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How to Use Cloth Diapers: A Parenting Guide on Diapering

How to Use Cloth Diapers A Parenting Guide on Diapering

Many parents these days choose to use cloth diapers, whether it’s for cost savings, environmental considerations, or just pure comfort and style.

The truth is that using cloth diapers does take more effort than simply throwing away a disposable, and only some households use them. 

Are you interested in trying cloth diapers but need help determining where to begin? Check out this guide to modern cloth diapering; you might be motivated to try a more traditional option.

I will address your concerns and walk you through the cloth diapering process to simplify the move. Here are all the facts you need to know about using cloth diapers.

What Are the Different Types of Cloth Diapers?

What Are the Different Types of Cloth Diapers

Today’s market offers about a dozen varieties of cloth diapers, demonstrating how far cloth diapers have progressed. 

There are many options—no matter your baby’s body type or activity level, a style on the market will work. Here are some details on the most common choices.

Flats

These diapers are the very definition of simple. They resemble the tools your grandma’s great-grandma undoubtedly used to diaper her children.

Flats are a sizable square-ish fabric, usually made of birdseye cotton but also available in terrycloth, hemp, and bamboo. 

They resemble a little welcoming blanket or a flour sack kitchen towel. Based on my experience, folding the flats before using them would be best. 

There are many different folds, from extremely basic to slightly more sophisticated. 

They can be fastened with clasps or pins, or they can be tucked inside. I used a waterproof cloth diaper cover to keep the moisture within.

These are lightweight and plain, making them simple to use (once you’ve perfected folding cloth diapers), easy to wash, and quick to dry. 

Due to their low cost and the fact that they can be folded to adapt babies of all sizes, from newborns to those still in diapers, they are also perhaps the least pricey option for using cloth diapers.

Prefolds

These also bear a striking resemblance to cloth diapers from long ago. 

Prefolds are one of your least expensive reusable options since they are supported by a thicker center of additional fabric layers stitched together to fold. 

They come in various materials, including cotton, hemp, and bamboo. These are frequently secured with cloth diaper covers, which trap moisture and waterproof the absorbent prefolds. 

Polyester fabric covers are waterproof, breathable, adaptable, and reusable. 

They have hip and crossover Velcro or snaps to prevent drooping and elastic legging sections from stopping leakage, and they wrap around your baby’s bum like diapers.

To continue using the cloth diaper cover, swap out the dirty prefold for a clean one when it’s time to change your baby. For overnight use, I use two prefolds.

QUICK TIP: Cloth diapers frequently leak when they are too loose, but compression leaks can also occur when they are too tight. The waistband of the diapers should be snug but not too tight. Make sure the snaps on the diaper are set to the proper rise.

Fitteds

Fitteds, also known as fitted cloth diapers, are exceptionally absorbent and contoured; they are frequently chosen for overnight use and heavy wetters. 

They come in numerous shapes, sizes, shapes, and materials.

You have several alternatives, including adorable patterns and fabrics made of cotton, bamboo, velour, or cotton/hemp mixes.

There is elastic around the legs and no need to fold. Your baby’s fitted diaper should be changed after it becomes soiled, and the cover should be reused.

Fitteds can be purchased with snaps, Velcro, or loop closures, but a waterproof cover is still required. 

I advise combining fitted with a wool cover to provide the best nightly protection. Other mothers caution that flannel blankets will hold odors longer than others.

Pocket

With a waterproof cover and an internal pocket to insert an absorbent insert, these single-use cloth diapers are a full diapering system. 

The inserts can be cleaned and used again. The materials used for cloth diaper inserts include microfiber, hemp, and cotton. There is no need for an additional cover. 

Still, you must remove the entire diaper, separate the insert from the cover, and wash them separately before replacing them with a new cover and insert after your baby has pooped.

Snaps or Velcro are used to modify pocket diapers. I can say that pocket diapers dry quickly and won’t stick under a baby’s clothing. 

For overnight use, I advise using two to three inserts.

Hybrid

This option allows you to flush out baby poop if you are uncomfortable handling it. 

Hybrid cloth diapers combine disposable and reusable materials, including two absorbency options on the inside and a waterproof outer layer. 

I use a disposable pad, while others use a cloth insert (imagine a thick washcloth). The textile inserts come in microfiber, hemp, and cotton fibers. 

The disposable inserts are single-use, but unlike disposable diapers, they don’t contain any chemicals, and many may be composted.

Simply remove the used insert and snap in a fresh one to change your baby’s cloth diaper. 

Remove solid waste using a reusable insert before keeping it with your other dirty items while waiting for the washer. I advise using pockets with disposable inserts when traveling.

All-In-One

It is the one that requires the least amount of effort and is most similar in design to disposable diapers.

An absorbent pad is bonded to a waterproof cover to make diaper changes as simple as changing disposable diapers. 

The adjustable closures don’t need additional inserts and attach at the hip with Velcro, snaps, or hook-and-loop tape. Simply take off the diaper and put on a new one. 

