Modern cloth diapers are becoming more and more popular… but still may be a fairly new concept for most people.
What do you actually know about cloth diapers?
If the answer is “not much”, you’re in the right place. This is a judgement free zone and we are here to help.
(Because, fun fact? We all started from the beginning at some point.)
We’ve collected the most FAQs about cloth diapers and simple answers for all of them.
Most Common Questions About Cloth Diapers
- How much do cloth diapers cost?
- Which is the best overnight diaper?
- How do I choose a cloth diaper style?
- What do you do with the poop?
- Are pocket diapers hard to stuff?
- Do you really need to use newborn diapers?
- How many wet bags/pail liners do I need?
- What is a swim diaper?
- Which is better? Hook and loop or snaps?
- Why should we switch to cloth diapers?
How much do cloth diapers cost?
Most cloth diapers users will need between 24 and 30 cloth diapers to successfully cloth diaper their baby or toddler. Cloth diapers cost anywhere between $300 and $700 for the initial purchase, depending on the style and brand chosen.
(Disposable diapers can cost you over $1800 by the time your child reaches two years old.)
Many brands have discounted packages that can lower your initial cost even further and, of course, you will also have to factor in your cloth diaper accessories such as rash cream, wet bags and a diaper sprayer as well. Most of these accessories only need to be purchased once and may add an extra $100 to your initial purchase.
Which is the best overnight cloth diaper?
This question is a common one in our store and my answer is always the same: The GroVia ONE is one of the best nighttime solutions on the market today. A hidden microfiber soaker with two additional soaker pads made of 100% cotton with a microfleece topper makes this diaper super absorbent, keeps baby dry and is great for nighttime.
A very close second is a Sloomb Overnight Bamboo Fitted and wool cover combination. These all natural, breathable fibers are temperature regulating and easy to clean. OBFs are extremely absorbent and a lanolized wool cover will make this nighttime combo bullet proof.
Learn more: Best Cloth Diapers of 2018
How do I choose a cloth diaper style?
When choosing a cloth diaper style, we always recommend that you consider the caregiver. Families are more likely to be successful in their cloth diapering journey if they carefully consider their caregivers and their lifestyle before making a choice.
Will baby be going to daycare? Or be with a babysitter or maybe grandma and grandpa?
Parents new to cloth diapering or have several caregivers to consider often choose All In Ones because they are a one step diaper that requires no parts or pieces. However, parents who are more budget conscious or may have a parent that cares for baby full time may prefer covers and prefolds which are both budget friendly and easy to clean.
What do you do with the poop?
Two options here: GroVia Bioliners or a diaper sprayer.
Bioliners are so convenient and travel friendly. You get 200 in a roll for $10.99 and they are so easy to use.
- Lay Bioliner on the top layer of your diaper (closest to baby’s skin)
- The liquids will go through to the absorbency of the diaper and the solids will stay on top.
- Throw Bioliner away.
- Wash cloth diaper.
A diaper sprayer is a little more thorough, a little less travel friendly. A diaper sprayer is used to spray solids into the toilet before putting your diaper in the wet bag or washer.
Pros: Diaper gets thoroughly rinsed before washing.
Cons: The sprayer itself isn’t very travel friendly leaving you bringing home poopy diapers to spray when you are out and about.
Are pocket diapers hard to stuff?
Time consuming? A little.
If you’re really set on refusing to stuff your pockets, you can always lay your inserts (as long as they’re not microfiber) inside your pocket to make it an All In Two. If your inserts are microfiber? You. Must. Stuff.
I always found stuffing pockets to be slightly therapeutic. Put on the latest episode of your favorite show (Criminal Minds anyone?) and before you know it, you’ll be done.
Do you really need to use newborn diapers?
Yes. Newborn diapers are designed for newborns and you will always get a better fit and eliminate leaks if you choose to use newborn sized diapers rather than one size diapers.
Newborn covers or one size covers and newborn prefolds are an option as well. I know that many parents like the idea of using a one size diaper right from the start, but you will thank yourself for investing in newborns before you move to one size because:
- Newborn diapers are made to fit newborns.
- You will have a hard time getting a good fit in a one size diaper.
- When you have a hard time getting a good fit in a one size diaper, you may get frustrated and give up cloth diapering altogether when really, you just need the proper diaper for your baby’s size.
- If you can get a good fit in a one size diaper, you may still have gap leaks which are frustrating as well.
- Postpartum moms don’t want to have to worry about any of the above. Zero.
How many wet bags/pail liners do I need?
Everyone’s specific preferences will change depending on whether or not you use a nursery, your lifestyle, whether or not you have multiple caregivers and how long you are usually away from home.
In general, you will need two large wet bags or pail liners for home and at least two small wet bags for your diaper bag. This way, you will have a clean set of large and small while the dirty set is being washed.
If your child attends daycare, add two more for a daycare rotation as well.
The good news is, you can never have too many wet bags. They are excellent for anything you need to pack, anything you want kept waterproof and just for keeping your life organized in general. (Don’t look at me… not there yet.)
What is a swim diaper?
A swim diaper is basically a diaper cover (in other words, no absorbency) with a mesh or cloth lining. Swim diapers are not meant to absorb liquids, but hold in solids. For this reason, you won’t find any cloth swim diaper with an absorbent element.
Can you use a cover as a swim diaper? Sure.
Are there any good reasons not to? Yep.
Many parents like to use swim diapers to keep the chlorine and chemicals in the pool water or gunk from sea water confined to just one or two diapers rather than one in their regular rotation.
Also, because swim diapers have a lining, they will be comfortable on baby. Covers with exposed TPU/PUL will definitely not be as comfortable for baby.
And finally, swim diapers are cut much smaller than normal covers. For this reason, you might be in a different size swim diaper than cover. And the swimming pool is not a place that you want to lose a cover that was too big.
Which is better? Hook and loop or snaps?
This is a case where the “better” depends completely on the caregiver. Remember, always consider the caregiver before choosing a cloth diaper style.
Most of our clients in camp hook and loop love this closure because it’s so easy to put on. You don’t have to think about which snap the baby should be on and you don’t have to turn the light on in the middle of the night to see your snaps either. Just stick and go.
However, some would argue that hook and loop diapers are more easily removed by older babies and toddlers, which is true. Lint also tends to get caught in hook and loop closures frequently if you don’t fold your tabs inwards so that they are covered before washing.
Snaps tend to hold up better in the long term, but there is definitely a learning curve. There is also about a one inch space between each waist snap (on most diapers) and sometimes your little lands right in the middle.
Snap closures are more difficult for babies and toddlers to remove and they can be thrown in the laundry without any worry about lint or hair.
So, which is better? Well, that’s up to you.
Why should we switch to cloth diapers?
Although I can think of a hundred answers to this question, I’ll give you my top 5.
- They will save you thousands of dollars in the long run when compared to purchasing disposable diapers.
- For each baby that is cloth diapered, we will keep hundreds of disposable diapers out of our landfills. (The current estimate of the length of time it takes for one disposable diaper to decompose is 500 years. Just saying.)
- They will keep diaper rash away.
- Cloth diapers can be used for more than one child, making the financial and environmental impact even bigger.
- They are ridiculously cute.
Learn more: 8 Undeniable Reasons to Switch to Cloth Diapers
We love answering all questions about cloth diapering and natural parenting anytime. I spend most of my time at the boutique educating parents and it's my very favorite thing about my job.
Does this mean that cloth diapers are for everyone? Nope. And that’s ok! What’s important is that you find the diapering system that works for your lifestyle and your family and we realize that might not always mean choosing cloth.
Want more information? You may like to take a look at these great cloth diaper resources:
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