Wednesday, November 4, 2009

How to Get Started

What kind of diaper is for you? 
Some stores offer sample packages in which you can try varying types of diapers so you can find what type works for you and return what doesn't.  Jillian's Drawers has two packages to try for at the most $10 if you don't like cloth diapering.  One trial package is for infants and one is for newborns.
There are many kinds of diapers out there to try.  The most commonly used are:
  • Prefolds -  These are probably what you visualize when you think of "old-fashioned" cloth diapering.  They come in several different materials and sizes, but have a thicker portion in the center for good absorption.  They do require a cover or wrap over them.  Prefolds also need to be fastened with a diaper pin or a Snappi.  To keep moisture away from baby's bottom I use a piece of fleece to wick moisture away.
  • AIO/AI2s  (All In Ones/All In Twos) - These are the most similar cloth diaper to a disposable diaper.  In AIOs there is an inner absorbent layer that is attached to an outer waterproof layer, and on top of the inside is a layer of fabric which wicks moisture away from the baby's bottom.  In the AI2s (also referred to as Hybrids in some places) the inner portion of the diaper can be removed (usually via snaps) for easier cleaning.  Both AIOs and AI2s close with velcro or snaps, and can be purchased in varying sizes or as a One-Size diaper.
  • Fitteds - Similar to an AIO diaper the fitted allows you to control the tightness of the diaper via velcro or snaps, and some WAHM made diapers with a Snappi or pins.  Fitted diapers will also need a waterproof cover over them.  These diapers can be purchased in varying sizes or as a One-Size diaper.  (These are very popular with the WAHMs.)
  • Contours - Contours are a cross between a prefold and a fitted diaper.  They go under a waterproof cover and come with a sewn in doubler which can be a plus for a big wetter.  They come in fewer sizes as they can be folded somewhat to accommodate a growing baby (OS), but they may need to be fastened with a diaper pin or Snappi if you can not get a decent fit by just overlapping the wings under a cover.
  • Pockets - These are a two part diapering system.  They have an outer waterproof layer, and an inner layer that wicks moisture away from the baby's skin leaving it dry.  There is an opening or pocket built into the diaper in which you "stuff" inserts in to absorb the moisture.  These are convenient as you can easily adjust the amount of absorption you get by adding more inserts, often referred to as doublers.  Pocket diapers are also usually One-Size Diapers.
  • One-Size - Allow you to adjust the rise through a series of snaps on the front outside of the diaper or sizable elastic in the legs.  This creates a diaper system that will grow with your baby over a large period of time.  
Amount of diapers:
  • Every day use - For newborns you will need at least 10-12 diaper changes per 24 hour period.  So if you only want to do laundry every other day you'll need around 18-24 diapers.  As babies get older they will begin to need fewer; however, it's always good to be prepared for more than what you will need so we suggest having 18-24 diapers on hand in general.  Make sure to do laundry every 2-3 days.  You can get enough diapers to last you just one day/night and then doing laundry every day if you prefer.
  • Just the evenings and weekends -  You will need at least enough diapers to get yourself through a full day on the weekend.  So at least 12 - 14 diapers which will allow you to make it through the night, to change in the morning, and then wash the rest of dirty diapers.
(Other trial diaper programs to check out:  Nicki's Diapers, Diaper Daisy, Cute Caboose)
Other supplies you will need:
  • Doublers - If you have a big wetter than doublers are a must.  Many pocket diapers will come with a regular insert and a doubler.  But, for making it overnight most babies will need some extra absorption.  Microfiber is good for moderate wetters, but for heavy ones I recommend a hemp doubler.
  • Liners - You can get liners for diapers so that wetness won't come in contact with your baby's skin (if you're not using a pocket diaper) and also for easy clean up of those early soft baby poos.  There are flushable liners and then there are fleece, flannel, or silk liners that need to be washed. These lay on top of the inside of the diaper. 
  • Storing dirty diapers - There are many schools of thought on how to store your dirty diapers.  You can invest in a bag that keeps moisture in or use a trash bag.  You will just have to replace the trash bag each time.  A dry diaper pail is what is recommended and you can even use a Diaper Champ.  A pail with a lid on it will trap odors in more.  Some people feel that is a con.  It works for us.  A diaper pail liner will help you tote diapers back and forth to the laundry.  A wet diaper pail (a pail filled with water) is NOT recommended as it can be a drowning hazard for babies and young children.
  • Using diapers on the run - Cloth diapering on the run can be very easy if you have the right kind of diaper and something to keep them in when they're dirty.  A ziploc will do but investing in a traveling wet bag is a great way to save money...and look super cute on the go.  :)  
  • Wipes - You can use throw away wipes, but part of the fun of CDing is helping the environment.  Reusable wipes are a great way to do this.  You can use baby washcloths, flannel wash cloths that are purchased online, there are all different kinds to look at.
  • Wipe Solutions - You can also make your own wipe solution that can be poured over wipes in an old wipe container, or that can be stored in spray bottle and spritzed on your child's bottom or directly onto the wipe itself.  Here is a great place to find recipes for your own wipe solutions.
Be very careful of which detergents you use on your cloth diapers as additives such as perfumes, brighteners, enzymes, and dyes are not good for your dipes. This website provides a fantastic overview of many types of detergents out there and rates them based on their friendliness to CDing.  
Amanda uses: Planet 2X
Natalie uses: Mrs. Meyers Baby Blossom 


This really depends on what type of diapers you plan to buy.  But, for a general idea see the information below from Diaper Daisy:
Cloth diapers are affordable. On average, you will spend $2000 on disposable diapers per child during the diapering years. Compare that to an average of $700 for your first child's cloth diapering system. A second and third child will cost much less, as many of the diapers can be re-used. Plan on spending a little more or less, depending on the type of cloth diapering system you choose.

Did you know that In 2.5 years of diapering...

Cost of disposables: $2000
Cost of disposable wipes: $800
Total cost disposables: $2800

Cost of cloth diapers: $840
Cost of cloth wipes (24): $42
Total cost of cloth: $882

Savings: $2000!*

Figure washing time as 15 minutes every other day. That adds up to just over 60 hours a year. With a savings of $800 a year, the time you spend laundering diapers equates to an earnings of $17.50 an hour. If you hang dry your diapers, you are spending more time...but saving more $$ in utility costs.
*The savings will go up even more if a family chooses a more affordable cloth diapering option such as prefolds.*
You can also re-sell many of your cloth diapering items and get half or more of your money back!

1 comment:

  1. Great post. Definitely what a new CDer needs to get started.