Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Cloth Diapers - breaking down the basics

One thing you need to know before you start cloth diapering is what style of diaper will suit you and your diapering needs best. You may be thinking "UH don't you take a cloth and like, uh, pin it up and stuff" Well sure you do, IF that is the style you choose to use and those are called 'Flat' diapers which I will get to in a bit. I am going to start with my personal favorite, the diaper that makes up the majority of my stash is...The pocket diaper. 

What is that Billy Bass looking mouth thing? That is the pocket of the pocket diaper. A pocket diaper is made up of PUL which is the pee proof outer that keeps the ickys in, a soft inner that keeps babies bum nice and dry and rash free and inside the pocket you would stuff an absorbant insert, like microfiber, bamboo, hemp or the newest insert to hit the market, Zorb. I personally use bamboo and I have a few terry cloth inserts as well. For night if you choose to use pockets you will want to double up or do as I do, pad fold flats and prefolds into insertable size. 

These are what my inserts look like. Top left is a super soft bamboo insert, top right is a pad folded prefold that I use for over night because it is very thick and very thirsty, on the bottom is a flat padfolded which I actually prefer to sit inside a cover rather than stuff my pockets with it.

What about Ai2 (all in two) diapers? These are what is called a 'hybrid' diaper. Also made of a PUL outer the inside does not have a pocket but snaps instead where you snap in the insert, usually cotton or bamboo. These can be nice to use because if baby doesn't make a messy mess then all you need to do is switch out the insert and reuse the cover until it gets soiled, handy for on the go or if you have a smaller diaper bag.

Let's talk about flats baby! a Flat diaper is self explanatory, it is a "flat" square piece of material that you wrap around the bum and pin up with pins or a 'snappi' THESE are your Grandmothers diapers. (no, not the ones she wears UGH get your mind outta the gutter, I'm talking about the ones she put on her 10 children. duh!) 
Another sorta semi similar diaper style is the prefold, made up of 3 sections with the middle being the most absorbant it is put on the bum as is with a simple twist in the middle. easy right? I personally don't use them that way, like I mentioned above I padfold them for super night time absorbancy. 

This is a flat, pardon the just came outta the wash.

Here we have a prefold, you can see the three sections.

That funny looking thing is a snappi, the claws on the side and bottom hold the diapers in place once on the bum.

You might be saying to yourself "Ok, so how do these keep in the pee? they sure don't look pee-proof" well silly, you simply buy a cover (made of pul like previous diapers mentioned) I like to use my ai2 as covers because I am not a fan of the snap in inserts.
This is a flat folded with the Origami fold (youtube it) and held together with the snappi.

This is a cover (it's totally pee proof) you would use this with both flats and prefolds. You can also cover these types of diapers with wool or fleece which I will explain shortly.

"Wait a minute" You might be saying now. " you've mentioned ai2 but but what about aio?" Holy impatient much? I'm getting to that, geez! Ok an AIO diaper is exactly as it's name applies All In One! It consists of the waterproof pul outer, the absorbant inside and softy stay dry inner..All sewn TOGETHER. it is as simple as the disposables. You put it on, baby pees/poops, you take it off. No snapping or wrapping or stuffing involved, so if you're lazy than an aio is the way to go. I don't have any pictures of them at the moment as it is wash day today, surprisingly the only laundry I enjoy doing is diaper laundry YAY! 

Ok moving on the final few styles. Fitteds and wool/fleece. I have yet to try these as it can seem intimidating and it's sad that the pretty prints on most fitteds have to be covered. A fitted diaper is super absorbant and is covered by wool, fleece, or even pul covers like above. They are not waterproof.
My only fitteds. I use them under pul covers for now but will soon be expanding into wool.

On the left is a fleece cover and I used it a couple times on my son before he outgrew it, not good for heavy wetters, definitely a potty training must have I think. On the right is my very first wool cover and I am so excited to try it out (paired with the hearts fitted soaker above) wish me luck. 
If you know more about this system than I do please pretty please feel free to comment below with your info :)

Sizing, how on earth do you figure that stuff out..well it's easy. One Size fits all (most) 
OS diapers have these handy snaps on the front that allow you to snap up or down for sizes, they say they fit from 8lbs to 35lbs..and they DO! I put the same diaper on little bear who was roughly 35lbs and baby bear who was about 15ish lbs at the time. You can go with a small, medium, large system as well. I have a few of those but OS is definitely the ideal way to go. 

That's all for now, Thanks for reading and I hope I made your decision a little bit easier. Try not to be overwhelmed and think about how much crap (literally) you're saving from the landfills and all the cash you can save over time...and of course they are just SO much cuter than icky 'sposies and softer for babies bottoms. 

See? one size fit's all, poor little bear, he'll hate me for this one day hahahahah...

ttfn <3


  1. Nice information, I still get these mixed up... Thanks!