Believe it or not, this is part two of my three-part series on cloth diapers. Yes, I really do have that much to say about it. If you missed part one, you can find it here.
Back when I was pregnant with my first daughter a few years ago and in full-on, obsessive research mode, I quickly determined that there are A LOT of different types of cloth diapers. I’ve since had the chance to try quite a few of them. Here’s a rundown of what’s out there and the pros and cons that I discovered based on my experience.
So, so many types of diapers
I think that when many people think about cloth diapers, they imagine the type that their grandma might have use. There has been a lot of change since then though, and there are about four different categories that cloth diapers fall into, which is kind of nice if you like a lot of options but can be a bit confusing at the same time.
When you hear your grandma’s stories about cloth diapers, these are likely the style she was using. They are essentially a big square piece of fabric (some people even use old receiving blankets). It gets folded up in one of many different ways depending on the baby’s size and poop, uhm, consistency. You can use pins to fasten them if you’re really hard-core on doing it the old fashioned way, but there are little gadgets that have been invented to make it super easy to secure the diaper with no risk of poking your little gremlin. And no, flats are not waterproof, so you need to add a diaper cover if you want to keep the dampness (ha! that’s just me trying to be polite – we’re talkin’ pee and poop here) in.
Pros: they are very inexpensive (I got mine for $2 a piece brand new), keep pee and poop in if you make sure to fold and fasten properly. They’re very easy to wash, dry super quick and can be used with all different sized babies since the fit is all about the way you fold them. They last a very long time – I am on baby #2 with mine and they are showing no signs of deterioration. Plus, you get to put on a super cute cover over top! As you can tell, I’m a fan of these, and it’s what I use most often. They are also great for cleaning up spit up, boogers, sippy-cup messes, and random toddler-generated messes. Those happen a lot here.
Cons: folding can be a pain sometimes, dumping messy poop out of a flat can be a bit challenging and you might swear a few times when you can’t find the fastener that you know you had in your hand not two minutes ago. Since you have to put a cover over top, it adds an additional step. They will also likely confuse other people brave enough to change your baby’s diaper.
This is a square diaper that has multiple layers that you simply fold in thirds before fastening onto your baby. They are easier to fold than flats but there are less options for your diaper origami adventures.
Pros: simple enough to use, fairly economical, last a long time and wash out quite well. And you can use your super cute covers with them!
Cons: since they are so thick, they take longer to dry. They come in several sizes, but I found they were often too small or too big – it seems baby didn’t stay in the sweet spot for a good fit very long, and if I went a size up, they were kind of humongous. They do need a cover, so again, an extra step.
Imagine if you will, a piece of cotton (or other absorbent material) that is shaped just like disposable diapers. They typically have a bit of elastic around the leg to fit snugly on your baby and are fastened with snaps or Velcro. They are not waterproof and so they also need a cover to keep the dampness in.
Pros: I used them on my first daughter and found that they fit very well, kept pee and poop in, were easy to change and washed out relatively well.
Cons: although you can get them in one-size versions that allow you to adjust the rise with snaps, most of the styles I’ve seen come in different sizes, so you’ll need to buy a new set when your baby outgrows the ones you have. Since they are thick and absorbent, they do take longer to dry.
These are essentially cut in a style very similar to disposable diapers, they are fitted around the leg and have Velcro or snap closures that are just as easy to use as the tabs on a disposable diaper. Most have a pocket at the back that allows you to stuff in absorbent pads (usually cotton, bamboo, hemp or microfiber). They have a waterproof outer shell, and most importantly, they come in super cute colors and patterns. Ok, maybe not the most important thing, but I’m a sucker for a cute print on those little bums!
Pros: very easy to use! Even if you have another style you prefer, it’s nice to have a couple of all-in-ones kicking around when someone else is giving you a hand with childcare. If someone wants to change a dirty diaper, by all means, make it easy for them! The styles that I used were one-size, meaning that they had snaps to for the rise and the waist so that I could adjust the fit as my babies grew and that I didn’t have to buy different sizes.
Cons: I found that they didn’t wash out well at all. The styles that I used had a microfiber gusset, and while it was nice and soft to the touch, it smelled funky in no time. They’re also the priciest type of diaper, which was a deterrent for me personally.
Overwhelmed yet? That’s ok, it’s normal!
In my next post, I’ll tell you which items have been my favorites and why, plus, I’ll even show you how I to fold a flat diaper. Hey, you never know when your mad diaper origami skills can save someone from an impending poop disaster!
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