How to Get Started With Cloth Diapers: Everything That You Need to Know

When you are expecting a baby, there are a million of decisions and choices to make, and how to diaper them is not an exception. A lot of mothers may persuade you to the appeal of cloth diapering, but you may not know where to start.

The good news is that cloth diapers are easier than you may think of. Today’s cloth diapers are also a lot easier to use than the ones used by your grandma’s.

Benefits of Cloth Diapering

It’s good for your baby

Disposable ones contain harmful chemicals. These chemicals can irritate your baby’s skin, which causes diaper rashes. Dioxin, a by-product of bleaching, is listed by the Environmental Protection Agency as the most toxic carcinogen that can cause hormonal problems to humans, including your little ones.

A lot of mothers swear by cloth diapers.

A lot of mothers swear by cloth diapers. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

It’s good for the environment

Disposable diapers can generate sixty times more solid waste and uses twenty times more raw materials than to make cloth diapers. Plus, it takes about 250 to 500 years for a single disposable diaper to break down in a landfill. Meanwhile, cloth diapers can be used over and over before they head to the garbage, which takes about five months to break down. Those which are made from natural fibers like cotton and wool are recyclable too.

It’s good for you

Cloth diapers are cheaper! They may cost more upfront but you can save a lot in the long run. Disposable ones are more convenient sometimes but the cloth ones are more convenient at most times. You will never have to run to the groceries in the middle of the night too.

They are safe and cheaper than disposable ones.

They are safe and cheaper than disposable ones.

Different Cloth Diapers Systems

Basic Cotton Diapers and Cover System

The basic cotton diaper and cover system are widely used. Flats and prefolds are the affordable and healthy way to diaper your baby, which is a good option for first-time users.

They are easy to wash and are very inexpensive. However, they are not as good as containing messes, but they dry quickly which is a huge plus. These cloth diapers require a PUL or a wool cover.

Flat diapers are the most basic ones. [Image Credit: Chana Putnam / Youtube]

Flat diapers are the most basic ones. [Image Credit: Chana Putnam / Youtube]

Fitted Diaper Covers

Fitted diaper covers work like a basic cotton diaper but the diaper itself is fitted to the baby with a contoured shape and elastic legs. They are a bit easier to use than the flat ones since there is no folding involved. They also do a better job of keeping the poo in.

Fitted diapers can hold better than the flat ones. [Image Credit: Eat Pray Crunch / Youtube]

Fitted diapers can hold better than the flat ones. [Image Credit: Eat Pray Crunch / Youtube]

Pocket Style Covers

This system is a favorite of a lot of cloth diaper veterans. They consist of an outer, waterproof shell and a stay-dry inner fabric that is sewn together to form a pocket. These pockets are then stuffed with an absorbent liner which is usually made of cotton or microfiber.

The legs are elastic too like a fitted diaper and they have a built-in closure system so pinning is no longer required. Most pocket style covers are shaped like a disposable diaper with a snap or hook and loop closure, making it very easy to use.

These diapers are fast absorbing. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

These diapers are fast absorbing. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Getting Started: How Many Do I Need?

We recommend starting with a dozen cloth diapers. Having about 20 cloth diapers is ideal.

However, it really depends on how often you will be able to do laundry. You may want to wash the diapers every three to four days but there are mothers who wash them every day.

Newborns use an average of 10 to 12 diapers in a day while infants need 8 to 10. Older babies and toddlers can go about 6 to 8 a day.

You don’t need too much cloth diapers. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

You don’t need too much cloth diapers. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Making Your Own Cloth Wipes

Once you have decided to give cloth diaper a try, choosing cloth wipes is another step. They have all the advantages of cloth diapers and don’t add much extra work since you can throw them in the diaper wash too.

Cloth wipes can be bought or you can make your own. There are flannels available or if you decide to take the DIY route, you can use old pieces of clothing or baby wash clothes and towels and cut them into squares. Here is a simple cloth wipe solution that you can do at home.

What you need

4 oz of water
1 teaspoon of baby shampoo
1 teaspoon olive oil
A few drops of lavender essential oil

What you need to do

Pour all the ingredients into a spray bottle or pour them over the wipes and store them for up to three days.

Cloth diapers are easy to store too. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Cloth diapers are easy to store too. [Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons]

Cloth diapers are an excellent way to save money and to avoid exposing your little one’s skin to chlorine and other harsh chemicals.