Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Cloth Diapers-the lowdown
My start up newborn stash
One-size- These diapers have an array of snaps that make it possible for different sized children to use them. You will hear the phrase "from birth to potty training" This is very neat with the caveat that most one-size don't really fit newborns and some people report that one size doesn't always fit as well as a true-size diaper.
True-Size- This is a diaper that is sold for a certain weight range like newborn, small, medium. Every diaper company has different weights that fall under those categories so you need to read about the individual diaper or cover. Some brands of both one-size and true-size fit certain shaped babies better. Some fit chubby babies better while other brands fit skinny babies better.
AIO- All in one, this is like a disposable diaper in how it's put on the baby and that it is all one piece. They are pretty expensive and they take FOREVER to dry. some AIO's have answered the drying problem by having an insert of sorts that is stitched on one side and is sort of like a flap.
Pocket- This diaper goes on in one piece like a disposable but it has inserts that slide into the pocket of the diaper from an opening in the back. An added bonus of pockets is the material that is against babies skin wicks moisture away, meaning the fabric against babies skin stays dry! This is in my opinion the ultimate of ease and functionality. The system is still on the pricier side of things.
Fitteds- These look like disposable diapers in the way they are put on. They are diaper shaped, have elastic at the legs and some way to hook the diaper like snaps or aplix (this is similar to velcro). Fitteds do require a cover over them.
Contours- this is shaped like a diaper without elastic at the legs and no closure device. you need to use pins, a snappi or you can just secure a cover over top. Like the fitteds this is not waterproof and needs a cover over top.
Prefolds- These are rectangles of diaper that have multiple layers. they will be written as 4-6-4 or 4-8-4 or something along those lines. This is the number of layers in each part of the diaper. the 2 sides have fewer layers then the center. Prefolds can be secured the same way as contours (pins, snappis, a cover over top), they also need a waterproof cover over top.
Flats-these are large squares of single layer fabric. there are many different folds you can choose from when diapering a baby. These are also the very cheapest way to diaper.
Sherpas- these are a rectangle of all the same thickness of fabric that is supposed to be very nice to the touch. some are 100% cotton some have some polyester in them. They go on sort of like a prefold, in that they don't need all the extra folding a flat diaper needs.They are secured the same way as contours and prefolds and need a waterproof cover over top.
Inserts- a rectangle of assorted types of fabric that you insert inside a pocket diaper.
Doubler- a rectangle of assorted types of fabric that you lay inside a cover with another diaper to make it more absorbent,
PUL covers- these are made with polyurethanes laminate they go over a diaper and are secured with snaps or aplix. They are very affordable.
Fleece- these covers are made with fleece which is a man made material. they are secured with snaps or aplix.
Wool- there is a variety of wool. from covers that snap, aplix, or tie, to pull on covers, shorties, longies and skirties. They can not be washed in the washing machine and must be lanolized to retain their waterproof qualities.
For ease of use you can't beat AIO's, one diaper means not stuffing, not looking for multiple pieces it's truly grab and go. Like I said they can take a long time to dry and they are rather expensive. AIO's start at around $15.00 a diaper.
Pockets come close to the AIO's ease of use, stuffing inserts into the pocket as you put them away from the wash is super easy, the bonus to pockets is you can adjust how much you put inside the pocket to cater to heavy wetters. Pockets are also an expensive way to go, but you can buy seconds, used (you need to be careful since some pockets could have been improperly washed making them unusable) or from WAHM (work at home moms), as well as buying in bulk. Pockets start around &10.00 a diaper, make sure you look to see if the diaper comes with an insert.
Fitteds are one of my favorites, I love that at home the diaper has it's own latch system so baby can wear just that without a cover. the leg elastic makes it so poop won't leak out. Fitteds are easy to get on a baby who is on the go. When you want something waterproof you just add a cover on over top. Fitteds start at $7.50 a diaper
Prefolds- prefolds are extremely affordable and fit every baby. There is a slight learning curve to learn how to keep that newborn breastfed poo in, but other than that these are a great option. I also often had my babies in the house with just a prefold on using snappi's or pins. (note-it is not recommended to put a snappi on without a cover because the snappi has somewhat sharp plastic teeth, the only problem I have come across doing this is the snappi catching on my clothes). Prefolds are generally sold by the dozen and start at about $25.00 dozen
Flats- I have not as of yet used Flats. I have heard that they are nice because they fit every baby and you can customize them to make a certain spot in the diaper more absorbent. They are also sold by the dozen and it seems they start at about $15.00 dozen.
Covers come in true-size and one-size and certain brands fit chubby babies or skinny babies better. PUL covers start at about $8.00 a cover and are the most economical out there. Fleece covers are more breathable than PUL and start at about $14.00 a cover. Wool is breathable and natural and has a very wide price range, from about $20.00 to $80 for custom, hand made fancy works of art. You can also buy up-cycled wool covers for starting around $12.00.
My favorite system?
Prefolds for little tiny babies, what my husband and I refer to as itty-bitties, Itty-Bitties lay still for diaper changes, they grow extremely quickly and to me spending a bunch of money on diapers they won't wear long just isn't practical. The added advantage of using prefolds on Itty-Bitties is that those prefolds can later be used as inserts for pockets or even as a doubler. prefolds also become great cleaning and dust rags. We use PUL covers for Itty-Bitties, my favorite of all time are diaperaps, although I admit I have only used the old kind, I have heard that the new ones have been improved. The one brand I recommend you stay away from Imse-Vimse. The cover tends to curl in and the aplix scratches the babies belly, also the aplix seems to lose it's grippiness and the cover tends to pop open. For brand new Itty-Bitties it is nice to get a cover that has a dip in the front for the cord, but many covers can just be folded down a bit as well.
Crawlers are a whole new world. They want to get away from you and laying for a diaper change is not at the top of their priority list. Prefolds still WORK, but fitteds are so much easier as you can put these on a baby as they crawl away. So if you have the money I fully recommend switching to fitteds with a PUL cover. I don't have a lot of money so I use a combination of fitteds and prefolds. Another thing to consider at this stage is that they are sleeping longer at night therefor peeing MORE in their nighttime diaper. This is where I introduce my night time system. This took me awhile to develop and I woke up covered in baby pee A LOT before I figured this out! I use a pocket diaper stuffed with a prefold and an insert then I cover the whole thing with a double layer fleece cover. You can of course just use extra stuffing and a fleece diaper, but the reason I use a pocket diaper is because the layer of fabric against babies skin stays dry. The pee soaks into the stuffing but your baby doesn't wake up with wetness against his/her skin. I add the fleece cover because I fond without it pee leaked out the legs and I woke up wet. I also like to use pockets when we are going on longer car trips or to events were it will be harder to change diapers often because as I said the lining keeps the wetness off babies skin. I have recently heard of silk liners and disposable liners that supposedly do the same thing. I have not as of yet tested it out.
They have cloth trainers, I have not tried these, although they seem cool. They have just never been in the budget.