So you want to use cloth...now where do you start?
First let's learn some cloth diaper lingo!
Prefolds, also known as Chinese prefolds, Indian prefolds, and DSQ (diaper service quality) prefolds, are rectangular diapers made of several layers of fabric, sewn into thirds, the middle panel having extra layers. The amount of layers is noted as 4x8x4 and 3x6x3. The 4x8x4 has extra layers making it more absorbent. These are the only types of prefolds I carry. They come in bleached and unbleached. I only sell the unbleached variety as the cotton bleaching process releases Dioxins, as discussed on the Why Choose Cloth page. Prefolds can be folded to fit inside a wrap-style diaper cover. They are not waterproof and all require a cover. Do not buy store-brand prefolds- they are not 100% cotton and will not be very absorbent. Prefolds will be flat when purchased, and will quilt up after several washings. They become more absorbent with each washing! Prefolds are the most economical cloth diapering option.
Fitted Diapers consist of several layers of fabric, which are designed and cut to fit your baby, and snap or velcro into place. They will have elastic around the waist and thighs to help fit properly. These are not waterproof and do require a diaper cover. Common fabrics for these include cotton, hemp, and bamboo.
Pocket Diapers are made of 2 layers- an outer waterproof layer and an inner layer of microfleece. These two layers are sewn together on three sides, creating a pocket in which you stuff an absorbent insert made of hemp, terrycloth, microfiber, or a combination of these. When your baby wets, the moisture is wicked through the microfleece and into the absorbent insert, so baby's skin stays dry. To change the diaper, unsnap or un-velcro the diaper and remove the inserts. Throw everything into a pail.
All-In-One Diapers- AIO cloth diapers are just as they sound- one piece, all in one. These are the most similar to disposables. They require no stuffing, no wraps, and no pinning. One drawback to the AIO is that they have a longer drying time due to the several layers of thickness.
Diaper Covers are needed for prefolds and fitted diapers. They are made of waterproof material and keep the moisture in, and baby's clothes dry. Diaper covers are made from a variety of fabrics, each with their own unique properties. PUL, polyurethane laminate, is a waterproof coating used on polyester or cotton to make a waterproof, washable, wipeable diaper cover. As long as it doesn't get soiled, diaper covers made of PUL can be aired out between diaper changes and reused several times. Fleece is a man-made fiber constructed of 100% polyester- much of which comes from recycled plastics! It is very soft to the touch, lightweight, and doesn't absorb water. As a cloth diaper cover, it provides waterproofing by keeping moisture in while remaining breathable. Wool is a natrual fiber that absorbs moisture without feeling wet. It is also the most breathable of fabrics.
So now you know the language, what's next?
Budget is a primary factor for many families purchasing cloth diapers. Prefolds and diaper covers are by far the most economical option. For around $100, you can get started with 3 dozen prefolds and 5 covers. As your baby grows, however, you will need to get larger sizes. Often families want to try different diapers and fabrics to see what works best for them and their babies. This is a great idea! Perhaps try a fitted, a pocket, and an AIO to see if you like them. Then, as your baby grows and it's time to upsize your diapers, you can add more fitteds, pockets, and AIO to best suit your needs and budget. This is what we did with my son. As a WAHM on a budget, however, our primary diapers continue to be prefolds and covers.
The one-size pocket diaper that grows with your baby is highly recommended by many moms. I wish I had tried these sooner- I could have saved so much money! Pockets are my personal favorite because I can stuff them with an extra insert as needed, which is great for my very heavy night wetter. Most nights I do not have to change his diaper. And I love the fleece lining which helps wick the moisture away from the skin.
I would love the opportunity to discuss with you about your budget, lifestyle, and preferences to help design the best diaper package to suit your needs. I understand that there are so many diaper and fabric choices available, and it can be overwhelming. Please feel free to contact me before buying! Sometimes it helps to be able to see and touch the diapers as well, so you have an idea before you buy. I want you to feel confident about your cloth diapering purchases and will help you to customize your order.