Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Understanding Cloth Diapers

(the kids are still napping so why not throw in another blog post today!)

Deciding to use cloth diapers was an easy choice for me (see previous post). Deciding which cloth diapers to use wasn't so easy! The easiest way to get started is to explain the differences in diapers out there.
  • Flats These are the diapers your mothers and grandmothers probably used. It's a big square of flannel or cotton that is folded to fit your baby. It's fastened with either a pin or a snappi and requires a cover.
  • Prefolds A rectangle piece of layered cotton (can be hemp or bamboo as well). Gets folded into thirds and either pinned or snappied together or placed in a wrap-style cover as is. Requires a cover. Also great to use as an insert in pocket style diapers.
  • Contoured Prefolds Same idea as the regular prefold but is more shaped and imo, easier to snappi. Requies a cover.
  • Fitted Just as the name suggests, this is a diaper fitted to your baby's shape. No folding required but a cover is needed. Usually closes with snaps or velcro although some require a pin or snappi to close.
  • Pocket Diaper This is a two piece system that comes with an insert (absorbant part of diaper) and a cover. There is an opening so that you can stuff the insert into the diaper. It closes with either snaps or velcro. Can be stuffed with multiple inserts to tailor absorbancy needs.
  • All-in-one This is as close the ease of disposables as you can get. No need to stuff with inserts. Just put diaper on as is. Closes with either snaps or velcro.
  • One Size Typically fit from birth to toilet learning. These can come in pocket, all in one and even fitteds. Usually sized with snaps that you can adjust as baby grows.
  • Covers Used over flats, prefolds and fitteds. There is a lot of choice out there in covers: PUL is in most covers and especially in pockets and all-in-ones. But you can also get covers in wool, fleece and some people still use plastic pants.
To get started here's what you need:
  • Pail or hanging wet bag To store soiled diapers until washing.
  • 24-36 diapers I suggest going with 36 so you don't need to wash every day. Don't forget covers depending on type of diaper.
  • Wash cloths If you're using cloth, you might as well use cloth wipes too.
  • Wet bag To put soiled diapers in when out and about.
  • Snappis or Pins Depending on what type of diaper you are using, you may want to use these.
  • Diaper friendly detergent I always use Country Save laundry soap. Doesn't cause build-up and is bio-degradable. Remember you only need 1/4 to 1/2 scoop!
  • Oxyginated Bleach Powder Gets rid of stains and boosts your laundry detergent. Optional.
  • Tea Tree Oil and Lavender Oil Both of these essential oils are great for cloth diapers. A few drops on a cloth dropped into your diaper pail eliminates odours. A few drops added to the rinse cycle will help disinfect your diapers. Optional.
  • Diaper friendly diaper rash cream You'll find that your child doesn't often get a diaper rash but it's handy to have around. Be sure it's diaper friendly (such as Bum Bum Balm) and use sparingly to avoid build-up.
For laundry soap suggestions, I found Diaper Jungle to be really helpful: http://www.diaperjungle.com/detergent-chart.html

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