When first entering the world of cloth diapering it can be quite overwhelming. Not only is there a plethora of types of diapers but there is also a “lingo” that if you don’t know, it can make you feel like you are speaking to someone from another planet. So I’m going to try to break this down and take it step by step.
First off, WELCOME! Cloth diapering is great for so many reasons and congrats on making the choice to cloth diaper your baby. Not only can you save money, you are helping the planet and cutting down on rashes and infections on your babies skin, but we can’t forget how incredibly adorable a cloth booty looks ;) haha, but anyway, here we go….
Types of diapers: first off there are prefolds or flats. The best way to imagine these are the cartoon images we seen as children. The child with a white cloth wrapped around their toosh with a safety pin holding it in place. There is Indian prefold, Chinese prefolds, ect, and the only way YOU will know what works for YOU is buying one of each and trying them out. These WILL leak, they are not water proof, therefore they require a cover. Now a few things have changed from those god awful plastic panties that went over cloth diapers fastened with a safety pin. *shutters* haha We now have covers that breathe, and snap and have cute designs. Also to hold prefolds closed we have this wonderful invention called a snappi. it’s a clever contraption that is stretchy with little plastic teeth. It is T in shape and poses no risk to the baby like a safety pin. These are your most basic of cloth diapers and a lot of ppl find these the easiest because they can change just the prefold and use the same cover several times if not all day. They are also the easiest to clean since it’s just a flat piece of material.
Next it gets a little more complicated. You have AIOs/AI2s (all in ones, all in 2s) Pockets, Fitteds,
Fitteds are a step up from prefolds. They are shaped like a diaper, they fasten like a diaper, but they STILL require a cover. They are just a little more convenient then a prefold because they don’t require a snappi.
AIOs/AI2s are just what they sound like.. Imagine a fitted and a cover combined. One diaper. Cover built in. But the problem I have found with these is they hold the stankkkkkk way worse then any other diaper since they are sooo thick. Haha. Also when you are drying these they take forever to dry. Regardless if they dried on a line in the sun or in a dryer. Because once again they are so thick. These are my least favorite type of diaper but some people like the convenience of having nothing else to deal with and they mimic the disposable most.
Then there are pockets. My favorite. They are only a step more of work then a AIO but they don’t stink and take very little to dry. This is where there is a “shell” and outer cover that is water proof and inside is soft and made of material that “wicks” water away from babies skin. Then there is an insert. Inserts come in all shapes and sizes but a good way to envision one is think of a cloth very thick overnight maxi pad. This insert will slide down inside a pocket on the diaper and holds all the pee. When you change the diaper you simply pull out the insert and wash and dry the insert and shell separate.
A quick recap with pics is here: http://www.diaperjungle.com/cloth-diaper-types.html
Now that you know a little more about types of diapers lets move onto lingo. This link will best explain the lingo:http://www.theclothdiaperreport.com/2009/10/cloth-diaper-lingo.html
Now that you are up to speed. How do you exactly “use” cloth diapers. I’ve found for me that I keep a small trash can with a tight seal lid that I store my diapers in until I wash them. Which I do about every 2 days. I’ve found that rinsing them off before throwing them in the can reduces smell and stink build up dramatically. Breastfed poop is water soluble, so in the beginning before your baby has any solids there is nothing to do but rinse off and wash. A lot of moms even rinse it off in their sink down the garbage disposable because there is little to no odor to breastfed poop. Once your baby begins solids, you will need to invest in a diaper sprayer or life will suck. I promise you. This is a nifty little device that attaches to the back of your toilet and you can just rinse the poo off into the potty and toss it into your can for diapers until wash time. Also about once a month or so you should strip your diapers. This rids them of build up of stink. You can do this lots of ways, but the best I’ve found is this :http://www.zany-zebra.com/stripping-cloth-diapers.shtml
Also if you have staining the best way to get rid of them is line drying. The sun will naturally bleach the diaper.. NEVER USE ACTUAL BLEACH ON CLOTH DIAPERS. On another note, never wash cloth diapers with any other clothing or use your family detergent. You can use something like ALL free and clear or they make detergents specifically for cloth diapers like Rocking Green. A list of detergents you can safely use are:http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html
Also when sun bleaching you can add a few drops of lemon to help whiten the diaper. If I line dry I usually toss the diapers in the dryer for a few mins after getting them off the line to soften them up a bit since they are stiff as boards fresh off the line.
Overnight: the best thing to do overnight is to add an extra insert. I personally at night use a bum genius when is a brand of diaper that is AMAZING at overnights or long car rides.. And I will use an extra insert as a doubler. I use Hemp inserts for this, but you just have to play around and see what works for you because every baby is different.
To start off you will need enough diapers for approx 2 days. If your diaper says that is ONE SIZE that means it will grow with your baby. The snaps will snap up or down to adjust to your growing baby. These are the best bang for your buck. Otherwise your diaper will have a size on it. Just follow the sizing directions to know what to buy. The diaper I recommend the most is bumgenius one size 4.0. They are amazing at absorbing and come with a doubler for nighttime. Most of the time if you see flashy patterns they are made by WAHMs. This means (work at home mom) Basically a homemade diaper. While these can be a great investment you must be wary and KNOW who you are buying from. Make sure you read reviews and are buying from someone who actually knows what they are doing. A great WAHM in our area of Cherry Point is Kerena and you can find her face book page here
Her diapers are adorable, well made and reasonably priced.
My best advice to you when you venture out into the cloth diapering abyss is to purchase a little of everything. Try them. Find what works for YOU. Then buy more of those. Everyone is different and so is every baby. Regardless, welcome to the world of cuties with cloth booties!