Each time you use a diaper, rinse off any solid waste and then store the dirty ones until you have time to wash them.

These diapers are available in a wide range of fashionable colors and patterns. 

All-in-ones (AIOs) are wonderful when babysitters, friends, and extended family watch your child; nevertheless, they take longer to dry and may appear bulky under the baby’s clothing.

All-In-Two

Like the hybrid, this two-part system consists of a waterproof outer shell and an absorbent inner insert that can be removed, snapped, or tucked into place. 

They are made of a range of colors and materials. The dirty insert is removed after your infant urinates, and the cover is reused.

With the option to utilize a thicker insert, it is simple to adapt for overnight and heavy wetters. The inserts may be cleaned as well. 

Compared to AIOs and pocket cloth diapers, these are less clumsy.

I can claim that all-in-twos offer more laundry flexibility, are more durable, and are simpler to use than prefolds because the inserts and outer shell can be washed separately. 

They are also simple to mix and match with other brands, but changing them takes more effort and can be more effective at keeping the mess contained to the removable insert.

One-Size

You may be delighted to learn that there are “one-size” diapers that grow with your child.

Therefore, you may be able to use the same diaper on your 8-pound infant as you will when they are ready to learn how to use the potty. 

Snap or Velcro closures let you adjust for size, and progressively larger inserts accommodate changing absorbency needs.

While arguably more expensive, these alternatives share vibrant colors and cute designs, from punk rock skull-and-crossbones to fire trucks and mustaches.

QUICK TIP: I advise stripping cloth diapers once a month to keep them functioning at their best. I recommend performing a double strip on all your diapers if you have used a detergent that is incompatible with cloth diapers. Follow this by washing them with a cloth-diaper-safe detergent.

How Do Cloth Diapers Work?

How Do Cloth Diapers Work

Traditional cloth diapers consist of an outer layer and a prefold, a removable, absorbent liner or insert. 

All-in-one cloth diapers containing all the layers are the closest to disposables in that you wash the entire diaper when it gets dirty rather than just changing out the absorbent insert. 

However, you’ll need to buy extra diapers upfront because you use up an entire diaper with each change. 

Modern one-piece hybrid styles combine the all-in-one format that grows with the infant with an inner liner that promotes absorption, extending the duration between changes. 

For simple poop removal, biodegradable, flushable liners are also available.

How Do Cloth Diapers Work With Poop

You can place wet cloth diapers or diapers on infants who have only been breastfed in a pail. 

Before throwing the diaper in the trash can, scrape or spray off any solids from your baby’s food or baby formula into the toilet.

In addition, the packaging for disposable diapers advises shaking solids into the toilet. Before washing or storing them, you can quickly remove any solids with a diaper sprayer.

How Do You Use Cloth Diapers on Your Babies Properly?

How Do You Use Cloth Diapers on Your Babies Properly

In many ways, it resembles changing a disposable diaper. Some diapers must have their component pieces assembled before they may be changed. 

With certain alternatives, you can change the sizing to fit your child using snaps or Velcro.

You will change your baby’s diapers using cloth diapers like disposables by using Velcro, snaps, or pins to secure the clean diaper around your child.

Along with the information already mentioned:

  • Before placing the soiled diaper in your diaper bag or pail, always close the tabs to prevent them from adhering to one another or interfering with how they fasten.
  • The diaper’s top snaps are used to alter the diaper’s waistline.
  • The diaper can be made as big (long) or as little (short) as necessary by adding any number of snaps to the front.
  • Cloth diapers hang down or get stiff when they need to be changed.
  • To prevent rashes, you should change cloth diapers every two hours.

Before washing the diapers, make sure to check the product packaging or the company website for any recommended washing instructions.

This is important because many cloth diaper manufacturers provide detailed guidelines that need to be followed to maintain eligibility for any warranties offered and to avoid any potential issues.

How Do You Clean Cloth Diapers?

How Do You Clean Cloth Diapers

Cloth diapers should be removed and put in a holding container. To pre-soak diapers before washing, some parents place them in a wet pail with water. 

Some toss the solids into the toilet, change the diaper, and then place the used diaper in a plastic-coated pail.

Choose whichever course of action you like best. After changing your baby’s diaper, rinse the diapers and place them in the dry pail rather than using a real pail filled with water. 

Your diapers will still benefit from a little soak and rinse as they are already drenched in the pail. If you use this approach, you might find keeping your cloth diaper pail in the restroom useful. 

To properly clean cloth diapers, follow these simple steps:

  • Do not use pocket diapers with inserts.
  • Always fill your washer to the maximum capacity.
  • Start with a cold, detergent-free rinse.
  • After the cold rinse, use 1/4 cup of detergent in a typical wash cycle on hot water. (If you’re using a detergent for cloth diapers, follow the directions on the package.)
  • To guarantee that all detergent residue is thoroughly removed, perform one more cold rinse after the initial rinse.
  • Depending on the material, dry on a hot setting or hang to dry.

