper larger as the baby grows. Parents love this style because it functions very much like the disposable diaper closures making diaper changes quick, and an easy style for grandparents and babysitters to use. Downsides mentioned to us include the fact that eventually the velcro does start to show some wear (although it can be replaced by the diaper company), and some babies become savvy enough to remove the diapers themselves (just like some do with the disposable diapers). Basically, like anything else the closure comes down to personal preference. All of our diapers are one-size-for-all, but there are diapers available online that are size specific.

Snaps v. Hook & Loop

Snaps v. Hook & Loop

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