What do you think of when I tell you we use cloth diapers? Big pins with plastic covers? Smelly soaking buckets in the bathroom? If you haven’t experienced cloth diapers in the last decade, you may be missing out on what it has evolved into! Even if you don’t have kids in diapers, read on… and help save our ground water from decaying poop leaking out of thousands of chemical filled diapers!
First we are going to tackle the various types of diapers available on the market today:
Prefolds/Flats: Flats look like a huge cloth napkin. You can fold them in various ways to fit your child and are very versatile. Prefolds are exactly that, prefolded flats, and sewn in seams so you do not need to fold the entire diaper each time. These are your cheapest option on the market, and they tend to last a really long time! You can fasten the prefold or flat diaper with a large safety pin (like your mom may have used), or use a Snappi. We have Snappis at our home and they fasten much like an Ace Bandage with small “teeth” on each end and the three ends together hold the left, right, and center sides of the diaper together. Prefolds and flats need a cover to protect clothing and people from moisture from the diaper. The old fashioned plastic covers are still around and are very useful, but now you have so many more options! Covers come in wool and softer cloth (though the inside still needs a bit of PUL, or a breathable plastic to keep moisture at bay).
Fitteds: Fitted diapers come in various sizes for your growing baby, though you can get away with only getting about 3-4 different sizes because they grow with your baby better than disposable diapers! They are very easy to use, especially for babysitters who may not be used to cloth diapers! They usually fasten at the waist just like a disposable diaper with either velcro or snaps, but some brands still require a Snappi or pin. The plus size is there is no folding involved in comparison to flats/prefolds. Fitteds also need a cover to prevent moisture from seeping through clothing. You have the same choices in covers for fitted diapers as you do for prefolds/flats.
All-in-Ones (AIO)/All-in-Twos (AI2): The name basically describes these diapers. AIOs are your diaper and your cover in one item. These make for easy use with babysitters, there are no Snappis or pins, and are the closest to using disposables when it comes to changing the diaper. Many moms refer to AIOs as “dad friendly”.
AI2s are what we use the majority of the time, specifically we love our Grovia diapers! An AI2 has an insert that fits right into the cover of that same brand diaper (though you can switch some inserts, but they don’t fit just right), and the Grovia diapers actually snap into the cover, or as they call them, shells. Again with the Grovia, you can also get a disposable insert instead of the cloth, and when you flush the interior soiled part of the insert, you can compost the rest! We chose AI2 because it seems easy to use, and you can rinse out the cover by hand and use it if it wasn’t actually soiled, then put the insert into the wash. When we started using cloth, we had to use coin laundry, so this helped reduce the size of the laundry load, especially in comparison to AIOs.
Pockets: Last, but definitely not least are pocket diapers. This looks much like an AI2, but the cover has the soft cloth interior and you put the insert into a pocket of the cover. These are easy to use by simply stuffing the diapers after you do laundry, and then when it comes time to change, it is as easy as an AIO. There are some really great brands of pockets, and the interior is amazingly soft because it doesn’t need to be the absorbant part. If your baby has very sensitive skin, pockets may be a good fit.
Whew! That’s a lot of information, but inshaAllah it helps you wrap your mind around all the various options out there! Next time we’ll cover where you can buy diapers, and where you can find the best deal! You can save a LOT of money using cloth diapers vs. disposables, and you can save even more if you shop smart!