January 30, 2012
Cloth diapering intro info
When I started cloth diapering I wish I had a place to find all the BASIC info I would need all in one place that is. I researched things like, cost, styles, etc. but had no real idea of the other factors that would come into play. Instead I learned as I went & sometimes the hard way(ammonia burns suck!). So I’m starting with the basic info I wish I had known. I plan on adding more detailed posts later on each of these categories, but for this post I am giving the very basic info.
First of all there are 6 basic categories of cloth diapers/diapering systems. And within these systems there are differences that make the individual brands different & unique:
- Prefolds & Flats
- Fitteds & Contours
- Covers: these go with numbers 1 & 2
- Pockets & stuffable Pockets
- All-in-ones(AIO’s) & stuffable AIO’s
- All-in-twos(AI2’s) & Hybrids
Instead of re-hashing some info that is already out there I decided to just add some links to sites explaining these different styles:
All about cloth diapers: http://allaboutclothdiapers.com/new-to-cloth-diapers/cloth-diaper-systems/
Loved this YouTube video on the subject: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OvZG6LSWtpM
To me the next most important factor I wish I had known more about were the kinds of materials the diapers are made of: inserts, outer & the surface to the skin. The insert material affects things like the trimness, absorbtion, skin sensitivity, washing routine.
- Wool (covers, shorties, longies)
Then there are 2 kinds of closures: Snap closures & Velcro(aplix/hook & loop). It’s really just a personal preference here. I knew right away I wanted snaps because I hate how my baby’s velcro bibs get stuck to everything when I don’t put them together before washing. I didn’t want to deal with that. But, I ended up w/ 1 diaper that has velcro and it adds a little more versatility on getting a good fit around the waist, that I like. Overall though, I love my snaps. Gonna get my velcro converted by a great mama on Diaperswappers.com!
Next is the 2 kinds of sizing: Sized(Newborn/XS, S, M, L) & One-size(OS). Most OS diapers claim to be birth to potty training or about 8-35 lbs. While this is true I personally didn’t want to put some of my OS dipes on my newborn because of how poorly they fit. I’m working on another post for that! I originally planned on putting the OS on my newborn but since they didn’t fit well I quickly borrowed and bought several NB and Small sized diapers which I am also doing a separate post on…stay tuned. Overall I would say it’s safe to assume you would need some XS/newborn diapers and can then move to OS at about 1-2 months old.
There are a plethera of brands out there and also some excellent WAHMie brands(Work At Home Moms). And all of those systems have pros & cons. You may find a die-hard prefold person who hates AI2’s and an AI2 person who dislikes pockets. That’s the beauty of cloth diapering, there is something for everyone! Information is key for CD’ing…for sure.
And probably the hardest thing to figure out but also the most important, IMO, is the washing routine! Ugh, this was almost the end of me. You have to factor the child(ren)s ages, skin sensitivity, water type & washing machine type. Not to mention do I do a dry pail or wet pail, wash daily or every few days…you get the idea. And also very important is the right, CD friendly detergent. This is a whole beast in itself. I will tell of my routine adventures soon but until then enjoy these links:
Diaper swappers forum: “Let’s talk about detergent”
Pinstripes and Polkadots: Cloth diaper detergents
All about cloth diapering: Homemade cloth-diaper-safe laundry detergent
Then there is storage of clean & dirty diapers. A regular diaper champ/genie will not work because they don’t allow airflow. Believe me, I made this mistake and my boys room stunk like pee and ammonia for 2 weeks! But there are some plain diaper cans that will work, it doesn’t have to be some ultra special cloth diaper pail. And you need a pail liner to hold in the stink & moisture. I would suggest Planetwise & Bumgenius cause they work great for me. I tried the zipper bottom Fuzzibunz but if you have alot of wet diapers it leaks through the zipper. When you go out you will need a wet bag or 2 to keep them in. Again I use PlanetWise. A testament to the ‘locking in smells” feature is that we left a diaper for a week in my PW wetbag and didn’t smell a thing until my husband opened it up: “That was the nastiest thing I’ve ever smelled!”
I have a friend diapering 1 toddler who just uses a thick trash bag and seems to be working for her…but I have 3 kids and that just won’t work for me.
I hope this post and the others to come will be helpful & useful. I don’t want to scare anyone away from CD’ing. I had to use just a couple disposables a month back & I felt so bad knowing the harm I could be doing to my kids(w/ the chemicals in the diapers themselves) and the environment. The difficulties I am facing in trying to figure things out still don’t compare to the conviction I feel about taking care of my kids and the environment. God bless!