Due to length, I have divided this into 2 parts. Today I have included the first 2 things needed to cloth diaper successfully.
If you are already successfully cloth diapering, this is a great post to share with others!
You’ve just gotten the cloth diapering bug and you are now stumped. The thoughts and feelings are similar to when you go to register for gifts for your first baby.
All these gadgets but what do you REALLY need?
Many times over the last 6 1/2 years we’ve have laid out ways to choose a cloth diaper.
The first step is understanding the differences between the different styles of cloth diapers.
Before you throw your hands up and curse the whole cloth diaper industry, remember that there is a learning curve to everything. If you had never heard of shoes before and you suddenly realized the concept would be a good idea, you would faint from the choices on Zappos alone!
Here is an extremely simple explanation of the cloth diaper systems:
Pocket: diaper has a pocket where you insert the absorbency you desire. The pocket is made up of a waterproof layer and a stay-dry (baby feels dry even when wet) fabric.
Fitted: no waterproof layer, all absorbency, needs cover.
All In One: waterproof layer and absorbency layers are all combined to make a cloth diaper that is all in one. Similar in form and ease to a disposable diaper.
All In Two: waterproof layer shell and separate absorbent insert that you either lay in the cover or snap in. Once the insert is wet simply remove and replace with a new insert. You can use the same shell until wet or soiled.
Hybrid: waterproof layer shell and separate cloth or disposable absorbent layers. Great for transitioning to cloth or traveling.
Prefold: “old fashioned cloth diapers” “burp cloths” Rectangle fabric with extra absorbency in the middle (usually). No waterproof layer, needs cover, no fasteners.
Flats: large one-layer square of cotton, “old, old fashioned”, no waterproof layer, needs cover. You will fasten a flat with pins or Snappi.
The Ultimate Guide to Cloth Diapers contains pictures, brands and details of each system to walk you through the confusion. For articles related to choosing cloth diapers read 5 Simple Steps to Begin Cloth Diapering and Cloth Diaper Systems (written before hybrids were an option).
Even all of that can be confusing so I usually make a recommendation that I feel is the safest and most versatile system. Pocket cloth diapers can be used for night or day, heavy or light wetter.
When starting cloth diapers one of the biggest fears parents have is leaks. No one system (cloth or disposable) is fail-proof. However, with pockets you have the freedom to add more “stuffing” when needed.
There are several excellent pocket cloth diaper brands on the market. I list my top choices on the My Recommendations page. As you do your shopping you may come across several brands of “really cheap” pocket cloth diapers. Be aware that there is little to no customer service and no quality control in the China factories where they are made. You may find yourself cheering after a few months of use or kicking yourself for wasting the money.
And as simple as it is once you’ve done it, stuffing a pocket can be confusing. I made a simple video on How To Stuff a Pocket Cloth Diaper showing you how easy it is.
How many cloth diapers do you need to buy? (<—-details are in the link) As a safe guideline 24 is your best number.
Once you have cloth diapers, you’ll need somewhere to put them when they are dirty.
No need to register for that Diaper Genie.
Over the years I have used many different methods for storing dirty cloth diapers from a cheap camping bag to nice pail liners, to a wet pail, to wetbags. All effective but most have their faults.
At this point I have experienced the good and bad of all to make a clear recommendation that wetbags are the best route to go. Again, my reasoning (like with pockets) is because of the versatility.
I like to keep things simple and not have to have a different product for each thing I do.
Camping bags are uber cheap. But, they won’t last long and they aren’t smell-proof.
Pail liners are a giant step up in quality to a camping bag yet they too will let odors out and you can’t carry it with you in the car (or you’ll smell the diapers).
Wet pails are simply a trash can filled with water and an additive like Bac-out or Tea Tree Oil. You then toss in your diapers until laundry day. That’s where the mess comes in. You have to dump the contents out and, well, this is gross and I can only imagine the mess I would make.
Wetbags are waterproof bags with a handle and zipper. They come in several different sizes making it easy to store a couple of days worth of diapers in an XL one or a couple for out and about in a small one.
I have accumulated several wetbags, most of which are Monkey Foot Designs. My top 3 wetbag brands are Monkey Foot Designs, Ragababe and Rumparooz.
They are all very different! One very key feature I look for in a wetbag is how easy it is to open when you only have one available hand.
Monkey Foot Designs are by far the best because of the thick waterproof lining that holds in smells and wetness, easy to grasp zipper, snap handle that fits over door handles, cute fabrics and a wide variety of sizes. Easy to use one hand to open.
Ragababe diaper laundry wetbags are roomy and have a nice zipper but are difficult to open with one hand.
Rumparooz has a unique 3D design as opposed to the flat design of other brands. This gives the bag a half moon shape allowing the top to function as a lid. Fairly easy to open with one hand due to the design.
As a parent new to cloth diapering and maybe new to parenting, the last thing you want is a stinky nursery. Go with a system and brand others have tried and have had success with.
Check out part 2 where I will explain laundry needs and cloth diaper safe rash creams.