You need not be concerned that washing cloth diapers will make your washer smell bad. It drains to the same location as your toilet and will be just as clean as a diaper.

How Much Does Investing in Cloth Diapers Cost?

How Much Does Investing in Cloth Diapers Cost

One of the major advantages is the amount of money you could save by switching to cloth diapers. They are an investment, so you must amass a stockpile of cloth diapers. 

In their initial two to three years of existence, newborns are expected to go through about 6,000 diapers, according to experts. 

Purchasing all those 6,000 disposable diapers, which can never be used again, would cost roughly 20–30% more than stocking up on the best cloth diapers.

I’ve found that if you clean your cloth diapers every other day, you’ll need about 30 to use cloth diapers exclusively. 

Therefore, at P250 for each diaper, you must pay P7,500. The good news is that cloth diapers are affordable for most families. 

Pocket-style diapers can be purchased for as little as P200 each, but you can also find handcrafted hybrid ones for upwards of P2,000 each.

Avoiding disposable diapers, which can take countless years to decompose and wind up in our landfills, is another benefit of using cloth diapers.  

Do You Save Money if You Mainly Use Cloth Diapers?

A fresh pack of disposable diapers is a little more expensive every week than investing in cloth diapers. 

It’s best to remember that your cloth diapers will endure for a very long time, even though the initial expenditures can seem a little high. 

The price you’ll pay to purchase 10–20 cloth diapers is still far less than that for disposable diapers over a year.

Besides, using cloth diapers saved me time because I won’t need to run to the store whenever I run out of diapers! 

Also, they can be passed down to younger newborns if they are still in good condition.

What Are Alternatives to Cloth Diapers?

What Are Alternatives to Cloth Diapers

Don’t worry if you need more time to convert to reusable diapers; caring for a newborn already takes a lot of time. 

I have listed some of the best options I could find; there are still disposable solutions that are less dangerous to the environment than your typical diaper.

Compostable Diapers

Try compostable diapers if you don’t like cloth diapers. Regular disposable diapers are frequently made of many plastic types, making composting them challenging. 

However, there are diapers available that are considerably more environmentally friendly because they are created with compostable materials.

I tried it, and my carbon footprint has decreased thanks to these compostable diapers. These diapers are hygienic and durable.

Remember that just because a brand of diapers is labeled as compostable doesn’t necessarily mean you can toss it in your compost bin. 

Most brands demand special facilities for composting, which is a little less handy. However, biodegradable diapers are a fantastic disposable choice that is less environmentally harmful.

Luxe Plant-Based Diapers/Budget Plant-Based Diapers

Eco-friendly diapers are constructed of sustainably sourced materials that are less harmful to the environment, including lyocell and bamboo, even if they may still wind up in landfills. 

These plant-based diapers, in my experience, are highly absorbent. Eco-friendly diapers are more advantageous than well-known brands while still being convenient.

Big-Box Store Diapers

When using cloth diapers is not an option, you may need a quick solution from the closest big-box retailer. 

While the most popular brands may not always be the most environmentally friendly options, there are certain brands that are more preferable than others. Be cautious of major diaper companies that claim to be more environmentally conscious compared to others.

As a first-time mother, I faced challenges in finding the optimal cloth diaper that suited my needs. This choice was practical as I still required the convenience and accessibility of cloth diapers.

Are Cloth Diapers Eco-Friendly to Use?

Using cloth diapers is far more environmentally friendly when you take basic measures like washing full loads, recycling dirty outer covers, line drying, and using an eco-friendly detergent. 

You can lessen the lifespan impact of cloth diapers by purchasing them used, reusing them on another child, or passing them on.

Because most cloth diapers don’t contain plastic or harmful chemicals, they are also better for the environment and your child. 

Organic cloth diapers are made with natural, organic materials, with inserts made of hemp and cotton, while some have synthetic covers. 

If you make the right decisions, you may also lessen the overall impact of diapering and help prevent harmful substances from coming into contact with your baby’s privates.

Conclusion

Going against the norm is difficult, which is what cloth diapering does. Following their kid’s birth, some parents use disposables for the first few weeks before switching to cloth. 

Well, mama, you don’t have to be a cloth diaper purist who uses them exclusively. Cloth diapering is environmentally friendly, but no method is ideal for everyone. 

Others travel with disposables but use cloth at home. Making a small change, like switching to eco-friendly diapers, can greatly affect the environment and your child’s health.

Make the best decision for your family, and don’t hesitate to ask your pediatrician for the necessary advice.

Nayna Llenos
Nayna Llenos

Hi, I’m Nayna!
I’ve always wanted to be a mother, and I’m lucky and blessed to have two wonderful children to care for and love.
Despite this blessing, there are times wherein I do wonder if I truly am the mother my children need. Am I giving them the right food, care, and discipline to them?
But that is the beauty of parenting — you grow along with your children as they flourish to be their wonderful selves!
I wish to share my experiences with motherhood and how these tips can help you in your parenting journey.
I hope my advices and experiences will prove useful to you and that you have a smooth and wonderful journey as a mother!