Family Parenting

Cloth Diapers 101

I explained in a previous post why we have chosen to cloth diaper.  Once we decided on that, I knew I had a ton of research ahead of me.  I had thought about cloth diapering with Collin, but got discouraged with all of the cloth lingo (AIO, wet bag, prefolds, fitteds) & all of the different diapers.  And it was really intimidating to me to see all of those button snaps on the diapers.  But I made up my mind & really, I couldn’t afford to not cloth diaper.  Plus, cloth diapering is so stinking easy peasy lemon squeezy that I just cannot imagine going back to disposables.  Ever.
I decided to just jump in head first with cloth.  I posted an ISO (in search of) photo to my Insagram feed for cloth diapers & bought some from friends.  I didn’t care what kind they were or anything, I just bought a few of what each friend had.  That’s what worked best for me.  I needed to see & feel & experiment with each diaper to learn & decide what worked best for Evie.
There are basically four kinds of cloth diapers: prefolds, all in ones (AIO), pockets & all in two (AI2) (not pictured).  I’m sure by now you’re all confused & overwhelmed like I was, so I’m going to break it down Barney-style.

Prefolds are the most similar to the old school kind of cloth diapers.  You fold them around baby & use these things called snappis to secure them.  No more scary sharp diaper pins.  You then use a diaper cover over top to prevent leaking & even further secure the diaper in place.  These are super fun & you can get them in a plethora of colors & prints.  When baby soils the diaper, you just take off the prefold & put a new one on keeping the same cover (unless it’s a poopsplosion kind of day & it leaked onto the cover).  Here is Evie in an animation wearing a prefold without a cover & then with the cover on top.  Gotta love a good GIF image.
AIOs (all in ones) are the entire diaper all in one little package for you.  You just snap it on baby, add a cover & you’re done.  AIO’s are pretty bulky in my opinion & in my experience they leak much more frequently than pockets or prefolds.  Here is Evie in an animation wearing the AIO diaper without the cover & then wearing a cover on top.
Pocket diapers (my favorite) are sort of a hybrid of both prefolds & AIOs.  You get a diaper with a little pocket in the end for you to place an insert inside of.  The reason I much prefer pocket diapers is because you can add two or even three inserts to the diaper depending on your baby.  For instance, I always double up inserts on Evie before I know she takes her long stretch of sleep at night.  That way she stays drier for longer & can sleep more comfortably.

AI2s are a hybrid of prefolds & pockets.  Instead of putting your insert inside of the diaper pocket, they snap in on top instead of inside of a pocket & can just be swapped out for a new one like a prefold.  I do not have any snap-in diapers, so I can’t show you a picture, but I am eager to try this type because it seems pretty convenient.
When you cloth diaper, you need a wet bag to store soiled diapers before wash.  You change baby & just toss the soiled diaper in the wet bag.  If you have pocket diapers, I’d recommend separating the inserts first & ten tossing them in separately.  If you use prefolds, sometimes the cover isn’t wet & all you need is a new prefold.  Andplusalso?  Until your baby starts with solids, you don’t even need to rinse the poop!  It’s totally safe & dissolves in the wash.  Once your baby is on solids, you do need to rinse off any solid poop, but if you read my last post, you’d know you’re supposed to do that with disposables anyway.  Wet bags help to minimize any smell (actually, I have yet to smell a stinky diaper & I don’t even have my wet bag yet) & allows you to keep all of your diaper laundry together for one big wash.  Since my diaper stash is pretty small (I still need about 10 more diapers), I am washing diapers once a day.  I save all of my diapers until the end of the night & then toss them in the washer after I’m finished with dinner dishes.  Before bed, I toss them in the dryer & in the morning, I have a fresh stash of diapers.
There are also small wet bags that go in your diaper bag for when you’re out & need somewhere to store baby’s soiled cloth diapers.  Win.
I definitely would recommend that you have a stash of at least 20-30 cloth diapers on hand.  This way, you’re not washing every single day like I am.  You can wait a few days or until you’re down to just four or five diapers & wash a load then.  Seem like a pain?  Like my cousin closest friend, Debbie, pointed out to me, what’s more of a pain?  Seeing you’re out of diapers & having to load up your baby in her carseat along with her burp cloths, bottles, pacifier, change of clothes, extra diapers…oh wait, you’re out…etc, etc to buy a pack of diapers or just tossing them into the wash in the comfort of your own home while you concentrate on the other things in your life that you need to.  Like catching up on Once Upon a Time.
Do you have questions about cloth diapering or are you just at a loss of where to begin & want help?  Let me know in the comments!  I’d love to talk to you more about cloth diapering!

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8 Comments

  • Reply
    Ashley
    March 29, 2013 at 3:57 PM

    I wanted so badly to venture into the clothing diapering ways but my ex was very much against it – he saw the $400 price tag on a starter kit when we were shopping and firmly stated NO. I’m still sad I didn’t take that route anyway! I feel as though it’s almost too late..even though Colton is only 5 months.

    Thanks for the explanation – I had NO idea what the differences were. Maybe for the next baby I’ll CD 🙂

    • Reply
      Holly Sosa
      March 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      You still can! And you’re actually saving tons of money by cloth diapering. You can buy secondhand or on eBay, which is what I did. You can start slow with two or three diapers to see how you feel about it before buying a ton more. Plus cloth diapers have resale value, so when she grows out of them, you can get some of your money back or if you decide you don’t like it after a couple of diapers, you can sell them on Facebook or eBay. 🙂 Just saying. Worth a shot!

  • Reply
    Debbie
    March 29, 2013 at 4:24 PM

    Definitely not to late for your above commenter. I started Emma at 4 months. She’s still in them at 2 years. 🙂

    • Reply
      Holly Sosa
      March 29, 2013 at 5:13 PM

      I agree!!! Here’s my reply:

      “You still can! And you’re actually saving tons of money by cloth diapering. You can buy secondhand or on eBay, which is what I did. You can start slow with two or three diapers to see how you feel about it before buying a ton more. Plus cloth diapers have resale value, so when she grows out of them, you can get some of your money back or if you decide you don’t like it after a couple of diapers, you can sell them on Facebook or eBay. 🙂 Just saying. Worth a shot!”

  • Reply
    Nicole
    March 29, 2013 at 5:15 PM

    those aren’t aio’s, those are fitteds. Fitteds require a cover, aios do not. Cute gifs though!

    • Reply
      Holly Sosa
      March 29, 2013 at 5:30 PM

      For the sake of keeping it Barney style for beginners like myself, I’m posting a series of posts about the different types. I know fitteds need a cover & AIOs don’t, but that’s superrrrrrrr confusing for a beginner. The girls in my cloth diaper group helped me with this & thought I should just group fitted & AIOs together since it’s basically the same thing just plus or minus a cover. 🙂 I’m going to write more posts on each diaper & it’s variations. 🙂 Thank you though for pointing that out because I want everything accurate. 🙂

  • Reply
    Jessica
    April 1, 2013 at 4:19 AM

    I cloth diaper my youngest and LOVE it. I use exclusively Bum Genius pockets because they are what works best for me and my little one, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! I love not having to go to the store to buy diapers. I didn’t use them when he was a newborn and I kept having to run to the store. It was such a pain.

  • Reply
    Beth Rowland
    April 5, 2013 at 3:42 PM

    I just saw cloth diapers on zulily & it instantly reminded me of this post.
    http://www.zulily.com/e/little-monsters-diaps-040413.html?pos=106

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